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Pool Cost: How much does it cost to add a pool to your backyard?


Aerial view of three friends relaxing by the pool.

Aleksandrnakic/Getty Images

The recent heat waves may have you wishing you could jump into the pool for a refreshing cooldown. If you’re thinking about installing a pool this fall, be prepared for some high upfront costs, but plenty of opportunities to customize your pool to your budget and liking.

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To get some insight into the true cost of installing a pool and the most budget-friendly — and luxurious — ways to add a body of water to your yard, let’s take a look at some of the cost breakdowns and costs you should think about.

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Inground pools can cost you upwards of $55,000

Pool costs vary greatly, and whether you’re looking for a “spool” – a small hot tub or pool rolled into one – or a fully customized infinity pool with waterfalls and decorative features, you can create the pool of your dreams at a price that works for you.

“The cost of inground pools depends on their size, shape and materials used,” said Victoria Baker, pool warranty expert at HomeWarrantyReviews.com. “The cost ranges from $28,000 to $55,000, or $50 to $125 per square foot.”

Pool size is the biggest factor when it comes to the difference between a $10,000 pool and a $55,000 pool. If you are hoping to install a pool in your backyard at a low cost, opt for a smaller pool.

“A small 26-by-13-foot inground pool will cost you between $10,000 and $15,000,” Baker said. “And as the size of the pool increases, the price increases.”

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Price Breakdown for Installment Fees

Pool installment costs can add up quickly when estimating overall pool costs.

The first costs you should be aware of are project equipment costs and license fees, which range between $200 to $300. Preparing your pool’s base requires you to budget for dirt removal, which is roughly $13,000, and pool shell base fees, which cost between $500 and $5,000, according to Baker.

Landscaping costs vary greatly by yard and how much work is required to install the pool. This fee can be as low as $100 or as high as $45,000. Equipment rentals and cranes required for construction can cost between $2,400 and $2,800. Excavating a yard to create a hole for a pool can cost between $400 and $1,500. Prepare for high excavation costs, especially in areas with rocky soils or high water tables.

Pool equipment such as drains, vacuums, lights, chlorine and filters cost between $700 and $1,200.

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Vinyl, fiberglass or concrete? Here’s a cost breakdown of the most popular pool base options

Choosing the source of your pool can easily take up a large portion of your pool budget. If you’re thinking of choosing a fiberglass base, prepare to pay between $28,000 and $60,000, according to Baker. For a concrete base, be prepared to pay a similar fee as a fiberglass base, with average fees falling between $28,000 and $60,000. If you’re hoping to save on the initial cost, you may want to consider choosing vinyl as this material can cost between $28,000 and $40,000 depending on the size of your pool.

Make sure to be aware of the longevity and quality of different types of base materials. While glass is more expensive than vinyl lining, glass is more durable and requires less chemical treatment.

Looking for luxury? Be prepared to pay for it

No matter what type of pool you’re looking for, the cost of installing a pool can add up quickly and only increase if you want to add a little extra pizzazz to your water feature.

Most affordable pools are made of classic, simple shapes such as rectangles or ovals. Pools with special features will cost extra, but include jaw-dropping elements that are sure to take your outdoor experiences to the next level.

Some extravagant pool options include rooftop or infinity pools, which are built above ground floors that extend over the roof. Pools with acrylic or glass walls are on the pricier end due to the cost of materials and the fact that they are usually attached one or two times to the house, making construction more complicated. Finally, if a plain shaped pool isn’t up your alley, prepare for some extra expenses. Freeform pools are designed in an irregular shape and give you the freedom to transform your pool into the shape of your dreams.

Bubble bill: Adding a hot tub can cost $15,000

If relaxing in a warm Jacuzzi with lots of jets, bubbles and mood lighting, be prepared for extra expenses. According to Baker, adding a Jacuzzi to your pool takes extra time and materials, costing between $6,000 and $15,000 depending on the features and size you’re looking for.

Good lighting comes at a price: Adding LED lights to your pool can cost up to $1,800

For safety reasons, it is important to have some light to see the bottom of the pool and see where the pool steps are. However, if you want to go above and beyond and have a full luxury pool experience with LED color changing lights, be prepared for some extra charges.

According to Baker, adding fiber optic lighting to your pool for a more deluxe experience can cost between $700 and $1,800, depending on the size of your pool.

A glass or porcelain tile will increase your pool for a fee: Be prepared to pay as much as $50 per tile.

The size of the pool is not the only factor that affects the overall installation cost. The next major cost comes from pool material costs.

If you want to save on pool tile, you may want to choose stone tile, as this material will cost you between $5 and $30 per tile. Conversely, choosing glass or porcelain will take a bigger hit on your budget, as porcelain tile ranges from $1.60 to $50 per tile and glass ranges from $7 to $50 per tile.

Warm your water year-round: Add a water heater to your pool for a couple of thousand dollars

If you’re hoping to enjoy swimming in the pool during the cooler months of the year without the unpleasant condensation, you may want to consider adding a pool heater. This luxurious touch allows you to customize your pool’s temperature to your liking and be able to comfortably enjoy your water feature year-round.

According to Popular Mechanics, Hayward’s W3H250FDN Universal H-Series Pool Heater is the best pool heater for inground pools. This heater has a low environmental impact, has a 4.5-star rating, and retails for $2,299 on Amazon.

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