How Much Does a Container Pool Cost?
A storage container pool is an eco-friendly and affordable alternative to a traditional pool. The typical range for container pool cost is $16,500 to $47,000.
- The typical cost range to have a container pool installed in a backyard is between $16,500 and $47,000.
- Several factors will affect the exact cost of a container pool, including the pool size, liner material, foundation installation, and labor costs.
- Container pools have numerous benefits, including affordability, durability, easy installation, sustainability, portability, and a potential increase in home value.
- Due to the size of a container pool and the difficulty of installation, it’s generally recommended that a homeowner hire a professional to install their pool.
Adding a pool to the yard is a great way to enjoy the summer sun, have fun with friends and family, and get some much-needed exercise without having to go to the gym. However, it’s not cheap: A homeowner can expect to pay between $39,000 and $70,000 to install a traditional inground pool, which is out of range for many homeowners. If that price is difficult to fit into the family budget, a container pool may be the alternative option that a homeowner has been waiting for.
Also known as modular pools, or “mod pools,” these types of pools are essentially refurbished shipping containers that have been repurposed for use as above-ground or inground container pools. On average, the purchase and installation of a shipping container pool will cost between $16,500 and $47,000, depending on size, local labor costs, pool liner material, and foundation and reinforcement requirements. This guide will cover the main container pool cost factors to help a homeowner put together a rough budget for their storage container swimming pool installation.
What Is a Container Pool?
Before homeowners invest in a container pool, it’s important for them to understand exactly what a container pool is and why it may be better than a traditional swimming pool. Container pools are recycled or repurposed shipping containers that are modified and reinforced in such a way that they can hold a significant amount of water without collapsing. This refurbished container can then be used as an affordable above-ground or inground swimming pool that will typically last for 25 to 30 years with proper care and maintenance.
Factors in Calculating Container Pool Cost
With container pools’ broad range in price from $16,500 to $47,000, homeowners may think it difficult to put together a budget for this project. However, with a firm understanding of the factors involved in calculating container pool installation costs, including size, liner material, foundation installation, and reinforcement requirements, a homeowner will be able to make an educated decision about the right pool for their home.
The size of the pool is a primary factor that affects the total cost of the project. Depending on the dimensions, a homeowner could end up saving or spending a significant amount of money. Typically, container pools measure 8 feet in width and vary in length, so if a homeowner wants a larger pool, they’ll need to find a longer shipping container. This type of pool generally ranges in size from 20 feet to 45 feet long.
Smaller container pools are a good choice for homes with just one or two people, but if there are four or more people who will be regularly using the pool, it’s recommended that the homeowner opt for a 30-foot or 40-foot pool. For a little extra space, a homeowner can invest in a 45-foot pool, though this will come at a higher price. The costs for varying container pool sizes are listed in the following table.
|Container Pool Size
|Average Cost (Materials Only)
|8 feet by 20 feet
|8 feet by 30 feet
|8 feet by 40 feet
|8 feet by 45 feet
While a homeowner is considering the size of the pool, they’ll want to keep in mind that they will also need to purchase a pool liner that fits the selected pool size. Liners cost about $1,091 to $3,618, depending on what the liner is made of and whether the pool is above-ground or inground. Typically, above-ground pool liners cost $100 to $600, while inground pool liners cost about $700 to $1,500. The pool liner will generally be made of vinyl or fiberglass. A homeowner can also choose a concrete and plaster lining or an epoxy and elastic polymer lining, though these options aren’t commonly used. The following table lists pool liner costs by pool type and liner material.
|Pool Liner Cost
|$150 to $700
|$800 to $1,600
|Above-ground or inground
|$1,500 to $5,000
Foundation and Reinforcement
Before putting in a container pool, the installation crew will need to lay a concrete slab foundation that is thick enough to support the weight of the container when it is filled with water and people. A new concrete slab costs about $6 per square foot or $110 per cubic yard.
With a concrete slab installed, the shipping container can be put into position. At this point, the walls and base of the container pool will need to be reinforced to ensure that the structure can withstand the water pressure once the pool is full. Welding generally costs about $122 to $492, depending on the extent of reinforcement required. The cost of a concrete slab by size is as follows (including materials and installation).
|Concrete Slab Size
|Average Concrete Slab Cost
|10 feet by 10 feet
|20 feet by 20 feet
|30 feet by 30 feet
The labor cost to install a container pool can vary depending on the company and the geographic location. The cost to build a pool is generally higher in cities or regions with a higher cost of living, so it’s important that a homeowner keep their local economy in mind when they are putting together a budget for this project.
On average, labor makes up about 33 percent of the total cost of the project. This means that labor rates run about $5,445 to $15,510, though a homeowner may be able to find a better price by asking for contractor references and comparing company prices. Before opting for one of the best pool installation companies, a homeowner will want to check to make sure that the workers and the company are licensed and insured.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Beyond the standard cost factors involved with installing a container pool, there are several additional considerations for homeowners to keep in mind to ensure that their project stays on budget, including the type of pool; permit costs; temperature control features; and any customizations or add-ons, like pool lighting or pool storage containers to stash away life jackets, the best pool test kits, and other pool accessories.
Above-Ground vs. Inground Container Pool
Traditional above-ground and inground pools are significantly different in their construction, so there tends to be a greater variation in installation costs. On average, a traditional above-ground pool costs about $3,322, while an inground pool costs $55,000. However, container pools can be installed above-ground, partially inground, or fully inground, using the same refurbished shipping container structure, so there isn’t as wide a gap between the cost of above-ground installation and the cost of inground container pool installation.
A homeowner can expect to pay as little as $16,500 for an above-ground pool and as high as $47,000 for an inground pool. They’ll want to keep in mind that the cost of a shipping container is generally higher than the cost of a traditional above-ground pool kit, which is why the cost range for an above-ground container pool significantly exceeds the cost for a standard above-ground pool.
There are many projects that require permits from the local municipality, including the installation of a pool. Before going out to get these permits themselves, a homeowner will want to speak to the pool installation contractor to find out if they will handle the permits for the project. Most companies will take responsibility for obtaining permits to ensure that they have the correct documentation before proceeding.
Permit costs vary depending on the geographic location. They typically have a flat rate that ranges in cost from $450 to $1,800 for pool installation, though some municipalities may take this process a step further and ask for a copy of the construction contract to calculate permit fees.
When a resident or guest dives into the pool and finds out upon contact that the water is freezing cold, it can be more than an unpleasant feeling as their body gradually acclimates to the frigid water. To avoid this problem, a homeowner may want to invest in pool heater cost to maintain the water temperature throughout the year.
Pool heater installation on its own typically costs about $1,771 to $4,067, but if a homeowner arranges for this addition with the pool installation contractors, they may be able to get a reduced price. They will just want to keep in mind that a pool heater can be a costly ongoing addition to a pool setup. The per-month cost of running a pool heater can be found in the table below.
|Pool Heater Type
|Cost per Month
|$200 to $400
|$200 to $850
|$175 to $600
|$120 to $200
|$0 to $10
There is a wide variety of options to customize a container pool, but each additional feature adds to the cost of the project. Before a homeowner decides to install a diving board, slide, or built-in pool lighting, it’s necessary to ensure there is space in the budget for these customizations. Homeowners will want to check their calculations against the estimated cost of the installation; if they find that there is enough wiggle room for one or two additional features, they can speak to the pool installation contractors about including the selected upgrades in the final design. Some examples of container pool customization options and their costs are included in the following table.
|$300 to $5,000
|$1,500 to $10,000
|$3,000 to $12,000
|$200 per light
|$1,500 to $5,000
|Solar pool cover
|$75 to $300
|$1,500 to $5,000
|Winter pool cover
|$75 to $225
Benefits of Choosing a Container Pool
Exercise, relaxation, and family fun are just a few of the benefits of having a pool, but a homeowner can experience all of these things with a traditional above-ground or inground pool. However, container pools have a range of benefits that may make them more appealing than traditional pool designs, including their affordability, durability, straightforward installation process, sustainability, and portability. Adding a container pool may even increase the home’s value.
If a homeowner is already thinking about putting in an inground pool, then opting for a container pool can be a great way to reduce the overall cost of the project. This type of pool ranges in price from $16,500 to $47,000, while a traditional inground pool will cost about $39,000 to $70,000 on average. Container pools are also available in a variety of sizes, so a homeowner can invest in a smaller model if they are looking to save on the price of a shipping container pool installation. Adding a few of the best pool toys will help create a fun, low-cost backyard entertainment zone.
The average shipping container is made with thick steel walls that are resistant to impact, dents, abrasions, water, wind, sleet, and snow. While the steel walls and base are vulnerable to rusting, they can be lined with a layer of fiberglass or coated with zinc paint to slow the natural rusting process and keep the metal protected for years. If the container pool is properly maintained, it can last about 25 to 30 years before needing to be replaced.
Shipping container pools are fast and easy to install, so there’s no need for a homeowner to worry about having pool installation contractors at their home for multiple days or even weeks. These pools are made of prefabricated components that are relatively simple for a trained, experienced crew to assemble on-site.
The pool installation company will first need to put in a foundation and allow the concrete enough time to dry and cure before putting the shipping container in position. Once the foundation is in place, the shipping container base and walls will be reinforced to ensure that the pool will be able to hold the weight of the water and any pool occupants. The installers will then waterproof and seal the structure before installing a liner, pump, and filtration system, all within a few days in most cases.
When a shipping container can no longer be used, it is typically crushed, torn apart, and melted down to make use of the raw materials, though this isn’t always the case. In some instances, old shipping containers end up sitting in the dump, simply rusting away for years on end. Container pools are an attractive solution to help increase sustainable living.
Reusing an old shipping container as a new container pool is an excellent step for a homeowner who wants to adopt more sustainable living practices rather than using new materials to construct a pool. Also, if the homeowner gets tired of having the pool in the yard after 10 or 15 years, the container can be repurposed or sold.
An interesting feature of container pools is that they can be loaded up on a trailer and moved to a new location, adding an element of portability to the design. This means a homeowner can install a container pool in their current home and take it with them in 5 years when they move to a new location (though it may be worth it to leave the container pool behind if it increases the value of the home).
If a homeowner wishes to keep their pool portable, they’ll need to have it installed above ground instead of excavating the yard for an inground installation. While it is possible to dig up an inground container pool to move it to a new location, the amount of effort and time it takes may not be worth it.
Increased Home Value
Whether a container pool will actually help increase the value of the home or not depends on a variety of factors, some of which are in a homeowner’s control. A well-maintained pool will typically be seen as an attractive luxury addition instead of a costly chore, so it’s important that the homeowner keep the pool in good shape by regularly cleaning it, conducting water chemical tests, and adding any necessary chemicals to balance the water chemistry.
The geographic location also tends to influence the value of a pool. People in warmer areas where a pool can be used all year long will generally see pools more favorably than people in colder locations who may get only 4 to 6 months of use out of a pool. Additionally, a pool can increase the energy consumption of the home, leading to higher energy costs, which may deter potential buyers. If a homeowner is purchasing a container pool to bump up the value of the home, it’s recommended that they speak to a local real estate advisor to find out if this addition will help or hinder the sale of the home.
Container Pool Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
When a homeowner is trying to decide if it’s better to install a container pool as a DIY project or hire a professional pool installation company, it’s important that they understand the complexity of the project. The basic steps to make a pool out of a shipping container are to level the ground, put in a foundation, reinforce the container to withstand the water pressure, install a liner, and install a pump and filtration system. In addition, it will be necessary to modify the actual container by replacing the doors, waterproofing the interior and exterior, and removing the top, if applicable.
If the shipping container is not properly supported, reinforced, and otherwise modified for use as a pool, it will not be able to handle the water pressure, which could cause the walls to collapse, flooding the yard. Most DIYers do not have the tools, time, or experience necessary to tackle this job on their own, so while they may save $1,500 to $3,000 on labor fees by tackling the project themselves, performing a DIY installation could be more costly than simply hiring the pros. Ultimately the choice is the homeowner’s, but unless they have significant experience with pool installation, they’re advised to hire a pool installation company.
How to Save Money on Container Pool Cost
Installing a new container pool is more affordable than putting in a traditional inground pool, but it can still cost between $16,500 and $47,000. While you may be able to work out a payment plan or financing agreement with the installation company instead of paying the entire cost upfront, there are other ways to help make this job affordable. Below are some tips to help homeowners save money on container pool costs.
- Compare quotes from multiple pool installation companies. Get at least three quotes from local pool installation professionals to ensure you’re getting a fair price.
- Avoid nonessential additions to the project. Expensive pool lights, diving boards, and slides look great, but they can significantly increase the cost of the container pool installation. Skip them if you have budget concerns.
- Plan the installation for the off-season. Pool installation companies tend to do most of their business during the summer months, so you may be able to save by scheduling the job for early spring or late fall.
- Choose an affordable size. Invest in a pool that is suitable for the number of people living in the home instead of simply selecting the largest size.
- Test and maintain the pool yourself. Don’t hire a pool maintenance company to take care of the pool when you are capable of cleaning the pool, testing the water, and adding chemicals to balance the water chemistry.
Questions to Ask About Container Pool Installation
There is a lot of information a homeowner needs to know when hiring a pool installation company to put in a container pool, so it’s a good idea to make a list of some key questions to ask before, during, and after the installation. Typically, a homeowner can find out the answers to these questions by speaking directly to the pool installer, though there may be some details that are easier to find out by asking the company’s customer service staff. The following is a list of some commonly asked questions when homeowners are considering a shipping container pool installation.
- How long have you been in business?
- Can you provide references?
- Are you a member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP)?
- Are you insured?
- Do you provide workers’ compensation to your employees?
- Can I see a line-item estimate?
- Do you offer financing?
- Do you require a deposit up front?
- What kind of site preparation will be needed?
- Will you send someone to my house to inspect the area before I hire you?
- Do you subcontract any part of the project?
- How many gallons of water will this pool hold?
- Will I need to change the water often?
- How often will I need to replace my liner?
- How long will this pool last?
- Will I need a pool cover?
- Do I need to drain the water during the winter?
- How much is a pool heater?
- What kind of warranties or guarantees are offered with this type of pool?
It’s never wise to start a project without a clear understanding of the process, costs, and outcome. Homeowners are advised to take some time to consider the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about storage container pool installation and mod pool cost.
Q. Can I make a pool out of a shipping container?
Avid DIYers with significant experience and skill may be able to make their own container pool for less than they would pay to have a container pool professionally installed. However, this is not an easy job, so most DIYers are advised to hire a professional to complete this project. A more DIY-friendly option for a homeowner to consider is a stock tank pool.
Q. How long do container pools last on average?
Typically, an above-ground or an underground shipping container pool can last up to 25 to 30 years, as long as the owner understands how to maintain a pool properly. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that the walls of a container pool are vulnerable to rusting, so they will need to be sealed with a waterproofing solution to help extend the life of the pool.
Q. What is the most popular container pool size?
Shipping container pools are usually 8 feet in width and available in a variety of lengths, including 20 feet, 30 feet, 40 feet, and 45 feet, though the most common container pool size is 8 feet by 20 feet.
Q. Do container pools rust over time?
One of the drawbacks to installing container pools is that the metal base and walls are vulnerable to rusting. If nothing is done to protect the metal, it will begin to rust and break down, leading to leaks and the eventual collapse of the pool. However, a contractor can protect the metal by lining the container with a layer of fiberglass or by applying zinc paint to slow the rusting process.
Q. What is a good size pool for a family of five?
Small pools are great for one or two people to use at a time, but for a family of five, it’s recommended that homeowners invest in an above-ground or an inground container pool that measures 30 or 40 feet in length. It’s important to keep in mind that container pools are typically only about 8 feet wide, so if homeowners want more space to swim, they will need a longer pool.
Q. How can I save on a container pool cost?
There are many ways to save on container pool cost. The first factor to consider is the size of the pool. If a homeowner doesn’t need a 40-foot pool, then they can cut costs by opting for a 30-foot or even a 20-foot pool. They can also save by getting multiple quotes from reputable pool installation pros or by skipping any nonessential add-ons, like color-changing lights. Another great cost saving measure is for the homeowner to do any pool upkeep themselves, rather than hiring one of the best pool cleaning services. For example, a homeowner can easily learn how to test pool water to make sure their water is safe and the chemicals are balanced.