It is hard to deny that a well-built in-ground swimming pool is an advantage to any home's property. Even if you're not a dedicated swimmer, a swimming pool lends a cheerful, fun air to the yard. For those who love to swim for exercise and for children, an in-ground swimming pool is nothing short of a slice of heaven.
An above-ground swimming pool can help you get up and running quickly and for less cost than an in-ground swimming pool. But an in-ground pool is a solid, permanent fixture that can add solid value to the property. With optional paving and landscaping, an in-ground pool can integrate seamlessly into your yard.
It is also difficult to deny that an in-ground pool is more expensive and a longer, more difficult build than an above-ground pool. Even a small in-ground pool will cost more than the largest above-ground pool. With an in-ground swimming pool, you pay for permanence, aesthetics, durability, and for the possibility that the pool will increase the resale value to your home.
Average In-Ground Pool Cost
On the lower end of the price spectrum, in-ground swimming pools cost from $37,000 to $67,000. Even the largest above-ground pool, measuring 32 feet long by 16 feet wide, will cost between $6,000 and $8,000, not including installation. This means that a small in-ground swimming pool costs between four to five times more than the largest above-ground pool available on the retail market.
Fiberglass In-Ground Pool Cost
While a concrete in-ground swimming pool is the sturdiest and often the most desirable, choosing a fiberglass liner swimming pool can save you a considerable amount of money. For a fiberglass pool, you may expect to pay between $20,000 to $37,000. Note that fiberglass pools are limited in size.
Small In-Ground Pool Cost
Though the average-sized in-ground pool is 14 feet wide by 28 feet long, it may be possible for some contractors to build a small in-ground pool for an even lower cost. For a 10-foot by 20-foot in-ground pool, the cost may go as low as $10,000 to $25,000. Adding 2 feet to the width and 4 feet to the length will increase the cost of this small pool to about $14,400 to $36,000.
Most communities require safety fencing around the pool. Based on a cost of up to $50 per linear foot, this means you should budget an extra $10,000 for fencing. Above-ground pools are typically not exempt from this requirement.
In-Ground Pool Installation
The working time for an in-ground swimming pool is about 40 to 60 days. But because the various layers of concrete need to cure, work downtime must be built into the schedule, for a total build time of between two and three months.
- Initial Meeting: When you meet the pool contractor, you will talk about the type of swimming pool you want, as well as shapes and special features.
- Plans and Permits: The contractor draws up plans and building permit applications are submitted.
- Layout: The basic shape of the swimming pool in established in your yard.
- Digging: Earthmovers arrive and dig out the pit for the pool.
- Plumbing: Plumbers install pipes for filtration and heating, a process that takes about two days.
- Rebar: The underlying steel structure is hammered into place in the earth.
- Electrical and Gas Connections: Electric cables are run and optional gas lines for extras like a firepit or a barbecue.
- Shotcrete: Concrete is shot through hoses into the rebar structure and left to cure for five to six days.
- Tile and Coping: Tile professionals install tile coping around the upper edge of the pool.
- Decking: Concrete is poured for the decking around the pool or natural stone or concrete pavers are laid.
- Inspections: Permitting officers must visit the pool site to inspect and sign off on the work.
- Pool Surface: High-pressure hoses are used to shoot a smooth surfacing material onto the top of the pool surface.
- Filling the Water: Filling the pool takes about two days.
In-Ground Pools vs. Above-Ground Pools
When deciding on an in-ground or an above-ground swimming pool, you will find clear pros and cons that help steer you in the right direction. Most homeowners who later become pool owners find that the choice was an easy one after they reviewed all of the details.
In-ground pools are best for homeowners who expect to remain in their homes for many years. In-ground swimming pools in warmer climates have longer swimming seasons and will receive more use than pools in cooler, wetter areas.
Adds to the property value
Permanent fixture in the yard
Expensive to build
Earthmoving equipment must access the yard
Longer build time
Above-ground swimming pools are best for homeowners who want to start swimming fast—often within a day or two—and want to control costs.
Cost far less than in-ground pools
Can be installed by the homeowner
Not permanent, can be moved
May be seen as an eyesore
Prone to leakage
Can be damaged by inclement conditions