Underground vs Aboveground Pools: Costs and Comparisons
With the summer upon approaching rapidly, many folks out there are debating whether or not they should go with an underground pool (aka “in-ground”) or one that sits on top the ground.
So for the sake of all you out there that are having this debate, here are some points to consider:
Underground Pools vs. Above-ground Pools
Underground (in-ground) pools cost $30k–$70k, including a patio, and can last for decades. Above-ground pools cost $4k–$12k, not including a deck, and last 7–15 years. Both types can offer the same swim area, but above-ground pools usually have a uniform depth. Without a deck it's hard to clean an above-ground pool.
In-ground vs. Aboveground Pool Cost
In most cases, in-ground pools—be it vinyl, concrete, or fiberglass—are going to cost, on average, between $30k–70k.
Although this is a very big range, it’s an honest and realistic one.
You may have seen an underground pool advertised for “$14,999!” in your local paper. I can assure you that anyone doing this is being very, very dishonest in giving you a true picture as to what to expect.
In other words, although the pool body itself may just cost $14,999 to be installed, I can assure you the following is not included:
- Patio/decking around the pool
- Electrical hookup
- Accessories (salt chlorine generators, heaters, covers, etc.)
Obviously, the size, options, and type of pool are going to greatly impact where you fall in this “average” range, but $30k–$70k is a good start.
When purchasing an above ground pool, there are 3 main cost areas:
- The price of the kit itself (normally $3k–$7k)
- The price of the installation (typically $1k–$5k)
- The price of the pool surround/decking (if any)
In other words, most above ground pools, installed, cost $4–$12k, not including any decking at all.
And as you might imagine, decking often times will cost more than the pool itself, especially if you’re looking to surround much of the structure itself.
In-ground vs. Above-Ground Pool Size
Believe it or not, an above ground pool can be every bit as large, if not larger, than an in-ground pool.
For example, a 30’ round above ground pool actually has more area than a 18x36 in-ground pool.
Notwithstanding, with an above ground, you’re generally limited to one uniform depth throughout.
In-ground vs. Above-Ground Pool Maintenance
When comparing the two types of pools and their required maintenance, there really isn’t much difference.
If you don’t have a deck around your above ground pool, that makes it much harder to get around and vacuum.
In-ground vs. Above-Ground Pool Longevity
The average above ground pool will last 7–15 years before the structure gives out. Their liners will last 5–9 years before they have to be replaced.
For an in-ground structure, the longevity really is contingent on the type of pool.
For example, fiberglass should last well over 20 years.
Vinyl pools should have a structure that lasts, but their liner needs to be replaced on average every 5–9 years.
As for concrete, their structure should also last a long time, but keep in mind they need to be resurfaced every 10–15 years. That can get very, very expensive.
Well, I hope this article helps a bit when comparing the two types of pools.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them below in the comments section.
Editor's note: This blog article was updated on February 20, 2019.