Breaking Down the Cost of an Inground Pool

Before you get an estimate from an installation company, you might want to shop around for prices online and get an idea of inground pool costs and expenses. Maybe you’re in the early stages of thinking about getting an inground pool, and you have no idea how much they cost.

This guide will help break down all the costs associated with pool sizes, materials, maintenance, additional features, and more:

Inground Pool Cost: How Much Does It Cost?

Let’s start with a simple answer. The average inground pool costs around $50-125 per square foot. This price totals to around $25,000-60,000 overall from A to Z. Since that’s the average range, most people can expect to pay around $37,000 for the pool, but that depends on many different factors.

This table will help break down the cost and provide a visual for you:

Minimum Cost $20,000
Maximum Cost $200,000
Average Cost $37,000
Adding Saltwater +$2,500
Adding Waterfall Feature +$3,000
Adding Hot Tub +$6,000

Keep in mind that these are estimates and rough figures, so the cost you can expect to pay will vary dramatically based on who you hire, how much of the work you do yourself, where you live, how large the pool is, the type of pool, the pool builder you use, and much more. I’ll take all of these factors into consideration as I break it down into more detail below.

Choosing a Pool Material

One of the first determining factors you’ll have to consider is your materials. What material you decide to use for your pool will not only play into the price you pay, but it will also impact how you maintain and use your pool for years to come.

Some materials are easy to maintain and clean, while others require much more effort and involvement. Also, some are affordable upfront, but the maintenance cost down the road quickly catches up to you. Let’s take a look at the options and some of the pros and cons associated with each.

Concrete Pools Cost

Highest Cost $200,000
Lowest Cost $30,000
Average Cost $60,000
Cost to maintain over 10 years $27,000+

As you can see, a concrete pool (also referred to as gunite or shotcrete) is the most expensive option. In addition to costing the most upfront, concrete is the most expensive to maintain, but it also has the most design flexibility. It’s not as simple as replacing a liner or patching a crack when you have a concrete pool, the repairs are heavily involved and are associated with a high cost as well.

The average cost of building a 14 x 28 inground concrete pool is around $60,000, with the costs of running as low as $30,000 and as high as $200,000 or more for large pools with tons of features. Where you also run into some serious expenses is in the cost to maintain these pools.

Depending on your luck, it could cost as much as $27,000 or more to maintain the pool over a 10-year period. These pools require many more chemicals, and most owners need to acid wash the interior of the pool every four years to remove mold and algae.

As you wash it, you’re compromising the pool’s structural integrity, which can lead to further problems and damage down the road. You may need to resurface it sooner, but most people have to replaster their concrete pool at least once every 10-15 years. Replastering can cost upwards of $12,000 or more.

The main advantage of a concrete pool is complete control over the design and the overall aesthetics of the pool. There are plenty of features you can add with concrete that you simply can’t accomplish with vinyl or fiberglass.

Pros:

  • Complete control over the shape and design
  • Aesthetics
  • Adding value to your home

Cons:

  • Difficult to maintain
  • Expensive to maintain
  • High risk

Fiberglass Pools Cost

Highest Cost $62,000
Lowest Cost $17,000
Average Cost $33,000
Cost to maintain over 10 years $3,700 or less

The first material is fiberglass. These are affordable, and the maintenance cost is relatively low over a 10-year period. You can expect to pay around $17,000 for a 10 x 16 and up to $62,000 for an 18 x 30 pool. The cost of maintaining it is a little less than $4,000, and these pools last up to 25 years or longer.

There are many bonuses to fiberglass, with the largest and most obvious one being the cost to maintain. Every other pool material will cost upwards of $10,000 over 10 years to maintain, so fiberglass is clearly the best option if you’re looking for something that isn’t going to take a lot of your time or money over the years.

Fiberglass pools also offer some unique ways for you to cut back on costs because you can do some of the work yourself.

Many companies sell fiberglass pool installation kits that allow you to cut the price in half by doing some of the work yourself. Here’s a general breakdown of how that works.

DIY $14,000 – $32,000
Assisted (they dig,set, and fill) $23,000 – $47,000
Standard Installation $28,000 – $62,000
Turn-Key Installation $48,000 – $80,000

Pros:

  • Easiest pool material to maintain
  • Smooth surface requires less chemicals to keep the proper pH level
  • Installation is fast and affordable

Cons:

  • Few customization options

For more details, read my fiberglass pools cost analysis.

Vinyl Pools Cost

Highest Cost $50,000
Lowest Cost $22,000
Average Cost $33,500
Cost to maintain over 10 years $13,000+

The cost to build a pool using vinyl material varies from $22,000 to $50,000, and while this is one of the most affordable options, the cost of maintenance is where it shocks many people.

It’s much more costly and time-consuming to maintain a vinyl liner pool because of their liners. The liners crack and break, which causes them to need replacing every decade or so.

When that happens, you’re looking at the expense of around $5,500 to replace it, so the average cost to maintain a vinyl pool across a 10-year period is as much as $13,000 or more. The advantage is that vinyl is also easy to clean, and it has a very smooth finish that makes the algae wipe right off. You also don’t need a lot of chemicals to maintain proper levels.

Installation is a bit involved with vinyl inground pools but nothing too extreme. You would need a professional to handle this job from beginning to end.

Pros:

  • Low startup cost
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Comes with a small amount of design options

Cons:

  • Liner replacements
  • High cost of maintaining over the years

Need more details on vinyl pools? Read my full vinyl pool cost analysis.

Pool Cost Breakdown by Size

While the average inground pool is 14 x 28, you might want something that is larger or smaller. You might not have enough space for a pool of that size, and if you decide to get a concrete pool, you’ll have a lot more control of how you fit the pool into your yard.

That said, this chart will break down each size and the average costs associated with the size and materials used. Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and you should not take them as direct figures. Many factors will cause these prices to fluctuate.

Pool Size Concrete Fiberglass Vinyl
10×16 $21,154 $18,926 $14,709
10×20 $26,455 $23,784 $18,407
10×30 $39,437 $35,711 $27,600
12×16 $25,344 $22,837 $17,800
12×20 $31,565 $28,555 $22,213
12×24 $37,994 $34,245 $26,633
12×30 $47,296 $42,870 $33,189
14×20 $36,797 $33,212 $25,778
14×28 $51,806 $46,327 $36,082
14×30 $55,217 $50,049 $38,755
15×20 $39,593 $35,767 $27,816
15×30 $59,600 $53,334 $41,470
16×32 $67,585 $60,623 $47,431
16×36 $75,853 $68,160 $53,228
18×30 $71,085 $64,330 $49,985
18×36 $85,613 $76,642 $59,564
18×40 $95,275 $85,242 $66,634
20×40 $105,290 $95,378 $73,572
25×45 $148,254 $133,770 $104,269

Taking Your Inground Swimming Pool, Indoors

You might plan to build an enclosure around your pool or try to take advantage of some existing space in your home. The average cost of building an indoor pool is between $100,000 and $200,000. It doesn’t cost any more to build the pool, but the costs start to add up when you consider the structure you’ll need to build over the pool.

Consider ventilation, dehumidifier systems, plumbing, electrical, pool covers, and more. All of these expenses quickly add up. It also depends on the materials you choose and the size of the pool. Most people have smaller pools indoors, and there are more affordable pop-up structures as well.

You can read a much more in-depth breakdown on my indoor pool cost guide.

Converting to Saltwater

There are many benefits to a saltwater pool, and I’m seeing more and more homeowners either convert to this or start off using salt water instead of chlorine. You don’t have to deal with the small; they’re easier to maintain and much more gentle on your skin.

The average cost to build an inground saltwater pool is around $35,000 for the pool and then around $2,000 to convert it to saltwater.

Maintenance is simple. All you need to do is replace the cell in the generator every few years, which is around $800. This is actually cheaper with a saltwater generator. The cost of the salt for the pool is around $100 each time you need to fill or drain the pool.

For more on saltwater, read my article on saltwater pool costs.

Building Additions to Your Inground Pool

The best part of building an inground pool is envisioning all of the great additions you can put on. Most homeowners imagine a beautiful rock waterfall, with a slide built-in, and bright blue lights illuminating the pool in the night.

While that all sounds great, many costs add up quickly when you start tacking all these unnecessary additions onto the pool. This chart will break them down for you.

Additional Feature Cost to Build and Maintain
Hot Tub $2,500 – $20,000 based on quality and features
Pool Lights $500 – $2,500
Waterfalls and Water Features $500 – $16,000 based on design
Diving Board $250 – $850
Slides $600 – $19,000 based on individual situation
Steps $500 – $3,000 based on pool style and step design
Pool Deck $3,500 – $25,000 based on the size of the deck and materials
Pool Heater $500 – $11,000 plus installation costs
Pool Cover $1,000 – $3,000 or more for motorized covers

It helps to have a vision in mind when designing and planning out the pool you want. It’s much easier and cheaper to factor in these costs ahead of time rather than decide you want something added later on.

For example, many pool covers are automatically built into the design of the pool. It would be much more expensive to come back later on and change the design because you wish you’d chosen an automatic one.

Other Costs and Expenses

There are many hidden costs that people don’t think about when building an inground pool. Here are some of them.

Landscaping: $3,000 – $5,000

Once your new pool is installed, your yard will look like a wasteland of dirt, rocks, and mud. It will take awhile for you to get the appearance back up to your standards. You’ll have to pay for things like sod, drainage, trees, and not to mention all the costs associated with getting the land ready for the pool.

Other Expenses

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Ready to Take the Plunge?

The total cost for installing an inground pool is somewhere around $37,000, but I think by this point, you see how it can quickly add up to much more. There are more expenses than simply putting in a pool and calling it a day.

In addition to the indoor pool and saltwater pool cost breakdowns that I linked to above, here are the other pool price studies I’ve done:

Your location, how much you do yourself, who you hire, and even the weather can impact how much you’ll pay in the end. Have questions? Let us know, we’ll be happy to help.

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