2021 Cost to Build an In-Ground Pool – Is a Pool Worth the Money

After a year of living indoor, outdoor fun is something everybody yearns for. And since safety comes first you might be thinking of getting your own pool. But before searching for the best lounge chairs, or the best rated robotic pool cleaner, we’re here to tell you if it’s really worth your time and your dime.

Building steps

To justify the amount you spend when building in-ground pools, you must understand what exactly the process behind the price-tag is:

  • Permits, Plans, Approvals:

Before any construction of any kind can take place, there is paperwork and fees that need to be taken care of. Pool building permit, electrical permit, gas permit, HOA approval, and so on. All need to be approved, and your plot must pass an inspection beforehand.

  • Layout:

Here you decide how long, how wide, and how deep your pool will be, and then you trace the dimensions on the ground. If you’re not sure which way you want to go, discussing with a professional is a safe bet.

  • Digging:

Or excavating. This step can be done professionally or it can be DIY-ed if you have plenty of time and energy on your hands.

At this point, you generally have 3 options:

Vinyl pool: 2 weeks to be installed.

  • Frame building:

In order for the pool to be secure inside the ground, it needs a frame. Options include steel, aluminum, or polymer that is resistant to degradation. Framing must be done while keeping in mind the spaces required for plumbing and anything else you want to add to the pool.

  • Fitting:

The vinyl lining is carefully placed on the frame and secured. Do spend your money on a thicker lining to minimize any puncture or ripping risks.

Fiberglass pool: 3 to 6 weeks to be installed.

  • Fitting:

The least pretentious, the fiberglass pool is factory molded and only requires a hole in the ground to be fitted. The soil, however, must be compact enough to prevent any shifting.

Concrete pool: 3 to 6 months to be installed.

  • Frame building:

When it comes to concrete, it needs a strong structure to grip onto, therefore the steel is laid and across the whole surface, much like a web.

  • Plumbing & Electrical:

Pipes and wires come into play before pouring the concrete so that they remain in one place and you don’t need to make any holes in the pool’s structure post drying.

  • Concrete:

The concrete is poured in using a special technique to avoid it gathering in one spot and is then finished using precision tools.

  • Tile and deck:

After the concrete is cured and dry, the tiles are added, and you can also move on to the pool deck.

  • Finishing:

After everything is fully dried, an up-close inspection will reveal if anything is out of place, and, if needed, any fixing will happen now. Filters and pumps are installed, lights are added, and ladders are put in place. Then comes the clean-up of any left-over material, dust, pebbles, and anything else that could soil the water.

Back to steps available to all 3 types of pools:

  • Structure testing:

This is when the pool is finally filled and the filtration system is tested. The pumps are given time to do their job while you move on to the next step.

  • Landscape:

Now that the pool is in testing, it’s time to make sure that its surroundings are proper. The activities that will ensue: Trimming trees and hedges, cutting the lawn, raking leaves. Or, if the ground next to your pool is empty, you might consider installing a lawn, bringing trees in, and making a nice patio extension.

  • City Inspection:

This is the final inspection that your pool needs to pass. If everything was done according to updated codes and regulations, you have nothing to worry about.

  • Final pool touch-ups:

After everything is done, the last step you need to take to have a working pool is treating the water.

Building costs

The average you could be looking at to own an in-ground pool is somewhere between $25,000 and $55,000. Any custom pieces (slides, waterfall, lights, etc.) can add an extra $2,000 to $10,000. For permits put aside around $400. Shipping costs are also something to keep in mind, and these vary according to your location and providers.

The average cost per square foot is $50 to $100. Or $125 to $150 for larger, deeper pools.

Here we have a price comparison between the 3 types mentioned, with both standard and DIY installation:


Standard installation: $29,000 to $60,000

DIY installation: $20,000 to $45,000

Upkeep: $27,000/10 years, which helps it last for 50+ years


Standard Installation: $30,000 to $60,000

DIY Installation: $12,000 to $30,000

Upkeep fiber: $4,000/10 years, which helps it last for 25+ years

A bonus is that fiberglass is nonporous – which means fewer are chemicals used and the pool is less prone to algae.


Standard Installation: $25,000 to $45,000

DIY installation: $10,000 to $30,000

Upkeep: $13,000/10 years. The 10-year mark is also when the vinyl lining needs to be changed, and the cost is around $3,000 to $4,000.

*All these prices may vary with each year that passes.


As you can see, owning a pool implies serious thought and serious spending, so double and triple-check your finances before taking the leap. Make sure it is a commitment that you are willing to make and keep your maintenance up to date.