swimming pool enhancing-upgrading landscaping planting

This article summarizes the key factors to consider when estimating inground pool prices.  Each major factor affecting in-ground pool prices are explained, and by the end of the article you will have a price-range estimate of a medium-range inground pool installation cost.

Keep in mind swimming pool costs can vary greatly, but the intent of this article is to make sure you think through all the options available when considering a below-ground swimming pool, and avoid possible sticker-shock when getting the estimate from a swimming pool contractor.

Clear and Balanced Pool Water All Summer With No Headaches!

We're almost done making an eBook for pool owners like you that want an easy and straightforward guide to keep their pool water balanced and clear with as little work as possible.

Enter your first name and email below and we'll let you know when it's ready!

Poolforthought ebook swimming pool guide clean balanced water

Building an inground pool is a major construction undertaking, very similar to building a basement foundation a house.  A designer or general contractor plans the chosen layout, heavy equipment excavates the pool hole, forms and materials create a supportive structure around the pool, pool walls and floors are poured or installed.  Water pipes, gas lines, and electrical conduit is installed along with the pool water pump, filter, and control systems.

Underground pool prices depend heavily on how luxurious you want your pool to be.  Decking, landscaping, hardscaping, furniture, fencing, and other amenities typically double a basic inground pool installation cost.  For example, if you plan to spend $25,000 for a mid-range pool, you can expect to spend nearly that amount again on extras before your pool area is finished.

When getting an in-ground pool price from a pool contractor, the pool cost estimate often includes:

  • Digging or excavating  the pool hole.  The contents of the ground to be excavated matters.  If bedrock is underground, expensive chiseling and even blasting is often required.  Also, does anthing need to be removed first?  Old water and sewer pipes, tree stumps, concrete chunks, and even boulders are often encountered and can raise the excavation and disposal costs.  ($5,000-$10,000)
  • Pool support structure, walls, and floor.  Inground vinyl pool liners require structures built that form the walls of the pool, which the liner then adheres to.  Concrete pools are poured into metal re-bar cages to add strength to the concrete walls and floors.   ($6,000-$12,000)
  • Hardware and pool equipment.  Water pipes, a pool pump, and a sand filter or gravity filter are often included in inground pool price estimates.  ($4,000-$7,000)
  • Construction permits.  Contractors typically pass the permit costs to the pool buyer, plus add a little extra for their time to ‘pull’ the permits (applying for and receiving permits from the local authorities on your behalf).  ($500-$1,000)
  • Sales taxes, excise tax, disposal fees.  Contractors usually add excise tax and disposal fees to the estimate, but sometimes leave the tax off the initial quote.  Be sure to get a sales tax estimate as well, as this will add significant expense to the pool bid price.  ($2,000-$5,000)

There are key factors that affect basic inground pool prices:

  • Pool shape.  Prefabricated pools require less labor during construction and cost less.  A rectangular pool of a standard size will be less expensive than a custom round, kidney, or “L” shape.
  • Type of pool.  Residential pools are usually vinyl-lined, concrete, gunite or shotcrete, or inground fiberglass pools.  Each vary in installation costs and complexity, plus your geographic location affects how each they are to install.
  • Pool depth.  Generally, shallow or sport pools are less expensive to install than a diving pool, as there is less ground that needs to be excavated.
  • Pool size, or volume.  The larger the pool volume, the higher the construction cost, due to digging a larger hole, more wall and floor supports, stronger pump and filter requirements, plus more heating, chemical cost, and water.
  • Pool Electrical costs.   Electrical wiring is often not included in a basic inground pool price.
  • Pool water pipes and gas plumbing.   Water piping and possibly gas lines need to be installed, core water lines and any features (water fall, fountain, etc).
  • Distance from your house.   The farther the pool is installed from utility access, such as water, electrical, and natural gas, the higher the cost lay piping, lines, and conduit.  The location of your pool pump, filter, and heater also affects this cost.
  • Property location.  Does your property allow for heavy equipment to be brought in, or will pool contractors need to bring in smaller and more expensive manual equipment?
Using the estimates listed above, mid-range inground swimming pool prices can range from $19,000 to $40,000 for about an 18 foot by 36 foot rectangular pool.  Keep in mind the prices can vary widely depending on local labor costs and variations in each item listed above.

Many extras can add cost to inground pool prices:.

  • Additional support structures.  Concrete in northern climates require more re-bar to prevent cracking.  ($1,500-$2,500)
  • Perimeter fencing.  In-ground pools often require a safety fence surrounding the pool or the entire property, depending on local ordinances.  Also often required are self-closing doors with latches that shut as well.  Do you want simple four-foot chain-link fencing, or six-foot iron gating with finials? ($2,000-$12,000)
  • Pool decking.  Decking around the pool is required, as the pool coping is connected to the decking.  Some options include:
    • Concrete, either poured and leveled, or a more expensive stamped option.
    • Brick pavers can be laid, although they become notoriously hot in the summer sun.
    • Tiles or stone can be cut and laid.  ($4,000-$15,000)
  • Diving boards and water slides.    ($500-$2,500)
  • Extra pool hardware.  Extra lighting, ladders, handrails, steps, and hand railing locations are just a few options that can be installed in extra locations.  ($500-$2,500)
  • Extra pool equipment.  in-pool vacuums, automatic chemical delivery systems such as a chlorinator or ionizer, pool heater, sauna or spa, waterfall, or fountain are all examples of pool extras.  ($2,000-$6,500)
  • Pool cover.  There are many types of covers; manual or automatic, above the pool line or embedded in the pool coping.  Each have usability and aesthetic considerations. ($500-$3,500)
Totaling the estimates of each pool extra shown above, you can easily spend an additional $12,000 to $40,000 above the basic inground pool price.  Granted, these are extras.  Some may not be required or even wanted.   With the base inground pool cost plus the extras just mentioned, your total inground pool prices could range from $31,000 to $80,0000, or higher.

Some tips on getting inground pool prices

  • Consider building your pool off-season.  Late spring and early summer are busy building times for pool contractors.  You might get a discount if you build later in the fall.
  • Be sure to ask what utility work is included, such as electrical, plumbing, and any gas lines.  Utility work from the house to the pool equipment is often not included.
  • Also factor in future pool maintenance costs.  If you live in an area with constant water restrictions, then partially refilling the pool is an expensive proposition, and is often required nearly every season as the water builds up dissolved solids.  Larger pools will require more water and chemicals as well.
  • Consider the lifespan of the pool surface.  Vinyl-lined pools have an 8-10 year lifespan, versus concrete or fiberglass which should last longer.  Pool lifespan also depends on the harshness of your location.  Sunny locations degrade vinyl faster than cloudy areas.  Cold climates cause expansion and contraction of the pool and surrounding ground, potentially cracking concrete pools.

After reading through this article, we hope you have a better understanding of inground pool prices, and all the factors that go into the cost of building a swimming pool that is right for you.