Swimming Pool Blog

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool?

There’s nothing like jumping in cool, clear water and soaking up the sun in the comfort of your own backyard. A swimming pool can transform your outdoor space into a beautiful oasis where the entire family can take a dip and enjoy nature. If you’re considering a pool of your own, the first question that enters your mind may be: how much does it cost to build a pool? 

On Average, How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool? 

If you’re thinking of building a pool of your own, one of your first priorities is to set a budget for the project. To do so, you’ll also need to start thinking about the type of pool you want, as well as the amenities that you’d like to include. 

Swimming pools vary widely, with options that can dramatically impact the cost of installation. A few of the decisions you’ll need to make include: 

  • Inground vs. above-ground pool 
  • Preformed or custom design 
  • Type of material and size of pool 
  • Features and decking 
  • Chlorine vs. saltwater 
  • Time of year for installation 

Each of these factors influences how much it costs to build a pool.    

Inground vs. Above-Ground Pools 

When building a pool, the choice of inground or above-ground is one of the most significant cost factors. An above-ground pool is much easier to install, so it’s not surprising that the cost will be lower; however, they can also lack the “wow factor” of a traditional inground pool.  

One of the biggest costs associated with an inground pool is the labor, which includes excavation and digging. While builders typically give the cost of pools per square foot, the labor can account for as much as half the price. Installing an inground pool is also more labor-intensive, particularly if you opt for a custom design.  

Inground pools may require extra landscaping in addition to the cost of installation. You’ll also want to consider adding a concrete pathway or stone pavers around your new inground pool, which will increase the total cost. 

When considering how much it costs to build a pool, 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 can cost $25,000 to $80,000, and even more for custom jobs that include landscaping and outdoor living options. 

Related: 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Swimming Pool Contractors 

Choice of Design 

A standard swimming pool typically includes pre-formed shapes such as circles and ovals or 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 can actually cost more than larger pools. Plunge pools are also expensive, but they’re usually not much larger than a standard hot tub. Custom shapes and sizes also have a higher cost.  

If your dream pool is indoor, you’ll need to budget more. This type of installation needs its own separately designated structure, increasing costs.  

Selecting the Right Material  

You can choose a variety of materials for an inground pool, and each one has its own price range.  

Consider the different construction options available to you, as well as the long-term plan for your backyard. An experienced pool installation company will work with you to select the material and design that best suits your needs. You should also consider maintenance costs for your pool since each material requires a different type of regular care to keep it in optimum condition. 

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pool with Extra Features?  

Perhaps the most exciting part of planning a pool is choosing the different features that make it your own. When budgeting, remember that each of these increases the cost. 

When planning your project, it helps to develop a list of the most important features. Then, prioritize them into “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” From there, it will be easier to decide what to cut if your eyes are bigger than your budget.  

You will need to include certain custom features like specific lighting, integrated water features, or built-in amenities in the original budget. Before giving up on beloved features, however, find out if the builder can delay certain add-ons for future installation. For example, you can complete an attached fireplace or a fun rocky waterfall feature later when you have more money in your budget. 

Right-sizing the Pool for Your Yard  

Just like any other construction project, the size of your new pool will significantly impact how much it costs to build a pool. Smaller pools cost less than larger ones unless you opt for more expensive amenities like massaging features or custom lighting. 

Take a close look at your backyard. Think about the space you have and how much of it you’d like to dedicate to your new pool. You might discover that a smaller pool will work better so you can preserve some of your backyard space for other activities. 

If your backyard is sloped, has trees, or is an unusual shape, you’ll need to seek the advice of a professional when choosing a size and design. Perhaps the builder will need to level out the space before construction can begin and figure out how to get machinery into your backyard. If so, the additional labor will impact your project’s timeline and budget. 

Picking the Right Decking 

No inground pool is complete without beautiful decking to go along with it. Of course, this addition increases the overall price of the project.  

The layout of your deck and the materials you use impact the bottom line. If you add additional features to your decking, like a covered patio, an outdoor kitchen, or an inground fire pit, you’ll need to adjust your budget accordingly. While these amenities add costs, they make more of your backyard enjoyable. 

You may be tempted to build a pool and then build a deck around it later, but it’s often more cost-effective to do all of this construction at once. Plus, your pool will look unfinished without a well-designed and installed deck around it.

Type of Pool: 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 used added salt to keep the water clean through electrolysis. When you choose a saltwater pool, you’ll have fewer chemical smells and softer, smoother skin. 

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 salt water method, the cost is approximately the same as an all-chlorine pool but with lower maintenance costs. 

Related: How Much Does an Inground Swimming Pool Cost?  

Price Depends on Location and Time of Year 

The location of your home also impacts how much it costs to build your pool because materials are more expensive in some states. Similarly, if you live in an area with very few pool builders, you’ll have to pay more than you would in an area with a builder on every block.  

Another significant factor is when you choose to build your pool. Since most people start dreaming of a pool as the weather gets warmer, spring can be a popular time to start building. Due to higher demand, the prices go up. Instead, consider building your pool in slower times, like fall and winter. You might get a better price and, as a bonus, your pool will be ready by the time summer starts.  

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 step. Once you know more about the size, materials, and other factors, you can start designing the pool of your dreams. The company you choose to build your pool will be instrumental in working with you to set a realistic budget.  

At California Pools, we’re committed to helping you navigate all the decisions and options that come with building your own custom pool and backyard oasis. We’ve built over 70,000 pools, and we proudly finish 98% of our projects on time and on budget. Contact us today to get your questions answered and discover the best in the business.