Unless you are buying a mansion for yourself, it is highly unlikely that your property will come with a swimming pool. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a swimming pool if you are willing to splurge some dollars for it. Even if you have enough budget to build a swimming pool, you will need that amount of space on your property. Almost all properties in the United States doesn’t come with a built-in swimming pool, which demands homeowners to create one for themselves.
Today, in this article we will discuss the cost involved in creating a swimming pool in the USA. The average cost of building a basic swimming pool in the USA is between $30,000 to $45,000; however, to create a pool with gunite concrete and its accessories can cost up to $90,000. For an average budget of $60,000, you can build a desirable swimming pool in your backyard for your whole family.
Above and In-Ground Swimming Pool
Installing an above-the-ground swimming pool is cost-effective than installing an in-ground swimming pool. For an above-the-ground swimming pool an average budget of $15,000 to $40,000 is enough; however, installing an in-ground swimming pool is rather expensive and can cost up to $100,000 for a high-end installation. A decent in-ground pool can be installed for an average budget of $60,000.
In-Ground Pools (avg. $60,000)
Inground pools is a desirable option among homeowners for its aesthetic value, structural & design flexibility, and increased property value. However, the in-ground pool is expensive and have some disadvantages compared to an above-ground pool.
- Create larger pools and option to give various shapes and sizes that’s impractical with an above-ground pool.
- Safer and suitable for family as it can have varying depths. The pool can have a sloped base where water depths vary from shallow to deep.
- Have a more professional and aesthetically pleasing appearance. Aesthetically, above-ground pools look like they are out of place.
- You have more customization option and can add more accessories such as a diving board, slide, etc.
- It takes months to install and is an expensive operation as you will need heavy equipment to dig-out and transport dirt away. Cement will have to pour and other aspects such as lighting, pumps, heaters, etc. have to be done by experts to fit an in-ground pool.
- In case of damage, an in-ground pool is more expensive to repair and maintain its aesthetics. Moreover, larger pools would need more expensive equipment to change water or more chemicals to keep it clean.
- You will need larger pumps and heating equipment thereby increasing its installation cost as well as get recurring high water and electricity bills to maintain the pool.
- In-ground pools are relatively fixed, and if you want to remove, displace or change the design of the pool, it will be as expensive as installing a new pool.
- Large in-ground pool is expensive and hard to keep it clean.
Above-Ground Pools (avg. $35,000)
An above-ground pool is a cost-effective alternative, especially if you have a small space and are not concerned about aesthetics.
- It’s cheaper and easier to install and doesn’t involve using heavy equipment to install, plus, not much ground prep-work is necessary to install above-ground pools.
- Both installation and removal of the pool can be done easily with minimal help from professional, which can be achieved within a week.
- Most above-ground pools are smaller, making it easy to clean and maintain.
- It uses less water and chemicals to maintain thereby reducing the water and electricity bills significantly compared to in-ground pools.
- Along with being less expensive, it’s also safer because of its raised platform.
- It doesn’t have that aesthetic appearance of an in-ground pool.
- Small size makes it ideal for a small family but not suitable to accommodate large parties.
- The depth of the pool is constant and customizing a varying depth would need a larger pool size and more investment.
- There is less option for customization and adding pool accessories.
- It has a weaker structure compared to an in-ground pool.
Cost of Installing an In-Ground Pool (avg. $60,000 for a High-End Installation)
01. Cost of Preparing the Ground for In-Ground Pool (avg. $300)
For installing an in-ground pool, some initial prep-work is needed. The first thing to do is an inspection of the property which will be done by a contractor. The contractor will inspect the ground, and determine the cost and feasibility of the installation. Contractors can charge up to $150 for inspection. If the ground is determined feasible, you will have to acquire a building permit which will cost up to $200 for an in-ground pool.
The homeowner would also have to meet other residential swimming pool guidelines including fencing, dept and other aspects, depending on their location. Next, the prep-work may require blasting to remove rocks and debris to get a smooth surface. Blasting can cost up to $10 per linear foot in most places in the USA.
02. Cost of In-Ground Pool Hardware (approx. $1950 to $3850)
Water Pump (approx. $200 to $600)
The water pump is responsible for drawing water from the pool, run it through the filtration system and the pump is back into the pool. Its two-fold cost includes the cost of a bucket with a lid and the basket. Including installation, the cost of the water pump can range between $200 to $600.
Water Filter (approx. $200 to $1600)
After the pump has drawn water from the pool, it will push it through the filter; after filtration, the pump will push clean water back to the pool. The filter removes debris and other unwanted material from the pool water. It is typically of three types: cartridge filter, diatomaceous earth (D.E) filter, and sand filter. A typical cartridge filter can cost between approx. $200 to $1000; a DE filter can cost between approx. $400 to $1600; a sand filter can cost between approx. $200 to $1200.
Return Jet (approx. $10 to $30 per jet)
The return jet is responsible for pushing clean water back into the pool after filtration and also circulates water around the pool. Each return jet can cost between approx. $10 to $30; and you will need at least two return jets for one skimmer.
Skimmer (approx. $1500)
The skimmer sucks in water from the pool and runs it through the basket that prevents any debris from entering the filter. In general, for a modest pool, you will need only one skimmer which can cost up to approx. $1500. However, many pools will have more skimmers with double the number of return jets.
Main Drain (approx. $20 to $70)
The main drain of the pool is typically installed at the deepest part of the pool which pushes water through the filter. The main drain can cost between approx. $20 to $70.
03. Cost of Concrete for In-Ground Swimming Pool
Cast-in-Place (approx. $60/sq.ft.)
It is one of the most popular concrete choices among homeowners. The contractors would build a form using wooden boards and pour concrete into the form to give its shape.
Shotcrete (approx. $60/sq.ft.)
It produces the strongest structure where concrete is poured into the pump and sprayed in layers through an outlet.
Structural (approx. $70/sq.ft.)
It involves installing concrete slabs piece by piece which is suitable for constructing swimming pools on uneven surfaces and within building premises.
Gunite (approx. $80/sq.ft.)
The concrete mixture is usually less water and more of concrete mixture and sprayed using a pressurized hose.
Cost of Different Types of Swimming Pool Finishes
Plaster (approx. $5/sq.ft.)
Plaster is a mixture of white sand, white cement, marble, and water, which is installed or applied on the concrete pool. It is typically white, and you can dye various colors to give its distinctive appearance. Plaster is not much durable and lasts only up to 7 years on average. This finish is cheaper and has a good aesthetic appearance, but needs high maintenance, which will otherwise crack or stain.
Paint (approx. $2 to $6/sq.ft.)
It is a more durable option which not only gives a beautiful appearance but also lasts longer than a typical plaster finish. Paint finish consistently looks new but doesn’t last long. You can choose from acrylic paint, rubber paint, and epoxy paint to get the finish you want. Pain is affordable, but the pool has to be painted every five years to keep its shine.
Tile (approx. $7 to $40/sq.ft.
Tile is easier to clean and maintain, which is also durable and looks brand throughout the lifetime of the pool. It is typically made from stone, or porcelain which is sturdy but also prone to cracks.
Cost of Labor in Installing In-Ground Pool (approx. $1,500 and $2,500)
- The construction begins with a contractor laying out a pool plan depending on the shape and size you need. Then the land has to be dug out using front end loaders and then create pool shell and reinforce it with steel bars.
- After the steel reinforcement, labors would move to plumb for spas and main drain. Next, concrete is poured into the mold and then left for drying for a few days. After installing the concrete, it is given its finish using tiles or paint. Next, the plumbing will be accomplished along with plans for pool circulation. Finally, the pumps, filters and other electrical system are put to place. However, it’s worth noting that for the pool electrical system you have to adhere to strict government guidelines.
- Next, the constructor will install the deck and clean-up the area of remaining waste and debris. Then, the interior finish is done using paint or plaster after which the pool will be filled with water. Next, the contractors will test the pool equipment to ensure that everything is operating properly.
The complete installation process can take from one to three months, depending on the shape and size of the pool.
Cost of In-Ground Pool Maintenance (Approx. $25,000 for ten years of Concrete Pool)
- Test kits and chemicals (PH, calcium and sanitizers levels) – approx. $75 per month
- Electricity cost for a heat pump – approx. $90 to $200 per month
- Electricity cost for a filter – approx. $40 per month
- Professional pool cleaning – approx. $150 per month
- Pool vacuum – approx. $150 per month or approx. $600 for a vacuum.
- Water level adjustment – approx. $50 per year
- Chemicals – approx. $30 per month
- Lubricant – approx. $20 per month
- Professional testing – approx. $40 per test
- Brush – approx. $50 per brush
- Acid washing – approx. $230
- Filter cleaning – approx. $200 to $1000 for cartridge filter; approx. $500 to $1500 for DE filter; approx. $250 to $1000 for sand filter
- Chlorine – approx. $20 to $50
- Bromine – approx. $30 to $40
- Pool shock – approx. $30
- Algaecide – approx. $20
- Clarifier – approx. $30
- Stain removal – approx. $20
- Water stabilizers – approx. $25
The labor cost of maintaining your in-ground pool can cost between $200 to $300 per month or up to $70 per hour. Winterizing pool by a professional would cost approx. $150.
Cost of In-Ground Swimming Pool Accessories
- Salt chlorine generator – approx. $1500 to 2500
- Winter cover – approx. $90 to $250
- Security cover – approx. $2500 to $4000
- Automatic pool cover – approx. $10,000 to $16,000
- Solar pool cover – approx. $1000
- Pool lighting – approx. $700 to $900
- Propane pool heater – approx. $3000 to $4000
- Heat pump pool heater – approx. $5000
- Diving board – approx. $600
- Pool slide – approx. $1000 to $10,000 for long slides
- Pool ladders – approx. $200 to $400
- Automated control system – approx. $2500 to $4000
- Cascade waterfall – approx. $1000 to $2000
- Bubblers – approx. $500 each
- Deck jet – approx. $700 each
- Fire bowls – approx. $3000 to $7000
- Spa, wet deck, and wading pools – approx. $7000 and up
- Pool bench – approx. $400
- Pool deck storage – approx. $300
- Door alarms – approx. $150 to $250
Pool Enhancement Cost
A poolside utility shed will keep all your pool accessories and equipment protected. This is a viable option for homeowners who frequently get rough weather conditions. For a ten sq.ft. shed it will cost you approx. $2700. On top of that, the labor cost will be around $70 per hour and the electrician cost of nearly $80 per hour.
When you need a dramatic backdrop, a raised retaining wall will do the trick. This supports the vertical slopes to hold back water. It can be made from stones, concrete or wood, depending on your needs. Retaining walls typically cost between approx. $10 to $40/sq.ft.
The fence is essential for creating a barrier as well as keep things private and for the most part in many places having a fence is mandatory by law. A pool fence installation would approximately cost around $1200 along with a self-closing gate.
Many would add a waterfall to their pool for aesthetic and have that soothing noise. Along with providing an aesthetic appearance, it prevents algae from breeding. In an average for a 12 sq.ft. waterfall it would cost around $1200.
Pool enclosure is like a glass shade surrounding and covering the pool. It helps maintain temperature and even provide additional security and protection from debris, dust, and bugs. For a medium size pool, the approximate cost of a pool enclosure would cost nearly $2300.
Cost of Installing Above-Ground Pool (Approx. $35,000 for a High-end Installation)
Homeowners spend up to an average of $3000 in purchasing an above-ground pool. Moreover, a professional installation would cost another approx. $3000. The price is for the construction; however, the cost will increase dramatically when you need leveling of ground, dumping dirt, spreading sand, and installing electricity. It will cost even more if some trees or bush has to be removed, for which you will need a building permit. Above-ground pool come in two shapes: round and oval.
- 12 ft.Round pool – approx. $1100
- 15 ft.Round pool – approx. $1700
- 18 ft. Round pool – approx. $3200
- 24 x 12 ft. Oval pool – approx. $2500
- 30 x 18 ft. Oval pool – approx. $3500
- 40 x 21 ft. Oval pool – approx. $4500
A 24 x 12 ft. above-ground pool involves other expenses such as material transportation and waste removal.
- Steel Frame Kit – A 612 sq.ft. liner surface, 288 sq.ft. footprint; ladder, pump, filter, piping, and 120V switch costs approx. $5/sq.ft and a total of approx. $3200.
- Deck – Redwood deck, patio deck and stairs costs approx. $8/sq.ft and a total of approx. $4800.
- Fence – Vinyl security fence, walkway, self-closing gate cost approx. $20/sq.ft. and a total of approx. $2600.
- Total material cost – approx. 11,000
- Labor cost for a pool – approx. $35 per hour and a total of $450
- Cost of Labor for deck – approx. $35 per hour and a total of $3200
- Labor cost for the fence – approx. $35 per hour and a total of $500
- Total cost – approx. $14,500 for a standard installation
Additional Cost to Consider
- After installing a concrete pool, you will have to consider the cost of maintenance. You will have to resurface it if you find chipping, cracks or spots on the pool surface. To keep maintenance cost within budget, you should always check-up for the warranty offered by the company and avail lifetime structural warranty to reduce cost. It is also worth noting that you get the surface warranty written so that you can claim if something goes wrong.
- Many homeowners opt for the saltwater pool for its low maintenance, but you should also consider the fact that its result in higher pool surface erosion and corrosion of accessories such as a ladder, and diving boards. Hence, you will have to purchase marine-grade accessories at a higher cost if you want a saltwater pool.
- When hiring contractors, you should decide the time of completion beforehand and should get written down. In most cases, it takes more time to complete, and contractors may charge an additional fee for the extra time; hence it would be wise to get into an agreement with the contractors beforehand. Moreover, you should also consider the cost of blasting during the excavation phase.
- For most places, homeowners are required by law to install a pool fence and would need permits to build pool or spas. Furthermore, you can build the pool on your own after getting the permit which will reduce your expense to approx. $10,000, but it would not be easy and may take even more time to complete.
Ground Preparation and Family Safety
- Before building your pool, you should check up with the building and zoning regulation to avail permit for an in-ground or above-ground pool. You should also check-out the ISPSC (International Swimming Pool & Spa Code and Commentary) official website to learn about the legal permits and requirements. Here, you will get information on every aspect of installing pool and spa, including fencing, pumps, water quality safety, design and more.
- A large part of the initial prep work cost will depend on the type of landscape and the stability of soil. It may need pre-tamping or removal of debris and trees, for which you will have to pay and consult your contractor if you need a permit to remove trees.
- You should also consider if a pool will increase your property tax and checkup how it will affect your insurance. Most insurance will cover injuries in the pool but will not cover the pool itself. You may have to install a protective fence and child-proof gates for safety.
- Also, consider the purpose of the pool and your family members before installing a pool. If you have children and pets in your house, you may have to install safety ladders and other protective measures such as door alarms.
The cost breakdown mention above is a comprehensive guide for a medium to high-end installation. You should be able to build your swimming pool at a much cheaper cost if you can put up with the additional accessories and aesthetics. That said, a pool will always be a great place for entertainment, and some homeowners spend a fortune to build the pool of their dreams. Moreover, you should consider other aspects such as the vinyl liner pool or fiberglass pool to reduce maintenance cost in the future.
Although they will cost over approx. $30,000 for a basic installation, it will serve you later will low maintenance cost. For the most part, a large amount of expense on a swimming pool comes from its monthly maintenance which can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars for a period of 10 to 15 years. Therefore, it is wise to weigh out various aspects of the pool before installation and talk to an expert contractor to reduce cost.