We get it, a swimming pool is a HUGE purchase, and can be a very COMPLICATED! Decisions like these sometimes involve pulling a large loan, life savings, or even portions of a retirement fund which can be scary for fear of being ripped off or taken advantage of! We know financial planning is key and we also know this is your first step of that journey. Royal Pools and More has installed hundreds of fiberglass and vinyl liner swimming pools for clients over the last 20 years and we want to make sure you know exactly what you are purchasing.
The process of purchasing a swimming pools is very similar to building a brand new home or even buying a new car. The styles of pools vary, the options are never ending and each pool contractor has different pool packages and products. So when I set out to write this, I wanted to make it a point to lay down as much information as I possibly could with upfront costs and lifetime costs while pairing into an installation package. Alright, I do want to point out, just like a house or even a car, the price does range. Depending on region, type of pool / product and which builder you choose. Please do not think that this article will not help you out if you do not live in this region.
This page is going to review the cost of the three types of inground swimming pools gunite, fiberglass and vinyl. We’re going to break it our two different ways, with upfront cost and lifetime cost. Then in fine detail by small, medium and large sized pools. In addition, I’ll sort out some information as to what goes into the cost of each pool, to help you truly understand why these pools cost what they do. Then, I am going to reveal some hidden costs that you should look out for when you decide what pool is right for you. Finally Ill review what you should get in your pool package for those prices! Lets get started on this huge topic and hopefully I can help you tackle it!
Upfront Costs, Lifetime Costs, and Price Increases to Watch Out For!
1. Gunite/Concrete Swimming Pool
Upfront Cost range – $65,000.00 – $125,000.00+
10-Year Maintenance Cost – $27,400.00
Coming in with the highest upfront price tag (at least in the Midwest) is the gunite/concrete swimming pool. The word gunite refers to the method that the concrete is applied to the rebar sub structure, and some may simply refer to it as a concrete pool. The concrete is shot out of a gun and shaped with a screed board and other hand tools as opposed to being poured out of the truck and then laid in a form.
Gunite Pool Cost Per Size of Pool
Small Gunite Pools – sized from 10’ x 20’ – 12’ x 24’ = $65,000.00 – $80,000.00
Medium Gunite Pools – sized from 14’ x 28’ -16’ x 32’ = $80,000.00 – $100,000.00
Large Gunite Pools – sized from 18’ x 36’ – 20’ x 40’ = $100,000.00 – $125,000.00+
What makes up the upfront cost of a gunite swimming pool?
- Design Labor – Gunite swimming pools are 100% custom designed by a landscaper/pool designer. These designers are skilled in CAD and 3D rendering. Each pool and backyard design can range anywhere from 40-80 man hours of design labor. Labor is one of the largest costs in a construction business.
- Construction Labor – To physically build a gunite pool takes a lot of manpower which, again, means lots of labor costs.
- Raw Material – The surface material, which is either made up of plaster, an exposed aggregate surface, tile surface, mother of pearl, or a glass bead-infused aggregate are all very costly pool surfaces.
- Surface Construction Labor – The surface material takes a skilled finisher to install, which will also increase the labor costs even more.
Hidden Costs to look out for with a gunite pool!
- Surface Upgrades – It is typical to have a basic exposed aggregate finish to a gunite pool. Beware that full tile inlay, glass bead-infused aggregate, or mother of pearl infused aggregate may be significant upgrades.
- Weekly Maintenance – A gunite pool is the most difficult style of pool to maintain due to the surface harboring algae, potential staining or scaling. Water chemistry must be watched very closely and taken very seriously. You may have to consider paying a professional pool company to service the pool.
- Surface Maintenance – Acid washing is a common practice for maintaining the surface and scale prevention. This may have to be done every three to five years.
2. Fiberglass Swimming Pools
Upfront Cost range – $60,000.00 – 85,000.00+
10-Year Maintenance Cost – $3,760.00
Fiberglass pools upfront come in slightly higher than that of a vinyl liner pool but slightly cheaper than that of a gunite/concrete pool.
Fiberglass Pool Costs Per Size
Small fiberglass pools – sized from 10′ x 20′ up to about 13′ x 27′ = $60,000.00 –
Medium fiberglass pools – sized from 13′ x 28′ up to about 16′ x 32′ = $65,000.00 –
Large fiberglass pools – sized from 16′ x 33′ up to about 16′ x 41’ = $75,000.00 –
What makes up the upfront cost of a fiberglass pool?
- Raw Material – Fiberglass, chopped and woven roving is the main material that makes up the pool, hence the name.
- Raw Material – Gel coat which is the surface material.
- Freight – Fiberglass pools need to be delivered to your home. This involves truck drivers, a trailer, wide load escort vehicles, permits, and sometimes even a police escort and a crane.
Hidden costs to look for with a fiberglass pool!
- Colored gel coat – Most manufacturers offer a white gel coat finish free of charge, color upgrades to the gel coat with shimmer flake and speckles will increase the cost of the pool.
- Crane – Large fiberglass pools may need to be lifted off of a trailer due to the weight. In addition, if the pool can not be delivered to the back yard on a truck and trailer, a crane may be needed to lift it over the house.
3. Vinyl Liner Swimming Pools
Upfront Cost range – $50,000.00 – $75,000.00
10-Year Maintenance Cost – $11,500.00
Wrapping things up, coming in at the lowest upfront price tag is the vinyl liner swimming pool.
Vinyl Liner Pool Costs Per Size
Small vinyl liner pools – sized from 10′ x 20′ up to about 14′ x 32′ = $50,000.00 –
Medium vinyl liners pools – sized from 15′ x 30′ up to about 16′ x 36′ = $55,000.00 –
Large vinyl liner pools – sized from 18′ x 36′ up to about 20′ x 44’ = $65,000.00 –
What makes up upfront cost of a vinyl liner swimming pool?
- Construction Labor – Labor to build the steel/ polymer wall structure. The structure involves 2 -3 men and usually involves bolting the panels or
- Surface Construction Labor – Floors are made up of vermiculite and involve a skilled laborer. Vermiculite is a product that gets mixed on the job site and poured then laid in a very similar fashion to concrete.
Hidden costs to look for with a vinyl liner swimming pool
- Coping upgrade – Standard vinyl liner swimming pools come with aluminum coping. If you are looking for concrete coping it will increase the price.
- Liner upgrade – A standard liner is a 20 mil floor with a 20 mil wall, with a standard ink print. If you are looking for a thicker liner, pearl finish/shiny finish, or maybe a textured stair or floor, the cost is sure to increase by about 30%.
- Stair/bench/ledge upgrade – Vinyl liner pool “base” pricing comes with plastic/fiberglass blended stairs. If you would like custom stairs, benches, or tanning ledges that are fully covered with the liner, you could see increases of $2,500.00 – $8,000.00.
- Shaped Pools – Typically when discussing a price for a vinyl liner pool, most contractors are referring to rectangle pools. The cost will most definitely increase if you desire a shaped pool. The more the steel or polymer wall panels must be bent, the more they cost. It also makes the installation process more difficult and laborious.
What should be included in your pool installation package?
In order to get a true understanding of what is included with those prices above, lets compare it within a pool package. Just to clarify, a pool package is what is included in your contractors agreement. This is the list of what they will include for the price you are paying. Please pay close ATTENTION to the details, not all agreements are created equally!
So, just as an example of what you might, here is ours!
Swimming Pool Equipment
- 1 HP Hayward Super Pump
- S244T Hayward Sand Filter
- 250,000 B.T.U. H-250 Pool Heater
- CL 200 Hayward Chlorine Tablet Feeder
- 7 Color L.E.D. Light
- Automatic Pool Timer
- $1500.00 electrical Allowance for wiring up pool equipment
- $600.00 gas allowance for plumbing gas or propane heater
Swimming Pool Plumbing
All plumbing will be in 1-1/2″ SCHD 40 PVC, unless the pool equipment calls for 2″ The swimming pool will be equip with:1-2 skimmers depending on pool size.
2 VGB compliant main drains 2-3 pool returns, depending on the size of the pool.
Concrete decking around the pool
All of our swimming pools have 4′ of concrete decking included in the package. All of the swimming pools will also include handrails within the concrete deck, A ladder is included if the pool depth is at least 8′.
Due to our installation techniques we do require a minimum of 2′ of concrete on each side of the swimming pool.
- All swimming pools will have a mesh winter safety cover.
- Pool Maintenance Tools
- 8′ – 16′ Telescopic Pole
- Vacuum Head
- Pool Brush
- Leaf Net
- Leaf Rake
- Vacuum Hose
- Standard water test kit
Excavation for the pool
All excavation and dirt removal is included in the pool package. We do ask that homeowners help Royal Pools and More find a location to dump dirt, if we do not have one already.
- All swimming pools will also include a dry pit to remove water from around the swimming pool.
- One on one mechanical training on all pool equipment.
- One on one chemical training.
- Supplied one mechanical and chemical training manual.
- All swimming pools will have a 1 year warranty on labor and workmanship.
Next Step of Your Pool Buying Journey
Now that your swimming pool journey has officially begun, I hope this article has given you a good idea of what to expect when it comes to the cost of an inground swimming pool in an honest and transparent way! We always suggest as a next step to our clients to start researching financing options to gather a proper budget and to invest some time in learning about the three types of inground swimming pools. Be sure to find the right pool that fits you, your family, and your budget! Feel free to drop a message below in the comments section to let us know what you thought or if I haven’t covered an issue related to cost that you would like addressed!