Swimming pools are a dream for many homeowners. After all, who doesn’t want to lounge by the poolside with a cocktail in hand, enjoying the summer sun? However, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to building a pool, especially the costs.
In-ground pool installations cost from $28,000 to $55,000, with the average price at around $35,000. Above-ground pools are more affordable, costing between $1,500 and $6,000, on average. Beyond costs, you’ll need to consider your landscape, regional climate, maintenance, and additional features.
Don’t feel too disheartened about the total costs or everything there is to learn about pools. There are a lot of factors to consider and keep in mind when constructing a new pool, but we’ve got you covered! Let’s take a look at what a pool costs and the various options out there.
Why Do Pools Cost So Much?
Installing a swimming pool is an excellent way to add some fun to your summers and potentially increase your home’s market value. Unfortunately, swimming pools have high upfront costs and maintenance fees, regardless of whether you opt for in-ground or above-ground installations. Here are five reasons pools are so expensive:
Pools Are a Luxury Item
One of the primary reasons why swimming pools are so expensive is that they’re considered luxury items. Swimming pools aren’t a necessary home addition and purely exist to increase your quality of life.
In-ground pools are a dream for many homeowners and are sought after when shopping for a new house.
Developing and constructing a pool isn’t an easy task. In-ground pool installations require planning, excavation, heavy equipment rentals, crew members, backfilling, landscaping, and more.
All of these aspects add to the total expenses, making swimming pools an especially pricey project to take on.
One of the disadvantages to swimming pools is that they require routine maintenance that can be pretty costly. Swimming pools require chemical adjustments, cleaning, filter replacements, and more. Regular pool services can easily cost between $80 to $150 a month, depending on the circumstances and needs.
Annual maintenance expenses can also range between $1,000 and $2,000.
Installing a new pool isn’t a once-and-done job. Most in-ground and above-ground pools require additional features and add-ons. You might want additional lights, heaters, landscaping, or even floaties. Additional features increase the total upfront cost of a new pool installation and can also impact the maintenance fees.
Pools Can Increase Market Value
Finally, in-ground pool installations are seen as investments by many homeowners. It’s a common belief that adding an in-ground pool will provide you with a hefty return on investment if you plan to sell your home or relocate. Although a return on investment isn’t guaranteed, most homeowners can expect to see a 7% return.
How Much Does an In-ground Pool Cost?
There are several factors that impact the total cost of installing a new in-ground pool. As we mentioned above, most homeowners pay between $28,000 and $55,000 for new in-ground pools. The average cost is somewhere around $35,000. Additional repairs and maintenance can easily add $2,500 and $5,000 annually.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that will impact the cost of an in-ground pool.
The size of the pool is one of the main factors that impact the total cost of construction. As you might expect, larger in-ground pools usually cost more than smaller projects. Homeowners pay between $50 to $100 per square foot to construct a typical 14′ by 28′ in-ground pool. Larger pools cost around $125 to $150 per square foot.
- 10′ x 16′ in-ground pools: $14,560 to $20,800
- 14′ x 28′ in-ground pools: $35,672 to $50,960
- 16′ x 32′ in-ground pools: $46,592 to $66,560
- 20′ x 40′ in-ground pools: $72,800 to $104,000
- 30′ x 50′ in-ground pools: $136,500 to $195,000
The average in-ground swimming pool is around 6.5 feet deep. However, for head-first diving, at least 9 feet of depth is recommended by the Red Cross.
The material greatly impacts the total cost of a new in-ground pool installation. There are three main pool materials: vinyl, fiberglass, and concrete. Each material has advantages, disadvantages, and best-use cases.
Vinyl In-Ground Pools
Vinyl in-ground pools are usually the most affordable option. You might expect to pay between $24,000 to $45,000 to install a new vinyl in-ground pool. Vinyl is smooth to the touch and easily customizable. However, the vinyl liner needs to be replaced every seven to ten years, and that’ll cost around $3,000 to $4,500.
- Non-abrasive surface
- Easy to customize
- Unlikely to develop algae on the surface
- Short installation of two to five weeks
- Less maintenance-intensive
- Not as durable as other materials
- Vinyl isn’t compatible with saltwater systems
- Sometimes less aesthetically appealing than other materials
- Vinyl needs to be replaced every 7 to 10 years
Fiberglass In-Ground Pools
Fiberglass pools are made of pre-built shells that are placed into an excavation site that matches the shell’s shape and size. Despite limited customization, homeowners prefer fiberglass for durability and fewer maintenance requirements. You can expect to pay $24,333 to $70,000 for a new fiberglass installation.
- Installation time is less than two weeks
- Conserves heat better than other materials
- Resists algae growth
- Low maintenance
- Nonabrasive surface
- Compatible with salt water systems
- Doesn’t require acid washing or replacement liners
- Typically doesn’t need to be resurfaced
- Requires low amounts of electricity to run
- Not customizable
- Shells usually measure no more than 16 feet across
- Slippery surface can cause accidents or injury
- You might need to resurface the gel coating, depending on the condition
Most fiberglass in-ground pools don’t require resurfacing. However, low-quality products treated with high quantities of chemicals will need resurfacing. Resurfacing in-ground fiberglass pools usually costs between $3,500 and $10,000.
Concrete In-Ground Pools
Concrete, gunite, and shotcrete are the most expensive types of pool material. You can expect to pay between $31,000 and $71,700 to install a new concrete in-ground pool. However, you can shape concrete pools into nearly any design, and they last a lifetime.
- Concrete can last over 50 years
- The shape, size, and design are fully customizable
- Incredibly durable
- It’s usually the most expensive pool type to install
- Extensive maintenance requirements
- Concrete needs high amounts of electricity and chemicals to stay in working order
- Susceptible to mold, algae, and other buildup
- The abrasive surface can make feet bleed, especially in children
- Not compatible with saltwater systems
- Takes an incredibly long time to install, sometimes months
Concrete pools are high maintenance. Algae can easily grow on the concrete, meaning you’ll need to clean your pool more often. You’ll also need to perform an acid wash every three to five years, which can cost between $300 and $450.
Another downside to concrete is that it’s prone to cracking and needs to be replastered every 10 to 15 years, which can cost between $2,500 and $13,000.
The location also affects the total cost of a new in-ground pool installation. Locations with limited access or hard-to-reach places might accrue additional fees. This is because the builders will have a more difficult time excavating and using their equipment.
You might also pay more if you’re building on a hill or a slope. Hills and slopes will require additional landscape preparation, leading to higher construction costs.
The condition of your soil will also impact the total construction costs. Rocks, hard dirt, and other obstructions can make the excavation more difficult, leading to additional fees and equipment rentals.
The season you have a pool installed will also impact the overall cost. Installing an in-ground pool in the off-season can usually help you save money. Most professional services offer discounted rates in the off-season, as they’re less busy and the weather conditions aren’t as demanding.
Be sure to consult your professional pool installers to determine whether they offer discounted rates depending on the season.
Additional Features and Add-Ons
There are a lot of factors that impact the total costs of constructing a new in-ground pool. However, most homeowners include additional features and add-ons that increase the total costs.
Additional features can easily add thousands of dollars, and some homeowners spend over $200,000 on an in-ground pool project.
Pool lights can enhance the aesthetics and atmosphere of an in-ground pool project. However, additional lighting inside and outside the pool will impact the price. Pool lighting can range in cost from $600 to over $1,500.
Built-in water features, including rock waterfalls, splashing fountains, and bubblers, can enhance the vibe of your backyard. In-ground water features can cost around $1,500 and reach $20,000 for elaborate, custom designs.
Diving Board and Pool Slide
You can consider diving boards and pool slides if your in-ground pool is deep enough. Installing diving boards cost around $400 in most cases, but some diving board projects cost around $5,000. Pool slides vary in price ranging from $800 to over $15,000.
Pool decks provide a safe area that surrounds the pool and is also visually appealing. Pool decks can increase a home’s property value in some cases. You can expect to pay around $3,500 to over $15,000 for a new pool deck installation.
Pool fencing can be a beneficial addition, as it increases privacy and safety and creates a more pleasing look. Pool fencing can cost as low as $1,500 and reach over $8,000, depending on the material and size. Some common materials includes:
- Tempered glass
- Ornamental designs
Pool heaters can extend your swimming season by several weeks and, in some cases, even months. In-ground pool heaters vary in price but can range from $1,800 to $6,500, depending on the scope of the project.
You might want additional landscaping features after you install your new in-ground pool. Landscaping can include grass, flower beds, shrubs, and more. Landscaping can increase your property value in some cases. Landscaping costs will vary but might range between $4,000 and $20,000, depending on the scope of the project.
Pool covers are essential for reducing evaporating, preventing debris from entering the water, and keeping people safe. In-ground pool covers vary in price from $400 to $2,500, depending on the model. High-end, fully-automatic pool covers can cost much more and range from $4,500 to $15,000 in most cases.
Pool enclosures can be visually appealing additions that create a more intimate atmosphere. In-ground pool enclosures are typically created in a wood, plastic, vinyl, and glass designs.
Enclosures lock out debris, reduce sun exposure, and extend your swimming season to nearly all year round. New in-ground pool enclosures can cost between $6,000 and $20,000 on average.
Pool houses can enhance your in-ground swimming pool experience. Pool houses typically cost between $100 and $600 per square foot. Pool houses provide several different benefits, including:
- Changing Room: Pool houses provide a safe place for you and your guests to change. You won’t have to worry about cleaning up wet floors in the hallways or bathrooms.
- Guest House: Pool houses can also act as guest houses for friends and family, depending on the scope of the project. Pool houses provide additional privacy and can increase property value.
- Bathroom: Pool houses equipped with a bathroom can be incredibly useful when you have guests over or don’t want to head all the way inside. An outside bathroom also prevents wet floors in your home.
- Storage: Pool houses provide additional storage for floaties, toys, and equipment. You can store extra chlorine and maintenance materials in a pool house to save space.
These are just a few of the benefits of an outdoor pool house. You can add saunas and outdoor showers and create an outdoor living space. However, pool houses aren’t cheap and range in price, depending on the scope of the project.
How Much Does an Above-Ground Pool Cost?
There are several different factors that impact the price of a new above-ground pool installation. Factors can include size, material, landscape, brand, and more.
As you might have guessed, the size of an above-ground pool will greatly impact the cost. Smaller pools made for families of four to five will cost less than larger pools designed for seven to eight swimmers. Larger above-ground installations also take longer to install, which can add to your total expenses.
- 12’ Round: $1,100 to $1,850
- 18’ Round: $1,500 to $2,450
- 24’ Round: $1,800 to $3,000
- 30’ Round: $2,400 to $4,200
The depth and shape of your pool also impact the price. Deeper pools cost more than shallow installations. Above-ground pools usually range between 4 and 4.5 feet. You can find above-ground pools in round, oval, and rectangular shapes. Round above-ground pools are usually the least expensive to install.
Above-ground pools are typically made of steel, resin, or aluminum. Each material has advantages, disadvantages, and best-use cases. The prices for each material vary depending on several factors. Above-ground pools made of steel are typically more affordable, while aluminum pools are usually more expensive.
- Steel takes a long time to rust but is prone to corrosion and oxidation.
- Steel is typically the least expensive option.
- Some steel pools are designed with rust-resistant walls.
- Steel is the strongest above-ground pool material.
- Resin doesn’t become hot to the touch compared to steel and aluminum.
- Resin is rust-resistant and won’t oxidize over time.
- Resin pools are cheaper than aluminum but cost more than steel.
- Resin is at risk of cracking and fading due to cold temperatures and UV exposure.
- Aluminum is rust and corrosion-resistant.
- Aluminum is typically the most expensive option.
- Aluminum can handle cold temperatures and winter weather better than resin pools.
- Aluminum weighs less than steel, making it easy to assemble and transport.
- Aluminum can develop holes in the liner due to oxidation.
Type of Installation
Professional services aren’t always required for above-ground pool installations. Some pool kits come with easy-to-follow instructions. If you’re comfortable with similar projects, you can usually assemble a pool kit yourself. However, professional above-ground pool installations can cost between $800 and $3,500, depending on the project.
Brand and Manufacturer
The brand of pool you purchase will impact the quality and price. Higher quality pools last longer and require fewer repairs. Higher quality pools also cost more. Here are some of the most common above-ground pool manufacturers:
- Aqua Leader
The season you have a pool installed will also impact the overall cost. Installing an above-ground pool in the off-season can usually help you save money. Most professional services offer discounted rates in the off-season, as they’re less busy and the weather conditions aren’t as demanding.
Be sure to consult professional pool installers to determine whether they offer discounted rates depending on the season.
Above-ground pools aren’t exactly small, and they take up a decent amount of yard space. In some cases, you’ll need to prepare the ground or landscape before an above-ground pool installation. Some services you might need include:
- Removing old trees, stumps, or boulders.
- Leveling out bumpy or hilly terrain to allow the pool to sit flat on the ground.
- Landscaping the surrounding area after the pool is installed to account for any damages.
Landscaping fees can depend on several different factors. However, you might expect to pay somewhere between $350 to well over $1,000, depending on the scope of the project.
Your Homeowners Insurance
In some cases, above-ground pools can result in higher homeowners insurance rates due to the increased risk of injury. You’ll need to consult your insurance provider to determine whether your pool is compliant and what your policy covers.
You might need to install protective fencing to be covered by your insurance. Your insurance policy might cover a guest’s injuries or accidents, depending on the situation.
Additional Pool Kit Items
Be sure to inspect what items are included in an above-ground pool kit before purchasing it. Some kits include basic items, including filters, ladders, and pool covers.
You might need to purchase additional pieces of equipment or items if they’re not included in your pool kit. You’ll also need to consider replacements if the included equipment is damaged or low-quality.
Vinyl Liner Replacements
Above-ground pools can include a vinyl pool liner. Vinyl pool liners typically need to be replaced every seven to ten years. Replacement vinyl liners can cost between $350 and $1,500 depending on the shape, size, and brand.
Additional Features and Add-Ons
Now you know about some of the factors that affect the cost of an above-ground pool installation. You might want add-ons, such as decks, covers, lights, and more. Here are some common features, add-ons, and pool services to consider to help you determine extra costs.
Above-ground pool decks have several benefits, including nicer views, entertainment space, safety, and visual appeal. Above-ground pool decks can cost between $2,500 and over $11,000, depending on the scope of the project.
The costs are typically around $15 to $30 per square foot, depending on the design and materials. Smaller DIY above-ground pool decks can range from $800 to $3,000.
Ladders and Steps
Most above-ground pool kits include a ladder, but you might want a higher-quality product or a set of stairs. Above-ground pool ladders cost around $150. Pool steps are generally more expensive, costing around $200 to $250.
It can be useful to hire a professional electrician to oversee installations, such as pool pumps, heaters, and filters. Electricians range in price but usually charge around $50 to $100 an hour to set up pool equipment. However, professional installations ensure that your equipment is safely installed and in working order.
Heaters and Pumps
Heaters can be useful if you want to use your pool during windy days, spring, or early fall. The average cost for installing an above-ground pool heater varies from $170 to over $2,000, depending on the scope of the project.
There are several different above-ground pool heaters to choose from, including solar, gas, pumps, and more. You can increase your pool’s water temperature by over 20 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of heater. Above-ground heaters are excellent choices for extending your swimming season.
Pool covers lock out leaves, pests, and other debris, keeping your water clean for longer. Pool covers can also help prevent accidents, injuries, and drowning. Most above-ground pool covers typically cost less than $100 and up to $400. High-end products can cost over $1,000 in some cases.
Most homeowners don’t factor in the costs of lighting for above-ground pools, as they can’t be installed in the same methods as in-ground options. That being said, floating lights and underwater lights are an excellent addition. Above-ground pool lighting ranges in price between $25 to $120 per light.
Additional water features can transform your above-ground pool and enhance your yard’s aesthetic. There aren’t as many options as in-ground pools, but there are several options to choose from, including waterfalls or small fountains. Water features can cost between $30 and $125 in most cases.
How Can You Save Money Building a Pool?
Now that we’ve covered how expensive in-ground and above-ground pool installations can be, you’re probably wondering, “How can I save on costs?” Luckily, there are multiple ways you can save money when building a new pool.
Get Multiple Estimates
Be sure to get multiple estimates when you’re considering your new pool installation. Talking to one company won’t provide you with an accurate reference point. You should compare rates and estimates from at least three different companies. You can also get referrals and recommendations to ensure you’re working with professionals you can trust.
Think About the Long-Term
You should consider the bigger picture and long-term value when building a new pool. Although you might pay higher upfront costs, long-term planning might result in a greater return on investment.
Thinking long-term can impact the size, material, and additional features you decide to use when you construct your new swimming pool. Spending a bit extra upfront on concrete or special designs might increase your market value in the long run.
Use a Simple Design
You might want to consider a simpler design if you’re looking to save money on a new in-ground pool installation. Swimming pools with lengthy curves, steps, shelves, and additional features cost more.
Opting for more traditional and timeless designs could cut your costs down. You should consult your contractor about what they think and what works.
Limit Your Materials
It’s tempting to use exotic tiles, finishes, and materials when constructing a new pool. You might also want to add decks, patios, fountains, or other cosmetic pieces. Limiting the materials and features you use is sure to save you money when building your new pool.
Limit Additional Features
If you’re looking to save costs, then it might be best to limit additional features such as waterfalls, infinity edges, hot tubs, or decks. Although these additional features are fun and visually appealing, they can easily add thousands of dollars to your total expenses.
Think About the Size
As you might expect, larger pools cost more than smaller installations. Larger in-ground and above-ground pools require more pumps, connections, filters, chemicals, and labor. It might be best to reduce the size to something more manageable if you’re looking to cut down your total construction costs.
Do Your Own Maintenance
Maintenance, cleaning, and servicing are some of the unexpected fees that come with swimming pools. Pools get dirty, become damaged over time, and require routine maintenance. Professional pool maintenance services can easily cost over $100 per month and $1,500 annually. You can eliminate or reduce these fees if you do your own maintenance.
Build a Pond Instead
Many homeowners are opting for self-sustaining swimming ponds instead of installing expensive pools. Self-sustaining ponds create a natural, organic look to your property and usually have fewer maintenance requirements. You can still have crystal-clear water that doesn’t require harsh chemicals if you maintain a swimming pond correctly.
Wait to Get a Heater
Pool heaters are a popular add-on, as they can extend your swimming season and make the water more enjoyable. However, it might be best to wait a season or two before investing in an expensive pool heater.
Waiting allows you to get a more accurate gauge on the type and strength of the heater you need. Waiting can also inform you how long your normal swimming season is and how much extra time you’re looking to receive.
Select the Location Carefully
Selecting the location for your pool is an essential step that can make or break the project in some cases. Building a pool under trees can provide shade and help you save on heating costs, but you’ll have more debris and cleaning requirements.
It’s best to thoroughly plan out your pool construction project with an expert contractor beforehand. Your contractor can provide you with recommendations and a better idea of what to expect.
Is It Worth the Money to Put in a Pool?
We’ve covered and compared the costs of a new in-ground and above-ground pool installation. So now you’re probably wondering, “Is it worth the money to build a new pool?” The answer will depend on several different factors. Here’s what to keep in mind when considering a new pool project.
How Often Will You Use and Enjoy Your Pool?
You’ll need to consider how much you’ll use and enjoy your pool before you start looking at estimates. Chances are you’ll have your pool for at least five years after installation. Ask yourself how much you’ll actually use your pool and enjoy it.
Do you host events and backyard barbecues? Maybe a pool can add a flair to your events. You might consider enjoyment more highly if you have young children and plan to live in your home throughout their elementary and teenage years. But a pool might not be right for you if you’re not hosting parties or like the idea of a hot tub better.
What’s Your Climate Like?
Swimming pools make an excellent addition to nearly any home. But they don’t make much sense in colder climates and areas. Homeowners in colder climates also won’t receive as much resale value when building a new pool.
Consider the Costs
As you’ve probably realized from this article, installing a swimming pool isn’t cheap. The average cost of building a swimming pool in the United States ranges from $17,000 to $45,000.
Most homeowners pay around $35,500 for a new pool. You’ll need to factor in maintenance costs after the upfront investment. You might pay as much as $7,000 per year for heating and filtration, depending on the size.
All in all, you might expect to pay an average of $500 to $4,000 a year on maintenance alone after the initial investment. If you’re still set on a pool, you can opt for smaller options, special models, or different materials to offset the costs.
What’s Your Landscape Like?
You’ll also need to consider the landscape of your backyard or the space where you’re installing the pool. You’ll need to think about how much size you have, trees, rocks, land preparation, and more. Land preparation requires excavation, heavy machinery, and time.
In some cases, you’ll need to remove large trees and rocks or level out the ground. You might need a smaller pool if you don’t have enough space. Your home’s property value might be negatively impacted if you opt for a larger pool without the necessary space.
The Resale Value
The resale value is one of the most enticing factors in installing a new pool. Unfortunately, you might get your money back. In-ground swimming pools might increase your property’s value by 7%, depending on the location, climate, and other factors. Above-ground pools don’t increase market value, as they’re not permanent fixtures.
Living in a nicer neighborhood in a warmer climate will surely help. You’ll also need to have some space left in your backyard, as large pools can turn off potential buyers.
Swimming pools also age over time. You might lose customers if you have an old, outdated pool that’s in poor condition. On top of that, swimming pools can be a safety hazard for families with young children. The type of buyer is something to consider depending on your location.