How to Remove a Scrap Above Ground Swimming Pool (And Make $300)

Here at Scrap Metal Junkie, our goal is to help people make money from their old disowned metal products.

Unfortunately, the prospect of finding a second life for an above ground pool doesn’t appeal to most people. To those looking to get rid of their above ground pool, their most attractive option seems to be paying somebody to remove it; and if they are getting a new underground pool, then they usually pay the replacement people to take it down. (Sometimes the installers will throw the old pool in a landfill!) 

A metal above ground pool, believe it or not, is valuable as scrap. Even if it is full of water, you will be glad that you took some time out of your day to sell the metal rather than pay to have somebody else do it!

The first thing you want to do before tearing down the scrap pool is estimate its worth. If it is steel, it is worth much less than if it is made of aluminum.

Using any type of magnet, check all the metal around the pool. If the magnet sticks, then it is steel. If the magnet doesn’t stick, it is aluminum or possibly stainless steel. (This is called the magnet test).

Aluminum pools are worth selling for scrap!

Aluminum Above Ground Pool Scrap Removal

If you are looking to scrap an above ground pool, you would rather it be an aluminum one. These are the bread and butter of pools.

Aluminum pools are worth enough money in scrap aluminum that a contractor can tear them down for free, making their service a very attractive one! If you are a homeowner that doesn’t want to pay to remove it, an free ad on Craigslist will work great!

An aluminum 16 foot diameter round pool could net you over $200, or a 15*30 foot pool, today, could easily net you over $360. It is hard to quantify the value of a pool by perimeter length, because each pool has different segments, different types of braces, different supports, ect. If you need a more definite answer, do a little math to figure it out how much it will be worth. I usually pull a piece off of the pool and weigh it to see how much value is in the pool if I need to quote it for somebody. Either way, aluminum pools are very valuable for scrap!

If possible, grab these three extra items:

  1. Every pool also has a pool filter that may comes along with it. These will usually be sold as electric motors. The electric motors are worth about 35¢ per pound. Pull the motor out, possibly cut it up for copper, and you will  have another 5-10 dollars or so.
  2. Almost every pool comes with a heater. These machines can very often be chock full of non-ferrous or stainless steel. One pool heater I picked up had a 35 pound brass manifold, and $30 worth of copper tubing in it. Be sure to check all of that stuff out! Either way, the pool filter and the heater should add about $25 more onto whatever you will be getting.
  3. The pool ladder is another important and noteworthy scrap item. These ladder are often made of stainless steel, and can be worth more in weight then the aluminum. Because ladders are often made to withstand the high chlorine environment of a pool, they are often made out of scrap 316 stainless steel, which is worth more than standard 304 stainless steel.

All of these extra items, the ladder, the filter, and the heater, may be worth trying to resell if they are in good shape.

Steel Above Ground Pools Scrap Removal

A steel pool, on the other hand, may not get you much more then $50. (Again, like the aluminum pools – and everything else in the scrap business – it depends on make, model, and brand.) As I will discuss later, scrapping a pool will take some time, about a day or so, so it is important to be getting paid! Don’t do it for free if it is steel, because that is definitely not worth the time.  The actual tear down of the pool will be the same as the aluminum ones, except a little less worth while.

This brings me to my next point…

How to Disassemble and Remove an Above Ground Pool

( Reminder: be sure you have permission to use the home owners electricity.)

1. Draining
The pools you are going to be asked to remove will most of the time be full of water. So the first step will be removing the water!

Where ever I have done this, there has always been a sewer point within 100ft of the pool. If this is not the case for you, you may have a harder time removing the water. The best way to do this is to get a pump.

Since I started scrapping, I have come across many different types of pumps. These water pumps are GREAT FOR DRAINING POOLS! (That is if they have much life left in them.) Things like jacuzzi pumps, sump pumps, garbage pumps, ect:

  • Plug them in and let them run; depending on the model, this may take a 7 or 8 hours!
  • If your pumps run out 40 gallons of water in a minute then, that is 2400 gallons per hour. If you have a 10000 gallon pool, then that will take you about 4.5 hours to drain.
  • If you are afraid it will take too long, use more than one pump!
  • If you arrive early, set them up, then leave, you can get other work done before they are done draining.

Taking as much hose as you can get your hands on, run the water all the way off the property and into a sewer drain, or directly into the nearest water collection outlet.

2. Teardown
Well, this is the easy part! If you like scrapping, this is what you were born to do! All I’m going to remind you is to bring all of the tools you think you will need; electric or hand. (Again, be sure to request the use of electricity from the house your working on.)

If scrapping is not your first language, you will want to get a bit more acquainted. Sorting the steel from the aluminum is very important if you want to make any money. Do this with a magnet. (Aluminum does not sick to a magnet) Aluminum that is free from steel will get the most money from your nearest yard.

When I do this, it never fails; I eventually will bring out the sledge hammer and let that thing rip. Don’t worry about breaking anything, because the scrap yard doesn’t care if it still works as a pool when you bring it in!

3. Garbage
There will be a fair amount of garbage left over once you strip the pool of metal. There is cardboard, liners, plastic edging, ect. All of this stuff will need to be thrown out!

Depending on your deal with the home owner, you may get to throw that stuff in their garbage can. But in all honesty, that is pretty amateur. I take it with me and dispose of it as necessary. My local scrap yard has a dumpster they let patrons throw their plastic/trash in, so that may be an option for some of you who want to maintain professionalism.

4. Clean-Up
So… It’s the end of the job. You have packed up the tools, picked up the trash, ect – But now the homeowner has this giant spot of dead grass on their lawn. (In some cases there will be a shallow foundation of sand / stone)

This is why before I make a deal with the homeowner, I offer to fix that spot up for them for $150 or so. All it takes is some lawn-repair grass-seed and a little TLC. Most people will not care, not want the spot removed because a new pool is going in, want to do it themselves, or they pay me to do it! If you want to make that easy money for fixing the spot of grass, I suggest you do so wisely. Depending on how big of a pool they had, you too may not want to get involved!

Good Luck Scrapping!

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous April 15, 2011 at 5:22 am

There's also sometimes a separate panel where the filter openings are located, which is stainless steel.

I had to buy a new liner for my own pool last spring, and while picking it up at the pool company warehouse, I noticed one of those panels in their dumpster. With their permission, I retrieved it, and got around $20 for the trouble.


The Irrationalist June 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm

"It was a pleasure to meet you."


Nan September 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Hi, thanks for the great information. We want to dispose of the pool in our backyard. The water has already been drained. Can you please provide more detailed information on how to actually take down the pool? What tools would we need? Where should we start? thanks!!!


ScrapMetalJunkie September 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Every pool is different! In my experience, a few different size sockets (or crescent/adjustable wrenches) are needed, along with some screw drivers. You may need a saw because sometimes the bolts become too corroded to remove conventionally. You may also want to bring a shovel to dig out any type of buried support structure.


cr February 28, 2012 at 10:19 pm

$300!?! i put my pool on craigslist just to clean up my yard, after about 70 emails in one day, i thought it might be valuable. excellent post! its 24 feet. are scrap prices up these days? is it still worth the time?


ScrapMetalJunkie February 29, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Yes! It is worth over $300 if it is all aluminum.


Tom Dee March 12, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Great site! I was searching Google to find out what kind of aluminum my pool is made out of and I found this website.

It’s a Esther Williams 15′ X 24′ oval classic III with all the railings and also has a corrugated aluminum deck at one end.

I was going to buy a new liner and install it and since it was given to me, it didn’t cost me anything. I disassembled it and brought it to my home, but now I am planning on moving since I lost my job. I don’t know what it’s worth to sell it outright, or if I would get more for scrap? The decking is extremely heavy but I’m not sure what to do. It also has a filter and pump which were only a year or two old.

Any suggestions as to the best way to go would be appreciated!


Tom Dee


ScrapMetalJunkie March 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm

If the pool is still in good shape, you should sell it as a used pool. It is worth at least $1500 as a pool I believe, maybe more, but Craigslist woud be the way to sell . Esther Williams pools are of exceptional quality, and are worth more than scrap price.

If you want to dismantle, sort, and sell the pool fort scrap, you should be able to make $700 for the aluminum alone. Then sell the heaters, pumps, etc on craigslist.


carolyn April 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm

I have been told I can get 57c per pound for our aluminum above ground pool, it is all alluminum, posts etc too. How much does a 24 ft round above ground pool weigh?


ScrapMetalJunkie April 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm

It all depends on the type of pool, when it was constructed, how strong it is, what type of aluminum, etc. I’m guessing it will weight at least 500 lb.


Harry May 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Nice web site, very helpful


Chris June 10, 2012 at 12:47 am

How can I tell whether my pool is aluminum or steel? Before I take it down I don’t want to count on that money if its really just steel. Great site by the way, thanks for all the great info.


ScrapMetalJunkie June 11, 2012 at 4:59 am

aluminum pools will not stick to a magnet. This is called the magnet test!


JW July 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I have an above ground pool (Gibraltar) that I would like to dismantle and get $$ for the scrap if possible.


Gary Davis March 10, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I have an above ground pool that I would like to sell if possible but can dismantle for scrap. Am in the Flemington, NJ area.


Charlotte April 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm

How do I find someone who will do this for me. I know I can’t take it down myself. I have a 16×24″ oval Sandy point pool,


ScrapMetalJunkie April 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm

post it on the NJ craigslist as free scrap metal.


Andrew Cunningham June 21, 2013 at 9:06 pm

I am removing a 24′ round E.W. Carousel pool with walk decks and fencing.
In one of your posts you mentioned it being worth more than scrap price, it seems a shame to scrap it only the walls are pitted clean thru so I would not even attempt to sell it as a used pool, I want no part of someone’s kids ending up in a tsunami.
I would however have no problem with selling the walk deck and fencing but don’t know if they would fit on a modern E.W. pool ( mine is an 1980’s vintage and is 48″ deep the newer ones are 52″, I don’t know if the uprights that support the fence would be interchangeable).
Also there doesn’t seem to be any E.W. dealers left in the area to call and ask, I have to suspect people are opting for the cheap quick setup pools which I wish I had done and it would have been down long ago instead of cleaning out leaves from the neighbor’s trees and pumping in chlorine so it could be used maybe 3 times in a good summer-LOL! ( a hole in the ground you throw money into).
Clean up is a bit more involved than what you described ” a brown patch of grass”, there is about 3″ of sand to remove plus stone all around to prevent mud from overflow, just glad I didn’t go with the deep end hopper.
I feel I’m resigned to just scrapping it, what type of aluminum would this be considered for scrap?
It was sold as extruded aluminum, sheet aluminum is getting 50 some cents a pound is extruded aluminum considered sheet aluminum?


Peg July 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm

My husband and I just took down our 18′ above ground pool. I did the magnet test and the magnet sticks to everything. That said its an all steel pool. We did the work because we aren’t putting in another pool and I wasn’t ready to pay someone to do something we could do ourselves. So now that its down and we cut the pool into manageable sections and my question is how much (ballpark figure) would it be worth as scrap. Is it worth it to load it up and take it in? There is also a metal deck that was with the pool (separate purchase) that the magnet doesn’t stick to. Might be steel or could be????? I might look into re-selling the deck since its really still in good useable condition. Thanks for any input! Peg

Reply August 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Thanks for a very informative website. We dismantled our 16″ round pool (Aluminum) and sold the parts to the scrap yard – though they looked bulky they were only a 100 lbs earning just 50$ (did not weight it myself – it weighed 270 lbs on their cart and was told the cart itself was 170 lbs).


TANGULA DEAL August 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm

I have a 15 feet above ground pool and I am getting rid of it. I want to know about how much I can get for the pool material at a scrap yard . I did a magnet test and the magnet did not stick. So, I assume it steel.


ScrapMetalJunkie August 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm

If the magnet did not stick, than it is /not/ steel. It is most likely aluminum. I’m not sure how much your particular model is worth, but aluminum is worth 50¢ per pound, so use that as a basis when making any decisions.


TANGULA DEAL August 10, 2013 at 11:23 pm

I am sorry I made a mistake the magnet did stick..


chaman May 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

I have an above ground pool. I want to remove. Its steel.


Rob August 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm

I have a 24′ Outback Pool (I purchased in back in 2006) & I’m pondering on removing it to place a circular pavers patio in its place. Can you tell me if these pools are worth it too scrap?


Michael Hadfield October 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm

We have a 16 X 24 lady ester it’s all aluminum end decks , walk around and fence I’m wondering what it’s worth scrap wise?


sarah November 13, 2014 at 6:32 pm

I have this 24′ above ground pool that I may want to take down and scrap it. But I can’t get to it for a couple days & the owner doesn’t know but how can I tell what it is made out of if I can’t get to it Just yet. He said it is built in 2003 . Can anyone tell me in that year what pools were mainly made of or I do I have to wait till I go in person. Asking because its a bit of a drive and I’d hate to go there and it being steel or vinyl or w.e. for nothing. .



Ralph A Piper April 14, 2015 at 7:37 pm

I have a 20 foot by 40 foot kayak pool with decking how much aluminum do you think I could proximately get from this any ballpark idea would be great


porcupine73 July 26, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Great tips! I just spent the day taking down my 20′ aboveground. I was just going to put the stuff to the road for scrappers to pick up but I thought I’d check the value. I was excited that it might be $300 or so!? not sure what aluminum is right now.

So I did the magnet test. Bummer. The magnet sticks to absolutely every part of this pool. So I’m guessing it is steel. Unless it’s stainless … but some of the parts are a bit rusty so I’m guessing probably not. I really thought it was aluminum as I was taking it apart but I’m no metals expert by any means.


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