Price points vary greatly between in-ground and above-ground pools, ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.
Maintenance costs can really add up; choose your filtration system wisely.
Pools can be dangerous so keep the safety of yourself and others in mind.
Your homeowners insurance is likely to go up if you add a pool to your home.
Adding a swimming pool to your home can improve how you enjoy spending your time outdoors—there’s no better way to beat summer heat. But, you don’t want to jump into buying a pool without first dipping your toe into the water, figuratively speaking, and finding out exactly what you need to know before you commit to spending thousands (and sometimes tens of thousands) of dollars on one. Let’s dive in and review.
There Are Lots of Different Pools
Not all pools are created equal. There are a few different pool varieties and filtration styles. Will your family and lifestyle be better served by an in-ground pool with a saltwater filtration system? Or is your space better suited to an above-ground pool with a traditional chlorine filter? You want to make sure you’re opting for the best choice before breaking ground. Otherwise, your dream oasis could quickly turn into a chlorinated nightmare.
Installing an in-ground pool involves excavating and digging out a hole where a pro can construct your pool. These types of pools are typically more expensive, and can run you $39,000 to $70,000, depending on which type you choose. In-ground pools are made from a few different types of materials:
These types of pools sit mainly above ground, as their name suggests. They still require some leveling (which could mean bringing heavy machinery onto your property), but installation isn’t as labor-intensive as in-ground pools. Additionally, these require a ladder to get both in and out, and many townships and municipalities will have very specific rules about whether that later is allowed to be permanently attached to the pool or if it needs removal after each use.
You can expect above-ground pool costs to come in between $800 and $5,000 (not including the cost of professional pool installation). You’ll find above-ground pools are made out of a few common materials:
These types of pools have risen in popularity over the years because they can normally be found for just a few hundred dollars at your local big box stores and can be installed in an afternoon. While they normally come with some sort of filtration system, many people will find that they don’t hold up to rigorous use like the more powerful system that comes with permanent pools.
Additionally, many homeowners and renters are surprised to learn that they still have to follow some strict zoning regulations with these types of pools, even though they are designed to come down at the end of each summer.
Understanding Filtration Systems
You’ll also want to consider what type of filtration system you want to use for your pool. As we mentioned, saltwater and traditional chlorinated systems are the most common. Both come with some pros and cons, and which one you use will be dependent on a few different factors.
Saltwater pool filtration systems cost between $1,500 and $2,500. Your money will buy you a gentler system that’s easier on your skin and requires fewer harsh chemicals (there’s no chlorine needed). You’ll likely spend just $33 a year on chemicals, which is considerably less than you’d spend for a traditional chlorine filtration system.
Chlorinated Filtration System
Nothing says “swim season” like the smell of chlorine, which is why many people associate it with pools. Your upfront costs for a chlorinated system can be much lower, according to Home Advisor, and start at around $100. However, you'll probably lose much of that savings in your annual chemical and maintenance budget, stretching as high as $1,000 a year, according to HomeAdvisor.
Other Factors to Consider
In addition to the type of pool and filtration system you want to use, you’ll need to think about your aesthetics. If you live in an area with pristine views, you might not want an above-ground pool blocking any of those sights.
Additionally, if you live somewhere with an uneven landscape, adding an in-ground pool might not be practical.
An above-ground pool with a saltwater filtration system is the most cost-effective route. If price is a huge barrier to your summer dreams, you might want to opt for the more affordable option and hire a professional to install an above-ground pool in your yard.
You already know that you need to keep your backyard views in mind, but what about your long-term landscaping designs? Do you want to build an expansive patio around your pool? Have you always wanted a raised deck that comes off the back of your kitchen and drops you and your kids off pool-side? Knowing what your long-term goals are for your yard can help you find the right pool for your space.
A swimming pool is a huge investment, and while it can bring plenty of summer fun your way, it can also pose a danger to anyone who can’t swim. If you’re considering a pool and you have small children at home (or frequently have little visitors), you’ll want to make sure you choose a pool that’s easy to secure when it’s not in use.
Yes, there are plenty of ongoing costs when you add a pool to your yard, but one of the ones that often gets forgotten about is the impact a pool will have on your homeowners insurance policy costs. Many companies will add a surcharge for swimming pools. Reach out to your insurance agent to find out what kind of a price hike you could be looking at if you decide to add a pool.
When you imagine yourself lounging by your pool, are you enjoying the sunshine on a paver patio that wraps neatly around your well-manicured in-ground pool? Or are you standing on the deck next to your above-ground pool, getting ready to launch yourself onto your favorite flamingo float? A lot of choosing the right pool for your family and space has to do with what you truly want.