In-Ground Pool Costs, Benefits, and Installation

in-ground pool cost

What does an in-ground pool cost? That’s the question on everyone’s mind when planning the perfect backyard oasis for their dream home. The average cost of in-ground pools in the United States ranges between $28,000 and $55,000, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. This comprehensive pricing guide explains the expenses associated with in-ground pools.

The Dream of Owning a Backyard Oasis with an In-Ground Pool

If relaxing around a pool with your family in your backyard sounds alluring to you, you’re not alone.

Almost everyone dreams of having a backyard oasis complete with an in-ground pool. Pools are great for entertaining, and they can benefit the entire family in numerous ways by providing a venue for exercise, stress relief, and fun times. 

Factors Affecting In-Ground Pool Cost

The average cost of an in-ground pool is about $50,000, but the price varies depending on several factors, including the size and depth of the pool, as well as the shape and design complexity. The type of materials and additional features also help determine the final cost of an in-ground pool.

Pool size and depth

pool depth

Size is an important factor when it comes to in-ground pool costs. Larger pools require more materials, time, excavation, planning, and experience to build.

The standard pool size is 16’ x 32’ and costs an average of $50 to $100 per square foot to install. Larger pools with deep ends for diving require a minimum depth of 9 feet and cost more to install. The average price per square foot of a 9’ to 12’ deep pool is $125 to $150.

The decision on how big or deep to make your pool shouldn’t be based solely on cost. How your pool will be used is an important consideration. For example, shallow pools are better for families with small children or where pool parties are a favorite pastime.  

Here is the range of costs to build the most common pool sizes:

Size of pool (in feet)Square feet totalAverage cost range
10 x 16160$8,000 to $16,000
10 x 20200$10,000 to $20,000
10 x 30300$15,000 to $30,000
12 x 16192$9,600 to $19,200
12 x 20240$12,000 to $24,000
12 x 24288$14,400 to $28,800
12 x 30360$18,000 to $36,000
14 x 20280$14,000 to $28,000
14 x 30420$21,000 to $42,000
16 x 32512$25,600 to $51,200
16 x 36576$72,000 to $86,400
18 x 30540$67,500 to $81,000
18 x 36648$81,000 to 97,200
20 x 40800$90,000 to $108,000
25 x 451125$140,625 to $168,750
30 x 501500$187,500 to $225,000

Pool shape and design complexity

in-ground pool costs different shapes
Kidney-shaped pool

The shape and design complexity is another significant factor affecting in-ground swimming pool costs. Pools can be built in any shape, but complex shapes take longer to design and build. 

Here are the most common pool shapes:

  • Rectangles
  • Kidney shapes
  • Rectangles with Roman pool ends
  • Free form shapes
  • Lazy L shapes
  • True L shapes
  • Grecian designs
  • Geometric shapes, including circles, ovals, and hearts

In addition to the shape of the pool, adding steps to the design can increase in-ground swimming pool costs by an average of about $2,500. Steps that lead into the water are more complicated than beach-style wade-in pools or rectangular pools with ladders installed after construction is complete.

pool steps

Most steps are used to enter the pool from the shallow end, with ladders placed at the deep ends of the pool. 

Here are some common types of steps used in pools:

  • Corner steps–steps built into the corner of a shallow end of the pool, which can be built with or without benches for extra seating
  • End steps–simple steps at one end of the pool, which can be built with or without extra seating 
  • Full-width end steps–run the full length of the shallow end of the pool 
  • Roman steps–several tiers built outside the swimming rectangle so that the swimming area isn’t minimized
  • Wedding cake steps–several round tiers that fan out to a larger flat area

Materials used for construction


The three types of materials used for in-ground pools are concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl. The price of an in-ground pool installation for an average-sized pool is between $20,000 and $115,000, but the actual cost relies significantly on the materials used. 

To show how materials affect price, here are the average in-ground pool costs for each type of pool material for a 14’ x 28’ pool with a deep end for diving:

  • Concrete–$51,000
  • Fiberglass–$46,000
  • Vinyl–$36,000

Concrete pools

The most durable type of in-ground pool is made from concrete. Concrete pools last for up to 50 years with proper maintenance.

However, they are the most expensive type of in-ground pool to install, costing about $70 to $170 per square foot. Most people spend $29,000 to $60,000 on concrete in-ground pools.

The biggest advantage of a concrete pool is that it is highly customizable, and you can add special features or add-ons much more easily with a concrete pool. Besides lasting longer than fiberglass or vinyl, it’s also more aesthetically pleasing. 

On the other hand, concrete pools are expensive and take a long time to install. When building an in-ground concrete pool, the design process alone can take several weeks. These types of pools are also more expensive to maintain, costing an average of $2,750 in annual maintenance costs.

Fiberglass Pools

There are many types of fiberglass pools, from large infinity pools to small rectangular pools that can fit on rooftop decks or in small backyards. With an average cost of $8,750 for the shell only, fiberglass pools are an inexpensive option for a DIY pool.

Installed, the average cost of fiberglass pools is about $31,000. Fiberglass pools last at least 25 to 30 years and are relatively low maintenance. It costs about $375 per year to maintain a fiberglass pool, and installation usually takes less than two weeks. 

While the surface of a fiberglass pool is smooth and more resistant to algae growth than concrete, it is slippery. Though uncommon, the gel coat may need resurfacing after several years of using harsh pool chemicals. 

Vinyl pools

in-ground pool costs

The least expensive type of pool to install is a vinyl pool. They are constructed of thermoplastic or metal panels with a vinyl liner. Like fiberglass pools, vinyl pools are less customizable than concrete because the liners come in various preformed shapes. 

One of the biggest disadvantages of vinyl pools is that they only last about ten years before the liner needs to be replaced, which costs $3,000 to $4,000. Also, you must be careful with a vinyl pool to prevent puncturing it. The annual cost of maintaining a vinyl pool is $1,325, with the biggest maintenance cost being replacing the liner.

Additional features and accessories

Here are some custom upgrades, features, and accessories that add to the cost of an in-ground pool. 

  • Fencing–enhances privacy and helps protect children from entering the pool
  • Light kits–improve aesthetics and make your pool safe after dark 
  • Decking–most often made of pavers or wood, provides a place for poolside relaxation and sunbathing 
  • Heater–makes your pool usable for more of the year
  • Diving board–a great addition to a pool 
  • Slides–for the best pool parties on the block 
  • Water features–used to create a backyard oasis that helps reduce stress
  • Tiling–to make your pool more visually appealing and easier to maintain
  • Lawn repairs–required after excavation destroys your lawn
  • Artificial grass–can replace lawns and doubles as pool decking 
  • Landscaping–improves the appearance of the pool area but can add significantly to the overall cost of your project
  • Cover–a must-have for pool safety and to keep pools clean
  • Enclosure–helps keep your pool clean and makes it usable for more of the year
  • Pool house–can be as simple or extravagant as you want and is useful as pool storage or a guest room
  • Saltwater conversion–can be used to sanitize a pool without the use of harsh chemicals

Other factors that affect the cost of owning a pool

Many hidden costs contribute to the cost of owning a pool. While they shouldn’t prevent you from following your dream of having a pool, it is important to consider these expenses so they don’t take you by surprise.

The state you live in

The region you live in can affect the cost of owning a pool. Not only is it more expensive to keep a pool heated in colder climates, but pool installation costs can vary widely in different parts of the country.

For example, concrete pool installations are common in the Sun Belt states, and they cost less because many companies are competing with each other on pool installation projects.

The location of your pool

Where you decide to put your pool can change how much it costs to install and maintain. Installing a pool on a slope requires additional excavation or hardscaping features. 

Property taxes

Whenever the value of your home increases significantly, you will experience a corresponding increase in your property taxes.

Home insurance

Having a pool on your property causes your home insurance to go up due to the increased risk of personal injuries.


Where you live will determine the cost of a pool permit. In some locations, it will cost as little as $25; in others, it can cost as much as $2,500. Getting a permit often requires a land survey and detailed drawings.

Pool maintenance and utilities 

Annual pool maintenance, unexpected repairs, and replacement costs will add to the cost of owning a pool. Also, your electric and water bills will increase when you own a pool.

Comparing In-Ground Pools with Other Pool Types

When it comes to owning a pool, in-ground pools are not your only option. Above-ground pools, semi-inground pools, and swim spas are also excellent choices that you can choose to create the backyard oasis of your dreams.

In-ground vs. above-ground pools

Above-ground pools are much more economical but less aesthetically pleasing than in-ground pools. The average cost to install an above-ground pool is $2,800. It takes much less time to install an above-ground pool, and it’s a DIY-friendly project that two or three people can finish in a few days.

Falling somewhere in between an in-ground and above-ground pool is the semi-inground pool. It’s more expensive than an above-ground pool, but at a third of the cost of an in-ground pool, you’ll see big savings, especially if you install it yourself.

In-ground pools vs. swim spas

Also called spools, swim spas are popular choices for roof decks and small backyards. They offer all the benefits of a hot tub, but they are built longer for swimming laps.

They are usually 8 feet wide and range between 12 and 21 feet long. The largest swim spas cost between $30,000 and $50,000, with mid-range models costing between $15,000 to $25,000. 

Assessing long-term value and maintenance costs

In-ground pools provide more long-term value than any other type of pool, but it’s important not to overlook the hidden costs associated with them. All pools come with maintenance costs, but in-ground pools are usually the most expensive type of pool to operate. 

Installing an In-Ground Pool: Key Considerations

in-ground pool cost

When installing an in-ground pool, you’ll have to make many decisions along the way. One of the most important decisions you will make is choosing the right pool builder. When you understand the installation process, you can ask your builder the right questions, which could save you a lot of money.

Choosing a reliable pool builder

In some parts of the country, you won’t have any problem finding experienced pool builders, and it could be tough to choose one. Here are the key considerations for choosing a reliable pool builder:

  • Reputation–ask for at least three references and check them
  • Insurance and licensing–every state has different requirements, and the contractor you choose must be licensed and insured
  • Design expertise–ask to see your builder’s portfolio
  • Warranty–ask prospective builders about their warranties on materials and labor

Compare quotes from several pool builders, but ensure they are for comparable types of work. Some pool builders will try to make their bid look lower by leaving out services you’ll need, like a pool deck or fence.

Understanding the installation process

Even though all in-ground pools start with excavation, the process is slightly different depending on your chosen materials. Once you decide on the materials, do your research to ensure you completely understand the process.

This knowledge can save you thousands of dollars when it comes time to build your pool, and it will help you make the right decisions about decking, landscaping, lighting, and other additional pool features.

Permits and regulations

It’s important to understand the local and state regulations regarding pools where you live. Before any work begins, you need to obtain a building permit and follow specific guidelines for pool construction, such as fencing and decking.

In some states, failure to build a fence around your pool can result in heavy fines.

In-Ground Pool Cost FAQs

How much does the average in-ground pool cost?

On average, people in the United States spend between $28,000 and $55,000 installing a pool. You can save money by choosing a smaller pool or using a less expensive material. Other alternatives to in-ground pools are available that cost less, like above-ground pools and swim spas.

What financing options are available for in-ground pool installations?

Swimming pools add value to your home, and you may have several financing options available, depending on your income and how much equity you have in your home. People often finance swimming pools through home equity lines of credit or personal loans. 

How long does it take to install an in-ground pool?

The process of installing an in-ground pool can take several weeks. On average, it takes 8 to 12 weeks to install an in-ground pool from start to finish. Some types of pools are faster to install than others, with concrete pools taking the longest.

What are the ongoing maintenance costs of an in-ground pool?

Pools cost an average of $1,430 per year to maintain. Fiberglass pools are the least expensive to maintain, costing $375 per year for maintenance.

However, this doesn’t include other ownership costs, like utilities and increased home insurance premiums. 

How can I save money on my in-ground pool project?

There are many ways to save money on pool installation. You can DIY fiberglass and vinyl pool installations, and you can also save money by installing pool decking, landscaping, and fencing yourself.

Choosing the right builder can save you money if you’re hiring someone to install your pool.

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