You’ve spent years dreaming about it and saving, and now you’re finally ready to take the plunge and build your very own backyard oasis for your family to enjoy! A pool can be one of the most worthwhile investments of your life, however, it’s a big responsibility. If you’re not aware of the additional costs associated with pool ownership, it could come back to bite you.
These hidden pool costs can really add up over time, costing you thousands of dollars that you might not have originally budgeted for. However, once you have a good grasp on some of these hidden costs, you can adjust accordingly to get it right the first time and achieve the highest return on your investment. If you are looking to understand what a pool really costs, take a deep dive with the help of our handy guide.
The Basic Costs of Building a Pool
Building a pool starts with the basic design. If you are just embarking on your pool project, you will need to determine which design works well for your backyard or the space that you’re working with.
Inground pools are typically the most expensive pool design, with many costing between $50 to $125 per square foot to install. Aboveground pools are typically more affordable, averaging from $8 to $16 per square foot. The price of your pool will also depend on the contractor that you hire and their installation fee.
While many people choose the standard round design for their pool, some like to get creative, choosing a specific shape. The more you customize your pool, the more you can expect to pay – something to keep in mind if you’re interested in a unique design.
The materials that you choose for your pool will make a big difference in the overall cost of your project. Cheaper materials include vinyl with aggregate or plaster finishes, while choosing alternative finishes such as materials that resemble jewels or stones can quickly cause the cost of your pool to skyrocket. Fiberglass is a popular pool material that is long-lasting and easy to clean, yet expensive. It comes in the form of a large shell that can cost thousands of dollars extra to be installed.
Permits & Inspections
You’ll probably need to get a pool permit from the building department in your city before you can officially start building your pool. A permit, as well as the associated inspection, could cost you between $500 and $2,000. These costs are often not mentioned by contractors prior to the start of the pool project, since permits are the responsibility of the homeowner.
You could see the cost of your homeowners’ insurance skyrocket after you install a pool. This makes sense when you consider the additional coverage you’ll need for potential damages to your pool and the increased risk of someone injuring themselves on your property. It’s a good idea to contact your insurance company early on in the process to ask about how your new addition could affect your homeowner’s insurance to prevent any unpleasant surprises later on.
Pools use electricity. And lots of it. The electrical work to bring power to your pool for the pump and filter typically costs several thousand dollars. Plus, if you decide to install a water heater, you may also need to upgrade to a 300 amp, as well as change the meter base – adding $6,000 dollars or more to the overall cost of the project.
Retaining Walls and Fencing
If you have a sloped backyard, you may need to install a retaining wall to level off the ground for your pool. For this, you’ll need to call a professional landscaper, which can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars. Certain states also require a fence around inground pools, or you may consider adding one for privacy reasons. This can be another costly investment, especially if you have a large yard.
Contractor Fees and Labor
Hiring a good contractor is integral to the success of your pool project. In addition to installing your pool, a good contractor will be able to advise you on the best way to landscape and maintain your pool. It’s important to shop around. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for. Hiring a good contractor isn’t cheap. Contractors set their own rates, but you could easily be looking at labor costs of $5,000 – $30,000. It also takes time to interview contractors and review their work to make sure you’re choosing the right team for the job.
No above ground pool is complete without a deck. Decks make a great accent for the pool and allow for easy entry. Building a deck is an additional expense to your pool project and could require the services of an entirely separate contractor. You should account for $3,000 up to $15,000 for a new deck. Prices vary based on the size, materials used, and added structures like a roof or steps.
A patio area would accompany an inground pool. For an inground pool, a patio area ranges between $3 and $40 per square foot. The cost per square foot is dependent on the type of material you use with pavers and tile being on the more affordable side, while brick and coral stone can really add up.
Pool Decor Can Cost You
Once you have the pool installed, there are a few other things you need to get ready to enjoy your fabulous new addition. While the star of the show is undoubtedly the pool itself, adding some tasteful decor around the pool area will help make it a place where you will want to spend hours every day. Decor is another expense that you should factor into the cost of owning and maintaining a pool.
Decor is a personal preference and everyone has their own style. However, when choosing furniture to complement your pool space, you should easily expect chairs to run $50 – $150 apiece, with more extravagant patio sets running into the thousands. Even if you decide to keep things simple, pool furniture is still an upfront cost that should be rolled into your budget.
General Pool Upkeep
Installing a pool is an expensive process, but it’s also quite costly to maintain your pool throughout the year as well. In particular, you should remember to budget for the following items:
- Supplies: Items such as pool cleaners, pool poles to remove debris and leaves, and skimmers, are all important to have on hand in order to keep your pool clean and functional. Supplies are an investment, and if you purchase good supplies for your pool upfront, they should last you years. When you shop ProTuff Products, we offer a lifetime warranty, including unlimited free replacements, so you won’t be stuck purchasing new products season after season.
- Chemicals: Swimming pools need to be treated with chemicals in order to keep the water safe and sterile. Chlorine is the standard chemical for any pool, which can be purchased in liquid, tablet, or granule form. Other chemicals that you need for your pool include those for adjusting pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness. These chemicals can cost about $100 for a multi-use package that can typically carry you through the summer or several months. You can also hire someone to professionally treat your pool. This is a very convenient option, but will cost significantly more than doing it yourself.
One way to save some money on chemical costs for your pool is to look into ways to minimize water evaporation since that can lead to chemical loss. Therefore, cutting back on extravagant water features like fountains, while they look pretty, might end up saving you money for the lifetime of your pool. For more on this, subscribe to our weekly email for more pool care tips.
Landscaping Can Get Expensive
If you have a beautiful pool in your backyard, chances are you will want to spotlight it with some landscaping. You could hire a landscaper for this if there’s room in your budget, or you could do the landscaping yourself. Landscaping options for your pool include:
- Bushes and plants around the pool
- Large, smooth rocks to give a sleek, tropical look
- Palm trees (if you live somewhere with a climate to support them)
- New statues or outdoor decor elements to decorate the pool area
Landscaping can be an ongoing project. If you do decide to place new plants around your pool, you should note, be prepared for the additional care and expenses that come with it.
There’s no doubt about it, owning a pool can be a rewarding experience, and one that brings your family years of enjoyment and relaxation. It can also be very expensive. However, with this information about some of the hidden costs of pool ownership, you will be well-prepared to run your pool efficiently. If you want to save money while maintaining a pristine pool, consider investing in quality products that will last you years. For more information about ProTuff and our lifetime-guaranteed pool tools, visit our website or contact us today.
Disclaimer: Pool ownership and maintenance is very complicated, and we know every situation is unique. While we’ve done our best to cover the best practices here, we encourage you to reach out to ProTuff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific questions you may have.