The average cost for an inground pool installation is $35,000 for an average size pool. Hiring an pool builder, you will likely spend between $20,000 – $115,000 depending on the extent. The price of an inground pool can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). View our local pool builders or get free estimates from pros near you.
In addition to adding to the value of your home, a swimming pool can be a wonderful investment for your family, especially during the summer months. This guide will help you gather some initial numbers and understand many of the different components you will have to consider when shopping around for a company to build your pool.
The four biggest adjusters of your final price are the design you choose, the size of your pool, the depth of the pool, and the type of ground that has to be dug into for the pool.
Electing for a custom designed pool will cost more than a predesigned one. Depending on your creative vision and mojo, coupled with construction and design advances in the last fifty years, you could truly end up with a masterpiece that ends up in a magazine like Architectural Digest.
Time and materials are the next two factors that will affect the price. The longer and wider your pool is, the higher the quote.
Just like the length and width affect the cost of your backyard paradise project, depth becomes another multiplier for overall cost and materials.
If the selected location on your property for the pool is solid rock, then the time and equipment costs will be significantly higher than if your pool builder is just working with digging the space out of soft soil.
The main materials pools are made of are concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl. Based on the aggregated mean price from three different pool cost sites, costs for a medium-sized 14’x28’pool with a depth of six feet are:
|Pool construction Types||Average Cost|
|Concrete or gunite||$52,000|
The vinyl is a liner shaped from thermoplastic or steel panels which is placed over the pool structure. It will have either a concrete or sand floor. Like fiberglass, vinyl pools are available in a range of predesigned shapes or as a custom solution to suit your vision. In addition to being the lowest price option for a pool, they are also easy to clean, resistant to algae, and have a smooth finish.
On the downside, they are only as thick as a few sheets of paper and fairly unsuitable for a house with dogs or small children. Even without damage from little hands or paws, they only have a lifespan of about seven years before needing to be replaced.
Fiberglass pools present their owners with many benefits compared to a traditional concrete construction offering. Apart from being around 20 percent cheaper, it comes delivered as a single unit that will be dropped into the space dug out for it, so the time from ordering to swimming is much shorter than that of a traditional pool install.
In some cases this could be less than a week, including digging out the ground and the electrical work.
Because of the gelcoat finish, not only will it last until your kids have left the house, but it needs almost zero maintenance, looks lovely, and has a really smooth surface.
Additionally, the smooth surface is super resistant to algae and requires less maintenance of pH levels.
Apart from the list of positives, one area where a fiberglass pool is not as good as a gunite pool is that because of transportation and the install process, it will generally not come any larger than 16 feet wide. However, being molded at the factory, it still manages to be a significant length and comes in almost any shape you want.
Gunite is the name of the process to apply concrete to a form that will create your pool shape, Concrete and gunite are the same thing. Older concrete pools were built by pouring concrete into a wooden mold that created the shape, but a gunite pool is created by spraying the concrete and sand mix over a metal shape made of rebar. Because of this, you have more options regarding creative shapes for your pool.
Because of the nature of the surface of concrete, it may need a power wash with acid every four or so years to remove any mold or algae if maintenance hasn’t been the best. This will also hasten the need for it to be resurfaced because the method used to remove the algae will also weaken the structural integrity of the concrete.
Your interior surface finish choices are wide and varied, as are the final look, associated costs, and pros and cons. Your final decision regarding the finish will determine the look of the pool, and as such, plenty of research regarding the costs, durability and related upkeep is an important factor.
|Interior Surface Finish||Average Cost (per square foot)|
|Plaster||$4 – 7|
|Porcelain/ceramic tile||$5 – $35|
|Glass tile||$75 – $100|
|Stone tile||$13 – $21 (per 6”x24” panel)|
Depending on the finish, your builder will typically install or create a concrete shell and the finish will go on top of that, making the surface pleasant to walk on and ensuring the waterproof nature of the final product.
The top choices include aggregate, pebble, and plaster. A plaster finish is the least expensive and the most common selection across the US, but it comes with some downsides.
Plaster, also known as Marcite, is a mix of white cement and white sand or marble dust. It’s the most common interior surface finish for swimming pools because of its low cost. Unfortunately, it is the least durable and the most likely to easily display any and all blemishes and wear. Plaster is quite likely the oldest, but still used, solution for finishing out a pool.
When all the components are mixed with water and a few additives (to make it stronger), it forms a sort of paste that’s applied by a trowel over the concrete structure of the pool. While the resulting mix is white, dyes can be added to change the color to give the end result a lagoon appearance. The downside to adding darker colors is that they will magnify blemishes and imperfections, making installers reluctant to advise that direction for your finish. Also, because of how the final compound reacts to the chemicals added to the pool water, it causes problems in the finish and affects the pH levels of the water.
Surface maintenance is required in the form of an acid wash, on average every four years to tackle algae, and if you have hard water in your area, this will reduce the average ten-year life of the finish before it needs to be redone. An aggregate finish, while initially costlier, seems a smarter decision long term.
Additionally, apart from being the finish with the poorest structural integrity when compared to an aggregate finish, plaster does not result in a smooth finish and could generally be described as rough to the touch. It shows trowel imprints, and if dyed, it can lose the color in patches.
3M first introduced quartz aggregate in the early ‘90s. With plaster as the bonding agent, you can choose between a number of ingredients, including pebbles and quartz. After it has been applied, the top layer of plaster is removed to reveal whatever was mixed in.
The final aggregate finish has two more options to deliver the desired look and feel—exposed or polished. An exposed finish gives the aggregate a bumpy feel while the polished version is flat and smooth.
The quartz finish silica and quartz aggregate is mixed into the plaster. This combination of tiny, quartz, colored ceramic granules have been given a round shape by being tumbled in rotating drums like a precious stone polisher, only a lot larger. In addition to offering different looks, the combination of elements like quartz in an aggregate compound with plaster deliver a much tougher finish. It’s more stain resistant and nonporous than just plaster on its own and is offered in a wide range of colors.
Because of the somewhat visually random nature of the finish, quartz will help hide blemishes better than a pure white or blue surface. Despite being somewhere between 20 and 30 percent more than plain plaster, the advantages of an aggregate finish include it lasting between ten to fifteen years longer (and pebbles even longer) than plaster alone, make it a popular choice.
When looking for that more durable finish, a pebble aggregate finish is an ideal option. It’s popular because it looks and feels like the bed of a river or lake in which the water has naturally rounded out the stones. Additionally, this finish will provide the longest lasting of the available aggregate options, being almost completely resistant to erosion and stains. To suit your creative vision, the range of options with pebbles includes an array of colors and sizes. To get the best idea of the size that will suit your pool, visit your builder’s showroom to see what it feels like to walk and/or sit on the various sizes.
To apply the pebble aggregate to your concrete pool, it is mixed with plaster. The process takes more time and effort than either a plain plaster finish or the quartz aggregate interior finish, often needing multiple sessions spread out across different days.
Future repairs or resurfacing won’t result in odd-looking results because of inconsistent tonal ranges. Feel free to get creative from a design perspective to create something unique for you and your family to enjoy. You don’t have to use the same aggregate on your entire pool. For example, if you have small children, you could elect to have a small gentle slope for a shallow splash zone area with a depth of a few inches.
As mentioned, this will be the most durable finish available in the aggregate category with a stunning finish expected to last an average of thirteen years. This durability will add an average of 50 percent more than the cost of plain plaster, which for the average pool, could mean an additional amount just under $3,000. When looking at the math, you invest a higher amount initially, but it’s still cheaper after adding the cost of an acid wash required every four years on plaster, and the potential entire resurfacing required in year six or seven (if you have hard water) for the plaster finish.
Deciding to have tile installed across every square inch of your pool is definitely an option worth considering because of its durability and color choices, and it allows for more creativity if you want to include some artwork at the bottom of your pool—like the logo for a sports team or the initials for your college. Another option for people designing their pools is to use aggregate for the majority of the interior finish and then use tile as a trim feature around the pool—it starts four or five inches above the waterline and extends a few inches below it.
There are three main choices for tile: porcelain, ceramic, and glass, of which the most common option is porcelain. Once you have chosen the color, it can be finished out as either textured, glazed, or hand painted. Not only is tile easier to clean than an aggregate finish, it is also an incredibly durable finish for a concrete pool.
Glass tile is another winner in the realm of durability, possibly lasting as long as fifty years because it is completely resistant to the elements. It is a great choice if you want a bright pool, since the glass will reflect the sunlight back up through the water. While glass tiles have long been a design choice outside the US market, they are starting to become more popular here now.
Tiles can cost an average of $80 per square foot for materials and an average of $40 per square foot to install, which typically limits its application to high-end pools. Of the three tile options, the most expensive (by a long shot) is glass followed by stone, and porcelain is the cheapest.
Stone is largely an option selected for use in a shallow splash zone and the area surrounding the pool rather than a solution to finish out the interior. Options for natural stone tile include limestone, marble, slate, and granite. Being a natural substance, it provides a perfect transition from the pool to the landscape surrounding your pool. Manufactured stone is not recommended for use with fountains or pools because both the chemicals and the water will accelerate its deterioration.
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