Exterior Pools & Water Features

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 $1,800 to $58,540, with the national average at $36,730.
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Highlights

  • The typical range for the cost to build a pool is $1,800 to $58,540, with a national average of $36,730.
  • 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.
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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? The cost ranges from $1,800 to $58,540, with the national average cost to build a pool coming in at $36,730. For those who are interested in a custom pool with luxury add-ons, the price can jump to $125,000 or more. 

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.

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Key Cost Factors

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool Factors in Determining the Cost
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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 $50 to $125 per square foot to build an inground pool. The bigger the pool, the higher the project cost. A small inground pool costs around $19,000, but 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. Chad Christenson is the founder of Watermark Pools, a pool-building company in Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee. He says, “The shape can also impact installation costs, particularly if it alters the pool’s square footage, the hardscape, or if the installation is complex.” Some of the most popular pool shapes include rectangle, oval, kidney, round, lagoon, and full-L.

Pool Type

Pools can 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, the cost of an inground pool is $44,290 to $86,400. Above-ground pool installation costs less, and these pools are 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 Material

Pool building costs are largely determined 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.

Geographic Location

Location will affect the cost of building a pool in a backyard. For example, the cost to build a pool in California is $35,000, whereas the cost to build a pool in Florida averages $37,700. 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.

StateAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Arizona$22,000
California$35,000
Florida$37,700
New York$28,500
South Carolina$18,000
Texas$31,000

Labor and Permits

Labor usually makes up 25 percent to 50 percent of the total cost of building a pool. Inground pools have more expensive labor costs than above-ground pools, and fiberglass and concrete pools cost more than vinyl. The average labor prices to build a pool range from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on pool size, shape, and design. Homeowners may want to search online for “pool builders near me” to get started.

Permits for pool installations can range from $200 to $2,000 and can vary due to pool type and geographic location. 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.

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Excavation

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. Homeowners can consider saving some money by using the dirt on the property for gardening or landscaping.

Filter Type

Pool filtration systems cost $30 to $2,000. 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 $300 to $1,200, respectively. Diatomaceous earth and glass filters can cost anywhere between $500 and $2,000. To avoid costly repairs and maintenance, homeowners will want to install a filtration system that works for the size and shape of the pool. 

Filter TypeCost (Material Only)
Cartridge$200 to $1,600
Diatomaceous earth$520 to $2,000
Glass$500 to $1,500
Pocket$30 to $100
Sand$300 to $1,200

Pump Type

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 and range in cost from $250 to $4,000. 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. 

Pump TypeCost (Material Only)
Dual speed$300 to $1,600
High-head submersible$1,250 to $4,000+
Low head$250 to $1,600
Medium head$400 to $2,500
Single speed$250 to $1,000
Variable speed$800 to $2,500
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool Types of Pools
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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.

  • Landscaping: 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 options to choose from include simple grass around the pool and water fountains, masonry paths, and custom shrubbery.
  • Heating: A pool heater costs between $1,800 and $4,000, and the cost of running the heater can range from $120 to $850 per month. Pool heaters can be solar, gas, or electric powered.
  • Pool cover: Covers keep debris out of the pool, keep people safe, and ensure unwanted visitors and critters can’t get in. The average cost of a pool cover ranges from $800 to $2,600. Automatic covers are typically much pricier.
  • Water features: Fountains and waterfalls can elevate a pool area and make it more inviting. “We recommend water features like fountains, bubblers, negative edges, and splash pads because they extend the usefulness of the space and add vibrancy to the outdoor area,” says Christenson. In general, adding water features to a pool will cost anywhere from $450 to $1,900.
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  • Fence or enclosure installation: A pool fence costs between $1,500 and $10,000 and provides an element of safety when the pool isn’t in use. 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 $10,675.
  • Pool deck installation: A deck for an above-ground pool can provide easier accessibility than climbing into the pool via a ladder. Pool deck installation costs between $500 and $20,000. Inground pool decks are typically more expensive than above-ground decks.
  • Maintenance: Pool maintenance costs include increased electricity bills (anywhere from $300 to $1,300 annually) and regular maintenance. If any repairs are needed, these can run $85 to $3,500 per repair. The homeowner or one of the best pool cleaning services can regularly adjust the pool’s chemicals and clean the pool. Monthly pool maintenance costs $110 to $350.
  • Additions, enhancements, and upgrades: “Features like fire pits, fire bowls, and torches can transform your space into a resort-style paradise,” Christenson says. Adding optional features to a pool will add to the final bill. A diving board can range from $570 to $6,020, while custom upgrades like steps (rather than a ladder) can add $1,800 to $3,270 onto the project price. The cost to build a pool house can range from $26,000 to $180,000, depending on the size and features.
Feature or AdditionAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Diving board$570 to $6,020
Lighting$1,000 to $2,000
Pool house$26,000 to $180,000
Retaining wall $5,000
Steps$1,800 to $3,270

Types of Pools

Pools come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the pool type a homeowner chooses will directly impact the project cost. Knowing what options are available as well as the respective pool installation prices can help homeowners make an informed decision. 

Pool TypeCost (Materials and Labor)
Above-ground pool$700 to $5,000
Cocktail pool (“spool”)$5,500 to $50,000
Custom pool$100,000+
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 $38,000

Above-Ground Pool

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. 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.

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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. Measuring 10 by 15 to 20 feet and 5.5 to 7 feet deep, they are ideal for small spaces or homeowners who want to spend less money.

Custom Pool

Custom pools can cost upwards of $100,000 and can be customized to the exact shape and size that is desired. Custom-made pools are often constructed of concrete or vinyl, and 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 Pool

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. 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.

Indoor Pool

Indoor pools have the enviable advantage of being usable year-round and in any weather. If a new structure must be built to accommodate the indoor pool, the total indoor pool 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 Pool

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. 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. 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 Pool

Lap pools typically 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.

Natural Pool

Unlike most standard pools, natural pools do not require the use of chemicals. 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 Pool

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.

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 $38,000, or $25,000 on average.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
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Benefits of Building a Pool 

According to Christenson, “Installing a pool provides many benefits, including creating opportunities for quality family time and hosting friendly get-togethers. It encourages people to visit your home rather than traveling elsewhere.” 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.

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Entertainment 

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.

Health 

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.

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

It may be tempting to some homeowners to install their own pool to save on pool installation costs, but it’s recommended to leave the pool building to one of the best pool installation companies. “It’s important to remember that a pool is much more than a hole in the ground lined with concrete,” Christenson says. “DIY enthusiasts should avoid any aspects of pool installation that could cause irreversible damage to the structure or hardscape.” A professional can provide accurate excavation, grading, soil drainage, and backfilling. Only those with extensive swimming pool 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.

“Hiring a professional allows the client to enjoy the fun parts of the process, such as design and selection, while ensuring the pool is built correctly. At the end of the day, a hired professional provides peace of mind for such a significant investment,” adds Christenson.

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Financing Options and Money-Saving Tips

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. Learn how to maintain a pool 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.
  • Consider getting a home warranty. A policy from one of the best home warranties for pool coverage such as Choice Home Warranty or American Home Shield can help pool owners save money on expensive repairs in the long run.

Homeowners may want to consider financing options if paying for the pool out of pocket isn’t feasible. Fortunately, there are a variety of options for making the cost to install a pool more manageable. 

  • Home equity loan. Homeowners who have built up considerable equity in their homes may take out one of the best home equity loans (from lenders such as U.S. Bank or Flagstar Bank) to pay for the installation of their pool. These loans are typically paid back monthly with a fixed interest rate. 
  • HELOC. Unlike home equity loans, home equity lines of credit allow borrowers to take out cash as needed from a credit line. If this sounds preferable, homeowners can look into the best HELOC lenders (Bank of America is a top choice). 
  • Cash-out refinance. A cash-out refinance allows borrowers to fold their desired loan amount into a new mortgage. Homeowners can research the best mortgage refinance companies (like PNC Bank or Caliber Home Loans) to add the cost of building a pool to their mortgage. 
  • Personal loan. For those who haven’t yet built up equity in their home or aren’t interested in tapping into home equity, a personal loan can be an option. This money can be used at the borrower’s discretion, including financing for building a pool. 
  • Contractor financing. Some pool builders will have financing options available so customers can pay for their pool over an extended period rather than coming up with the cash up front. It’s worth asking the pool company about financing options and weighing them against other loan options. 

Questions to Ask a Pro

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?

FAQs

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 swimming pool installation 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? 

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. It’s a good idea to choose the material that works best for the area where the pool will be installed.

Q. Does a swimming pool add value to a home?

Generally speaking, installing a pool can add 5 to 8 percent to the value of a home. However, factors like location, the current value of the home, and the cost of installing the pool can impact whether or not a pool is worth it. 

Q. How do you maintain a pool?

Cleaning the pool regularly, skimming debris from the surface, and keeping the chemicals balanced are essential parts of pool maintenance. Filters will also need to be cleaned occasionally, and it’s a good idea to regularly inspect pumps and other elements for damage. 

Sources: Angi (1 and 2), HomeAdvisor, Fixr, HomeGuide, Forbes, National Association of Realtors