A Few Things To Consider
There are two things you need to consider when researching the cost of inground pools:
- The initial purchase price of the pool
- The lifetime cost of ownership associated with the pool.
First, let's take a look at the initial cost of fiberglass, concrete, and vinyl liner pools to get an idea of how much to budget for each. Keep in mind that these prices will vary greatly from region to region.
Fiberglass, Concrete, and Vinyl Liner Cost Comparison
Fiberglass Pools: Initial Cost
At River Pools, we offer four distinct types of fiberglass pool packages. They are self-installation, assisted installation, basic installation, and turn-key installation. Let's take a look at each to learn more.
Fiberglass Pool Self-Installations
A self-installation package would include the pool shell and delivery of the pool to the home, then the client takes it from there.
The obvious advantage of installing your own fiberglass pool is the cost savings. On average most people will save between $6,000 and $10,000 depending on the scope of the project and who does the majority of the work.
The price of the pool shell is determined by two things: the size of the pool and the cost to deliver the pool to your home. If you are considering a self installation, be sure to ask if the price you are quoted includes delivery. If it does not, be sure to get a delivery quote in writing.
Regarding the shell price, fiberglass pools are basically classified into three size groups: small, medium, and large. Small being roughly 27' long and under, medium being 28'-34', and large being 35' and up. In most cases you can expect a small fiberglass pool shell without delivery to cost $9k-$13k, medium $12k-$16k, and large $16k-$24k. Delivery fees could be anywhere from $600 to $2,500.
There are resources available to teach homeowners how to install their own pool shell, but the vast majority of pool owners prefer to leave the installation of the pool to authorized dealers.
An assisted installation differs from a self-installation in that it includes the pump and filter system, plumbing, and labor to set and level the pool shell, do all the plumbing, and partially backfill the pool. These are the most critical (and unfamiliar) phases of the installation. All other labor, materials, and equipment is provided by the customer.
This is a great option for those who have means to excavate their own hole and handle the patio work, but would rather not deal with the headache of leveling the pool, setting the pump and filter, and doing all the plumbing.
Assisted Installations typically cost around $4k-$8k more than a self-installation.
Standard Fiberglass Pool Packages
A standard fiberglass pool package will typically include the following:
The pool shell, delivery of the pool shell to the site, the pump and filter system, installation, gravel for installation, water to fill the pool, maintenance and cleaning equipment, building permit, and some concrete around the pool.
Standard packages can vary greatly from company to company so be sure to ask specifically what is included. It's surprising how often permits, water, delivery fees, etc. are not included in a company's base package price. Check out Top 6 Hidden Costs of a Inground Pool Project to learn more. It's also important to consider other details like warranties, the type of pool equipment provided, and the fiberglass pool manufacturer.
Many home owners choose to handle the balance of the project themselves including the completion of the patio, electrical work, and the pool fence to save money. On average most folks can save several thousand dollars doing this.
As a general rule, to find the average price of a fiberglass pool package of this type, take the length of the pool and add two to six thousand dollars. For example, a 30' fiberglass pool package might cost $34,000. Most people will spend another $5k-$15k in pool accessories, electrical work, patio, and fencing.
Turn-Key Fiberglass Pool Packages
The overwhelming advantage of a turn-key installation is convenience. There is no need for the customer to oversee or manage any aspect of the project. Many clients find it worth the investment to let someone else handle hiring contractors, getting bids, and scheduling and overseeing their work; not to mention the added peace of mind knowing that there is only one company responsible for the project.
On average most turn-key fiberglass pool projects cost $45,000-$85,000 but projects that require extensive retaining walls, water features, or other elaborate elements can cost much more. For a more in-depth explanation of fiberglass pool pricing click here. To receive an online fiberglass pool quote of your own click here.
Concrete / Gunite Pools: Initial Cost
Just to be clear, a gunite pool is a concrete pool. Gunite is simply a way of applying the concrete that makes up the pool shell. But when it comes to the initial price of a concrete pool, the primary difference is that there is no DIY option for concrete pools....for most people anyway.
When comparing the initial cost of turn-key concrete pools to fiberglass, most people are surprised to learn that the prices aren't all that different. Most turn-key gunite pool projects typically cost between $50,000 and $100,000. The disparity in price between concrete and fiberglass isn't in the initial cost, but the cost of owning the pool over time, which we'll discuss more detail in a minute.
Vinyl Liner Pools: Initial Cost
Despite losing significant market share over the past 5 years, vinyl liner pools are still extremely popular in certain regions of The United States. This is undoubtedly due to their low initial cost, which is by far their most appealing attribute.
For the DIY'er, vinyl liner kits are available for purchase online...and for cheap! Someone building their own vinyl liner pool can probably do so for under $20,000. Base vinyl liner packages from most pool builders typically cost $25,000-$35,000 while turn-key vinyl liner packages will typically cost $35,000-$55,000.
Now let's take a look at how much it costs to own each type of pool over time.
Lifetime Cost of Ownership Associated with Each Type of Pool
Here's a Chart that compares the 10 Year Cost of Fiberglass, Vinyl, and Concrete Pools:
As you can see, there is a huge disparity between the maintenance cost with these three types of pools. You may be wondering why the cost to own a fiberglass pool is so much less. There are two reasons. First, they are incredibly durable. Second, they are very efficient. Let's take a closer look.
Why Are Fiberglass Pools So Durable?
Modern fiberglass pools are so durable because of the scientific developments in the pools gelcoat layer that have occurred over the past decade. The gelcoat layer is the part of the pool we see, touch, and feel. Modern gelcoats used on many fiberglass pools today will last decades, or possibly even a lifetime, thus eliminating the need for costly refinishing. In contrast, concrete pools will require expensive resurfacing every 10 to 15 years on average. And you can plan on replacing the liner in a vinyl pool every 5 to 9 years on average at a very high cost.
Why Are Fiberglass Pools So Efficient?
Fiberglass pools are incredibly efficient because the gelcoat layer of the pool is non-porous, thus preventing troublesome algae from embedding into the surface. This equates to less chemical usage, less time maintaining the pool, and the ability to run the pump and filter in shorter cycles or at lower speeds depending on the system. This makes for substantial energy savings.
To sum it up, you will have significantly less maintenance and repair expense with a fiberglass pool. Couple that with the lower cost of chemicals and energy usage and you have, far and away, the most affordable pool to own on the planet!
So there you have it. Inground Pool Pricing in a nutshell. Below you'll find links to other Pool Pricing articles we've produced. Be sure to check out the other six questions below to continue your journey to find the perfect pool, or you can click here to further explore the differences between Fiberglass, Concrete, or Vinyl Liner Pools.