How Long Does an Above Ground Pool Last?

Written by Michael Dean
December 12, 2023

above ground pool and calendar

Investing in a pool for your property is a significant investment, so you want to make sure that you know all the ins and outs of owning an above ground pool. When making such a big purchase, you want to make sure it is a worthwhile investment and that the above ground pool lasts for many seasons.

Below, I compiled all the information you need on the longevity of above ground pools, how to improve the overall lifespan, and more. Let’s dive in.

Main Takeaways

  • Above ground pools generally last between 10 to 20 years with proper care and maintenance.
  • There are at least five different types of above ground pools: steel frame, resin frame, hybrid, semi-inground, and inflatable.
  • Some common reasons for the deterioration in above ground pools include: unlevel water, pool liner deterioration, and rust.
  • To improve the lifespan of your above ground pool, maintain your pool, backwash, ensure good water circulation, protect the pool walls, and look after your pool liner.

The Average Lifespan of an Above Ground Pool

When it comes to above ground pools, there is no set lifespan. But generally, they do not last as long as inground pools. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not worth investing in. Above ground pools can last between 10 to 20 years with proper care and maintenance. Choosing the right frame and design for your personal needs also goes a long way in improving the lifespan of your pool.

Having an above ground pool doesn’t mean you have fewer design choices. Nowadays, you can choose from at least five different types of above ground pools. They all have their benefits.

Steel Frames

Steel frames are the most common and have been used for many years now. These are the way to go if you’re looking for the most time-tested and trusted design. Steel-framed pools are made with a couple of different metals, including zinc, aluminum, and galvanized steel.

The steel is thin enough to be bent into different designs while remaining sturdy. Another advantage that many people appreciate is that a steel pool does not require as much cleaning as concrete or fiberglass pools. You can expect your steel-framed pool to last a decent 10 to 20 years if properly maintained.

One disadvantage of steel frames is that they are prone to rust. However, you can prevent this by using proper maintenance techniques.

Resin Frames

Resin-framed pools have become increasingly popular lately. They’re the perfect alternative to steel-framed pools, which are known to fall victim to rust and corrosion. While resin is a pricier option than steel, the benefits certainly make up for it.

The hard plastic can withstand sun damage, warping, and oxidation. Perhaps one of the best benefits of a resin pool is that the installation process is fast and simple. The lifespan of a resin pool is around 5 to 10 years.

Hybrid Pools

As the name implies, a hybrid pool is a mix of a resin and steel frame, combining the best parts of both designs. The ingenuity of this design is that the hard resin is used for the parts of the pool exposed to direct sunlight and heat, while the steel is used solely for the structure of the pool. If you’re looking for a pool that will maintain its durability for approximately 10 to 20 years, the hybrid design is for you.

Semi-Inground Pools

The semi-inground is a very affordable and simple option while still having that “inground pool” feel. These pools are perfect for uneven or sloped yards, and they’re easy enough to assemble that they are often marketed as great DIY pools. The cherry on top is that they come with a lifetime warranty.

Inflatable Pools

When most people hear the word above ground pools, they picture the bright blue inflatable pool. These pools are the most affordable option and are super easy to assemble. They’re lightweight and generally take 30 minutes to fill. They are quite delicate compared to the other options; they only last between 1 to 5 years.

Reasons for Deterioration in Above Ground Pools

Deterioration is an above ground pool’s number one cause for a shortened lifespan. You can extend your pool’s life by knowing what to look for.

Unlevel Water

Unlevel water in a pool may not look like it could do any harm, but it can cause severe and expensive problems you won’t want to deal with. Over time, the uneven weight of the water can cause structural damage to the walls, ultimately collapsing your whole pool. Unlevel water can also cause your liner to develop wrinkles and eventually rip. Ensure you choose the right space for your above ground pool!

Pool Liner and Basic Maintenance

The liner is an incredibly important part of your above ground pool. Pool liners deteriorate over time due to sun exposure, wrinkles, and poor cleaning habits. They generally don’t last as long as the swimming pool does. If you don’t clean your liner regularly, it is susceptible to becoming brittle, resulting in tears and leaks. Proper and continuous maintenance is the key to a healthy pool.


Rust is another primary reason why above ground pools deteriorate. Most commonly occurring in steel-framed pools, rust can damage the structural integrity of the walls, which can cause your pool to collapse. When you see the first sign of rust, replace it as quickly as possible.

How to Improve the Lifespan of Your Above Ground Pool

There are a few different ways to improve the lifespan of your above ground pool. From maintenance to water circulation, here are some critical tips for holding onto your above ground pool for longer.

Basic Maintenance

To keep your pool running smoothly, you should always ensure that your pool is clean. Your daily routine checks should include testing the pH of the water, testing the chlorine levels, and checking your filters, pumps, and water levels. Always empty your pump baskets and use a net to remove floating debris like leaves. You should also clean the pool walls and the surrounding area weekly to prevent mold and algae. Adding chlorine and shock treatments should also be part of your pool maintenance routine. A clean pool is a happy pool.


You should backwash your pool at least once a week to remove all the debris and dirt trapped in the filters. This will help improve the water flow throughout the pool’s system.

Ensure Good Water Circulation

Above ground pools are known to have problems with poor water circulation which leads to algae build-up. Try manually circulating the water with your pool brush or net to prevent this from happening. If you have the budget, you can always install multi-directional return jets.

Protect the Pool Walls

Unlike inground pools, above ground pools have less sturdy walls that can be prone to collapse. Swimmers should avoid leaning or sitting on the rails of the wall. Over time, they can become warped. By simply not sitting on the rails, you can sleep happily, knowing that your pool will be around for many years to come.

Look After Your Pool Liner

The final and most important way to improve the lifespan of your above ground pool is to always clean, patch, and repair your pool liners. These liners protect your pool from exterior damage and create a barrier between the wall and the water. You can read my guides on how to drain an above ground pool and how to replace your pool liner for more tips.

Get My Free Pool Care Checklist

Download my free, printable pool maintenance checklist to help you accomplish regular pool care tasks for any type of swimming pool.

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Bottom Line

Above ground pools may be a cheaper alternative, but they still are an excellent investment. If properly maintained, a quality above ground pool can last nearly as long as an inground pool. Furthermore, they are much easier to install, and the upkeep is generally cheaper than an inground pool. If you’re looking for a new one, you can view my recommendations on the best above ground pool guide.

If you have any further questions about this topic, let me know. I am happy to be of additional help!

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