How to Estimate Costs for an Inground Pool

Before getting price quotes from contractors to build your inground pool, it helps to have a general idea of what the price might be, as well as what you're willing to pay. Much of the price tag depends on what exactly you want. A no-frills inground pool will be cheaper than a free-form sprawling inground pool with a hot tub, waterfall and patio furniture accompaniments. Local conditions will determine how much basic services cost as well.

Young man standing at doorway of hotel and young woman sitting at poolside
credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Pool accoutrements can easily inflate the cost of your inground pool.

Average Base Cost

As of 2014, a 32-by-16-foot inground pool cost about $22,000 to build, according to Time Magazine. Depending on how big your pool is, where you live, what materials you use and what city you live in, that figure can go as high as $50,000. That total only covers the initial construction. This does not include the slides, lighting, heating elements, spa or protective fencing that might accompany your inground pool. Even a simple diving board can add $400 or more.

Variables and Custom-Design Elements

From your base price, add $50 for every additional square foot of your inground pool. Expect to pay more for greater depth as well. As for materials, a medium-size fiberglass pool might run you about $40,000 as of this publication, while a vinyl pool would cost less. Cost of living in your area and permit fees are additional expenses to factor in. If you opt for an unusual design for your pool, that will also inflate the price. However, if you use an inground pool kit and do some of the labor yourself, you can save money.

Market Conditions

Ultimately, cost estimates for an inground pool depend on prevailing economic conditions. After the recession of 2008, prices for new swimming pools were relatively low through 2013. However, prices have risen along with the economy. Don't rely on what friends and neighbors paid to have their work done a few years ago when developing your own budget. Make sure you get up-to-date quotes from your swimming pool contractor before making your decision.

Maintenance Matters

Not only do you have to factor in initial costs of installing an inground pool, you must also take into account ongoing maintenance costs. These costs vary by location. To take one example, as of 2014 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., you could expect to pay $85 a month for pool cleaning services, $1,600 annually in equipment such as filters and vacuums and $2,500 in extra services such as resurfacing. Also factor in indirect costs, such as increased homeowner's insurance premiums for installing potentially-hazardous features such as heating systems.