What is the Cost of a Pool? A Rundown of Expenses

cost of a pool

If you’re looking into installing a pool in your backyard, you have a lot of costs to consider.

Of course, the largest expense is the how much the pool itself will cost. That price can easily run into tens of thousands of dollars. The average cost of an inground pool, according to HomeAdvisor is $51,500, but that prices can differ significantly.  

The price of a pool varies significantly depending on the size and types of materials you use to build it like concrete, fiberglass or vinyl. If you are building a simple small inground pool with a vinyl liner, the cost will be lower.

If you’re building a larger inground saltwater pool with special features, the cost of a swimming pool can rise quickly. Most people want a pool to use it for fun and exercise, but some want more customization, like a walk-in edge, hot tub, lighting or a waterfall.

(*Even if you don’t have all the cash right now, your budget may still allow for buying a pool. For the best ways to pay for a pool, please see Wallet Arrow’s full guide on financing options for pools: How to Pay for a Pool so You Can Afford It.)

How Much Does a Small Inground Pool Cost?

A small inground pool, or one that’s about 600 square feet or less, can come in many shapes and sizes. Even for a small inground pool, the cost will depend on factors like how much customization you want.

Inground pools cost about $50 to $125 per square foot, according to HomeGuide. Vinyl-lined pools are the most affordable, followed by fiberglass then concrete. For a small vinyl inground pool, you can expect to pay between $20,000 and $40,000.

How Much Does a 12X24 Inground Pool Cost?

An inground pool that is 12X24, or 288 square feet, is considered fairly small, although it’s large enough for entertainment and some exercise – and, of course, some poolside lounging.

A 12X24 pool with vinyl lining typically costs between $20,000 and $40,000. The average cost of a 12X24 inground pool that has fiberglass construction is closer to $50,000, according to Fixr.

Of course, additional features like special lighting or landscaping add to the total cost.

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swimming pool cost

How Much Does an Above-Ground Pool Cost?

Above-ground pools are cheaper than inground pools, although they can be just as refreshing. Plus, they are also less expensive to remove.

These pools come in many shapes and sizes. The average cost of an above-ground pool is about $11,000, but you can get an above-ground pool for as little as even $1,500, according to Fixr. On the low end, are round metal pools with a ladder.

On the more expensive end of above-ground pools are hard-sided pools with decks that require site clearing and leveling. Those can run from about $14,000 to $16,000.

Above-ground pools also typically demand lower costs for maintenance and utilities.

What is the Cost of an Inground Saltwater Pool?

Inground saltwater pools are the latest trend in swimming pools. On average, they cost $25,000 compared to about $23,000 for traditional chlorine pools, according to Home Advisor.

Saltwater pools are more expensive because they require a more complicated system upfront. You’ll also need to get the lighting and heating systems that are not damaged by saltwater.

Some people prefer saltwater pools because, although they still have chlorine, they are gentler on the skin and clothes because the chlorine levels are lower. Once you get a saltwater pool going, they also require less maintenance.

Other Pool Cost Examples to Consider

Once you pay for your pool to be installed, you’ll also face maintenance costs. These costs include cleaning the pool, paying for the utilities to run it and any repairs you may need. You’ll need to pay for any chemicals to keep up the water balance.

On average, the annual maintenance costs for a pool are $2,500 to $5,000, according to HomeGuide.

On a monthly basis, your costs could include pool cleaning service, testing the water and inspections of the water heater and pumps.  

You can expect to pay about $400 to open a pool, including removing the pool cover, checking for leaks and initial cleaning. For closing a pool – or draining the pumps, lowering the water level and replacing the cover – the price can be about $300.

Other extra costs to consider:

  • Fencing. You may be required by law to secure your pool with a fence. A basic chain link fence may cost you about $2,000.
  • Waterfalls. Lately, waterfalls have become an increasingly popular add-on for their appearance and playful addition to your oasis. They can also help circulate water. You can get waterfalls at a wide variety of price points, but they generally start around $1,500.
  • Diving Boards. A diving board is another popular feature for pools. With a starting price around $500, they generally aren’t too expensive relative to your total pool cost.
  • Heating. If you want a cozy pool temperature at all times, you may need a heater, depending on where you live. Heaters can cost between $1,800 and $2,400 for installation.
  • Permits. Getting a permit for a new swimming pool can cost a few hundred dollars. Inground pools generally do require a permit as they’re not considered “do it yourself” projects.

Is it Expensive to Get Rid of a Pool?

Pools are expensive, but they’re also semi-permanent. Of course, you can get rid of a pool, but it’s not easy and it’s typically not cheap.

The average cost to remove a pool is between $3,000 to $10,000, according to HomeAdvisor. It’s a process that usually requires a lot of heavy machinery and permits. Most people hire a professional to get the job done because removing a pool can be very cumbersome.

First, removing an inground pool requires draining the pool, eliminating the sides and then filling the space with backfill, or dirt and rubble.

For above ground pools, the process is easier and less expensive. It simply needs to be torn down and hauled away.

If you are building a pool with the idea that you might one day remove it, or if you’re buying a house with a pool you don’t want, get several estimates for its removal.

The Bottom Line

Pools offer a great way to entertain and can provide a relaxing oasis, especially in the summer months. If you know what to expect with how much a pool costs in advance, you can better prepare to finance it without causing harm to your financial situation.

The cost of a pool can be quite high, easily in the tens of thousands of dollars. If you’re ready to take the plunge, you can weight the pros and cons of each type of pool.

That way, you can plan for a pool that fits both your lifestyle, your home and your budget.

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