Where should your pool go?

When you decide to have your existing pool removed, you may wonder how ZL Construction disposes of the different materials that make up your pool. In short, we recycle everything.  The two basic types of pool removal are partial and complete.  The first, a partial removal, is the easiest and most cost-effective option.  This method works well for most clients.  Basically, your pool deck and shell are broken down and used as part of the site fill.  The hole is further filled with imported soil which is then properly compacted so that your existing pool site is now ready for landscaping.  Any excess concrete is removed from the site and taken to a concrete recycling facility where it is ground into aggregate and reused for road base and new construction.  The rebar, which are metal rods inside the concrete to provide reinforcement and stability, is broken out, separated and also taken to the appropriate recycling facility.  The pool equipment (pump, etc.), is also removed and recycled.

If a client elects to have a complete pool removal, the entire shell and deck are broken down and removed from the site.  However, many clients may not have that option since some municipalities do not allow for a partial pool removal.  Others who plan to build on the site in the future would need to have their pool completely removed.

ZL Construction can help you decide which option is best for you.  We can answer any questions, inform you of your local code requirements, and guide you through the pool removal process.  Call us now for a free estimate.

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What type of pool do I have?

People may be surprised to know that there are many different kinds of pools and perhaps even confused about what they might have in their own back yard.   Let me try to explain the differences between the various types and how you can tell them apart.

The most common type of pool is made of concrete or gunite.  The shape of the pool is excavated into the dirt and then formed with a layer of concrete – also called gunite.  It is then covered with a layer of plaster or sometimes even fiberglass.  You can tell its fiberglass by examining the surface.  If you see iridescent strands that look like matchsticks, you are looking at a layer of fiberglass that has been sprayed on to a concrete base.

Some pool removal contractors mistakenly think they are dealing with a fiberglass pool when they see a fiberglass surface.  That is not always the case.  A pool made exclusively with fiberglass is fabricated in the factory and installed as one continuous piece.  Its surface is perfectly smooth.  Problems with fiberglass pools usually occur when the earth shifts.  Stress cracks appear on the surface and the pool can no longer hold water.  Time to remove your pool.

Fiberglass pools undergo an interesting installation process.  In order for the pool to stay straight and level, it is gradually filled with water as the dirt is backfilled around it.  The interior water level keeps pace with the exterior dirt level and this ensures the pool with not bend or flex as it is filled.

The third most common type of pool is made from vinyl.  Basically, this is a heavy liner that is placed over sand slurry or vermiculite.

The bottom is shaped and the vinyl is laid over it.  As a result these pools often have contours that look angular. After time, the sun often breaks down the vinyl liner and the pool typically fails.  Once a rip occurs, its time to take it out and start all over.

ZL Construction specializes in Pool removals of all types of pools. The process for removing a concrete pool is different than the process for a fiberglass or vinyl pool. Learn from our experts and get the correct pool removal you need. Contact us Today!

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What to Expect During the Swimming Pool Removal Process

Despite the many obvious benefits of removing and old, damaged or outdated pool, many people are reluctant to commit because they don’t know what to expect. They feel the process might be too disruptive or time consuming. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Once you’ve decided to “take the plunge,” here’s what you can expect during a typical swimming pool removal process executed with precision and care by the professionals at ZL Construction:


Prior to demolition day, the site is carefully prepared.  All the necessary permits and paperwork to remove the swimming pool have been processed.  The ZL crew has determined the optimal access point, drained the pool, removed the pump and capped off any gas or electrical lines. The pool removal process is ready to begin.


DAY 1 -Prep + Breaking Ground

Our swimming pool removal crew begins by removing any fences or obstacles to create a clear and safe access route for workers and machinery.  Our crew begins to break up the concrete in and around the pool and dispose of it according to city ordinance requirements.  The demolition process, depending on the size of your pool, should take no more than one day. Once this step has been completed, the first permit inspection occurs.


DAY 2 – The Fill

Once the initial inspection has been successfully completed, we proceed with the fill.  Soil is trucked in on a pre-arranged timetable which allows our crew to move dirt from source to destination in an timely and efficient manner with minimal disruption.


DAY 3 – Compaction

As the soil fills the swimming pool site, it is compacted with the proper compaction equipment, according to ordinance requirements. This process typically takes approximately two days.  Once the fill is complete, the second and final inspection takes place.


DAY 4 –Cleanup

The equipment removal and cleanup process begins.  Our crew will typically spend the day cleaning up, replacing fencing if necessary, and removing all equipment from the site.  Your old pool is now a thing of the past and you are left with a clean spacious yard that is ready for a new beginning!

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Why & how to hire the right professional pool removal company/contractor?

We have decided to write about this topic because we want to give the customer as much information as possible in order to make the best decision for your home. One of our biggest priorities at ZL Construction is your safety, the safety of your family and your home. Our team is very knowledgeable on the potential hidden risks or safety hazards on the jobsite. Experience and knowledge is the difference between a licensed contractor with liability insurance and an unlicensed person attempting to do a pool removal. Below we have outlined the common factors of a pool removal that a licensed and insured contractor would have experience dealing with.

- Fully licensed bonded and insured

It is always important to carry worker’s compensation insurance. As a consumer you should always ask for proof of insurance beforehand. For example, about 50 percent of the time we drive down the side of the house with our equipment to access the pool area. And 99.9 percent of the time we drive past a gas meter. Imagine if that gas meter was hit by the equipment causing metal to metal contact which creates sparks. There is a possibility that those sparks can catch fire and your house can burn down. Our crew is trained to avoid the gas meter and mark it properly.

- Properly maintained equipment

Big trucks can be dangerous and out of the control items if not maintained properly. Unfortunately job site accidents are all too common and can be easily avoided with routine maintenance.

- It can cost you a penalty from the city or county if discovered

If the city discovers that you are attempting a project that requires both a permit and a licensed contractor to execute, it could cost you a penalty or large fee.

- Capping gas lines

Another important step that is often overlooked by those who are less experienced. About 50 percent of the pools we encounter have heaters that run off of gas. Those gas lines need to be correctly capped and marked back at the gas meter to avoid any future mishaps. If the gas line is unmarked and accidentally hit, there could potentially be a tremendous volume of gas leaking into your backyard.

- Cutting electrical wires properly

Cutting wires and simply leaving them hot in the ground is very dangerous yet a very real possibility when using an unlicensed company. You need to properly disconnect at the main panel and cap lines off.

- Demolishing a pool properly

We know how to properly demolish a pool which is why we are a company with a legal license. Unfortunately we have seen pools that were not demolished correctly. On many occasions our team has had to come in and fix the situation. You should always make sure that you do something right the first time around so you don’t wind up having to do it again.

- Properly pumping out the pool water

Chlorine is not good for storm drains need to be properly pumped so that is goes through a sewer treatment plant before it can be recirculated.

- Punching holes in the bottom of the pool

Proper drainage is one of the most important factors in a pool removal. For a partial pool removal it is necessary to punch holes in the bottom of the pool cavity. As a rule of thumb, you can never have too many holes.

- Dirt

Dirt is a big part of our pool removals and we pay a lot of attention to where this dirt comes from. We source our own dirt which means we know what exactly is in this dirt. “Dirty” dirt may sound like a contradiction but dirt can easily be contaminated with trash, chemicals and contaminants that are harmful to your family and pets. Always ask and check dirt that is being brought to your home.

- Unrecognized fill

Throwing yesterday’s haul load of stucco and miscellaneous construction material at the bottom of the pool is not considered proper fill. For example I have seen a pool filled with construction debris like sheetrock, tile, plaster, stucco and even garbage.

- Directly dumping the dirt from the dump truck into the pool

This is a problem we encounter with unprofessional and unlicensed companies. Remember the dirt needs to be compacted in lifts to achieve proper compaction as the pool is gradually filled.

- Proper compaction is key

Using a bobcat’s wheels just to roll the dirt back and forth is not the proper way to achieve compaction. You need to use proper soil compaction equipment to make sure that the ground will not sink over time. A proper backfill is always compacted to 90% or more.

- Properly grading the pool backfill once it is done

This goes along with proper compaction. You never want water coming towards the house when it rains therefore the grade should always slope away from the house.

- Proper clean up

Being mindful of cleaning the area properly is key for project close out. Many cities do not allow pressure washing on streets because it is bad for the environment to power wash dirt off the street into the storm drain gutter.

For ZL construction, these are no brainier cautionary steps that we take during every pool removal project. But hiring someone who is uninsured, unlicensed and inexperienced can lead to disaster. If you want your pool removal to run smoothly and safely please contact the experts at ZL Construction today for a free estimate.

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Cost of a Pool Removal – How much does it cost to remove a swimming pool?

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “How much does a pool removal actually cost?” This question can be a little difficult to answer because there is no set cost of a pool removal. However, there are many factors that go into the calculation of the final cost. Here is a short list of the major aspects that could increase or lower the price of your pool removal.

  1. Access into the yard

The ideal access area would be at least 6ft so that our equipment can get to the pool area. For example, if we only have 36 inches of access our equipment simply would not be able to fit. Therefore most of the work would have to be done by hand or other methods that are typically very labor intensive and costly. But, I rarely see situations in which the access is this bad. Access issues usually can be fixed by removing obstacles like fences and trees/shrubs. ZL Construction will always inform you of the things we will need to remove and take care to put together any hardscaping (like fences) that were disturbed during the process.

2.  Size of pool

The bigger the pool the more costly it can be to remove it. For example, an Olympic size swimming would be very costly and difficult, but not impossible, for us to remove. But if you have a typical* recreational swimming pool it should be no problem for us. To estimate the approximate gallonage of your pool see our other blog entry “How to Remove or Fill in a Pool?  and read section: What are Costs & Reasons for a Pool Removal?”.

*a typical pool is around 20,000 gallons

3. Type of pool

There are many types of pools including gunite, concrete, vinyl liner, fiberglass, aluminum, concrete etc. The various types each require different processes to remove. The cheapest to remove is a vinyl liner pool and the most expensive is a gunite or a concrete pool because these materials require extra effort to break up.

4. Type of pool removal

There are two types of pool removal, a partial pool removal or a complete pool removal. A partial removal is the most common and cost effective type of pool removal. The type of pool removal you choose could depend on city or county regulations, personal preference or what you intend to do with the site afterwards.

5. Topographical limitations

Topographical limitations are usually not a problem I encounter. But if I have to drive up a 45 degree slope to access the pool, the removal can get costly.

6. What city you live in

Permitting and engineering costs vary from city to city. This cost is always included in your estimate. Your local city or county permit office will have exact information about permit costs if you would like to know more.

With all that said, a typical pool removal will cost less than 10,000 dollars.  However the price can vary based on the factors listed above. But removing your pool will cost you less than completely remodeling it.

Please contact the experts at ZL Construction to schedule a free estimate today.

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What Does “Being Green” Mean to ZL Construction?

We recently attended a green business information and networking event located in the Bay Area. Here at ZL Construction we are dedicated to green business practices and we were unsure that this event would be able to teach us anything that we didn’t already know. But as it turns out, going to this event was a great way to spend an afternoon. Not only did our team learn about new ways to get connected to the green community but we also met a variety of amazing small business owners who could really relate to what we do here at ZL Construction. It also got us thinking about what being green really means to our company.

Although “green” is an emerging mantra that many individuals and businesses strive to live by, it has no clear definition. Everyone seems to have their own version of what it means to be green so we thought that we would share what it means to our ZL Construction. One of the speakers at the event started with a quote that we feel best introduces the subject, “There’s no business to be done on a dead planet.” This statement could not be more fitting to the current situation in which we find ourselves. Our natural resources are quickly depleting at a rate that was not foreseen by the best business plans. The largest companies in our world, albeit the most profitable, are using our natural resources quicker than they are able to renew themselves. Soon we will find ourselves living in a world without trees, clean air or natural wonders to marvel at. This can all be avoided if we each take a stand and do our part.

What our world needs is a small change in thinking and a little bit of imagination. If each person decided that tomorrow they would make a conscious effort to eliminate waste, what an impact we could make! Despite popular belief, being green does not mean spending more money to achieve your goals. It simply means returning back to basic and more efficient ways of operation to achieve the same and more environmentally sustainable results.

Well you may think that being green has little to do with pool removals. But every choice we make from the cup of coffee we drink in the morning to the decision whether or not to demolish a pool has a green friendly alternative. If you think about a pool as something that takes energy to heat and clean, water to fill, land space to occupy and time to invest then we can start to see how the two are so closely related. Being green to you could mean removing your pool and decreasing you and your family’s carbon footprint.

So far at ZL Construction we have implemented simple cost saving measures to be green. We aim to recycle all of the material we remove from our pool demolitions. All of the concrete we remove is either reused or taken to a special recycling plant. Similarly, all of the precious metals we remove are recycled by a local metals recycling company. But we are most proud of our switch to biodiesel as our main source of fuel. All of our equipment including our bobcats, generators, hauling trucks and other machinery are run off of B100 biodiesel that we purchase monthly from a local supplier.

We are proud to say that on the jobsite we have zero carbon emissions. Being green to ZL Construction is more than just a label, it goes back to our fundamental desire to breathe clean air and drink clean water.

We all live on this planet and we should all do our part to preserve it. Learn more about our Green Construction Practices.

We would like to know, what does “being green” mean to you?

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How to Remove or Fill in a Pool? What are Costs & Reasons for a Pool Removal?

What does the pool removal process look like and what can you expect? Pool Removal Q&A Session with the Owner of ZL Construction -

These are some common questions that we stumble upon with our customers. If you have any additional questions feel free to post them in the response section or email us!

Q: I am on the fence. I need to do something with my pool but I don’t know whether to remove it or just to remodel it?

A: Well, the first thing you should ask yourself is how much benefit you get from your pool. If you decide that it is not worth having, the simple answer is just to remove it. Removing a pool is much cheaper than remodeling it would ever be. People nowadays view a pool as a hazard and a hassle. If you have small children or pets a pool can be a huge liability. If you are someone who is trying to sell a home with a pool, removing the pool can be a great way to sell it faster. Pools also cost thousands of dollars to maintain per year. Lastly, pools case a large toll on the environment and tend to increase your carbon footprint. It is much more environmentally friendly and cost-effective to remove a swimming pool than it would be to remodel it. Read more about our environmental sustainable pool removals.

Q: Now that I have decided to go ahead with a pool removal what is the most cost-effective way to do it?

A:  There are two types of pool removal that you have to choose from. The first is called a Partial Pool Removal. This is the most cost-effective and efficient type of pool removal. The second type is called a Complete Pool Removal. Sometimes city codes require this as the only way to remove a pool.

Q: Can you explain the partial removal in more detail?

A: During this type of pool removal the sides of the pool are broken down and placed in the bottom of the pool cavity. The rubble is arranged to allow for proper drainage. A special geotechnical soil stabilization fabric is placed over the rubble and clean dirt is then backfilled and compressed to match the existing area level.

Q: Can you explain the complete removal in more detail?

A: During a complete pool removal the entire pool shell is removed as if it was never there. We remove any type of material that your pool may be made of from concrete to fiberglass and gunite. Dirt is then back filled into the empty pool cavity and compressed according to city regulation.

Q: Do I need special city permits to do a pool removal?

A: Yes, most cities and counties require permits for any type of pool removal. We take care of all permits, testing, paperwork and scheduling needed from the city or county for your project. We have pulled permits in most every city in the San Francisco Bay Area so we know how to work with each city to ensure that your pool removal process goes smoothly.

Q: I just landscaped my yard and I am worried that removing my pool will disturb my yard.

A: We do not have to disturb any of the landscaping as long as our equipment has access to the pool area. Most of the time we remove a small portion of a fence to get access to the area and replace all hardscaping (fences, pipes, air-conditioning units) disturbed during construction. The pool removal process should not affect any landscaping as long as we have adequate equipment access to the pool area.

Q: What type of dirt do you typically use to backfill the pool cavity?

A: The first thing you should know is that we stockpile our own dirt which means we know where the dirt comes from and where exactly the dirt goes. We always use clean fill dirt. We have nothing to hide when it comes to dirt because we know how important the right type of dirt can be to a pool backfill. Learn more about our Green Construction practices.

Q: Will removing my pool affect the value of my house?

A: In my experience removing a swimming pool can actually add value and may be the key reason that a home is not selling, especially if the pool is in poor condition.  Potential home buyers in the current market are looking for homes without swimming pools. A pool is a large liability and investment on top of the cost of the property that many homebuyers are not willing to commit to. This past year we performed numerous pool removals at homes that had been sitting on the market for several months. Once the pool was removed, the homes received multiple offers. Overall, pools add little to no value to a house and potential homebuyers tend to value more yard space over a swimming pool.

Q: I am really in a time crunch and I was wondering how long it takes to remove a swimming pool?

A: For a partial pool removal, the entire process takes about 3 to 4 days. For a complete removal the process takes about 6 days.

Q: How many gallons is my pool?

A: A simple way to calculate how may gallons your pool is the length of the pool multiplied by the width of the pool multiplied by the depth of the pool. Over time I have found that the average depth of a pool between the shallow and the deep end is 5.4 feet. This calculated number will give you the volume of the pool by cubic foot. There is about 7.4 gallons per cubic foot so you will need to multiply the volume by 7.4to figure out how many gallons your pool is. Or simply;

Length x width x 5.4 = volume

7.4 x volume = approx. gallons in your pool

Thanks for reading our Q & A session! If you have any more questions feel free to e-mail us at zali@zlconstruction.com or visit our website at www.zlconstruction.com !

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