How Expensive Is It To Install A Pool?

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Want to be the coolest neighbor on the block? Install a pool, preferably a backyard one. Not only will your children have instant friends, but it can be a relaxing way to cool off on a hot summer day after working all day. Of course, the next question that comes is how much will it cost?


In-ground Pool vs. Above Ground Pool

When driving around the neighborhood, chances are most pool owners will have an above-ground pool.  This is because above ground pools are significantly cheaper than in-ground pools. The price difference?  An above ground pool can be installed for at least $4,000 compared to $30,000 for an in-ground pool!  That is a large price difference and the reason why above ground pools are so prevalent. They are the only type of swimming pools that most families can afford.

Prices can vary widely between above ground pools and even among the different sorts of in-ground pools.  There are the basic expenses of the pool liner and installation. You also have to consider items such as a pump, heater, decking material, and any safety devices that your insurance agency or local community requires to be installed in order to have a personal pool.

Above Ground Pools

Above ground pools are the most economical option for aspiring pool owners. Above-ground pools come in two different shapes – oval and circle. While in-ground pools can have various liners such as vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete, above-ground pools are predominately a vinyl liner. There are three primary costs that you will need to calculate in order to receive an accurate estimate.

Cost #1: Price of Pool Kit ($1,000 to $4,000)

A pool kit includes everything you need to construct the pool.  It includes the vinyl liner, walls, pump, filter, skimmer, ladder, and maintenance kit. These kits are sold online and at any local pool store. Prices can vary depending on the size of the pool, the design of the liners and walls, size of pump and filter, and any additional supplies that you might want. This can include additional cleaning tools, auto-chlorinators or upgrading to a salt system, and any pool lights installed.

Similar to buying a new car or house, you can determine the quantity and quality of the accessories. While some products can be purchased later such as covers and cleaners, you will want to make sure you purchase the ladders, lights, and pumps that you want initially as they are more difficult to install after you have already put water in the pool.

Cost #2: Installation ($1,000 to $4,000)

Installation costs can vary from house to house and state to state. The location where the pool will be installed needs to be a level surface and also accessible to an electric source to power the pump. Costs will be lower if a pool has previously been in the selected location or needs minimal preparation (only needing to remove dirt, roots, and rocks). To help make the pool bottom softer and more malleable, DIY and professional installers will most likely use sand to shape the bottom of the pool.

TIP: Some pool stores offer free installation so it can pay to shop around. You may also be able to reduce installation costs by preparing the installation site by using a sod cutter to remove the dirt, rocks, and roots that could puncture the vinyl liner.

If you are handy and have some help, installing an above ground pool can be accomplished as a day project as installation instructions are provided with pool kits. How-to videos are also available on websites like YouTube. Repaying your helpers with pizza and the opportunity to take a swim (once the water warms up) can greatly offset the installation costs you would pay a professional instead.

Cost #3: Deck & Safety Equipment (Varies)

This third cost is the largest variable cost. The cheapest option is to buy an A-frame ladder that allows you climb into the pool from ground level without having to build a deck. Most people will also build a deck that way they can literally “jump in” to the pool, if they desire, or for those that want to sit poolside and only want to dip their legs in. Having a deck can also be a cheaper compromise to an in-ground pool. Costs will differ depending on the size and material used to build the deck.

When installing a pool, it’s also important to check with your insurance agent or community regulations to see if any safety devices are required. Larger sized pools might require such as pool fences or gates.

In-Ground Pools

The first image that comes to most people’s minds when the word “swimming pool” is mentioned, is an in-ground pool. These pools are more visually appealing than above ground pools and also more convenient for getting in and out of.

In-ground pools have the same expense categories (pool kit, installation, decking/safety devices) as above ground pools, but cost more because of they are more labor intensive.

Pool Kit ($5000 to $20,000+)

In-ground pool kits come with several different options for liners. Vinyl liners are the cheapest. Those kits can range from $5,000 to $8,000. The liner will need to be replaced every 5 to 9 years. Fiberglass pools have a higher initial cost but also have a longer lifespan. They are not as customizable as vinyl or concrete pools though. They are the most effective long-term among the three liner options.

Concrete pools will most likely start at $30,000. However, costs can vary greatly depending on the depth and design. They also need to be resurfaced about once a decade. This will be an additional expense of $10,000 to $15,000 each time.

Installation, Decking, and Safety Equipment (Varies)

Costs for installation will vary depending on the design of the pool, the adjacent walkways, and what add-ons are desired. As in-ground pools are nearly impossible for DIY installation (unless skilled in excavation and construction), this is the cost that makes an in-ground pool skyrocket. Costs vary on the type of liner, the design, the decking/electrical work, and the amount of labor required.

Here are some basic guidelines one can expect to pay for an in-ground pool:

Cost To Buy Pool Kit & Installation
Vinyl Liner $20,000 to $35,000
Fiberglass Liner $30,000 to $45,000
Concrete Liner $50,000 to $100,000

The above table contains very broad guidelines, but are basic guidelines for a typical in-ground pool. The fancier the pool, the higher the cost. Prices at the lower end of the table are going to be more realistic for those that do some preparation or installation work themselves.

How To Pay For A Pool

Having a pool in your backyard isn’t cheap.  As a result, most people need to finance their pool. They can pay back the cost of the pool and installation over the course of a few years. Financing programs are offered by most local pool companies. You may also speak to a bank about a loan.

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