Is An In-Ground Swimming Pool Worth The Cost?

Is an In-ground Swimming Pool Worth the Cost?

Find out which options are right for you and your budget if you’re diving into in-ground pool cost.

Before and After Comparison of an Inground Pool Build Construction Site
Image: Nastco/Getty Images

If you live in a hotter part of the country, a pool can seem like just the right place to spend the summer. Imagine your backyard transformed into a hub for games, barbecues, and endless warm-weather fun with family and friends. You can almost hear the splashing now! 

But given the price and time commitment of building a pool, you might be wondering if an in-ground pool is worth it. After all, there are the initial installation costs plus maintenance costs over time. Installing an in-ground pool isn’t something to be taken lightly. However, understanding the costs can help you make the most informed decision. 

In-ground Swimming Pool Cost Factors

The average price for putting in an in-ground concrete pool starts at around $30,000, and the price can change based on a few different factors. But how do these choices factor into the price? Here’s a breakdown:


Your location can affect how much it costs to build a pool. For example, location affects labor and material costs, so pool installation could be more expensive if you live near a city or in an area where pools are in high demand. 

Saltwater vs. Freshwater

Deciding between freshwater and saltwater affects how often you maintain your pool, how long you can swim in it, and how well you can clean it. Water type also changes how much you pay for your pool’s construction and cleaning. While saltwater pools are usually more expensive up front, their maintenance costs tend to be lower than freshwater pools overall. 

External Fences and Enclosures

A fence or border around your pool is essential and often a legal requirement. In addition to keeping children, pets, and neighbors safe, a fence can become part of your backyard landscape design. 

The size and construction of your pool will affect how much a fence or enclosure costs. That’s why it’s always smart to get a square footage estimate as you shop around for fencing. 

Indoor Pools vs. Outdoor Pools

Typically, indoor pools are more expensive to install than outdoor pools. But they’re cheaper to clean and maintain because indoor pools are protected from outside debris. Much of the expense of indoor pools comes from needing special enclosures to deal with dehumidification, temperature control, and ventilation. 

However, while outdoor pools are limited by weather and seasons, you’ll be able to use your indoor pool regardless of the temperature. 


Size is the most significant factor in a pool’s cost. So, what counts as small or large? Smaller pools are between 100 and 200 square feet, and larger pools edge toward the 800-square-foot mark. The larger the pool you want, the more materials, labor, and other costs will increase. 


After size, materials will play the second biggest role in determining your pool’s cost. When it comes to materials, consider these options:

  • Vinyl is the most inexpensive option for pool installation, but requires the most frequent maintenance. Vinyl can also fit a wider variety of sizes and shapes than concrete or fiberglass, giving you more flexibility as you design your pool. 
  • Concrete is a classic choice for in-ground pools. It is easier to maintain than vinyl, so it’s considered a good long term investment. Maintenance costs and frequent refinishing could also mean a higher price tag on an ongoing basis. If you have the budget for a concrete pool, there are numerous customizations and finishes that can give you more control over the pool’s look.  
  • Fiberglass falls in the middle of the road when it comes to budget. It’s also easier to install than concrete, so you can save on time and labor. With fiberglass’s algae-resistant surfaces, you’ll save on cleaning and maintenance, as well. Fiberglass limits your options for size and design, so if you choose a fiberglass pool, you’ll need to stick with available fiberglass options.


Installing a pool requires landscaping to clear your backyard and regular landscaping after it’s installed. These costs will depend on the size and shape of your pool and your vision for your backyard oasis. 


Depending on your location, you will need several permits to install your in-ground pool, including a conventional pool permit and possible electrical and zoning permits. Make sure to check with your contractor to understand the costs and process associated with obtaining these permits before you begin your build.  

Equipment or Construction Rentals

Whether you’re trying to DIY or hiring a contractor, most in-ground pools will require a crane or other construction equipment rentals. The cost of renting equipment can vary depending on the size and scale of your project, so always plan your installation thoroughly before estimating the cost. 

Ask Your REALTOR® for Pool Installation References

If an in-ground pool is right for you, getting in touch with a REALTOR®, a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, could be the next step. They can help you understand the impact of a pool on your property value and connect you with contractors and pool experts that can help you in the installation process. 

*Blog Courtesy of Houselogic*

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