Welcome to our guide to building swimming pools and the potential cost of doing so.
This guide’s goal is to provide you with the basic knowledge of the average costs involved when buying and installing a swimming pool, as well as your available options.
Table of Contents
Depending on the direction you choose, swimming pools can be quite the investment. Knowing what your specific needs are when it comes to a swimming pool is the most helpful thing you can do. There are questions that you can ask yourself to help narrow down exactly what you need.
Do you want a gathering place for all of your family and friends? Is your family small and can they manage with a smaller pool? Do you just need a personal place to wade in, soak, and watch the sunset? Do you want to dive? Do you need to swim laps? Is your pool going to be a permanent installment, or is it something you will eventually want moved?
Figuring out your specific needs and desires can go a long way into finding how much you can expect to spend.
Another major consideration is the space you have to work with. A pool needs to fit its space. Make sure that your yard is pool ready and the pool you want is appropriate for your space. Even if you think you don’t have room for a pool, you may be pleasantly surprised at what a talented builder can do in very limited space.
Another major thing to consider is labor. If you are confident in your construction abilities, you can save money with a DIY approach. However, it is pertinent to realize that pools can be quite complicated, and some styles of pools should really have a professional overseeing the project. So make sure that you get professional assistance on matters you are inexperienced with and on the parts of the project that are more complicated or absolutely must be done correctly.
Accessories such as slides and diving boards can add some extra cost, so when calculating what to budget for a pool project, make sure to think about what add-ons you are going to need to make the most of your pool.
As you can see, there are a great number of variables that are involved in building and even maintaining a pool. Be careful to consider all of these variables before making your pool building budget.
Unsure of what kind of pool suits your needs best? Check out our definitive pool guide!
Overall Cost of a Pool
Pools can be quite the investment; they add a lot to a home, from visual appeal in a yard, to a great amount of value. But since there are so many different ways to go about installing a body of water into your yard, there is a wide variance of cost.
Each kind of pool has its own considerations and cost. If you desire a pool to host pool parties, your least expensive option is an above ground pool, which on average cost approximately $6,200. Accessories and patios can increase this cost. There are also different above ground pool vendors that offer specialty above ground pools that range in cost and features.
If you are looking for an in-ground pool, the average cost is approximately $22,000. This does vary depending on material. If you build your pool from concrete, the average cost is $30,000. A fiberglass in-ground pool averages $32,000, while a vinyl lined in-ground pool costs around $26,000. Although these are the average costs for your average sized pool, pools can come in many sizes to fit your need.
Whichever kind of pool you choose, there are continuing expenses associated with owning a pool. For an above ground pool, the monthly cost averages around $80 a month, while a in-ground pool averages $90 a month. (Source: Fixr)
Custom Pool Sizes
Most swimming pool costs are determined by the size of the pool you are looking to build. The average size of a pool is 20 feet by 30 feet, but pools come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are amazing things builders can do with very limited space, so remember that smaller pools are an option.
The best way to estimate your swimming pool budget is to get a general idea of the size of pool you are looking for, and which material you want your pool to be made of. Depending on the materials you use, you can look into different shapes and sizes of pools. With fiberglass pools, it is more difficult to customize the size and design of your pool as many fiberglass options are pre-constructed and come in standard sizes and shapes.
While there are smaller fiberglass options, you don’t have the customization that you can find available with other materials. When working with other materials, such as concrete, you can adjust the shape of the pool to fit almost any space. Think a smaller pool may be for you?
When you know the approximate dimensions of the pool you want to build, along with the material that you want to use, you can then figure out how much that material will cost per square foot. Fortunately, we have provided approximations of the cost of the most popular pool construction materials here. If you are interested in interesting and fun pool designs, here is your guide to unique pool shapes!
Pool Cost Per Square Foot
There are so many factors that go into building a pool, and cost can vary depending on your particular needs, your space, and the features you choose.
If we break down different pool types by cost per square foot, we can get a better idea of just how much different pool types will cost when fit to your particular needs.
• Concrete pool installed costs approximately $72 per square foot
• Extras such as cover, sidewalk, and fence can raise the cost to approximately $103 per square foot
• Fiberglass pool installed costs approximately $78 per square foot
• Extras such as cover, sidewalk, and fence can raise the cost to approximately $109 per square foot
Vinyl liner pool
• Vinyl liner pool installed costs approximately $58 per square foot
• Extras such as cover, sidewalk, and fence can raise the cost to approximately $89 per square foot
Above ground pool
• An above ground pool costs approximately $13 per square foot, without professional installation
• With installation, an above ground pool costs approximately $29 per square foot
Looking at these numbers, you can see that in general, above ground pools are the most inexpensive option, and fiberglass is the most expensive. If you think that spending more money equates to better quality, you may be mistaken. There are a great deal of benefits and drawbacks to each of the kinds of pools that are not always qualified by the money. (Source: Fixr)
Here is a vinyl pool ready to be installed. This is a smaller wading pool, perfect for a small family or couple.
Here are some fiberglass pools laying on their sides, ready for delivery and installation.
Here is a concrete pool in the traditional kidney shape, with a water feature. This is an amazing example of how a concrete pool can be customized.
This is a great example of a above ground pool with a deck around one side and landscaping to enhance the area.
Pool Cost Calculators
If you have a slight idea of what you are looking for, and what your exact needs are, you can use an online calculator to get a closer estimate on what you may end up spending. These tools can help you find out which viable options may work for you.
Here are a few great calculators to help you get started:
Features and Add-ons
One of the most fun additions you can make to a pool area is a slide. Slides can provide a great deal of entertainment and excitement to your pool. There are many different styles of pool slides. For only a few hundred dollars you can get an inflatable pool slide that is easily removed and stored when not in use. Prefabricated pool slides are a popular option for permanent slides, which are simple and don’t take up much room. If you get a simple and uncomplicated prefabricated pool slide, you can spend as little as $4,000. For more elaborate pool slides, that are incorporated into your landscaping and have attached water features, you can spend upward toward $10,000. (Source: Houzz) Think you may want a slide on your pool? Have a look at our guide to pool slides!
If you make your pool deep enough, you can install a diving board and introduce a new mode of jumping in. Diving boards come in a variety of styles and shapes. Depending on the quality and style you select for your diving board, you can expect to pay between $300 and $1,200 for one. (Source: Leslies Pool)
Cost of Pool Covers
There are a number of pool covers that you can choose from for your pool. For a standard pool cover, which typically consists of a tarp-like sheet that is weighed down on the edges, you can spend between $75 and $250 depending on quality and size needed.
A security cover is usually made from a mesh or vinyl. These kinds of covers are anchored to hooks that are embedded into the concrete, and are more sturdy and secure than a standard cover. These kinds of covers can cost between $1,200 and $3,000.
An automatic swimming pool cover has a number of electronic components that help it automatically cover your pool; meaning you can cover it more often with less effort, but it also increases the price of the cover. Automatic covers can range from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the materials and the size of your pool. (Source: River Pools and Spas)
You can also get a solar cover for your pool. these work to keep your water warm by absorbing the heat of the sun and transferring this to the water. These kinds of covers typically cost between $50 and $100 dollars. (Source: Leslies Pool)
Here is an example of a standard pool cover weighed down with bags of water around the edges. Learn more here.
Here is a security pool cover, tethered into the concrete with springs hooks. Learn more here.
Here is a solar cover laying on the water. This cover helps heat the water using the sun’s beams, keeping the water warm and ready to swim.
Cost of Pool Fences
One of the best things you can do for safety around your pool area is a pool fence. A pool fence can keep out pets, small children, and even unwanted swimmers. In general, a fence around a pool needs to be at least 4 feet tall to maintain the safety.
If you don’t want something permanent, you can find removable mesh pool fences from between $15 to $20 per linear square foot. For an average sized pool, you can expect to spend $1,100 to $1,500 to safely surround your pool with fencing.
If you prefer a wooden fence, you should budget for about $10 to $30 per linear foot. Chain link will run $8 to $12 per linear foot, while vinyl and aluminum both range between $25 and $40 per linear foot. (Source: Kompareit)
Wrought iron fencing is a strong and simple solution to fencing issues. Iron has a classic and attractive look and carries an average cost of between $25 and $30 per linear foot. (Source: Improvment)
If you are looking for a higher end look, you may opt to go with a frameless glass fence. These fences look very nice, but can be quite expensive. They typically range between $300 and $550 per linear foot of fencing. (Source: Improvment)
Other Costs to Consider
Aside from the construction of the pool itself, there are a number of other costs to consider.
There are a few things you will need to make the pool functional, which many people forget to consider. Depending on the depth and design of your pool, you may need ladders and hand rails to help swimmers in and out of the water. Your pool may also need a pump and filter system to keep the water clean and mixed properly with all necessary chemicals. This system may need to be housed in a small pump house building.
Fences and Decks
The area around your pool can be as important as the pool itself. Many in-ground pools are surrounded by concrete sidewalks, patios, or even decks. Above ground pools may also have decks around them.
To keep your pool well kept, you will need a variety of tools and such. These can include brushes, a vacuum with brushes, and a cover.
If you want to have your swimming pool available all day, you may choose to add some lighting. This lighting can be put into the pool itself, under the water, to give an interesting and dynamic look. But even if you just want exterior lights to make night swimming possible, it will be an additional cost to consider.
Chemicals and upkeep
Another consideration is the ongoing costs. The biggest ongoing cost are the chemicals that you need to use to keep the pH in your pool balanced. For an above ground pool you can expect to spend around $80 per month. For an in ground pool, it can be a bit more costly, at around $95 per month.
If you don’t want to clean your pool yourself, you may have to hire pool cleaners. Depending on your area and the services available, costs of regular pool cleaners may vary widely.
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