Why Inground Swimming Pools Often Go Over Budget

Freeform inground swimming pool

There’s no such thing as an inexpensive inground pool. If you do your homework on inground pool costs, you won’t be surprised when you get your first quote from a pool contractor. However, you may be surprised when you calculate how much you’ve actually paid for your pool once it’s completely installed. That’s because the many optional “add on” costs for inground swimming pools can drive up your bill faster than you might expect.

By some estimates, the actual construction of an inground pool is only about half of what you will eventually pay. Whether you need to keep your costs down, or just want a better idea of what to expect, here are some extra expenses to look out for.


For public safety, most local laws require you to have a fence around your pool. Regardless, you’ll want one to safeguard children and pets in the neighborhood. You can find removable pool fencing that is relatively cheap, but a permanent fence could cost you thousands of dollars. For extra safety, it’s also a good idea to have an alarm installed on your fence gate (as well as in the pool itself). Other safety features – many of which may also be required by local law – can also significantly add to your expenses.


Getting landscaping around your pool might be considered an optional expense, but not one in ten pool owners go without it. Whether you’re just planting a few trees and bushes, or building a fully paved deck and patio, you’ll want to do something to enhance the appearance of your pool. But it’s not just about aesthetics. Trees provide privacy and block wind. Decking helps keep your pool clean. Landscaping is an integral part of an inground pool, and you should start planning for it almost the moment you start planning for the pool itself.


Given how much you’re already spending on installation, it’s awfully tempting to spend a little more to add inground pool lights. They extend the swimming hours for your pool, improve safety – and let’s not forget – look really cool. But they can also be expensive, especially the ones installed underwater. Fortunately, you can find affordable LED lights that float on top of the water. For extra savings and convenience, you can even get solar pool lights that harness the power of the sun during the day to illuminate your pool at night.


When you first install your pool, a few cheap swim floats may be all you need. However, you may soon find yourself wanting more elaborate – and expensive – diversions. Diving boards, pool slides for the kids, water jets – these can all cost thousands of dollars. When planning, try to envision what things are going to be like after the initial excitement of having a new pool wears off. Are you going to want to add on to keep things fresh?

Ongoing Expenses

In a way, there really is no final price tag for a swimming pool because owning comes with ongoing costs. You have to pay for chemical treatment to keep it sanitary, whether you do the job yourself or hire a pool cleaning service to do it for you. You have to pay to keep the pump and heater running. And on top of all that, you may have to pay extra for insurance due to the hazards posed by inground swimming pools.

What’s the Bottom Line?

The reason it’s so hard to estimate the cost of a new pool is that there are so many variables in play. That’s why it’s often suggested that you can only get a meaningful answer by contacting pool builders in your area. However, even that might not give you a complete picture, as many of the costs cited here aren’t included in their price quotes. As always, it pays to think ahead and be prepared for the extra expenses. An inground swimming pool can be a wonderful addition to your home, but only if you can pay for it.