Inground swimming pools can be an excellent investment for homeowners, adding a source of leisure during the time that you’re living in a home and increasing your property’s value when it’s time to sell.
But there are many options for installing inground pools, and it can be challenging to sort out all the costs and options, much less make a decision. Fortunately, we have a guide that unpacks the ins and outs of inground swimming pool costs and sizes. Read on to learn more.
Before we break down the costs associated with various inground pool sizes, it’s crucial to understand one of the most significant factors in a pool’s cost: the material. Pools most often consist of concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl, each with different associated costs.
Many consider concrete the highest quality material for inground pools, but it’s also the most expensive. These pools are constructed by digging a hole, lining the hole with steel bars to form the pool’s shape, and then spraying a mixture of concrete and sand (called gunite) over that skeleton to create the pool’s shell.
There are several strengths to concrete pools. For one, they are incredibly durable--with regular maintenance, concrete pools can last for decades. Additionally, because of the flexibility of the construction process, you have a wide variety of options for creative shapes and custom features.
On the other hand, concrete also has major downsides. Concrete pools may require special maintenance every several years to remove algae or mold and will need to be wholly replastered every 10 to 15 years.
Additionally, the installation costs of a concrete pool can be relatively high, as you’ll need to pay for the cost of design services, excavation, the installation of pumps and other maintenance equipment, and, potentially, reinforcement for your patio--all of which can take about a month. This means that concrete pools can end up costing between $29,000 and $60,000, not to mention the costs of maintenance.
Fiberglass is an increasingly popular option for inground pools and for good reason. Unlike concrete pools, which are constructed on-site, fiberglass pools are prefabricated, transported to an installation site whole, and then placed in the ground.
Fiberglass pools have several benefits, but one of their greatest strengths is their convenience. They can be installed in about a week, don’t require an extensive design process, are easier to clean, and are naturally resistant to algae and mold. While their cost is generally similar to concrete pools, they last for years and don’t entail hefty maintenance costs.
However, the major downside of a fiberglass pool is that it doesn’t offer the same customizability as a concrete pool. Since factories produce fiberglass pools, you can only customize them so much. Additionally, shipping restrictions may limit the pool’s width, meaning that your options could be narrower.
Vinyl liner inground pools offer a sort of middle ground between concrete and fiberglass. They use a process similar to concrete pools: builders dig a hole in the ground and install a steel frame, but rather than fill in the frame with gunite, they add a vinyl liner sheet onto the steel panels, which is then vacuum sealed. Finally, builders add additional steel and a layer of tile to the pool’s surface.
Like concrete pools, vinyl pools tend to be customizable; many vinyl inground pools are rectangular, but you can design them in whatever shape you want. Additionally, vinyl-lined pools can come in a wide variety of colors, making them easier to pair with your existing theme.
The upfront price of vinyl pools is also a significant plus. Though the installation costs of vinyl pools include the cost of digging the pool, constructing the liner, and installing pumps, the price tends to be lower than concrete pools. That means that vinyl is the cheapest of the three material options.
But it’s essential to keep in mind that vinyl requires very involved care and maintenance, which can often run up the pool’s lifetime cost. Direct sunlight can often wrinkle the vinyl liner or cause it to sag, which can be expensive to maintain--and even if you maintain it well, vinyl will always need to be replaced every five to seven years. Its costs add up much faster than fiberglass or concrete.
Another significant factor in inground pool installation is your installation package. There are several options for installing your pool, ranging from self-installation to a complete turnkey installation by a pool company.
The cheapest installation option is to install a fiberglass pool (and, in some cases, a vinyl pool) by yourself. The combined cost of the pool shell and delivery typically ranges from $12,000 (in the case of small pools) to $29,000 (in the case of large pools).
The caveat, of course, is that you need to have the time and know-how to install your pool shell, which simply isn’t the case for everyone. Additionally, this option isn’t available for concrete pools, which require you to hire builders.
The next installation package is a hybrid between a fully DIY installation and a standard installation package. In this case, you would excavate your own hole and complete work on your patio, while builders would install the pump and filter, complete the plumbing, and set the pool shell in place.
Typically, assisted installation packages cost between $40,000 and $55,000.
A “standard” fiberglass installation package covers the cost of all the materials for building your pool. These include the costs of the pool shell and its delivery, pool installation, pumps and filters, backfill gravel, water for filling the pool, the building permits, maintenance, and cleaning equipment, and more.
Many homeowners choose to supplement standard packages by completing other elements of the pool’s installation by themselves--namely, finishing the patio space, completing electrical work, and adding a pool fence. This saves a few thousand dollars on the costs of these features.
Significantly, however, standard packages vary between pool companies, so be sure to get a full list of services before you agree to any installation package.
The price can vary for standard installation packages, but their baseline cost is $45,000-$55,000 for fiberglass pools and $25,000-$45,000 for vinyl liner pools.
An all-in turnkey installation is the premium pool installation package option. With a turnkey installation, the pool company completes the entirety of the process, hires contractors, gets construction bids, and oversees the construction itself.
Though this option is expensive, its convenience is unparalleled. If you pick this option, you won’t need to do any of the stressful administrative work that other options entail--you can just sit back and wait for the company to finish your pool.
For fiberglass pools, a turnkey installation costs between $55,000 and $85,000, for concrete pools, it’s between $50,000 and $100,000, and for vinyl liner pools, it’s between $35,000 and $65,000.
In the case of concrete pools, keep in mind that this is usually the only option for pool installation, as it’s virtually impossible for most people to do DIY work on a concrete pool.
Sizing is another major factor in a pool’s pricing--and obviously, a larger pool will carry a bigger price tag. Here, we’ll break down the installation costs associated with popular inground pool sizes. However, keep in mind that these numbers are estimates; always talk to your designer and builder to get quotes for your particular circumstance.
As a general rule, however, you can expect to spend $50 to $100 per square foot on a 14 by 28-foot pool and $125 to $150 for longer and deeper pools. Below we have broken down the average pricing by size and material.
14 by 28 is the average swimming pool size.
Note that as the pool’s size gets larger, the installation costs of vinyl become more cost-efficient--$11,000 cheaper than concrete at the 12 by 24 foot size and $20,000 cheaper at 13 by 32.
After reading our sizing guide, you might still be unclear about potential prices for your pool--in other words, what kind of pool you might be able to afford depending on how much money you have on hand. That’s where this pricing guide comes in: read on to see what kind of pool you may be able to afford at different budgets.
The options for an inground pool under $25,000 are, unfortunately, rather slim. All-in turnkey service will almost always push your costs above $25,000, so if you’re only able to spend that much, you’ll need to complete the building process yourself.
If you have experience building an inground swimming pool, you could construct your own vinyl liner and install it yourself. However, approach this option with extreme caution: making an inground pool is complex, and it’s best to know your limitations before you dig a massive hole in your backyard, not during.
You might purchase a fiberglass shell and install it yourself, though that will entail the costs of buying and transporting the shell. All in all, there aren’t a tremendous amount of options for building an inground swimming pool under $25,000.
That said, if you can’t budge above $25,000 you might consider a compact pool, sometimes called a cocktail pool. These pools are usually 12 by 14 feet and four feet deep and can be installed for $25,000. However, keep in mind that these pools are rather small--12 by 24-foot pools are considered the minimum size for a true swimming pool.
$40,000 is a more workable budget for installing an inground pool. At that budget, it’s possible to get a small concrete or fiberglass pool and a slightly larger vinyl pool.
The major factor to keep in mind at this price range is installation type. At a $40,000 budget, you can only afford specific packages for certain materials. For instance, you’d likely be able to afford a turnkey installation for some vinyl pools, as these tend to run around $35,000, but you would need to go for an assisted installation package if you want a fiberglass pool.
It’s important to remember, though, that not all pool materials are equal. While you’ll be able to get concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl pools for this price, be sure to thoroughly check what you’re buying to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth.
A budget of $50,000 gives you a much greater range of options. You’ll be able to afford a turnkey installation for most vinyl pools, a standard installation package for most fiberglass pools, and in some cases, even a turnkey installation for a concrete pool.
That said, these costs could change depending on how many add-ons and accessories you want (or need). The more you plan to spend on associated equipment like furniture, ladders, skimmers, and handrails, the less you’ll have to spend on a full package.
What that means is that generally speaking, a $50,000 budget will entail choosing between a convenient installation and a whole suite of options. If this is your budget, then carefully consider which is a higher priority for you. Some pool owners don’t feel their pool is complete without the extras. Still, for others, the convenient installation is worth every penny.
Keep in mind, too, that these prices might be lower or higher depending on the state of the pool market in your area. In some cases, prices are higher due to increased demand or more limited resources, meaning that your budget might be more constrained.
If your pool budget is over $50,000, then you’re in an excellent position. At that price range, you’ll likely be able to afford turnkey installation packages for concrete or fiberglass pools (which will save money on maintenance costs in the long run).
In addition, the greater your budget, the more you’ll be able to spend on extras and accessories. Some pool owners opt to spend nearly $100,000 on additional features for their pools. Though this might seem like a lot, the expenses of extra accessories can add up. In the case of concrete pools, the costs of customizations can run up your bill.
Another important cost to keep in mind is the peripheral costs associated with a pool. These are features that are theoretically separate from the pool installation costs but are either necessary for the pool’s function or are very desirable.
Electrical installations, for instance, include the costs of pumps, pump timers, lights, plugs, construction, and inspections; they might optionally include the costs of heat pumps, hot tubs, and salt chlorine generators. Electrical costs are typically between $3,500 to $4,500, though optional features or special circumstances can raise this cost.
Another peripheral cost is that of a pool cover. Though a pool cover isn’t strictly required, it can save effort in cleaning detritus from a pool, stop children from wandering in unsupervised and keep algae from accumulating on the pool’s surface when it isn’t in use. The cheapest pool covers cost between $75 and $300, but more secure covers cost between $2,500 and $4,000, and premium automated pool covers can cost upwards of $20,000.
Additionally, homeowners with children often opt for pool fences--barriers around a pool that keep children out when they’re not under adult supervision. Costs vary depending on the desired height, but fences can cost between $1,000 and $2,000.
Other peripheral costs can exist purely for aesthetic or experiential reasons. For instance, special water features like waterfalls or jets cost between $1,000 and $2,000, but custom features can range from $3,000 to $15,000 depending on their size. Other add-ons like spas or wading pools can cost between $6,000 and $35,000.