Average Costs of an In-Ground Swimming Pool

Pricing out the costs of installing and operating an in-ground swimming pool is a complicated issue since there are so many variables: size, materials, accessories, and labor. Even the region you live in can make an enormous difference, both in labor costs and in the costs of maintaining a pool over the course of the year.

Swimming pool.
credit: Royal Swimming Pools
Some in-ground swimming pools come in a kit form that DIYers can install.

As of 2017, the average cost of a residential swimming pool was about $48,000 with a typical range of $35,000 to $63,000. Low-end pools can be installed for about $20,000, while at the high end, $100,000 pools are common. While the basic materials used in the pool plays a big part, costs can quickly climb based on the accessories you install. Fences, top-end patio decking, designer lighting, slides and diving boards, and built-in spas can add many thousands of dollars to the cost of installing a pool. On the other end of the scale, an energetic DIYer might be able to reduce the costs of a basic pool by doing some of the work themselves.

Base Prices

As a basic rule of thumb, you can budget about $50 per square foot for the base installation of a pool, and then add on the costs of various accessories and features you include. Be aware, though, that even the base price can vary considerably depending on the cost of labor in your region.

Small Pools

The base cost for a small pool, about 10 x 20 ft. in size (200 square feet) and 5 ft. deep is around $10,000.

Average-sized Pools

Average-size swimming pools, roughly 14 x 28 (392 square feet) and 6 or 7 feet deep start, start at around $20,000.

Large Pools

A pool is considered large when it reaches about 650 square feet, such as 18 x 36. Large pools typically have a deep end that is 9 to 12 feet deep. Base costs for installation start at around $35,000.

Custom Add-Ons

In addition to the base installation costs, you need to consider the many add-ons required by most pools.

  • Spa. A whirlpool spa will at $5,000 to $8,000 to the cost.
  • Slides. The cost of a slide will add from a few hundred to $2,000 to the cost.
  • Lighting. LIght fixtures in or around your pool will add $75 to $100.
  • Diving board. Plan on $600 to $1,000 for most diving boards.
  • Fencing. Required by building code in many areas, a fence around your pool. Figure about $20 per linear foot, plus another $350 for each gate.
  • Deck. The cost of the surrounding deck on your pool can vary greatly, depending on whether you're choosing a basic concrete deck, a more elaborate stamped or colored concrete, or natural stone. For a basic poured concrete pool deck, plan on about $10 per square foot for a professional installation.

The same pool may vary in cost considerably depending on where you live. This is mostly a factor of labor costs, which can be widely different depending on the availability of affordable labor. As we look at different types of pools individually, be aware that these costs are based on average labor and maintenance costs and in a region with a moderate climate and average labor costs. Your own costs may much different.

Types of Pools

There are basically three different types of in-ground pools: concrete, vinyl liner, and fiberglass. The first two types are built on-site while a fiberglass pool's shell is already manufactured, then installed on site. The main advantage of a fiberglass pool is that over the long term it will require far less repair and maintenance than concrete or vinyl. Concrete will eventually need to be repainted or resealed, and a vinyl liner will eventually have to be replaced. If properly taken care of, a fiberglass pool's interior finish will last much longer. The main expense of a fiberglass pool is the upfront cost for installation.

Concrete Pools

A concrete pool (also known as gunite) is formed with wet concrete shaped into a pool shell. This is a very durable type of pool, but it is by no means maintenance-free. Mold and algae may form on the shell, requiring an acid washing every three to four years. Most concrete pools also need to be re-plastered at least once during their lifespan.

Concrete pools typically cost between $50,000 and $100,000 to install, depending on size. And because they are usually larger than vinyl or fiberglass pools, plan on spending more for electricity and chemicals. Over a ten-year period, plan to spend an average of $27,000 on upkeep and maintenance.

Fiberglass Pools

When a fiberglass pool is installed, a leveled hole is first dug into the shape of the pool, then a preformed shell is inserted. While this can be done by a very skilled DIYer, it is usually s done by professional crews. Because the shells are shipped in a single piece, these are usually fairly small pools, no more than 16 feet across. Fiberglass pools are the easiest to clean and maintain.

Installation costs of a fiberglass pool can run from $45,000 to $85,000, This is the more economical pool to maintain, with an average 10-year cost of about $4,000.

Vinyl Pools

Vinyl pools are very versatile and easy to maintain. They are also the best choice for anyone who wants to install a pool themselves. They come in many shapes and sizes, and the soft texture makes them very popular for family use. Because they are easy to clean, most owners can handle all maintenance duties themselves, and because they do not allow algae to easily form, the cost of chemicals is also lower than with other types.

Average installation costs of a vinyl pool range from $35,000 to $50,000. Over ten years, maintenance costs, on average, are about $11,5000.