Above Ground Pool Cost Breakdown

Whether you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to an inground pool or you just need something to occupy your family during the summertime, there are a lot of pros to purchasing an above ground pool.

However, as convenient and simple as these pools can be, they also come with plenty of hidden costs too. If you’re serious about adding one to your backyard, here’s what you should know about above ground swimming pool costs and the pool installation process. I’ll walk through:

A Quick Price Estimate of Above Ground Pools

It’s never easy to come up with an exact estimate for an above ground pool, especially since the size, materials, and labor costs can vary from person to person. What we can do is highlight some of the averages that people do pay for their above-ground pools:

Minimum National Cost $700
Maximum National Cost $12,000
Average Cost Range $1,500 – $5,000

Keep in mind that these are rough numbers, and there’s always room for exceptions. The average maximum that people pay for an above-ground pool might be $12,000, but if you plan to add intricate landscaping or special features, the price could end up being even higher.

With this type of pool, you can contribute a big portion of your final bill to professional installation costs. The materials may only cost you $1,000 to $2,000, but the contractor you hire could charge $3,000 for labor.

Factoring in the Size of Your Pool

Most above-ground pools come in “kits,” so there’s less room for adding your own measurements or design specifications. A standard above-ground pool has a diameter of 24’ and can fit around four to five people comfortably. There are different shapes that you can purchase an above-ground pool in (oval, round, or rectangular), but it shouldn’t affect your total cost.

Once again, here’s the typical cost as it relates to the size of the pool:

Pool Size Pool Cost (Average) Installation Cost (Average) Total Average Cost
12’ $1,200 $800 $2,000
18’ $1,500 $1,000 $2,500
24’ $1,800 $1,300 $3,100
30’ $2,500 $2,000 $4,500

While it doesn’t always play a huge role in affecting cost, you’ll also need to account for the size of the wall on your above-ground pool. Most standard walls are around forty-eight inches, but if you’re looking for more coverage, you can spend a few more hundred dollars and get fifty-four inches.

Above Ground Pool Installation Costs

Basic Labor Costs

Although above ground pools are easy to self-install, there are many advantages to hiring a professional to do the work properly. Homeowners can expect to spend between $800 and $3,000 for professional above ground pool installation.

Feature Installation Costs

Your above ground pool will need to be equipped with basic features for proper usage just like any pool. Some of these items include ladders and steps for entry and exit, and a filter for maintenance. There are many additional features that can be added to enhance your above ground pool that you may consider adding. Let’s talk about the costs associated with a few of these optional additives.

Since lights can’t be installed the same way as in an inground pool, floating lights or underwater lights are a great alternative for above ground pools. The cost for these can be between $23 to $113 per light.

Though not necessary, a pool deck adds significant visual appeal and convenience with an average cost per square foot ranging between $15 and $30. We’ll go more in-depth on decking a bit later.

Pools are often associated with summer time enjoyment; however, adding a pool heater will allow you to enjoy your pool year around. The average cost for installing an above-ground pool heater ranges from $170 to $2,197, depending on the size needed for your size pool.

Pool covers are convenient for keeping unwanted leaves, insects, and debris out. Most above ground pool covers will cost less than $100 or can be as much as $300, again, depending on the size needed. More on those later.

If you have young children running around, consider installing a fence around your pool too. Pool fencing will run you anywhere from $500 to $1,500 depending on the material you choose.

There are many additional features that can be added inside and outside your above ground pool like fountains, waterfalls, and more. Prices can vary based on many different factors so it’s important to shop around and research to get a full understanding of what your overall cost will be when deciding to install an above ground pool. Remember, it’s easy to customize your pool to your liking and add what fits your budget.

The Cost of Adding a Deck

Many homeowners do choose to do a bit of landscaping and add a deck to their above ground pool. This isn’t essential, but there are a few pros to adding one:

  • It integrates the pool into your backyard much better
  • It makes it easier to enter and exit your pool
  • Cleaning the pool is less time-consuming
  • Gives the above-ground pool extra support (and can reduce the risk of damage from poor weather or other elements)

You can calculate the cost of a deck in two main ways: either with professional installation or by purchasing a DIY deck kit and doing the installation yourself.

It’s safe to assume that professional installation is going to cost more, and most homeowners spend at least $2,500 for the deck alone when they use a contractor. If you do the project yourself, you can save a little bit of money by purchasing a kit for $700 to $3,000.

Most of the time, you should budget around $15 to $30 per square foot for your deck. Using these numbers, installing a single deck end at 56 sq. ft. should only cost around $1,500.

However, a four-sided deck with 400 sq. ft. could cost up to $10,000, especially since you’ll likely need professional help for a project of this size.

Maintenance Costs

The good news is that maintaining your above ground pool is relatively cheap, especially when you compare it to the maintenance costs of an inground or natural swimming pool. If you do everything yourself (and without professional cleaning services), you could only spend around $200 a year or a little more on maintenance.

This number includes the cost of cleaning equipment as well as purchasing the appropriate chemicals, which can be close to $100 per year.

However, if you’re short on time, a professional cleaning service can be more convenient (but also more expensive). A one-time professional cleaning can cost $60 to $100 per hour, depending on the specific services you want. Some pool owners choose to get their above-ground pools cleaned professionally once a month, which can mean another $150 in monthly maintenance costs.

One thing that pool owners don’t always account for is the additional maintenance fees they’ll pay initially. When you first install the above-ground pool, you’ll need to purchase the correct chemicals and cleaning supplies. This will inflate the cost, but once you own the right equipment, you shouldn’t need to replace them too often.

Other Factors That Influence the Price of an Above-Ground Pool

Once you’ve purchased the kit and hired a contractor, most people think they’re done pulling out their wallet. Although you’ll incur the majority of the final cost when you initially install the pool, there are a few hidden expenses to watch out for.

Obtaining a Permit

It can be challenging to estimate the cost of a permit, since not every city or county may require you to get one. However, most cities do require you to obtain a permit for an above-ground pool, and the landscaping specifications are usually the same as an in-ground pool. As long as your above-ground pool is deeper than two feet, your municipality will usually consider it to be permit-worthy.

Not all permits cost the same, and some cities, like this one, tack on extra fees for zoning or reviewing your plan. If you’re not sure how much you’ll need to budget for a permit, you can always contact your local government for specific details. On average, most permits cost anywhere from $150 to $300 with all the fees added on.

Insurance Costs

With any pool, even an above-ground one, your insurance premium can take a hit. A lot of companies consider your pool to be an “attractive nuisance,” and they often recommend that you increase your liability coverage. On a monthly basis, your pool could tack on another $75 or more to your premium.

If you live somewhere with a hotter climate, like Texas or California, your insurance premium might not climb as much. In these states, the addition of a pool might already be factored into your premium. In a state with a colder climate, like Missouri or North Dakota, most insurance companies don’t immediately factor in a pool to your policy.

Getting a Pool Cover

Pool covers are often an essential feature of your above-ground pool. Not only will they protect the structure during the off-season and keep debris out of the water, but they could even be a safety feature. Homeowners with small children often add pool covers to reduce the risk of someone falling in the water and getting injured.

Some kits might include the pool cover so that you don’t have to buy it separately, but that isn’t always the case. Depending on the size of your pool, most standard covers cost between $75 to $300. Typically, the bigger your pool is, the more you can expect to pay on a cover.

If you want something a little more intricate, like a solar cover or a sun dome, you could be looking at upwards of $1,000.

Landscaping Costs

While some homeowners might already have an idea of what landscaping they’d like to add to their pool, others don’t always know what they need to add. Some city governments might require you to add a protective fence or gate with a child lock in order to get a pool permit. Adding an access gate or fence could cost around $15 to $25 for every linear foot.

Depending on the layout of your backyard, you might need to remove bushes or trees to make room for the pool or level out the ground. Generally, most homeowners need to budget at least $1,500 for landscaping, but sometimes more.

Talking to a contractor you’re interested in hiring or speaking with your local government can give you a good idea of what landscaping costs you’ll have to pay.

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Final Thoughts

An above ground swimming pool cost estimate isn’t always easy to calculate, especially with hidden costs like permits, insurance, and landscaping. If you’re trying to put together a budget, it’s a good idea to explore your options. Some homeowners might want to do part of the installation on their own or hire a separate contractor to handle the landscaping first.

Regardless of what you choose, the end result should always be the same: you’ll get a spacious pool for you and your family to enjoy during the summertime.

For more cost estimates, read my guide on inground pool costs.

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