Vinyl liner pools are a popular option among homeowners, but there are many factors to consider when deciding if this type is right for you—especially pricing. Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at everything related to vinyl liner pool costs, from installation to maintenance and repairs. We’ll also look at some pros and cons and briefly compare them to other pool types.
Let’s get started.
Initial Cost to Install a Vinyl Liner Pool
The first cost you need to be aware of when installing a pool is the initial cost—in other words, what you pay at the beginning when you buy the pool. The initial price includes the pool itself, pool features, and the landscaping in the surrounding area.
So what’s the typical price of a vinyl liner pool? It’s challenging to tell you precisely how much it will cost because many things influence the initial price. That said, you can expect to pay from $22,000 to $50,000 for a vinyl liner pool.
Here are a few of the factors that affect the price the most.
Pool size is one of the most significant determiners of the initial cost of your pool. It may seem like an obvious point, but the bigger you want your pool to be, the more you have to pay, as the price of a vinyl liner pool is charged per square foot.
One advantage of vinyl liner pools is that, unlike with fiberglass pools, buyers have plenty of options when it comes to pool shapes. However, keep in mind that when you deviate from a standard rectangle shape (which is the easiest to create), the pool’s cost can rise significantly. This point is especially true for vinyl liner pools, which are more expensive than concrete pools when you want to create custom shapes.
Where you live will also determine the initial cost of your pool.
In general, if you live in a northern state that has less demand, the price will go up. Hotter places like Arizona, Texas, and Florida tend to be cheaper because there are more professional options to choose from. And if you want to install a pool in a densely populated metropolitan area, you’ll probably pay more than if you live in the suburbs.
Site and Access
The most cost-effective place to place an inground pool is somewhere flat and open with easy access, which is not always possible. Some locations present challenges that drive up costs. Sloping sites are one example. Tight yards with difficult access are another, as they may require specialist equipment that you have to pay for as well.
Homeowners must consider what features they want their pool to have, or the accessories and landscaping that can make a considerable difference in how much you enjoy your pool. These things form a significant part of your budget, and having certain features can drastically raise the overall price of the pool.
Some, like pool covers, are necessary. Others, such as heating or cooling, depend on the preferences of the homeowner. Here are some common features that you may consider adding to your vinyl liner pool:
Thickness of the Vinyl Liner
It’s vital to know that vinyl liner pools come in a variety of thicknesses, ranging from 20 to 30 mils. As a general rule of thumb, thinner liners are cheaper. Their installation is quick, and they’re easy to work with. On the other hand, thicker lines are more expensive, and they are much more finicky to install.
We recommend going with the thickest option you can afford despite the additional costs and extra time of installing thicker liners. Thicker liners provide more robust protection against tears or punctures. You never know when some debris might fall in your fall and create a hole. The more you safeguard your pool against mishaps, the less you’ll have to pay down the road.
The top perimeter of the pool is called coping, which acts as the transition from the pool to the patio. White aluminum C-channel coping is standard on vinyl liner pools, though you can paint it different colors. The coping you choose affects the overall price of the swimming pool.
Steps and Benches
Steps come standard in vinyl liner pools, and they typically jut out of the pool. Some pool owners prefer to have the steps built inside the pool instead, which is a common—yet pricey—upgrade. You can also opt to have fun features like a buddy seat built into the side of the pool.
Another decision you must make is what material to use in the wall panels. The material you use can change the overall initial cost of your pool, plus each type has pros and cons.
Steel and aluminum are quite durable materials, but their problem is that they tend to corrode in the water. To eliminate the corrosion issue, some homeowners choose polymer panels instead. However, the tradeoff here is that polymer panels sometimes bow inward due to the soil’s pressure.
Unlike with other pool types, it’s entirely possible to install a vinyl liner pool yourself. DIYing the pool installation can save you a considerable amount of money—anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. But doing it on your own is a massive undertaking, and there are some things to keep in mind before starting the project.
Though it’s not typical, there are people with experience that can successfully undertake the whole endeavor by themselves. What’s more usual, however, is for DIYers to complete some parts of the project, like doing the initial excavation, and leave more complicated things like electrical work to professionals.
Keep in mind that your timeline will be longer if you do it yourself, and there is a more considerable margin for error. Plus, you virtually eliminate your ability to have any kind of freeform curve, which is a hassle and almost impossible to do correctly without professional help and tools.
Lifetime Cost to Install a Vinyl Liner Pool
Now that we’ve gone over the initial cost of installing a vinyl liner pool, it’s time to talk about the lifetime cost—or in other words, what you have to pay for once the pool is in place. As you can probably imagine, buying a pool isn’t a one-time purchase. There are things like maintenance, repairs, and replacements to consider.
These costs vary depending on the size and type of pool. For a vinyl liner pool, expect to pay anywhere from upwards of $13,000 over ten years.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these lifetime costs.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Vinyl Pool Liner?
Repairs make up a significant bulk of your pool’s lifetime costs. Wear and tear are normal, and you’ll likely have to pay to repair many of the following issues:
- Sun damage
- Holes, tears, and snags
But one repair you can’t escape with a vinyl liner pool is replacing the liner—which is perhaps the biggest downside to this kind of pool. The liner should last anywhere from five to nine years, and when it comes time to replace it, the average cost is about $5,500.
How Much Does it Cost to Maintain a Vinyl Liner Pool?
Maintenance makes up another significant bulk of your pool’s lifetime costs, and how much you pay depends mostly on the size of your pool. Professional pool maintenance in the summer months will set you back around $750, with prices ranging anywhere from $50 to $300 per month.
Further, you must pay for utilities to keep your pool running. Be prepared to tack on an extra $30 to $50 per month—perhaps more if you add extras like heaters, spas, or waterfalls.
Have more questions? Read my full inground pool cost analysis to compare vinyl pools to fiberglass and concrete options.