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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool? 6 Factors to Consider

A swimming pool can transform your backyard into a beautiful oasis where the entire family can take a dip and enjoy the weather.

If you’ve ever asked, “how much does it cost to build a pool?” the answer can vary depending on several important factors.

As you’re thinking about building your own pool, here’s a list of six things to consider before you take the plunge.

1. Inground vs. Above-Ground Pools

As you wonder about the cost of building a swimming pool, whether it’s in or above the ground is one of the most significant factors. An above-ground pool is much easier to install, so it’s not surprising that the cost will be lower.

One of the biggest costs associated with an inground pool is the labor, which includes excavation and digging. Installing an inground pool is also much more labor-intensive in general than an above-ground pool, particularly if you opt for a custom design.

An above-ground pool sits on top of the ground, but inground pools may require extra landscaping in addition to the cost of installation. You’ll also want to consider having a concrete pathway or stone pavers added around your new inground pool, which will increase the total cost.

In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from around $1,500 to $15,000 for an above-ground pool. Depending on the size, format, and material, an inground pool will start at $30,000 up to $65,000, and more for custom jobs that include landscaping and outdoor living options.

2. Design

A standard swimming pool typically includes pre-formed shapes that can range from circles and ovals to the classic kidney design. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more custom, expect to pay more for your new swimming pool.

Lap pools made for exercise are long and narrow but could actually cost you more. Plunge pools are also expensive, but they’re usually not much larger than a standard hot tub.

Other examples of expensive custom pools include those installed in your own personally designed shape or size. If you want an indoor pool, you may pay quite a lot since the pool will need its own separately designated structure.

3. How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool? The Material Matters

Inground pools can be made using a variety of materials, and each one has a varying price range. While the cost of pools is typically calculated per square foot, the labor often accounts for as much as half of the price.

Consider the different construction options available to you and also the long term plan for your backyard before you commit to a new pool. An experienced pool installation company can work with you to decide which material and design will best suit your needs. You should also consider maintenance costs for your pool since different materials will require various maintenance tasks to keep them in excellent condition.

4. Extra Features 

Having a swimming pool in your backyard is a fantastic way to get some exercise and relax. If you’re looking for a few additional features for your pool, it’s important to remember that these will increase your cost.

Some examples of extra features may include color-changing integrated lights, fountains or waterfalls, and built-in fire features. Do some research to find out which of these features can be added for a reasonable price ahead of time.

You can always find out if any add-ons can be delayed for future installation. For example, an attached fireplace or a fun rocky waterfall feature can be completed later when you have more money in your budget.

Certain custom features like specific lighting or anything that must be installed at the same time as your pool will need to be included in the original budget. Compare the variety of features available and decide which items are the most important to you.

5. Size

Just like with any other construction project, the size of your new pool will have a significant impact on the cost. Smaller pools will cost less than larger ones unless you opt for a lot of add-ons like massaging features or lighting.

Find out what the total cost per square foot of your new pool will be. Make sure that labor and installation are included in this cost and not just the materials for your pool.

Take a close look at your backyard and think about how big you want your pool to be before you make a decision. You might discover that a smaller pool will work best so you can preserve some of your backyard space for other activities.

6. Saltwater or Chlorine

For decades, a chlorine pool was the only option for homeowners. Today, saltwater pools are becoming a popular choice thanks to a few extra benefits.

A saltwater pool still uses chlorine-treated water, but salt is added to keep it clean through electrolysis. When you choose a saltwater pool, you’ll have less chemical smells and softer, smoother skin which is why many people go this route.

The cost to convert an all-chlorine pool over to saltwater ranges from $600 to just over $2,000. If you want your new pool to use the saltwater method, the cost is approximately the same as an all-chlorine pool, but with lower maintenance costs.

Finding the Right Pool for You

If you’re in the market for a new swimming pool, asking “how much does it cost to build a pool” should be your first priority. Once you know more about the size, materials, and other factors, it will be easy to select the pool of your dreams.

Here at California Pools we are committed to helping you navigate all the decisions and options that come with building your own custom pool and backyard oasis. Contact us today to get your questions answered.