How Much Does an Inground Pool Cost? Let’s Break it Down

Like & Share

Boy diving into swimming poolAsking how much does an inground pool cost? is a lot like asking how much does a house cost? There’s no simple answer. Inground pool prices are dependent on so many factors that the only meaningful way to find out the true cost is to get a quote from a contractor – or better yet, many quotes from many contractors.

But before you call in a contractor, it helps to do some homework ahead of time. First, to get a very rough ballpark estimate of what an inground pool costs, so that you know whether you can afford even the most basic pool. And second, to get an idea of the sort of things a contractor is going to talk about that determine the price of the inground pool, so that you can be prepared to tell him or her what you want. That’s the humble goal of this site – to give you the basic facts you need to begin the process of getting an inground pool.

For an Average Pool, Expect to Pay $25,000-50,000

Understanding that this is a very rough figure, you can expect to pay $25,000-50,000 for an inground pool. Of course, that’s assuming a pool of average size, in an average city with the average cost of living, average extras, and average materials.

Of course, you probably aren’t average.

Things that Might Raise (or Lower) the Price of an Inground Pool

Here’s a list of things that determine the final cost of installing an inground pool.

Size. The size of the pool is the biggest factor in determining how much it costs. For every square foot, expect to pay around $50.

Depth. This is part of the pool’s size, but it’s worth calling attention to it separately. If you want a deeper pool, that’s going to require more labor (digging) and materials. On the other hand, if you’re building a kiddie pool, the cost will be less.

Materials. The materials you use to line the pool play a big role in determining cost. Gunite (concrete) and fiberglass are considered the premium materials, and will cost more than vinyl.

Picture of a large, freeform inground swimming pool

A large, freeform pool such as this costs a lot more

Your area. Generally, the higher the cost of living in your area, the more you will have to pay. Also, you will need to pay for permits, which could be a significant cost depending on where you live.

Custom shape. If you want a non-standard shape for your pool, you will have to pay extra.

D.I.Y. If you can do some of the work yourself, that can shave a significant amount off the price. Many companies actually sell inground pool kits that provide you with all the material you need. However, if you’re not up to doing everything, look for a contractor who will work with you (some will and some won’t).

Extras. Ho boy. This one requires its own section.

Extras You May Want or Need

Illustration of a pool with diving board

It’s no exaggeration to say that extras can easily cost more than the actual pool. Here are a list of extras that can quickly add up. Of course, “extra” is relative. One person’s extras are another person’s must-haves.

Fencing. This isn’t strictly part of the cost of an inground pool, but it’s something to seriously consider. If you don’t already have an enclosed yard, you’ll need to get one. Otherwise, your pool poses a danger to children and pets in your neighborhood, and you open yourself up to liability.

Diving boards. The cost of diving boards isn’t incidental, as they can run $400 or more. Also keep in mind that if you want a higher diving board, you will need a deeper pool – which costs more money.

Slides. Similar to diving boards, slides will add a non-trivial amount to the cost of your pool.

Spas. Obviously, adding a spa to your inground pool seriously raises the price. However, for many people, a spa is a must-have whose cost must be factored in from the get-go.

Lighting. There are all sorts of lighting configurations you can get with inground swimming pools. If you’re planning to swim at night, this is likely to be a key concern for you.

Swimming pool lit from inside and outside

Lighting can dramatically impact your pool’s appearance – and its cost

Obviously, you could go crazy with all sorts of other extras – kiddie water playgrounds, waterfalls, alcoves, or even something like a Hidden Water Pool. These extras can send the cost of your inground pool through the roof, but for those with money to spend, there’s often nothing better to spend it on than a top-notch swimming pool.

Pool Pricing Outlook for 2014

Illustration of an inground pool shaped like a dollar signThere’s one more variable in swimming pool costs that’s impossible to ignore – time. Like everything else, pool prices are subject to change. That’s why, if you stumble upon an article on pool installation costs from several years ago, you’re likely to get different (read: inaccurate) information.

This is especially true as the pool industry continues to recover from the devastating effects of the recession. With the housing market suffering and consumers having less money in their pockets, pool companies generally held the line on costs. But things began to change in 2013, and that momentum figures to carry through 2014. What does that mean for a homeowner looking to build a pool? It could mean that there will never be a better time to act. After all, once prices begin to rise, they generally only go in one direction.

Following Through

We told you it wouldn’t be simple to answer the question of how much an inground pool costs. Hopefully by reading this and other articles on this site, you’ll have a solid start in your research. When you’re ready, get in touch with at least three contractors (they should provide free estimates). It’s also a good idea to visit prospective contractors at their place of business. As anyone who’s ever built a home or done any sort of large renovations knows, the most important factor in success is finding a contractor you can trust.

As you begin to get an idea of how much your pool is going to cost, you should also begin planning how to pay for it – including any pool financing you may need. The earlier you start to plan these things, the sooner you can be relaxing in your new inground pool.