Summer is around the corner. You and your family have had many discussions over the years and have finally decided to go for it — you are buying a pool! That was the easy part. Now, you must decide what kind of pool you want, and there are quite a few choices. The biggest decision is whether to opt for an above-ground pool or an in-ground pool. Let’s discuss a few important considerations.
Costs of both in-ground and above-ground pools vary widely. Generally speaking, above-ground pools are less expensive than a permanent in-ground pool. We will leave the $20 kiddie pools out of the discussion. Your family would be rather disappointed if they saw that on the lawn. There are steps up from there, blow-up pools with plastic frames, for instance. But those are suitable for younger children, and are about $100.
Practically speaking, you pay around $800 to $3,000 for a quality above-ground pool. The wide range in price depends on the size of the pool and what kind of extra equipment is needed for your particular pool. Bigger pools need sturdier framing. Are you going to have decking or lights? What type of filter will you have and will you be including ladders?
With an in-ground pool, you can opt for the less expensive vinyl pool packages. Those will cost $5,000 to $8,000, and you have to be realistic about whether you can successfully install them yourself. A permanent, concrete in-ground pool is going to cost you $30,000 to $70,000 and would need to be installed by a reputable pool builder.
In addition to the cost of the pool, you are going to incur the costs of everything needed to go with it. Most local governments require fencing around any pool. You will need to have decking, which can be quite expensive depending on whether you use wood, tile or concrete.
There are other cost considerations when it comes to installing a pool. You’ll want to landscape the area to make it more attractive and less visible to the public. You don’t want to go through all the expense of installing a pool and not have a heater for it. There are also the costs of filtration, accessories such as pool covers and skimmers. You will need to purchase the necessary chemicals to maintain water quality.
No matter which pool you buy, you will have to spend time and money to maintain it. Above-ground pools are generally going to be easier to maintain simply because they are smaller than an in-ground pool. That’s an advantage or a disadvantage — depending on your perspective.
A smaller pool needs a smaller filter and fewer chemicals than a larger pool; but then you’re also stuck with a smaller pool. No matter the pool, you will be fishing out leaves, debris and unfortunate insects. Since the pumps and filtration systems are usually larger for an in-ground pool, maintenance is often limited to skimming debris from the water and scraping algae off the sides. Proper pool chemistry will usually keep algae from growing in the first place.
When it comes to repairs, it is generally cheaper to fix an above-ground pool. Above-ground pools last 7-15 years before they need a replacement. They may have a liner that you may need to replace sooner than that. With in-ground pools, it depends on the materials used. Concrete pools can be considered permanent structures, but they need to be resurfaced every ten years or so, and that isn’t cheap. Fiberglass will last 20 years or more as will vinyl. They also have liners that need replacement every 6 to 11 years.
Above-ground pools are less expensive, are easy to install and they are easier to maintain. However, they don’t last as long, aren’t as deep, often have less swimming space, and quite frankly, are junky looking. In-ground pools are expensive and difficult to maintain without hired hands. Then again, with a pool service all you are going to have to do is pay the bills and swim in the pool.
Pools aren’t cheap. No matter what you decide, you are going to be spending a lot of money to install your pool. Then, you are going to be spending a lot of money to maintain your pool.
If money is tight and you just want a pool for the family that fits your budget, then consider an above-ground pool. It’s a personal choice. They aren’t as attractive and have a depth limit, but they can provide years of enjoyment to your family. If money isn’t an issue, consider making the investment in an in-ground pool. They are much more beautiful, they aren’t as much of an eyesore for your neighbors, and they will last for as long as you want to maintain it.
Now you have to go buy new bathing suits!