What Is a Semi Inground Pool?

Written by Michael Dean
December 21, 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 a semi inground pool 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 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 generally 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 can be costly and the pool water can be too warm.

What Is a Semi Inground Pool?

A semi inground pool is relatively straightforward. As you might be able to guess from its name, a semi inground pool is partially installed above ground and partly in the ground. Typically, most of the semi inground pool will be inground, and a portion of the pool wall will rise above the ground. On the other hand, you will see some semi inground pools that are only partially submerged underground by a couple of feet.

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

infinity spa pool

There are several ways to have a semi inground pool that will perfectly fit your background and needs. 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. The possibilities are endless!

Is an Above Ground Pool 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 very 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 above ground pools 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 a vinyl, concrete, or fiberglass material like proper semi inground pools.

What Materials Are Semi Inground Pools Made From?

There are a few materials that 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 that can withstand the pressure of hundreds of gallons of water.

How Much Does a Semi Inground Pool Cost?

A semi inground pool can range anywhere between $25,000 to $100,000.

Generally, a semi inground pool will cost you more than an above ground pool. This is 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. However, they may cost you even 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.

How much a semi inground pool costs depends on factors such as the material and the size of the pool, as well as your location.

  • Material: 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: Generally speaking, the larger the pool, the higher the cost.
  • Location: Depending on your location, you may be able to find lower prices, as labor and material costs differ according to where you are based.

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.

And 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 sometimes be finished in a matter of days or a couple of weeks. However, fully inground pools tend to take much longer – weeks or even months!

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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 to stay in tip-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. And due to the exposed walls, the pool can trap more heat.

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?

If you’re looking to invest in a swimming pool, it’s important to know how long it will last. With proper maintenance and care, your semi inground pool should last you around 10 to 20 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. Of course, this depends on not only your care level for the pool but also 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. Whether you have 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 does not damage the pool’s walls.

Pros and Cons of Semi Inground Pools

Before you jump the gun and hire a contractor to build a semi inground pool, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. After all, this is a big purchase you are making for your home, and the last thing you want is to regret something that cost you tens of thousands of dollars! Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of semi inground pools.


  • Aesthetically pleasing: Semi inground pools are an aesthetically pleasing addition to your backyard. 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.
  • Quick installation: They can be installed quicker than a traditional, fully submerged pool. So when summer is approaching, and you want you and your family desperately want a pool ASAP, a semi inground pool is a better option than an inground pool.
  • Long-lasting: You’ll be able to take a dip in your beautiful pool for up to 20 years. If you properly maintain the pool, you may be able to enjoy it for even longer! Above ground pools may take less time (and money) to install, but they won’t last nearly as long as a semi inground pool.


  • Water temperature: Semi inground pools generally have a higher water temperature. No one wants to jump into a pool that feels like bath water. Luckily, there are ways to combat this by using a pool chiller.
  • Costly: Unfortunately, semi inground pools are expensive. 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.

Are Semi Inground Pools Worth It?

Semi inground pools can be worth it. They are very aesthetically pleasing and can be more versatile than other types of pools. They’re a great option for potential pool owners who don’t want to fully commit to an inground pool, as they are generally more cost-effective and functional. But on the flip side, semi inground pools are still much more expensive than above ground pools, so they’re still a major commitment.

Ultimately, whether or not a semi inground pool is worth it depends on your specific needs and budget. You should properly weigh the pros and cons before you make such a big and expensive decision.

Take the Plunge!

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 is definitely worth it for homeowners looking to add a little spice to their backyard.

Still have questions about semi inground pools or other types of pools? Drop me a line.

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