Installing a swimming pool in your own backyard is a substantial investment that can improve the value of your home and lifestyle. If you’re considering maximizing the space in your backyard by building a pool, you’ll no doubt want to know how much you need to spend.
The cost of a swimming pool will greatly vary depending on the type, finishes and optional extras you choose. This guide will provide you with a general understanding of how much you should budget to have a swimming pool in your own backyard.
How much does an average swimming pool cost?
According to home improvement and market data websites, the national average for a pool is about $22,000. However, we understand there is a vast difference between the kinds of pools and the quality of the end product that will alter this figure. Above ground pools, for example, can cost as little as $1,600 whereas you could easily spend $150,000 plus on an in-ground pool with all the bells and whistles.
Beyond the type of swimming pool you choose, the cost will largely come down to the complexity of your design and the size. Do you want an infinity edge? Are you incorporating a spa? Is the pool built into your home’s architecture?
Costs of swimming pool by type
One of the biggest factors that will affect the cost of your swimming pool is the type. You have two main choices: an in-ground or an above ground pool.
Above ground pools are generally available in round or oval shapes and of varying sizes from 12ft all the way up to 41 x 21ft. As most are assembled onsite from a kit package and minor site preparation is required, this is the most inexpensive swimming pool option. An average cost for a round 19ft above ground pool is just over $6,200.
However, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to opt for a custom built concrete above ground swimming pool to negate the need for a pool fence around the entire perimeter or navigate a tricky site. Above ground concrete pools can carry a similar price tag as inground pools.
The cost of an in-ground pool automatically increases due to the extensive site preparation required and materials. There are typically three categories of in-ground pools that will dictate the financial outlay.
Vinyl pools feature a vinyl liner stretched over a frame made of timber, concrete or metal. The construction is relatively simple making it the most affordable in-ground pool type costing an average $35,000 – 50,000. A downside of vinyl pools is their reduced lifespan when compared to concrete. They are also more vulnerable to damage and algae growth.
As fiberglass shells are built off-site and craned into the prepared ground, less time is required at installation. Beyond the quick install time, fiberglass pools have several positive attributes including their resistant to algae growth and low maintenance. However, fiberglass pools are available in limited size and shape options. They also are vulnerable to cracking during install. Fibreglass pools cost on average $45,000 – 85,000 depending on the size, site access and added features.
The most expensive in-ground pool type is concrete costing between $50,000 – 100,000. Building a concrete pool is far more complex than installing a vinyl or fibreglass shell and take significantly longer as the concrete needs to cure. One of the major advantages of installing a concrete pool is the ability to customize the design including the shape and size. They’re also arguably the most visually pleasing of the three in-ground swimming pool types and superior from a structural standpoint. Beyond the longer installation time, the disadvantages of concrete pools are that it may require more maintenance and depending on the finish, some surfaces can be rough to touch.
Costs that impact your overall expenditure
The cost of a swimming pool includes more than just the install and the shell. There are several additions that you may need to factor into your budget.
Beyond the type of swimming pool, one of the major factors that will influence the overall cost is the finish you select for the pool’s interior. Concrete pools can be finished in a render, exposed plaster or tile with the latter being the most expensive. Fibreglass pools will be finished with a gel coat with options of an inexpensive solid coat or the more expensive multi-coat finish.
Find out more about concrete pool finishes here.
Decking or Paving
Regardless of the pool type you choose, you’ll want to deck or pave the area around the pool. When choosing a material, you’ll want to select a product that can withstand exposure to pool chemicals and be of a non-slip finish for safety. The cost will depend on the type of material, the size and shape of the area and the labour required for the install.
All municipalities require pool fences to prevent accidental drownings. Depending on your design, you may require the entire pool to be enclosed by fencing or a simple lockable gate at the entrance if you have an above ground pool. Pool fencing ranges from $4,000 to $35,000 depending largely on the materiality and perimeter distance.
Take a look at the latest pool fence regulations in California here.
You’ll require a pool pump for the operation of your filtration system and to ensure your pool water is clean and healthy to swim in. Pumps can cost as little as $150 to over $1,000.
Pool heating will maximize the usage of your swimming pool. The cost to install pool heating and run will largely depend on the type of system. Gas heating, for example, is typically the cheapest to install but the most expensive to run.
Find out everything you need to know about pool heating here.
Pool covers are beneficial at keeping debris out and the heat in. They can also help reduce the water loss and minimise the consumption of chlorine. It’s an optional extra that could be relatively inexpensive or exceed $1,000 if you choose an automatic or solar heated model.
Pool lights are not a necessity but will improve the safety, visual impact and overall experience of your swimming pool. As with most extras, you can choose from the basic halogen option to more expensive LED pool lights.
Click here to see some of your pool lighting options.
Water features are a popular way to enhance your entire outdoor area and bring interest to the swimming pool when it’s not in use. From waterfalls to a simple spout, there are many options however you will struggle to install a water feature for less than $1,000.
Diving Board & Slides
Diving boards and slides are a great way to inject more fun into your swimming pool, especially if you have young children. Both can be purchased for a few hundred dollars with the increased cost dependant on quality and integration.
Pergola & Awnings
Building a pergola structure is a popular way to create shade over the pool or integrate it with a pool house structure. A basic off-the-shelf awning can start as little as $250, however, a custom designed and built pergola will set you back thousands. The overall look of a custom pergola compared to a fixed awning though is unrivalled.
A pool isn’t complete without surrounding landscaping. This could include plants, shrubs and trees, lawn or rocks. The cost of soft landscaping around your pool will depend on the quantity and types of plants you choose.