pen rainbow

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wednesday—Good For You, Good For The Home: Pool Demo!

Removal of a 20,000 gallon fiberglass pool
Removing a 30-year old swimming pool — We lived to blog about it!

We finally took the plunge!  (heh)  After 30 years, our backyard swimming pool is history.

A few years ago, it sprang a leak in the plumbing somewhere behind the fiberglass shell.  Water was draining back through the jet lines, soaking into the sand bed, and destablizing everything around it.

We let the chlorine burn off, drained the pool, and considered our options.  The fiberglass lining had been reshot twice.  We had completely retiled twice.  The light that used to illuminate the water so beautifully at night developed a short circuit, and we had to remove it ten years ago.  The electric pool cover worked, but was worn and needed to be replaced for the fourth time.  And, the deck was cracked in several places.  Pools are costly to repair, but our pool was so old that we basically needed to replace it.  Finally last winter, a 24-inch tear developed in one corner of the pool, and sand was slowly trickling into the bottom of the pool.  

We knew that we couldn't make it through another rainy season with a disintegrating swimming pool.  We had to hire a contractor and move ahead with a project that we had been dreading for five years.

I am happy to report that it was totally worth it!!  It was much less expensive than we expected—$8,700 instead of $10K to $15K—and we reclaimed an overgrown section of yard when we cleared a path for the backhoe.  We hired an excellent local contractor who specializes in pool demos, and the whole project took 4 days.

Hiring a good contractor was our first and biggest concern.  Steve and I each did our own searches and came up with the same guy. We set up a meeting with Ryan Crownholm, owner of DIG & DEMO.  Ryan is a licensed general engineering contractor and a local Bay Area guy.  He graduated from St. Mary's College in Business and Economics, and he's an Army veteran.  The company is a Bay Area Green Business (important when it comes to demolition work), Diamond Certified (independently rated for quality service), a member of the National Demolition Association, and it has a triple-A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.  

Ryan and his team were pros from beginning to end, and we couldn't be happier with the results!  They were fast, neat, careful, efficient, friendly, professional, and competent.  Really, they are what every homeowner wants when it comes to big home improvement projects.

Equipment arrives — Day 1
This type of project requires a building permit and inspections by the County.  Ryan pulled the permit before the project started and made all of the necessary arrangements for inspections.  We had access issues involving a narrow private road up to our house, a court shared with a nasty neighbor, a relatively new driveway and side yard landscaping, a wrought-iron fence, and a tight squeeze between a redwood fence and our deck.  Although Ryan's company would have done it, we opted to remove the overgrown landscaping ourselves.  They removed a wrought-iron fence and soldered it back into place stronger and straighter than before!

Damage-wise, we lost about a quarter of the sod on the side yard, but new grass seed is already sprouting, just two weeks later.  We had to clean off a couple of oil stains on the driveway, but overall, the impact from the project was much less than what we were anticipating.  I have to admit that I lost a little sleep worrying about a cracked or chipped driveway, broken sidewalks, and interfering neighbors.  I was dreading this project so much that I scheduled a week of condo projects for myself in Boulder City and left Steve in charge of the demolition project in Walnut Creek.

Hugs to Steve for holding down the fort, and many thanks to Ryan and the Dig & Demo guys for an absolutely superb job from start to finish!

We cleared bushes to create a 6' wide access path
Wrought-iron fence is sawed off at the base
One guy does the fiberglass tear-out!
The bottom is removed
Side sections are removed

Tiling is removed
Decking is broken up with a backhoe
Roots growing behind the fiberglass where the leaky jets were
Debris is hauled away

Tah-dah!  We have our yard back