Want to know the cost to install an inground pool? A pool can completely transform your outdoor space and this is one backyard improvement project that delivers great ROI, creating an instant staycation destination right outside your back door – especially ideal if you live in a warmer climate that will allow you to use the pool throughout the year.
However, adding an inground pool is not a cheap project, and tends to be more expensive than what it costs to install an above-ground pool, so you will want to research the costs before you commit to this bougie upgrade.
So, before you start browsing pool deck ideas, get a thorough understanding of the expense involved. Here’s how you work out how much adding an inground pool will cost you.
How much does it cost to install an inground pool?
The first thing to consider is your location, according to Stewart Vernon, COO and co-founder of America's Swimming Pool Co (opens in new tab). If you live in an area where pool installation is in high demand and designs tend to be higher-end, expect to pay more. Vernon tells us that ‘access to materials’ and ‘the company you’re working with’ will also affect the total cost of your in-ground pool installation. ‘On average, the cost to install an in-ground pool is $35,000 to $40,000 depending on the size of pool that you are installing.’
However, it’s worth noting that ‘these days, the price range is currently between $50,000 and $60,000 for an average size residential pool.’Why this price hike? Joe Raboine, Director of Residential Hardscapes at Belgard (opens in new tab), explains that ‘right now, pool builders are booked out on average of 1-2 years, and just like most other things, the cost has risen dramatically. An inground pool can start around $35k for a small pool and run easily well past $100k. The average cost is about in the $50-70K range.’
In-ground pool installation is undergoing a boom, resulting in higher prices, so you do need to bear this in mind if you’re planning on having one installed. You also need to consider that if you want an inground pool, you are unlikely to get one this year - and maybe not even next year, especially in high-demand areas (think Florida).
Cost to install an in-ground pool by material type
The other big factor that will affect the cost of your new pool is the material(s) used. In-ground pools are either made of concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass. According to Vernon, ‘concrete pools are most expensive and can cost anywhere from $50,000 to over $100,000.’
If you’re looking for a lower-cost pool, an in-ground vinyl pool is ‘a good option for about $40,000 to $50,000. A vinyl in-ground pool is also DIY-friendly and cheaper to maintain because vinyl surfaces require less cleaning.’ The price of fiberglass pools is about $46,000 on average.
Saltwater vs. chlorine in-ground pool: which is cheaper?
Saltwater pools are often perceived as the ultimate luxury in in-ground pools, but actually, ‘it should only be around $2-3K more to install a salt generator vs chlorine’, according to Raboine. The small extra cost will reward you over time with substantial savings on maintenance: about $100/year vs $1000 for chlorine/chemicals. ‘The big advantage for salt is that it’s less harsh on your skin, eyes, and hair, and requires less work to balance the chemistry of the water’, so it’s well worth considering a saltwater pool if you can stretch your budget just a little.
Vernon also points out that the salt generator 'will require a replacement every five to seven years’, so that's an ongoing cost you will need to budget for if you are set on a saltwater pool.
The only negative to consider with saltwater pools is that ‘although it may require less cleaning maintenance, salt is corrosive to metal and, over time, will wear on metals surrounding the pool area, such as heaters, ladders, diving boards, etc.’ Of course, it will take a long time for this corrosion to happen, but be prepared that one day you may need to replace the metal fixtures of your saltwater pool.
What additional costs are there for in-ground pool installation?
There are many potential additional costs that will push your pool installation into the higher cost bracket. The addition of a built-in hot tub area within your pool will be the most expensive add-on (in the thousands), but every detail, from the quality of the fixtures and lighting to the pool lining will also affect the cost. Your contractor will give you a detailed breakdown of the costs, but it's a good idea to talk to them beforehand about your expectations and the look and level of pool you're going for.
How can I save money on an in-ground pool?
An easy way to save on pool expenses is to go with a simple design and ‘exclude the add-ons’, according to Vernon. Raboine adds that ‘There are a lot of features that can add cost – such as heaters, spillways, lighting, etc’ - these can push your total cost to well over $100k very quickly.
The other big way to save money on your pool installation is to do your own research as much as possible. Raboine says that ‘A homeowner can save money by doing some research upfront on the different types of pools, pool control systems, etc. and by starting out with a comprehensive plan/layout/design.
'By doing so, they can get several quotes comparing apples to apples. They can also do their homework on HOA and municipal requirements, permits, and fencing requirements. Heading into a conversation with prospective pool builders with all this addressed will take the pressure off the contractor to do that work.’ Basically, the more your streamline the project for your hardscaping contractor, the cheaper it will be.