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Uncovering the Nine Hidden Costs of Purchasing an Inground Swimming Pool

So you’ve been researching inground swimming pools for some time now and have some pricing questions. “What exactly am I paying for when making this purchase? Is it just the pool? Which type of inground pool costs the most? If I get a fiberglass shell, is it just the shell I am paying for? What about filling the pool with water? Is landscaping included? Do I have to pay for dirt removal? Does pool plumbing come at an additional cost?” These are all valid questions.

Generally speaking, the cost of purchasing an inground swimming pool accounts for more than just the pool itself. Being aware of every financial aspect of purchasing an inground swimming pool is important to ensure your long-term happiness with such a large purchase. Among these expenses, nine stand out. 

“Well, I didn’t know this was included,” is something pool installers like ourselves have heard time and time again. We at Royal Pools and G2 Outdoor Designs have been installing fiberglass and vinyl liner inground pools since 2000. We have been asked those very questions from above hundreds of times, so let’s address them.


The Nine Hidden Costs of an Inground Swimming Pool

  • Preparing the Pool Area
  • Utility Connections
  • Implementing Safety Measures Per Code
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Sprinkler System Repairs
  • Yard Repairs
  • Additional Patio
  • Retaining Walls
  • Filling Up the Pool with Water


Preparing the Pool Area

Before the excavation for the pool can even begin, homeowners will need to address existing landscaping or hardscaping in the yard that will need to be removed to accommodate the pool. This may involve removing trees, bushes, or other natural obstacles, as well as demolishing any patio structures that occupy the space earmarked for the pool. The costs associated with yard repairs and demolition can vary widely depending on the project’s size and the existing landscape’s condition.

Utility Connections

Inground pools require a significant amount of energy to operate efficiently. From running the pump and filtration system to heating the water and powering lighting features, gas and electric bills can soar for pool owners. Additionally, installing gas lines or electrical wiring to accommodate these amenities can create upfront expenses that are often overlooked in the excitement of pool construction. Pool builders typically have to subcontract gas and electric professionals for this step, which adds to the cost as well.

Implementing Safety Measures Per Code

Different counties and towns require different types of safety measures for pools and accommodation for such safety measures can drive up the overall cost of a pool. Your town may require a safety fence around the pool, it may require a pool cover. Preventative measures like door and gate alarms are also sometimes required. Generally, your pool contractor should know all the different town code requirements to successfully install your pool, but it is worth noting that any additional features will drive the price up.

Insurance Coverage

When vetting your pool contractor, be sure to ask about the effects installing a pool may have on your homeowner’s insurance. Adding a pool to your property may raise your homeowner’s insurance premiums due to increased liability risks specifically if you have a diving pool or a pool without a cover. It may be a good idea to raise your insurance coverage to cover any potential risks that may be incurred from owning a pool. 

Sprinkler System Repairs

Existing landscape features like sprinkler systems may have to be removed or repaired after the pool installation which will again add to the overall price of your pool. 

Yard Repairs

Repairing sprinkler systems isn’t the only thing that will need to be fixed after the pool installation. Depending on the size of your yard, it can get, for lack of a better word, demolished during installation, which will require landscaping and repairs. These repairs may include filling holes, leveling uneven terrain, and hauling and removing dirt. Rough grades, which focus on the initial layout and contours of the land, are typically done by the pool contractor but final grades, which prepare the land for the final landscaping and construction phase, will need to be done by a landscaper. 

Additional Patio

Most pool contractors include a minimum of four feet of concrete patio around your pool in their package. You may choose to add more concrete or paving around the pool area for walkways, or poolside areas like gazebos and outdoor kitchens. If you’re struggling to determine which type of patio to choose… Check out our video on concrete vs pavers. That might help you make a better-informed decision.

Retaining Walls

When it comes to pools there are no specific requirements for a retaining wall as long as you have the space to properly grade the yard. In some cases, installing an inground pool may require the construction of retaining walls to prevent soil erosion and stabilize the surrounding area. The price of retaining walls depends on several factors including the type of material, height, and engineering requirements. If your property is located on a slope or has unstable soil conditions additional structural support may also be required.

Filling the Pool With Water

Once the pool is constructed, it needs to be filled with water—an expense that may seem minor compared to the overall cost of the project but can add up quickly. It may come as a surprise to hear that not every pool builder includes filling up the pool with water in their package. The average inground pool holds several thousand gallons of water, which translates to a substantial water bill. Additionally, depending on local regulations, homeowners may be required to use local drinking water for filling their pools, further driving up the cost.

Pro Tip

Finding the right pool installer in your area can be the hardest part of purchasing an inground swimming pool, and it’s arguably the most important part as well. Your pool contractor should be upfront and honest about not just what is included in their pool package, but any hidden costs like the ones we’ve talked about in this article. If you meet up with a pool contractor, for example, who refuses to tell you whether or not you will need a retaining wall before signing a contract, it will be best to find another pool contractor immediately. 

Closing Thoughts

Purchasing an inground swimming pool is a one-of-a-kind investment. How many investments can you say will create fun family memories that you will cherish forever? The novelty of such an investment should not lead to oversight. Every aspect of your pool purchase adds to the overall cost and you need to be aware of all of them. If you’re considering purchasing an inground swimming pool, vet your builder about all of these factors. Test your builder’s transparency concerning these factors. This will also help you determine the best builder in your area. Transparency is key. Crystal-clear transparency is even better

Written By Logan Edgemon


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