How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool?
Interested in installing a pool to cool off when it’s warm out? The cost to build a pool ranges from $16,441 to $44,198, with the national average at $29,638.
- The typical range for the cost to build a pool is $700 to $125,000, with a national average of $36,000.
- Cost factors for building a pool include the pool size, shape, and type as well as materials, location, labor and permits, excavation, filter type, and pump type.
- Building a pool can provide entertainment value and health benefits and also boost property value.
- While some homeowners may be interested in learning how to build a pool themselves, it’s a complex and time-consuming job that is best left to experienced professionals.
A backyard pool is a perfect place to cool off during those hot summer months—or year-round for those lucky enough to live in a climate that allows it. While some will search online for “swimming pool near me,” others prefer a pool right in their own backyard. Many homeowners are interested in getting a pool in their backyard, but how much does it cost to build a pool? According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, the cost ranges from $700 to $125,000, with the national average cost to build a pool coming in at $36,000. Inground pools can range from $41,750 to $80,000, and above-ground pools can run from $700 to $5,000. For those who are interested in a custom pool with luxury add-ons, the price can jump to $125,000 or more. Excavation and labor costs make up between 25 percent and 50 percent of the total cost to build a pool.
Pool installation will add to the value of a home in addition to providing years of fun and relaxation. When evaluating swimming pool installation, homeowners will want to consider all the factors and additional costs that will affect the project. Combining options and features during the installation will usually result in a discount but will increase the overall up-front costs. Some homeowners decide to postpone installing a hot tub, additional water features, and a patio until a later date. To find the best price on pools for backyard fun, an online search of “pool builders near me” will yield helpful results for homeowners to review.
Factors in Calculating the Cost to Build a Pool
Calculating how much it costs to build a pool depends on several factors. Prices can differ from the national average due to pool size, shape, type, location, labor costs, permit fees, excavation costs, landscaping, materials, and filtration.
Pool Size and Shape
On average, it costs from $50 to $125 per square foot to build an inground pool. The most significant cost factor is the pool’s size: The bigger the pool, the higher the project cost. A large pool requires more materials, equipment, and labor. Pools come in many different shapes, and the material dictates what shape of pool can be built. Concrete and vinyl can be made into just about any shape, while fiberglass pools are limited to the shapes designed by the manufacturer. Some of the most popular pool shapes include rectangle, oval, kidney, round, lagoon, and full-L. Pool types can be inground pools made of concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl; above-ground pools; and cocktail, lap, plunge, and infinity pools. Pools can also have a hot tub or spa added for additional relaxation.
While there are many types of pools out there, they can all be categorized as either inground or above-ground. Inground pools are significantly more expensive due to the cost of excavation, their larger size, as well as the cost of upkeep and maintenance. On average, it costs $60,350 to install an inground pool, but that price can be higher or lower depending on the features and materials that are chosen. Above-ground pools are less attractive, but they are also more affordable, quicker to install, more space efficient, and easier to care for. An above-ground pool costs $700 to $5,000, and homeowners can save even more if they learn how to level the ground for a pool themselves.
Pool building costs can run anywhere from $700 to $125,000, but the overall price is affected by the materials. A concrete pool will cost $35,000 to $65,000, but it will last longer than a vinyl pool, which costs $20,000 to $40,000. Fiberglass is the other option for an inground pool and can cost $20,000 to $60,000. Talking to a pool installation professional about material options will help homeowners get the look they want while staying within budget. Above-ground pools are often made of aluminum, steel, or resin. Steel is the cheapest option starting at $800, while aluminum pool prices can reach $4,500.
Location will affect the cost of building a pool in a backyard. The cost to build a pool in Florida, Texas, and Arizona is about 15 percent to 25 percent lower than in northern states, where costs range from $22,000 to $37,700. The cost to build a pool in California is $35,000, whereas in Nevada the average price is $45,600. Pool costs in an urban area are typically more expensive than they would be in rural areas due to a higher cost of living driving up labor prices.
Labor and Permits
Labor usually makes up 25 percent to 50 percent of the total cost of building a pool. Labor costs can fluctuate depending on what type of pool is installed. Inground pools have more expensive labor costs than above-ground pools, and fiberglass and concrete pools cost more than vinyl. If extensive excavation is needed or if a deck is installed at the same time, labor costs will be higher. The average labor prices to build a pool range from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on pool size, shape, and design. Labor for a custom pool could go even higher. Homeowners may want to search online for “pool builders near me” to get started.
Permits for building a pool can range from $200 to $2,000 and can vary due to pool type and geographic location. Before any work begins to build a pool, the homeowner or their contractor will need to submit paperwork to request a permit. Homeowners are advised to keep in mind that the pool will need to be inspected before it can be used. A pool inspection costs $125 to $250.
Excavation costs around $3,400 on average. If the potential pool’s location is hard to access, the costs can reach as high as $20,000. If the yard contains large rocks or the ground is difficult to dig, contractors may need to use blasting, which will raise the price of excavation. Most of the price comes from hauling away the dirt. Homeowners can consider saving some money by using the dirt on the property for gardening or landscaping.
Pool filtration systems cost $30 to $1,600. Pocket filters are the cheapest variety at only $30 to $100. Cartridge and sand filters are in the middle range, costing $200 to $1,600 and $250 to $1,200, respectively. Sand, diatomaceous earth, and glass filters can cost anywhere between $250 and $1,600. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that filters run continuously, and this isn’t a place to cut corners. To avoid costly repairs and maintenance, homeowners will want to install a filtration system that works for the size and shape of the pool. The following table shows the different types of filters and their average cost ranges.
|Filter Type||Cost (Material Only)|
|Cartridge||$200 to $1,600|
|Diatomaceous earth||$520 to $1,600|
|Glass||$500 to $1,500|
|$30 to $100|
|Sand||$250 to $1,200|
If the water in a pool is stagnant, it will not be circulated through the filter, and debris and dirt will stay on the surface of the pool. Swimming pool pumps are designed to keep the water in the pool moving. There are a variety of pool pumps on the market to accommodate pools of different sizes and shapes, including dual speed, high-head submersible, low head, medium head, single speed, and variable speed. Pool pumps cost $300 to $1,200, but the one a pool owner chooses will ultimately depend on which is the best fit for their pool. The table below shows the costs for different types of pool pumps.
|Pump Type||Cost (Material Only)|
|Dual speed||$500 to $800|
|High-head submersible||$800 to $1,200|
|Low head||$300 to $600|
|Medium head||$300 to $800|
|Single speed||$300 to $600|
|Variable speed||$800 to $1,200|
Additional Costs and Considerations
When homeowners are budgeting for how much it costs to build a pool, there are usually additional price factors and considerations. These can include heating, covers, water features, fencing, maintenance, enhancements, and upgrades.
After the area has been excavated and the pool installed, landscaping can begin. Homeowners can expect to pay an average of $3,000 to $5,000 or $4 to $12 per square foot for professional landscaping around the pool. Some homeowners prefer to wait a few weeks after installation to landscape so they have time to decide exactly how they want it to look. Some options to choose from include simple grass around the pool to water fountains, masonry paths, and custom shrubbery. Another option is to have a lawn around the pool patio area.
Heating is another area where it’s not wise to skimp in a cooler climate. A pool heater costs approximately $1,800 to $4,000. Homeowners will also want to remember to factor in the cost of running the heater, which can range from $120 to $850 per month. Pool heaters can be gas- or electric-powered, and they will need to be able to heat the amount of water in the pool adequately. Gas-powered heaters are typically less expensive than electric. Solar-powered heaters can cost as much as $4,000, but the long-term cost of using them is low.
The average cost of a pool cover ranges from $800 to $2,500. Automatic covers can cost up to $12,000. Pool covers will need to be used when the pool is not in use. Covers keep debris out of the pool and keep people safe and ensure unwanted visitors and critters can’t get in. Covers are available in mesh and solid options. Each one has its advantages, and one may work better for a homeowner’s individual needs.
Fountains and waterfalls can elevate a pool area and make it more inviting. Lower cost options include small plastic water features that cost only $100. Larger fountains made of marble or concrete can be much pricier, costing up to $20,000. In general, adding water features to a pool will cost anywhere from $850 to $5,000.
Fence or Enclosure Installation
Many areas require that a pool be fenced or enclosed for safety reasons. Fences and enclosures will need to have a lock to prevent young children from falling into the pool. Fences come in various materials, and each has its own price point. A pool fence costs $15 to $25 per linear foot, and an enclosure that completely encases the pool costs $10,200 on average. Enclosures keep out leaves, bugs, and dirt, and they can be made in materials that range from screen to glass. A pool screen enclosure costs an average of $10,205.
Pool Deck Installation
Most pools are surrounded by a deck because of their aesthetic and safety value. Not only does a deck look nice, but it can also prevent swimmers from slipping while walking around the pool. A deck for an above-ground pool can provide easier accessibility than climbing into the pool via a ladder. Pool deck installation costs an average of $3,000 to $12,000. Inground pool decks are typically more expensive than above-ground, which can cost as little as $500 to $2,000.
There are many costs associated with maintaining a pool, including the increased cost of electricity bills (anywhere from $300 to $1,300 annually) and regular maintenance. If any repairs are needed, these can run $650 to $900 per repair. The size of the pool, the pool material, the water heater if applicable, and any maintenance needed to be performed by the homeowner or one of the best pool cleaning services will affect the price of yearly maintenance. Monthly pool maintenance costs $80 to $150, which homeowners can save on by learning how to maintain a pool themselves. In areas where the pool will need to be closed for a portion of the year, opening and closing the pool will cost $150 to $400 each season.
Additions, Enhancements, and Upgrades
Adding optional features to a pool will add to the final bill. A diving board can range from $500 to $1,000, while custom upgrades like stairs, a cover, or lighting can add $450 to $3,700 onto the project price. A pool house is a convenient way to store pool equipment and provide a space to change into and out of a swimsuit. The cost to build a pool house can range from $15,000 to $30,000, depending on the size and features.
|Feature or Addition||Cost (Materials Only)|
|Diving board||$500 to $1,000|
|Lighting||$450 to $1,200|
|Pool house||$15,000 to $30,000|
|Retaining wall||$3,500 to $10,000|
|Steps||$1,400 to $1,900|
Cost to Build a Pool by Type
Depending on the type of pool, building one can cost anywhere from $700 to $500,000. Extra features can push the cost even higher. The depth and size of the pool, as well as the difference in cost between an inground and above-ground pool, will determine the overall costs.
|Pool Type||Cost (Materials and Labor)|
|Above-ground pool||$700 to $5,000|
|Cocktail pool (“spool”)||$5,500 to $50,000|
|Endless pool||$23,000 to $40,000|
|Hot tub or spa||$3,500 to $15,000|
|Indoor pool||$20,000 to $200,000|
|Infinity pool||$55,000 to $130,000|
|Inground concrete pool||$35,000 to $65,000|
|Inground fiberglass pool||$20,000 to $60,000|
|Inground vinyl pool||$20,000 to $40,000|
|Lap pool||$6,000 to $500,000|
|Natural pool||$50,000 to $100,000|
|Plunge pool||$10,000 to $50,000|
|Saltwater pool||$12,000 to $38,500|
Above-ground pools can cost $700 to $5,000. Since there is no large-scale excavation involved for an above-ground pool, the costs are lower than for inground pools. Above-ground pools come in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles, and materials. Some downsides of an above-ground pool are that they don’t last as long, and homeowners don’t get the same type of increase in home value as they would with an inground one. Additional costs can add up if plumbing and electrical ports need to be installed.
Cocktail Pool, or Spool
Cocktail pools, or spools, cost approximately $5,500 to $50,000, including labor. The name comes from combining the word “pool” with “small” or “spa.” They typically have powerful jets to create a relaxing spa experience. They usually measure 10 by 15 to 20 feet and are 5.5 to 7 feet deep. Cocktail pools are ideal for smaller areas with limited space or homeowners who want to spend less money.
Custom pools can cost upwards of $100,000. Inground pools have more options for customization than above-ground pools and can be customized to the exact shape and size that are desired. Custom-made pools are often constructed of concrete or vinyl, since it’s difficult to custom-design a fiberglass pool. Custom pools can have additional features such as jets, waterfalls, or beach entry. Homeowners who want to install a pool in an area with space restrictions or desire extra features will want to choose customization.
Endless pools are similar to lap pools but are not as long and have an artificially generated current for swimming. An endless pool costs between $23,000 and $40,000 to install, on average. The yearly maintenance costs for endless pools are considerably lower, since there’s less water to maintain.
Hot Tub or Spa
It costs $3,500 to $15,000 to install a hot tub or spa. Prices can vary due to size, materials, number of jets, and extra features. Standard-size hot tubs can fit up to four to six people. For a swim-style spa that’s similar to an endless pool with swimming jet currents, homeowners can expect to pay around $36,000 or more. The labor cost is between $150 and $500, with an additional delivery cost of $100 to $500.
Indoor pools have the enviable advantage of being usable year-round and in any weather. Indoor pool costs will depend on the scope of the project. If a new structure must be built to accommodate the indoor pool, the total cost will be between $40,000 and $200,000. Those who already have an indoor space in which to build the indoor pool will pay between $20,000 and $100,000.
Infinity pools are built at an elevation and have an invisible edge that makes them appear to extend infinitely into the sky. This gives them a luxe and upscale look, but they are a pricey option. Most homeowners pay between $55,000 and $130,000 to install an infinity pool, with the average cost being $80,000.
Inground Concrete Pool
When made from concrete, inground pools cost between $35,000 and $65,000. A concrete pool can be any shape and size and finished in a variety of ways. Finishing can include tile and other decorative additions, which are not available for fiberglass or vinyl pools. Concrete pools require more maintenance than fiberglass but less maintenance than vinyl. Many homeowners opt for concrete inground pools as a long-term investment.
Inground Fiberglass Pool
An inground fiberglass pool costs $20,000 to $60,000. These pools are durable and long-lasting. The fabricated fiberglass pool shell is limited to specific sizes and shapes dictated by the manufacturer. Size variation is restricted, since it’s difficult to transport large fiberglass pool shells. Many of these pools also have depth restrictions that result in inadequate depth for diving. This material is low maintenance and costs the least in the long run.
Inground Vinyl Pool
Homeowners can expect to pay between $20,000 and $40,000 for an inground vinyl pool. These pools use a vinyl liner that can be of any size or shape. This offers more choices than fiberglass, but vinyl liners do not last as long as fiberglass or concrete, and they need to be replaced every 10 years.
Lap pools can cost $44,000, including labor. Lap pools are typically long and narrow and usually measure 10 by 40 feet. Homeowners who prefer above-ground pools can find lap pools for as little as $6,000. Serious swimmers may opt for an Olympic-size lap pool, which measures 164 feet. These pools can cost as much as $300,000 to $500,000.
While the majority of residential pools utilize either chemicals or a combination of chemicals and salt to stay clean, natural pools do not require the use of chemicals at all. Instead, the water is circulated through plants that filter out dirt and prevent bacteria from growing. The area where this happens is called the “regeneration zone” and is about equal to the size of the pool itself. Natural pools cost between $50,000 and $100,000, or an average of $70,000.
Plunge pools are a good compromise for homeowners who have a smaller budget but prefer an inground pool. Relatively small and shallow, a plunge pool is not ideal for swimming laps but is large enough for a dip to stay cool and refreshed. A plunge pool costs $10,000 to $50,000, or an average of $20,000.
Homeowners who are sensitive to chlorine or prefer to use fewer chemicals may want to consider a saltwater pool. Saltwater pools are not completely chlorine-free, but they do require fewer chemicals than traditional pools. While installing this kind of pool is relatively expensive, operating costs tend to be lower than for other types. Saltwater pools cost between $12,000 and $38,500, or $25,000 on average.
Benefits of Building a Pool
Many homeowners decide to build a pool to enjoy time with their family, add value to their home, and appreciate swimming and cooling down in their own backyard. Added features such as diving boards, water fountains, and unique lighting can increase the aesthetic value of the outdoor space. Some other benefits are entertainment value and increased health and happiness.
For homeowners who entertain frequently, a pool is a great focal point for outdoor get-togethers. Pools that have a large deck or patio area can be utilized for large parties or small gatherings. The shallow end of the pool is suitable for lounging and relaxing, while the deeper end can be used for diving or going down a slide. Staying at home and enjoying the pool is an excellent alternative to traveling and spending extra money on vacation.
Swimming and relaxing by a pool offer a significant way to lower high levels of stress. After a long day, a cooling soak or an energetic swim is a great way to relax and unwind. Swimming is a low-impact activity that helps improve self-esteem, has a positive mental impact, and relieves pressure on sore joints for those with arthritis. A pool provides a place to get cardiovascular exercise, enjoy aqua therapy, and build stamina and strength—all from the privacy of the backyard.
Property Value Increase
A pool can significantly increase the value of a home. Information from the National Association of Realtors’ 2023 Remodeling Impact Report shows that owning an inground swimming pool can increase the value of a home by 56 percent. The area of the country and real estate values will determine the pool’s overall value. In the event that the home is sold, some potential homebuyers may be interested in a pool, but others won’t be interested in the extra maintenance and expense of having a pool.
Building a Pool: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
It may be tempting to some homeowners to install their own pool to save on costs, but it’s recommended to leave pool building to one of the best pool installation companies. If a DIYer makes a mistake during the project, they could incur extra expenses for replacement or repairs. A professional can provide accurate excavation, grading, soil drainage, and backfilling. Only those with extensive construction experience and the right tools for the job will want to attempt a DIY above-ground pool kit. No one wants a collapsed pool wall and thousands of gallons of water spilling onto the landscaping or into the home. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that a pool warranty might not be honored if the pool is not installed by a professional.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Build a Pool
Costs to build a pool can be high, and the additional costs associated with the project can quickly add up. One way to save on building a pool is to buy the cheapest materials for the project, but there are other ways to save without compromising quality.
- Install an above-ground pool. Above-ground pools are significantly cheaper than inground pools. One downside is that an above-ground pool does not add as much value to your home.
- Keep the dirt. If you decide on an inground pool, keep the excavated dirt on your property to save on the cost of hauling it away.
- Wait on the extras. Additional features like a diving board, unique lighting, water features, a deck, or a patio will add thousands of dollars to the project cost. Waiting on these will save on up-front costs.
- Get multiple estimates. Get at least three estimates from reputable pool installation experts so you can stay within your budget.
- Do the maintenance yourself. The costs of hiring a professional company to maintain your pool can quickly add up. Check the water’s pH level and clean the drains and filters yourself to keep your costs down.
- Opt for a smaller pool. Most people want a pool to cool down in and to have fun with their family. Don’t think a bigger pool results in more fun. Stick to the size that you can afford.
Questions to Ask About Building a Pool
Asking a professional the right questions about the cost of building a pool can minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. Below are some questions for homeowners to ask a pool-building professional.
- Where is your place of business, and do you have a showroom?
- How many years have you been in business?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you have references?
- Can you show me some examples of similar pools you’ve built in the past?
- Are you a member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP)?
- Do you have workers’ compensation insurance?
- Who will build and install the pool?
- How long will installation and construction take?
- Is all the work included in the contract?
- Do you provide a free estimate?
- Do you offer a warranty, and if so, what does it cover?
- Will you provide ongoing maintenance for the pool or teach me how to do it myself?
Deciding on the right pool while staying within budget can be a daunting process. To help guide these decisions, below are some frequently asked questions about the costs to build a pool.
Q. How much does a 12-foot-by-24-foot inground pool cost?
A 12-foot-by-24-foot inground pool costs between $26,000 and $37,500, depending on the material used.
Q. How long does it take to build a pool?
On average, it takes approximately 2 to 3 months to build a pool. This includes time for creating a design, securing permits, excavating, adding plumbing and electric, installing the pool itself, building a deck, adding custom features, and landscaping.
Q. How long will my pool last?
An inground pool can last 20 years or more. With the proper maintenance and care, an inground pool with a vinyl liner can last more than 20 years as long as the liner is replaced every 6 to 12 years. Concrete pools can last up to 50 years, though they do need resurfacing every 10 years, and fiberglass pools can last 25 to 30 years.
An above-ground pool will not last as long as an inground one. The structure is expected to last 10 to 15 years, although that time can vary depending on the type of pool.
Q. What’s the best material for a pool?
There’s not a single material that works best for everyone. Homeowners will want to choose the material that works for their needs. Concrete pools last the longest, but they need refinishing, and mold and algae can grow if the pool is not maintained correctly. Fiberglass pools are easy to maintain, but the prefabricated shells restrict the size and depth of the pool. Vinyl-lined pools are easy to clean, and they come in various shapes and sizes, but the lining will eventually need to be replaced. Each material has its advantages, and it’s a good idea to choose the material that works the best for the area where the pool will be installed.
Sources: HomeAdvisor, Angi, Fixr, HomeGuide, National Association of Realtors