Lounging by the pool with a cool beverage close at hand can be a wonderful way to spend a warm afternoon or shrug off the workday. Maybe your vision is a classic aqua-blue rectangle surrounded by a paver patio with umbrella-covered tables, or a natural-colored stone pool with a hot tub off to one side, or perhaps a lap pool to cool off your daily exercise. A good pool builder can make your custom pool designs into a reality and your backyard into an oasis. Swimming pools are sizable investments, and it’s hard to know if an inground pool is well constructed until after you begin to see cracks or leaks, so it’s a good idea to do your research before you hire a builder.
Why not just pick a pool from a pool store online and let the manufacturer choose a dealer? Some pool stores are quite reputable and can offer some great deals. If you’re looking for a standard-size pool, your landscaping is already level, and your electrical panel can handle the addition of a pump and filter, this may be an option. But choosing this path means that the company will select the designer, builder, and finisher, so you have no control over who will be doing the actual build or what their experience or qualifications might be. By selecting a professional pool builder in your area, you’ll have the opportunity to customize your pool design for your backyard (even if they’re small tweaks to a standard design) and interview the people who will do the work in your yard. This will ensure that you’re comfortable with the contractor and trust their judgment before letting them manage a large and costly project.Want to build a pool?A pro will do it for you. Get free, no-commitment estimates from pool builders near you. Find a Pro+
Building an inground pool costs, on average, between $36,750 and $66,500, with above-ground models costing significantly less and truly custom models ranging up to and beyond $100,000.
The cost will be highly dependent on the style and type of pool you select. Lower-cost materials include vinyl and fiberglass, which are preconstructed liners that are stretched over the framing steel of the pool. These liners will need to be replaced periodically, but they can make the cost of a pool significantly more affordable than one made of concrete or gunite (a type of sprayed-on concrete and sand mixture). While concrete and gunite pools are more expensive to install, they do have a longer lifespan. Adding decorative tile will increase the cost. The pool size also matters: Small pools and spas cost significantly less than larger pools, lap pools, and irregularly shaped pools.
Excavation is a significant part of the expense of a pool installation. The average cost is between $400 and $1,500, but the grade of your yard, the soil type, and the cost of labor in your area, along with how far you are from the nearest dump that accepts soil, will affect the overall cost. In addition to excavation and the pool material, the total cost will be affected by your choice of filter and pump in the size appropriate for your pool; then you’ll need to decide whether you want a heater ($1,800 to $4,000), electric pool cover, and extras that can each add between $300 and $5,000, such as a diving board, slide, or waterfall. Finally, you’ll need to check local ordinances and determine if you need to install a fence or upgrade existing fencing for safety. Building screens or enclosures can add as much as $14,300, depending on the size of your yard.Advertisement
Finally, your geographic location will affect the total outlay, as the cost of labor, materials, and professional builders varies by region. Areas where pools can be used year-round, such as the southwest and western United States, have a wider range of costs since pools are much more common in those areas, so there are plenty of experienced designers and builders. In northern areas, pool installation is less expensive overall, but since pools are more of a luxury item, there are fewer options in the lower price range, and maintenance and running costs are higher for pools that have to overwinter. The exception is Las Vegas, Nevada, where installation across the board is more expensive than any other area, and the luxury range runs up to $131,000 as a result of the demand and local cost of permits and labor.
Working with a professional builder will help you determine what will work best in your yard while staying within your budget.Want to build a pool?A pro will do it for you. Get free, no-commitment estimates from pool builders near you. Find a Pro+
Building a pool is a complex operation, involving grading and excavation of the land, site preparation, framing and pouring, and building a surround. But that’s just the physical pool itself: There are many other components involved in completing a pool build. You may choose to subcontract some of these services out, but the best pool builder will include them in the cost of the build.
Once you’ve set your sights on a backyard pool, you’ll need to decide whether you want to hire a professional to build it. Time, complexity, and cost are the biggest reasons to choose a pool builder to help realize your plans.Want to build a pool?A pro will do it for you. Get free, no-commitment estimates from pool builders near you. Find a Pro+
Pools take a long time—usually between 8 and 12 weeks—to design and build. While it’s possible to contract with a number of different specialists, there’s a lot of time that can be lost between planning, permitting, shopping, and building. Also, the timing of each part of the job is critical: If the concrete pourer arrives before the inspection of the steel, you’ll either have to postpone the pouring (at a cost) or try to skate by without an inspection, which can result in having to drill out the whole pool and start again. A pool builder will have an existing framework for the order of events and will know how and when to rearrange the schedule to make the pieces fit. It’s a long process easily hampered by weather, inspection times, and supply chains, and a pool builder understands the process well enough to manage it as efficiently as possible.
In addition, pools are incredibly complex structures. A swimming pool may look like a smooth concrete shell, but underneath is dirt and soil that has been excavated, wood or steel framing, and then poured concrete, sprayed gunite, or premade fiberglass or vinyl, not to mention yards and yards of hose and electrical conduit along with mechanical pumping, filtration, and lighting devices. If any piece of the intricate puzzle is off by a couple of inches, the whole pool can fail spectacularly and expensively, sometimes with no recourse or repair other than digging out the pool and starting again. A reputable pool builder can save you this trouble (or take responsibility for correcting it), saving you money in the long run. Professional builders won’t over- or underbuy materials and will save costs overall through careful planning, professional volume discounts, and sourcing, and will help you choose a pool design that fits your budget.
While there is a lot of time and expense involved in building a pool, the rewards are many. For families, having a great pool can make their home the place to be, turning your home into the local hangout and making it easy to keep an eye on the kids. Pools are great centerpieces for social gatherings in warmer weather. Those who enjoys swimming as part of a fitness routine know how much time it takes to drive to a public or club pool, change, shower, swim, shower again, change, and drive home—it’s such a laborious process that you might be inclined to skip the routine on busy days, but a pool in the backyard saves time, simplifies your day, and makes your swim more relaxing. Studies have shown that a pool build isn’t an investment to choose to increase the sale price of your home—while it won’t lower the value in most cases, the increase in sale price won’t cover the cost of the installation, so this choice should be based on your own enjoyment of the pool, not on a potentially recouping of the cost of your investment.Advertisement
It’s possible to build your own pool, or rather, serve as the primary contractor for the building of your own pool. A successful DIY build usually occurs in a yard with few or no obstacles to excavation, and it is spearheaded by a homeowner with some construction and design experience and relationships with other contractors already in place. Without the deep knowledge of the workmanship that individual contractors provide (which professional builders will know through experience or reputation), you’ll risk hiring substandard contractors who do less-than-impressive work or cut corners that you’ll pay for later. Because of the sizable cost and complexity of building an inground pool, it makes sense from a financial standpoint to hire a builder to manage the project—and you’ll end up with a more polished project as well. In addition, managing the maintenance of a pool can be complicated, and a professional builder will teach you how to balance the chemicals, clean the pool, and how often maintenance is needed if you prefer to handle the work yourself, or make a recommendation for a pool maintenance company.Want to build a pool?A pro will do it for you. Get free, no-commitment estimates from pool builders near you. Find a Pro+
Unless they have a lot of experience, DIYers should stick to above-ground pool kits that are designed to be set up by homeowners or solid-state pools such as stock tanks, which, while still requiring a significant amount of preparation and effort, can be more easily accomplished. These reduce the need for excavation for a huge cost savings, although you’ll still need to level the ground, which is not always an easy job. Inflatable-ring and metal-frame above-ground pools are comparably inexpensive to buy and maintain, and they can be taken down and stored during colder weather. Stock tank pools come in various sizes and can compensate for slightly unlevel ground, but they must be stabilized. While these DIY pools are great for a quick cool-off, they don’t provide the space for real exercise and require a fair amount of maintenance and time each season to put up and take down. If you want a pool large and deep enough for swimming or a large gathering, a professionally built inground pool is a worthwhile investment.
Finding a pool builder that you’re comfortable working with is key to your satisfaction with the outcome. So how do you go about choosing the right pool builder? It’s not as simple as pulling up a website; you’ll need to dig deeper to find out if the promises on the glossy-looking home page are borne out in practice. To discover this, you’ll need to do a little sleuthing and make some contacts.Want to build a pool?A pro will do it for you. Get free, no-commitment estimates from pool builders near you. Find a Pro+
Even the most rigorous background work can’t replace asking a prospective pool builder some direct questions. This person is a contractor who will be spending a significant amount of time (and a significant amount of your money) working in your backyard. It’s important that you feel comfortable interacting with the contractor, asking questions, and pushing back if you’re not satisfied, especially because it’s better to proactively ask questions and push back than it is to correct elements you’re unhappy with later. Here are some questions to start with—and then follow with more!
If you enjoy swimming and playing in the water, a pool can be a great investment that leads to relaxing afternoons, family fun, and increased fitness without leaving your backyard. But it is a big decision to make, and while hiring a pool builder will reduce much of the stress of the design and installation process, the selection of a reputable builder is something else to add to your to-do list. To get your thought process started, here are some of the questions we’re often asked by homeowners considering a new pool.
The average cost of an inground pool is between $50 and $125 per square foot, so the average cost for a 12-foot by 24-foot pool would be between $14,400 and $36,000. That price, however, will be affected based on the material you choose for the pool (vinyl is the least expensive, with concrete and custom tile rounding out the top end of the range), your location, the complexity of the excavation, extra amenities you select, and any necessary upgrades to your electrical system.
In most cases, yes! A pool in this price range will require some balancing between the size of the pool, the depth of the pool, and the materials you’d prefer to use (vinyl, fiberglass, and possibly gunite are the most likely options at this price point), so your choices will determine how much pool you can get for the price, but a good designer can help you make the most of the budget.
There are a surprising number of steps in building a pool, but a good contractor can streamline the process and keep the project moving. The design phase takes between 1 and 4 weeks to hammer out, but it’s important that this step not be rushed or you may end up making an expensive mistake. Once the design is set, allow for between 2 and 6 weeks to acquire the necessary permits for electrical, plumbing, excavation, fencing, and pool installation, which can take some time depending on your municipality. Excavation should only take a couple of days, but it’s good to plan for a week to allow for delays due to weather or the discovery of unexpected underground utility lines nearby. Installation of the steel plumbing and electrical will add another 1 to 2 weeks, and then the surface installation will take between 1 and 3 weeks (vinyl and fiberglass are quicker, as the liner is prefabricated, while gunite and concrete need time to cure after they are sprayed and poured). If you’ve opted to add a deck, patio, or landscaping, or you need to add a fence to your yard, those additional features will add between 1 and 4 weeks. All told, the average time it takes to build a pool from scratch is between 8 and 12 weeks. Your experience will vary a bit depending on the complexity of the design process, your selected materials, and the extras you’ve added on, but 8 to 12 weeks is a solid estimate.Find trusted local pros for any home project Find Pros Now+