What Is a Semi Inground Pool?

Written by Michael Dean
June 8, 2023

semi inground pool

There are a few options when installing a swimming pool in your backyard. You’ve probably heard of and seen above ground pools and fully inground pools. But what is a semi inground pool?

If you’ve been wondering what this is and if it’s the right type of pool for you, you’re not alone. I’ve built a bunch of semi inground pools over the last few decades in the swimming pool business. Here’s an overview of semi inground pools to help you decide if it’s a good option for your home.

Main Takeaways

  • A semi inground pool that is partially above ground and partially in the ground, with, typically, the majority of the pool inground.
  • Semi inground pools can be made of vinyl liner, concrete, or fiberglass.
  • Semi inground pools cost around the same as fully inground pools, but in some cases, it may even cost more.
  • Semi inground pools are aesthetically pleasing, quicker to install than fully inground pools, and are long-lasting. However, these pools are costly and are much warmer.

What Is a Semi Inground Pool?

A semi inground pool is relatively straightforward. A semi inground pool is partially installed above ground and partly in the ground. The typical design for semi inground pools is that the majority of the pool will be inground, and a portion of the pool wall will rise above the ground.

Here’s an example of a semi inground spa pool I installed recently for a customer with a beautiful mountain view.

infinity spa pool

You will see some semi inground pools that are only partially submerged underground by a couple of feet. There are several ways to have a semi inground pool that will fit your background and needs well.

Many people install a semi inground pool because they can use the above ground portions of the pool walls for various things. For example, you can use this above ground area for bar space, waterfalls or other water features, and additional entry points to the pool.

Is an Above Ground Pool That’s Installed Partially Inground Considered a Semi Inground?

Technically speaking, that would literally make the pool semi inground. But this is not the same concept as building the pool semi inground with a wall that extends above ground. The installation process is much different, as well as the material that the above ground pool is made of. You can see for yourself in my article on the best quality above ground pools.

You will see kits sold at stores or online that come with a kit showing you how to place your above ground pool partially in the ground. These pools are typically made with a steel or aluminum wall rather than vinyl, concrete, or fiberglass material like semi inground pools.

What Materials Are Semi Inground Pools Made From?

There are a few materials that many semi inground and inground swimming pools are made of. The three most popular swimming pool materials are:

You will sometimes see other swimming pools made of steel, aluminum, and even bricks. Regardless of what material you choose for your new pool, you’ll want to make sure you choose an incredibly strong material to withstand the pressure of hundreds of gallons of water.

How Much Does a Semi Inground Pool Cost?

Installing a pool of any kind will cost you a pretty penny. Several factors go into the cost of purchasing and installing a pool. So, what could a semi inground pool cost you?

Generally, a semi inground pool will cost you more than an above ground pool. Due to the installation process and the materials it’s made out of. It will also cost more than an above ground pool with a kit to lower it into the ground.

Semi inground pools have a similar cost to fully inground pools. They may even cost you more depending on how high you want the pool walls that are above ground. This is due to potentially needing extra materials and more labor.

What your pool is made of plays a role in the cost. A vinyl liner will be the most affordable option in most instances. The installation will run you anywhere from $25,000 to $65,000.

Fiberglass swimming pools are in the middle of the road and will run you between $40,000 and $85,000. Concrete is the most expensive and will cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000.

Size also plays a role. Generally speaking, the larger the pool, the higher the cost. Depending on your location, you may be able to find lower prices.

How Does the Installation Process Differ From a Fully Inground Pool?

The short answer to this question is that a fully inground pool is installed 100% in the ground. Thus, the walls are fully submerged beneath the Earth.

Those working on your swimming pool can install semi inground pools either fully submerged but with one or more walls rising above the ground or only slightly submerged with walls rising above still.

The time frame for completing your swimming pool project is another way these two differ. Semi inground pools can be finished in a matter of days sometimes. However, fully inground pools tend to take much longer. They’re usually not completed for a couple of weeks.

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What Are Common Problems with Semi Inground Pools to Watch Out For?

Semi inground pools are not without fault. Here are some common issues people have with their semi inground pools you’ll want to watch out for if you’re considering installing one.

Maintenance of the Raised Walls

As we know, the walls are the backbone of a semi inground pool. So for those walls that rise above the pool, you’ll want to maintain them regularly, so they stay in top condition.

Lack of maintenance of these walls can harm your pool and cost you more in the long run.

Water Temperature

While this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for most, you may experience a higher water temperature with a semi inground pool. This is because some, if not most, of the walls are partially above ground. Therefore, the pool can trap more heat since the walls are exposed.

Fully inground pools tend to have a lower water temperature because the ground completely surrounds their walls. A way to combat the higher water temperature of your semi inground pool is to purchase a pool chiller.

How Long Do Semi Inground Pools Last?

Knowing how long it will last is something you’ll want to consider if you’re looking to invest in a swimming pool. With proper maintenance and care, your semi inground pool should last you around ten years before it needs resurfacing.

To put it into perspective, above ground pools only have a 7 to 15-year lifespan, regardless of how well you take care of them. Something to keep in mind is that this depends on your care level for the pool and the material it is made of.

You’ll want to make sure that, in addition to maintaining the pool walls, you’re caring for the water in your pool. If you want a saltwater or chlorine pool, you’ll need to regularly check the chemical levels in the water to ensure it’s safe to use and that it’s not damaging the pool’s walls.

Pros and Cons of Semi Inground Pools

Whether you’re choosing a pool or a new refrigerator, everything has its benefits and disadvantages. Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of semi inground pools.


Aesthetically speaking, semi inground pools offer a more pleasing appearance. You can do many things with the raised wall or walls. You can really showcase your personality with various water features and waterfalls or make space for a bar.

They can be installed quicker than a traditional, fully submerged pool. So when the Summer is approaching, and you want you and your family to cool down in the water quicker, a semi inground pool is a better option than an inground pool.

Semi inground pools are long-lasting. You’ll be able to take a dip in your beautiful pool for almost 20 years. It may even be longer if you can properly maintain the pool. Above ground pools take less time to install, but they won’t last nearly as long as a semi inground.


Owning a semi inground pool may mean that your water temperature is higher. No one wants to jump into a pool that feels like bath water. Luckily, there are ways to combat this, so you can still install this type of pool.

Semi inground pools can be costly. Evaluating the material you want your swimming pool made with can help determine your total cost. The cost of decorating and styling is an important factor that comes with the aesthetically pleasing benefit of semi inground pools. This alone can add to your bill.

Wrapping Up

Semi inground swimming pools are a wonderful way to spruce up your backyard and cool off during the hot months of the year.

These pools can be installed relatively quickly and allow you to showcase your personality through your backyard.

They may cost more than above ground pools but installing a semi inground pool can be considered an investment. This is an investment not only in your home but also in your happiness.

Still have questions? Drop me a line.

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