Inground pools are a great investment for a lot of homeowners, but they are just that – a significant investment. But just how expensive are they? The cost of an inground pool varies greatly depending on many factors that I dive into below. By the end of this article, you should be well-prepared to talk to your swimming pool builder about the entire pool installation cost and judge whether you’re getting a fair price.
My guide breaks down all the costs associated with an inground pool, including the pool size, materials, maintenance, additional features, and more. Here’s what I’ll cover:
- Overall cost
- Cost by material
- Cost by size
- Indoor pool cost
- Semi-inground pool cost
- Salt water pool cost
- Cost of water features
- Other expenses
Inground Pool Cost: How Much Does It Cost?
Let’s start with a simple answer. The average inground pool costs around $50-160 per square foot. This price totals around $20,000-150,000 overall from A to Z. Since that’s the average range, most people can expect to pay about $55,000 for the pool, but that depends on many factors.
This table will help break down the cost and provide a visual for you:
|National Average Cost||$45,000|
|Adding Waterfall Feature||$3,000-15,000|
|Adding Hot Tub||$5,000-12,000|
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 swimming pool, the pool builder you use, and much more. I’ll consider all these factors as I break them down in more detail below.
Cost by Type of Pool
One of the first determining factors you’ll have to consider is your materials. The type of pool you decide to build will not only play into the price you pay but will also impact how you maintain and use your swimming pool for years to come.
Some materials are easy to maintain and clean, while others require more effort and involvement. Also, some are affordable upfront, but the maintenance cost down the road quickly catches up to you. Let’s examine the options and some pros and cons associated with each.
Concrete Pools Cost
|National Average Cost||$60,000|
|Cost to maintain over ten years||$27,000+|
As you can see, a concrete pool (also called shotcrete or a gunite pool) 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.
The average cost of building a 14 x 28 inground concrete pool is around $60,000, running as low as $30,000 and as high as $150,000 or more for large pools with tons of features. Where you also run into severe expenses is the cost of maintaining these pools.
Depending on your luck, maintaining the pool over ten years could cost as much as $27,000 or more. These pools require many more chemicals, and most owners need to acid wash the pool interior 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. Many concrete pools are finished with plaster, which lasts around 10 years. Replastering can cost around $4-$10 per square foot, or upwards of $5,000 on average.
The main advantage of a concrete pool is complete control over the design and the overall aesthetics of the pool. You can add plenty of features with concrete that you can’t accomplish with vinyl or fiberglass.
- Complete control over the shape and design
- Adding value to your home
- Difficult to maintain
- Expensive to maintain
- High risk
Fiberglass Pools Cost
|National Average Cost||$52,000|
|Cost to maintain over ten years||$3,700 or less|
Fiberglass pools are affordable, and the maintenance cost is relatively low over ten years. You can expect to pay around $25,000 for a 10 x 16 and up to $62,000 for a fiberglass 18 x 30 pool. Fiberglass pools have few maintenance needs, so the cost over ten years is a little less than $4,000, and these pools last up to 25 years or longer.
There are many bonuses to fiberglass, the largest and most obvious one being the maintenance cost. Every other pool material will cost upwards of $10,000 over ten years to maintain, so fiberglass is likely 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 unique ways 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. Doing everything yourself is obviously the cheapest option, but keep in mind you’ll still have to rent heavy equipment, excavate your yard, set up the pool, install decking/coping, etc. Turn key is the most expensive and complete installation, in which professionals do everything from the planning to the installing to even setting up your equipment. Here’s a general breakdown of how much the different types of fiberglass pool installs work.
|DIY||$15,000 – $34,000|
|Assisted (they dig, set, and fill)||$20,000 – $47,000|
|Standard Installation||$25,000 – $62,000|
|Turn-Key Installation||$48,000 – $80,000+|
- Easiest pool material to maintain
- Smooth surface requires fewer chemicals to keep the proper pH level
- Installation is fast and affordable
- Not a lot of customization options
For more details, read my fiberglass pools cost analysis.
Vinyl Pools Cost
|National Average Cost||$32,000|
|Cost to maintain over ten 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, maintenance cost 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, so they’ll need replacing about every decade.
When that happens, you’re looking at around $2,500-4,000 to replace it, so this, along with patching and maintaining the pool, makes the average cost to maintain a vinyl liner pool across ten years as much as $13,000 or more. The advantage is that vinyl is easy to clean and has a very smooth finish that allows you to wipe the algae 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 don’t necessarily need a professional to handle this job from beginning to end. But, it is a difficult process that is easy to mess up. So, if you don’t have much experience, I recommend hiring a professional for at least part of the job.
- Low startup cost
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Comes with a small number of design options
- Liner replacements
- High maintenance cost over the years
Need more details on vinyl pools? Read my complete vinyl pool cost analysis.
Swimming Pool Cost Breakdown by Size
While the average inground pool is 14 x 28, you might want something 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 much more control over 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. Remember that these are rough estimates, and you should not take them as direct figures. Many factors will cause these prices to fluctuate.
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 indoor pool cost is between $40,000 and $200,000. However, the national average is just under $100,000. 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.
A few extra things you’ll need for an indoor pool are 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 pool size. Most people have smaller pools indoors, although some pool owners may choose to build a larger lap pool.
You can read a much more in-depth breakdown in my indoor pool cost guide.
Semi-Inground Pool Cost
Semi-inground pools typically require more work than a normal inground pool, so pool owners should expect to pay an additional $7,000-10,000 for installation. However, it all depends on the pool type. Gunite pools will cost more than a vinyl liner pool or other material typically used in above ground pools. While the materials for semi-inground pools may cost less than standard inground pools, the labor will quickly add up.
Get a quote from your pool professional if you’re interested in building a semi-inground pool.
Converting to Saltwater
There are many benefits to a saltwater pool, and I’m seeing more and more homeowners convert to this or start using salt water instead of chlorine. You don’t have to deal with the smell; plus, they’re easier to maintain and much more gentle on your skin.
The average cost to build an inground saltwater pool is between $30,000 and $60,000. If you already have a chlorine pool and you’re looking to convert it, expect to pay anywhere between $600 and $2,500 for the salt chlorine generator, depending on pool size.
Maintenance is simple. All you need to do is replace the cell in the generator every few years, which is around $800. This is cheaper with a saltwater generator. The salt for the pool is about $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 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 at night.
While that sounds great, these 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||$5,000 – $12,000 based on quality and features|
|Pool Lights||$500 – $2,500|
|Waterfalls and Water Features||$5,000 – $15,000 based on design|
|Diving Board||$250 – $850|
|Slides||$1,500 – $15,000 based on the individual situation and size|
|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 – $8,000 plus installation costs|
|Pool Cover||$250 – $3,000 or more for motorized covers|
|Pool House||$300 or more per square foot|
|Beach Entry||$5,000-$7,000, depending on the size and shape of your pool|
It helps to have a vision in mind when designing and planning 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. To find out more, check out my article on the cost of a pool cover!
Average Inground Pool Cost By State
I rounded up average pool cost data by state to give you a better sense of the going rate in your area. That said, each contractor and project is different, so make sure to consider all the factors I discuss in this article with your pool builder.
|Rhode Island||No Data|
Additional Costs and Expenses
There are many hidden and long-term costs that swimming pool owners 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 a while 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. Plan for around $5-12 per square foot to add trees, shrubs, and other landscaping. However, this cost can vary extensively depending on how much landscaping work needs to be done.
Other Expenses and Long-Term Costs
- Increased property taxes (nice guide here)
- Permits: $1,000+ (read my full post on pool permits)
- Electrical: $2,000+ per year (including monthly electrical costs)
- Maintenance: $1,000+ per year (more on that below)
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DIY Inground Pool Costs
Doing the installation of your swimming pool can save you a lot of money on labor costs. If you have experience with landscaping, excavation, concreting, and using heavy machinery, a DIY install could be a viable option that could save you tens of thousands of dollars. For example, a DIY install of a fiberglass pool can cost as little as $15,000, while hiring a company to handle everything may cost you more than $80,000. So, you can save quite a lot of money by doing things yourself. You will also have to account for renting equipment, purchasing materials, removing dirt, etc.
That being said, I only recommend doing a complete inground pool installation if you have experience with pool installation. It is easy to mess up at some point in the process, and the last thing you want is a pool that will have lots of problems later on. While you may save some money on the initial cost, repairs can quickly add up if the installation is not done correctly.
Questions To Ask Your Pool Builder
Here are some questions you should ask your pool builder that are important in determining the cost of your pool.
What Products Do You Use?
The supplies, materials, and equipment your pool builder uses are important to ensure the quality of your pool. You should ask for the supplier’s contact info to look into the quality of the products so you don’t have issues down the line.
What Is Your Installation Process?
Ensure that the installation and planning of the pool construction are mapped out before the project begins. This will ensure there are no kinks in the building process later on.
What Is The Estimated Project Deadline?
Your builder’s deadline is important for several reasons. For one, you want your pool to be ready for you when you expect it to be ready. Also, the longer the project takes, the more money you may have to pay for labor.
What Is Included In the Contract?
It is always a good idea to check the contract and ask your pool builder what they include in the contract. For example, some builders may not include cleaning equipment or electrical work in the build. This means you may have to hire another professional to finish the job. Make sure to negotiate with your builder to get everything you want to be included in the contract.
Ready to Take the Plunge?
The average cost for installing an inground pool is around $45,000, but I think you see how it can quickly add up to much more by this point. 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 above, here are the other pool price studies I’ve done:
- Natural pool costs
- Plunge pool costs
- Above ground pool costs
- Shipping container pool costs
- Swimming pool maintenance costs
- Swimming pool opening costs
If you’re thinking about financing, read my guides on how to finance a pool and pool loans.
Your location, how much you do yourself, who you hire, and even the weather can impact your expected price range and how much you’ll pay in the end. Have questions? Let me know; I’m happy to help.