How much does a swimming pool cost? (Prices, comparisons, considerations and more)

How much does it really cost to install a swimming pool? This is a complete guide to swimming pool construction costs, including the costs of materials, labour, permits, and other expenses.

swimming pool cost hero

If you’re looking to install a swimming pool, there are many factors that will play into the final cost of your project like the size of your pool, the materials you choose, and whether or not you want accessories added.

Although a swimming pool offers plenty of benefits, there’s a lot to think about before taking the plunge.

Keep reading to learn the top things you need to consider before you decide to build your dream pool.

What do I need to know before installing a pool?

Installing a backyard swimming pool is an exciting idea. But how much will it cost? To help determine the cost of your pool, it helps to consider these seven factors :

  1. Your reason for wanting a pool. Your choice of pool is determined by whether you plan to use it for family leisure or for exercise and fitness training. For leisure and recreation, consider a traditional in-ground pool that you and your family and friends can enjoy. For fitness training and pool exercises, a lap pool is the best option for you.
swimming pool fun
  1. Your budget. Your budget is crucial in deciding the type and size of the swimming pool you will have installed. Consider your total budget and then look at the cost of excavation, installation, materials to be used according to design choices, landscaping, and running costs associated with your pool's maintenance, such as equipment and chemicals.

  2. Size and shape. You need to determine the type and how large of a pool you need. Consider the total area of the location, where in your yard you would like to place the pool, the frequency with which you intend to swim, and the number of people who will use it. If you wish to do lap swimming, you need a deeper and larger swimming pool.

  3. Above-ground or in-ground pool. The first thing you'll need to decide when designing your pool is whether it will be located in-ground or above it. This decision is crucial because it'll affect the entire process of building your pool. In-ground pools are more appealing than above-ground pools because of their permanent feel. However, excavation of soil can be expensive.

  4. Time for installation. A swimming pool installation may take between 2 to 3 months. This will start after you've been granted approval and permits from your local council. Keep in mind that the more complex the pool's design is, the more time it will take to build.

  5. Council requirements. If you plan on building your own pool, you'll need to ensure that you have your local council's permission. Make sure you check the rules and regulations surrounding swimming pools in your area, like fencing rules, before you purchase a pool. You would also need to submit the pool's design and specifications to your local council.

  6. The contractor/builder. It's important to find a contractor or builder who will install your pool securely. You should find a builder you can trust. You can start by asking family and friends for referrals. It's also wise to talk to several contractors and consider how long they have been in the business. Also make sure that they are insured, and do not forget to inquire about warranty options.

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What are the types of swimming pools?

The type of swimming pool you choose also affects the costs. There are three types of pools you can choose from:

  1. Concrete. Concrete pools give you a great degree of customization. You'll be able to change the size of the pool in ways that you cannot with other types of pools. When it comes to design, shape, and size, a concrete swimming pool gives you a tremendous amount of versatility.

  2. Vinyl Liner. Installing a vinyl liner pool is considerably cheaper than installing a concrete or fibreglass pool. Although they typically come in rectangular shapes, custom shapes are available at a higher cost but they are still less expensive than the other types of pools.

  3. Fibreglass. Fibreglass pools are very durable, require little maintenance, and are easy to install. They are often made from a reinforced fibreglass shell, coated in protective gel coats.

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How much does an in-ground swimming pool cost?

In-ground pools are the most expensive to build and install. Why? Because of the excavation costs. You need to have a budget of $35,000 to $100,000+ to install a concrete swimming pool and $30,000 to $100,000+ if you want a fibreglass pool. Average costs may differ depending on the location and the size of the pool. Your contractor would give you the estimated installation costs after they have visited your property.

These factors will affect the total costs:

  • difficulty in excavation
  • type of soil
  • the accessibility of your property
  • fencing, paving, and landscaping
in-ground swimming pool

In-ground swimming pool

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How much does a concrete swimming pool cost?

Concrete swimming pools are durable, long-lasting, and can be customized according to your wishes. However, they are more expensive and take longer to build than other types of pools.

The average cost of a concrete swimming pool is around $50,000 to $65,000 for a size of 7m X 3m. It could cost $75,000 to $85,000 for a 12m X 5m pool. A smaller pool with a size of 6m X 3m can cost around $35,000 to $40,000. While a much larger pool would cost $100,000 or more.

In general, the price will depend on the pool’s dimensions. This includes the size, shape, and depth. Obviously, larger pools tend to be more expensive than smaller ones because they take up more space. Other factors such as accessibility and excavation issues may affect the total costs. Some contractors may even include heating on their quotes.

Additional costs will be incurred in the total price if you want some extra features for your swimming pool. These features can add aesthetic appeal to your pool but be ready for their price.

Adding special features can cost an additional $13,000 to $15,000. Do you want a waterfall? You would need an extra $2,000 or more for that. For mosaic tiling, prepare $14,000 to $19,000. A full-width step entry will cost $600 per square metre. Adding a bench to the pool may cost about $370.

Another thing to be considered is the cost of standard coping, which will cost you $32 per metre for 300mm, $92 per metre for 400mm, and $155 per metre for 500mm. Coping is a protective cover that surrounds the exterior edge of the pool. It prevents water and debris from damaging the pool's shell.

Installing ceramic tiles on a concrete swimming pool

Installing ceramic tiles on a concrete swimming pool

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How much does a fibreglass swimming pool cost?

A fibreglass pool is a ‘one-piece’ pool shell made up of fibreglass material. These are manufactured in a factory using a mould, and then delivered to the location. Compared to a concrete swimming pool, this type of in-ground pool costs less and is easy to install and maintain.

Several factors can affect the total price of your fibreglass pool. These include the pool shell's dimension and shape, location accessibility and soil excavation issues, how seamlessly you want your pool to blend into your outdoor space, and added features and accessories.

A fibreglass pool shell can cost between $6,500 and $25,000, while installation (putting the pool shell into pre-excavated soil) will cost at least $10,000.

Pool accessories can be an additional cost to the total price. A 1.5 Hp swimming pool pump can cost $399 to $799. Cleaning accessories like a self-cleaning chlorinator costs $450 to $1,099, while a wall-climbing pool cleaner costs $289 to $665.

For pavement along the pool, concrete pavers cost anywhere from $40 to $65 per square metre, brick pavers range from $70 to $95, limestone pavers cost $45 to $75 per square metre, and finally, travertine, flagstone, and granite pavers range in price from $70 to $100 per square metre. Depending on the materials, the decking cost ranges from $200 to $1,000 per square metre.

To summarize, a completely installed fibreglass pool can range in price from $20,000 to $40,000 but can reach $50,000 if you choose to add high-end accessories and complex landscaping.

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How much does a vinyl liner swimming pool cost?

A vinyl liner swimming pool is composed of a thick sheet of vinyl that separates the water and the pool structure or frame. Initial costs for vinyl liner pools are significantly lower than those for fibreglass or concrete pools.

The price of complete installation of an above-ground vinyl liner pool is around $10,000 to $35,000. You also need to spend on pool fencing to meet local safety regulations.

On the other hand, the price of an in-ground vinyl-lined pool ranges from $20,000 to $70,000. This type of pool is less cost-effective because it only lasts for 5 to 10 years and you would need to spend $3,000 to $6,000 for vinyl-liner replacement.

vinyl swimming pool steel frame

Steel frame structure of a vinyl liner swimming pool

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How much does an above-ground swimming pool cost?

An above-ground pool is a less expensive choice for pool construction because it doesn't require excavation and may be set up by the homeowner. Depending on size and type, a permanent above-ground pool can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.

In order to avoid additional costs for decking, paving, and landscaping, above-ground pools need a broad, level area in your backyard. Pool equipment and fencing cost should also be considered for additional costs.

above-ground swimming pool

Above-ground swimming pool

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How much does pool fencing cost?

Pool fencing is required by law that you need to comply with, and this will add to your expenses. The cost will depend on the type of fence, but on average it costs $200 to $600 per linear metre.

swimming pool fence

How much does a pool safety inspection cost?

State and local governments require tight pool safety regulations. That's why you also need to comply with pool safety inspections to be conducted by licensed pool inspectors.

Depending on the style of pool fence installation you have, as well as other factors, your pool safety inspection fee may vary. Inspection of a residential pool's safety would cost $175 to $450. If the first examination shows that modifications are required to comply with regulations, a second inspection is needed and costs $120. Large pools and shared pools could have higher expenses of up to $750.

If your pool meets all the rules and regulations, a pool safety certificate will be issued to you and it costs $30 to $35.

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How much are swimming pool running costs?

The cost of a swimming pool doesn’t end with the installation costs. You should also consider the ongoing running costs and maintenance required to keep the pool clean, safe and working well. This includes regular cleaning and sanitation, running a pool pump, and chemicals.

The average annual cost of pool maintenance is between $1,000 to $1,500. Costs depend on the type of pool, size, and if it’s covered or uncovered. This can be broken down into:

  • $80 to $110 per month for running a pool pump
  • $200 per year for chemicals
  • $50 to $1,000 for cleaning (depending on the job)
  • $100 to $1,500 per year for heating

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What are the alternatives to swimming pools?

Swim spas are a great alternative to swimming pools. Not only are they able to provide all the fun and exercise you can get from swimming pools, they are also equipped with spa features for added health benefits, are relocatable, and are easier to install.

A swim spa is a combination of a pool and a spa. With powerful swim jets at one end and hydrotherapy at the other, they are a complete system for fitness, leisure, and relaxation.

Swim spas combine the relaxing and therapeutic benefits of a spa with the fun and fitness you can get from a swimming pool. Plus, unlike most swimming pools, they’re designed to be heated and used year-round so you get a lot more value for money. Click the button below to learn more about swim spas and if they’re a good option for you and your family.

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Swim spa vs swimming pool running costs

Most people with swimming pools shut them down over winter and then use them unheated over summer.

In comparison, swim spas are designed to be used year-round. They are heated using the spa’s in-built heater or an external spa heat pump – which is by far the more energy-efficient option.

As explained above, most pools aren’t heated and are designed for summer use only while swim spas are used year-round. So, when weighing up the pool and swim spa running costs, it makes sense to compare winter heating costs as that is where you’re getting value for money.

Bear in mind, that running costs will vary depending on a range of factors including your local energy costs, the location of your swim spa or pool, the climate, and how often you use the swim spa and how you use it.

For example, on average, a 4.5m swim spa used twice to thrice per week during winter in a temperate climate like Sydney, being heated by a heat pump will add about $100-$200 per month to the electricity bill, depending on the temperature you decide to set the water.

In comparison, heating a swimming pool over winter could cost over $1,000 a month.

Learn more about the difference between pools and swim spas in the article below.

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Why choose a swim spa instead of a swimming pool?

Watch the video of a fitness enthusiast who made a switch from a swimming pool to a swim spa. She likes that it’s an all-around pool and recommends it for her age group for fitness.

Watch: Why this client switched from a swimming pool to a swim spa

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In Summary

In conclusion, the total cost of buying and installing a swimming pool varies greatly depending on the type of swimming pool you want, where you build it, what materials you'll want to use, how big it is, and what extra features you'll want to be added.

Plus don’t forget to factor in ongoing maintenance and running costs. After all, the cost of owning a pool doesn’t end with the purchase price. Remember to also compare swimming pool costs with other options like swim spas. You may find you get a lot more for your money with a smaller more versatile swim spa or plunge pool.

We hope this article helped you to see all the factors that you need to consider before you dive into installing a pool. And don’t worry, If it’s not viable for you to install a swimming pool, mainly because of its cost, there are alternatives you can consider without compromising the enjoyment that a pool can give.

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