How Much Does an Inground Pool Cost?
Considering an inground pool for summer fun? The average cost to install an inground pool ranges from $38,719 to $69,599, with a national average of $51,833.
- Typical Range: $38,719 to $69,599
- National Average: $51,833
An in-ground pool is the ultimate backyard upgrade. The average cost to install an inground pool ranges from $38,719 to $69,599, with a national average of $51,833. In-ground pool cost can vary depending on the type of material, and they are available in three varieties: concrete, vinyl, and fiberglass. There are significant differences in long-term costs among the options. Often, turnkey packages include electrical systems, plumbing, pumps, a deck, and a basic safety fence. Some packages include only the pool shell and delivery. Other factors that impact in-ground pool cost are shape, size, location, landscaping, custom work, lighting, water features, decks, heating, and fencing. Additional pool installation costs can add up due to required permits, property taxes, and maintenance costs.
Factors in Calculating the Cost of an Inground Pool
According to HomeAdvisor, the typical price to install an in-ground pool ranges from $38,719 to $69,599, with a national average of $51,833. The average size pool is around 14 by 28 feet with a depth of approximately 6.5 feet. Typically, you’ll spend anywhere from $50 to $125 per square foot. Adding a pool house can raise the cost to $300 or more per square foot. Depth also affects the price, and more materials will be needed depending on the depth of the hole. Deeper pool designs will cost closer to $125 per square foot. The Red Cross recommends a depth of at least 9 feet for diving.
Basic pool project quotes typically include delivery, installation, standard pool filtration, maintenance and cleaning equipment, the first water fill, and at least some pool decking. Keep in mind that pool builders all package their swimming pools differently.
Size and Shape
Larger pools are about 18 by 36 feet, and many have deep ends of 9 to 12 feet. This size starts at around $35,000. Small pools–like plunge, spool, and cocktail pools–run from $10,000 to $25,000 and up. These pools usually measure about 10 feet wide by 20 feet long and are 5.5 to 7 feet deep. They are mainly used for cooling off and lounging, but they can also be fitted with jets for swimming laps. Regardless of shape, plan on about $50 to $125 per square foot for swimming pool design.
There are three different types of in-ground pools: vinyl, fiberglass, and concrete, and each type has its pros and cons. In sunbelt states like California, Florida, and Texas, pools are generally less expensive than in northern states.
The design will partially determine the cost of an in-ground pool, and the pool material will dictate the customization level of the pool. Concrete pools are more customizable than fiberglass or vinyl pools. The most popular inground pool shapes are:
- Freeform (radius)
- Classic (Roman or Greek)
Fiberglass pools are low maintenance, durable, and compatible with salt systems. Fiberglass pools have the lowest total cost of ownership because they are built off-site and have low chemical usage. One downside of fiberglass is that the shapes cannot be customized. Concrete can be fully customized, and it’s durable. However, these pools have the highest maintenance and chemical requirements. They are also incompatible with saltwater systems. Vinyl liner pools are more customizable than fiberglass and cost the least to install, but the vinyl must be replaced every 5 to 9 years. Also, vinyl can tear and becomes brittle with age.
Depending on the pool material type, labor costs will vary. Concrete, for example, will take longer to install than fiberglass. Labor costs can also differ considerably by geographic location. A higher cost of living will usually mean a higher cost of labor. Labor costs can skyrocket for excavating if large trees or root systems need to be cleared.
Location can affect the cost of in-ground pool installation depending on several factors. You can plan on paying about 15 to 25 percent more in northern states than you would in places like Texas, Arizona, or Florida. In these regions, concrete pools can be comparable to fiberglass pools in price. Building an in-ground pool in an expensive urban area will also typically cost more than in a rural area.
Of course, there’s more than just digging and filling factored into in-ground pool cost. Most cities require a building permit to install an in-ground pool. This helps ensure the work is done according to safe and professional construction standards. A separate electrical permit may also be required. Building permits usually cost around $450 to $1,800 per permit. Pool contractors and electricians usually get the permits for their work sites, but that’s something a homeowner can do as well. After the project has been completed, an inspector will confirm it meets local building codes.
Site Preparation and Excavation
Once the permits are secured, the land needs to be prepared for the pool installation. This includes excavating the property and performing rough grading for the pool, patio, and planting areas. Landscaping and excavating costs will vary depending on the property and type of pool. Some pools, like lap pools, will be more expensive since they are considerably longer than the average pool.
A darker-colored pool absorbs the sun’s heat, which will reduce heating costs. Homeowners can also lower maintenance costs by selecting a long-life pool finish. Fiberglass pools have a smooth, non-porous surface finish that inhibits the growth of algae and enhances circulation. Concrete has a rougher, porous surface that often requires more attention and chemicals to keep algae at bay.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting for in-ground pool cost, there are usually additional price factors and considerations. Some excavations cost $1,500 to $5,000, and hitting rock can add on another $1,200 or even more. Hard-to-reach areas can add $10,000 or more and affect the length of the project. If you live in a remote location, travel distance for the building crew can add $100 or more. If you decide on a fiberglass pool, a crane may be needed if access to the backyard isn’t open enough. Additional costs can include landscaping, accessibility and fencing, weather conditions, filters, pumps, heating systems, lighting, electrical work, deck installation, property taxes, and annual maintenance.
Landscaping plays a prominent role in pool project pricing, and it can cost $1,500 to $5,200 on average, or around $4 to $12 per square foot to add shrubs, plants, and trees. Landscaping rocks cost between $460 and $1,000. Three common styles of landscaping design for in-ground pools are modern, tropical, and desert.
A retaining wall costs around $1,200 to $13,000 and creates a level yard, but you might need to search for “pool contractors near me” for accurate pricing when dealing with a sloping yard. Semi-inground pools will cost $8,000 to $10,000 more than an in-ground unit for a 12-foot-by-24-foot model. This type of pool can be built directly into slopes, and an infinity edge can be installed at an additional $15,000 to $20,000. Resloping the lawn costs between $1,000 to $3,000; this excavated dirt can be used to level the yard, and this can save $1,000 or more on removal fees.
Accessibility and Fencing
Fence installation costs $13 to $50 per linear foot, or a total between $1,500 and $10,000. Gates add $200 to $350 each. Removable fences cost $100 to $500 per panel, including locks and latches to keep them in place. Pool covers cost between $600 and $2,200 with installation, and high-end automatic and security options range from $1,000 to $15,000. Childproof locks and latches should always be used.
How long it takes to install a pool varies based on pool size, how many people are doing the installation, and the weather. Fiberglass pools are easy to install and can be installed year-round, but vinyl and concrete pools need optimal weather conditions. Vinyl cannot be installed on a day that is too hot or too cold because the material can expand, contract, or crack. Concrete takes at least 28 days to cure, and concrete can’t be poured when it’s freezing out because it could crack.
Filters, Pumps, and Heating Systems
Electrical work usually costs around $2,200. Pool heater costs should also be figured into the overall budget if you live in a colder climate or want a heated pool. Pool heater installation costs between $1,500 to $4,000, and depending on where you live, your usage, and the season, the operating cost will typically range from $100 to $600 monthly.
Lighting and Electrical
Outdoor lighting adds ambiance and keeps the pool area safe. Lights average $100 to $300 each for 50-watt lights. Traditional lights and energy-efficient LEDs vary in pricing depending on the features like colored lights, floating lights, and output. Some LED and fiber optic options can often be controlled by a phone. Lighting can be added after the pool has been installed, but it’s recommended to have them installed during the pool installation.
Depending on the pool’s size and desired decking materials, expect to pay an additional $3,000 to $12,000. The cost depends on the number of sides the deck is installed on, the width, and the selected materials. Material options include natural, engineered, or composite wood; each has cost and durability considerations. The overall price can increase if you choose an elaborate design or expensive materials.
Waterfalls, fountains, and lighting can be added to make a relaxing pool. Upgrading to a luxury pool costs anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000. More minor upgrades can add anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $30,000 or more.
Beach entry pools cost as much as a standard pool, or $50 to $125 per square foot. These have sides that gently slope up to meet the ground instead of using steps. Lagoon styles cost $50,000 to $150,000. These cost more because of the custom designs and add-ons such as waterfalls and landscaping. They’re intended to mimic the look of a tropical resort.
A hot tub is a popular feature, and a spa can add $5,000 to $8,000. If you need an additional area to be excavated, a built-in hot tub could cost between $15,000 to $20,000. Waterfall installation costs $1,500 to $5,000, and elaborate ones can reach $30,000. A good rule of thumb is to budget 10 to 15 percent of your total project for a water feature. Slide installation costs between $1,000 and $14,000 depending on the design and any additional features, such as water jets. Diving board installation averages between $300 and $5,000, depending on the type. Diving boards may also need to meet local code requirements.
Pool enclosures cost between $5,000 and $15,000. These cages can be made from mesh, glass, plastic, and vinyl, and they can extend the swimming season by retaining heat and keeping the water cleaner for longer. They can also provide UV protection.
Adding upgrades like an in-ground pool can increase property taxes. A tax increase depends on state tax laws. A swimming pool installed for medical reasons could increase tax deductions by $12,000 or more. That’s $3,000 or more tax savings—but of course, the actual savings will depend heavily on your tax bracket.
In-ground pool maintenance runs from $100 to $200 per month. Maintenance can be time-consuming and messy, and many pool owners prefer to hire a contractor. Pool maintenance professionals also offer winterizing and reopening services. Basic annual maintenance adds $1,200 to $1,800.
Inground Pool Cost: Inground Pool Types
A significant influence on an in-ground pool’s total cost is the material. The majority of pools are built of concrete, fiberglass, or vinyl. Here are three of the most popular types of pools and the in-ground pool cost associated with them.
The initial price of installing a concrete in-ground pool runs between $35,000 and $65,000, but expect to pay an additional $27,000 to $40,000 over 10 years. Typical upkeep includes acid washing and replastering. As concrete pools are often larger, they require more electricity and chemical treatments to keep them clean and swimmable. Pool professionals can use gunite or shotcrete for concrete pools. They’re both concrete; the only difference is the water ratio and how the material is applied. Concrete pools need an acid wash every 3 to 5 years. Concrete is durable, but mold and algae can grow if the pool is not maintained. Because an acid wash will strip away a thin layer of the finish, at some point the shell will need to be replastered.
A fiberglass pool costs $20,000 to $36,500. This cost includes delivery, installation, and a basic deck. Maintenance costs an average of $5,000 to $15,000 over 10 years. Preformed fiberglass pool shells are put into a leveled hole to match the shape. Fiberglass shells usually measure no more than 16 feet across, and with this type of pool, there are no special treatments or requirements needed to maintain the shell.
Installing an in-ground vinyl pool runs from $20,000 to $40,000. Over 10 years, maintenance averages between $11,000 to $17,000. Vinyl pools are versatile and nonabrasive, and they come in a variety of shapes and custom designs. They’re easy to clean, and many owners handle the cleaning themselves. Vinyl liners can tear and become brittle, though, so they need to be replaced every 5 to 9 years. Algae don’t easily grow on the vinyl surface, but algae can grow underneath the liner. This can be addressed when the liner is replaced.
Inground Pool Cost: Should I Install an Inground Pool?
Few home features can create as much fun and excitement as an in-ground swimming pool. A pool can instantly transform a boring backyard into a sun-splashed oasis that the whole family can enjoy. Some benefits of pool installation are added relaxation and exercise, increased home value, tax deductions, and a boost to your home’s aesthetics.
Recreation, Relaxation, and Exercise
Swimming pools are an excellent way for the whole family to get more exercise. No-impact exercise is beneficial for those who have joint issues. Adults and kids enjoy relaxing and playing around a pool, and home pools allow for flexibility and spontaneity.
Increased Home Value
Real estate prices usually drive the prices of swimming pools. A pool may cost more in your area because of high real estate values. In-ground pools can sometimes enhance property value, especially in warmer regions or neighborhoods where everyone has one. According to the National Association of Realtors, swimming pools may increase a house’s value by 8 percent. Some potential buyers may be excited about a swimming pool, while others don’t want the hassle. One thing’s for sure: If you don’t maintain it, a pool in poor shape will hurt your home’s value.
If you install a swimming pool for medical reasons, you could potentially increase tax deductions by $12,000 or more, which can translate into $3,000 or more in tax savings, depending on your tax bracket. If you install a pool for medical reasons, you can deduct the cost of installation and operating expenses, even though technically, the pool is improving your home.
Inlay tile in a fiberglass pool’s steps and seats is a great way to add character to the pool and give it a custom appearance. Beyond this aesthetic enhancement, inlay tiles in steps and seats also serve a functional purpose, highlighting the pool’s different entry and exit points. Although water features have very little to do with a pool’s surface, they still give off a custom, classy, and permanent feel to the swimming pool.
Inground Pool Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
An in-ground pool can be a great addition to your home. Careful budgeting will help keep you on track and avoid additional costs. For installing an in-ground pool, it’s recommended to hire a professional. Making mistakes during a DIY job can mean extra costs for professional repairs or replacement. Bring in a pro for a consultation and search “pools for sale near me” to find accurate estimates and pricing.
One of the benefits of using a professional is that you usually get a full warranty. That means if the builder makes a mistake during the construction process or if you have problems with your swimming pool from the start, the builder will be responsible for fixing it.
Not every pool installation is the same. Some yards may require a retaining wall before a pool can be put in, but a DIYer may not realize that until it’s too late. There is also the danger of hitting groundwater or rocks while digging. Letting the professionals tackle the project is often worth the additional cost.
Installing a pool yourself may affect the timeline of the installation. The longer you let the project sit unfinished, the higher the chances of encountering a problem and the more you’ll have to pay for equipment rental. The faster the project is done, the better.
How to Save Money on the Cost of an Inground Pool
Overall in-ground pool costs can be expensive, and additional costs associated with pool installation can quickly add up. One way to save money is to install the least expensive pool you can find, but there are other ways to save money without compromising quality and the type of pool you want.
- Choose a simple deck. You might envision a gorgeous mosaic of tile that wraps around the pool and leads to your back door, but that will cost you. Save money by choosing a basic concrete deck now and adding the patio later. When adding the patio, pavers tend to be the best option as they integrate well with older patio structures.
- Avoid the deep end. Smaller pools are popular because they save space and are cheaper to install and maintain. Keeping the dimensions modest will save a lot of money.
- Skip the fancy add-ons. Water features, spas, slides, and color-changing lights will ratchet up the price.
- Size isn’t everything. It doesn’t matter how big a pool is; kids will play in a pool for hours. Don’t get so caught up in the size of the pool that you can’t afford it.
- Do the upkeep yourself. Drains and filters should be cleaned once a week. Checking the pool’s water pH and chlorine levels is also a weekly chore. For additional savings, do them yourself instead of hiring someone else.
Questions to Ask About the Cost of an Inground Pool
Asking a pool installation professional the right questions will minimize miscommunication and save money. Here are some questions to ask about the cost to install an in-ground pool.
- Where is your place of business? Do you have a showroom?
- How many years have you and your company been in business under the present name and owners?
- Have you, your partners, or the owners ever declared bankruptcy or gone out of business?
- Can you give me the names and phone numbers of at least three suppliers that you’ve done business with over the last 2 or more years?
- How many references can you supply?
- Are you a current member of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP)?
- Do you have worker’s compensation and general liability insurance?
- How many projects have you completed that qualify you to build my pool?
- Is all necessary work included in the contract?
- Will you furnish lien waivers from vendors and subcontractors to prove they’ve been paid?
Deciding on pool installation and keeping the overall inground pool cost budget-friendly can be a daunting process. Here are some frequently asked questions about the cost of installing a backyard pool to help guide you in your decision.
Q. How much does a 12-foot-by-24-foot in-ground pool cost?
The average cost of a 12-foot-by-24-foot in-ground pool is between $14,400 and $36,000.
Q. Can I get an in-ground pool for $30,000?
A premade fiberglass shell, which typically runs from $20,000 to $40,000, is the cheapest in-ground pool. A small vinyl pool that measures 12 feet wide and 24 feet long can cost between $25,000 and $35,000 for additional features like heating and fencing.
Q. Why are in-ground pools so expensive?
It’s a large construction project with many different stages, expensive components, and utility work such as gas, electrical, and plumbing.