Having a pool in your backyard can be a fun way to cool off on a hot day. Pools are frequent additions to many properties in hot climates and can also be common in seasonal climates. If having an in-ground pool seems too big a commitment to make or you are unsure of how much use the pool would get, starting with an above-ground pool often makes a better choice. Above-ground pools can be just as enjoyable but generally less expensive, easier, and less invasive to install. Above-ground pools come in several shapes and sizes, with or without decks.
Building an above-ground pool costs $3,000 to $7,500. The average homeowner spends around $5,000 building a 12’x24’ foot oval above-ground pool with a liner. This project’s low cost is around $1,500 for an 18-foot round metal pool. The high cost is $10,000 for a 12’x24’ rectangular hard-sided pool with a full deck.
|Above-Ground Pool Price|
|National average cost||$5,000|
Above-ground pools may be more limited in options than in-ground pools, but there are several choices for the pool’s size and depth. Typically, an above-ground pool may be available in three depths: 48 -inches, 52 inches, and 54 inches. Not every size is available at all three depths. The larger the pool, the deeper it usually is. Some above-ground pools may also be shaped to be deeper in the center than at the edges by a few inches. This is largely influenced by the pool’s shape.
Costs can be determined by size, depth, and material. There is a significant range of costs, depending on the various sizes and depths. The following are some of the more popular options, with costs for materials or the kit only, without labor or decking.
|15-ft round by 48-in deep||$800 - $1,500|
|18-ft round by 52-in deep||$1,000 - $2,500|
|24-ft round by 52-in deep||$2,000 - $3,500|
|12-ft by 24-ft by 52-in deep||$2,000 - $5,000|
|24-ft round by 54-in deep||$2,500 - $4,000|
|16-ft by 32-ft by 54-in deep||$3,500 - $6,000|
|33-ft round by 54-in deep||$4,000 - $7,000|
Like in-ground pools, above-ground pools come in many types and varieties. This includes the materials, style, and appearance. In general, round pools are easier to install and less costly. Metal-framed pools are usually easier to install and less expensive. Oval, hard-sided, and rectangular pools cost the most, as do specialty pools like lap and plunge pools.
|Type||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Inflatable||$200 - $500|
|Metal Frame||$500 - $3,000|
|Round||$500 - $3,000|
|Oval||$1,000 - $4,000|
|Hard-Sided||$1,000 - $4,000|
|Rectangular||$1,000 - $4,000|
|Plunge||$1,500 - $4,000|
|Lap Pool||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Semi Above-Ground||$7,000 - $10,000|
Inflatable pools cost between $200 and $500. Inflatable above-ground pools are newer, using air compressors to quickly shape the pool. They tend to be smaller and round. They are not meant to be left out year-round but are deflated and brought in at the end of the season. Because these do not require professional installation, they are the least expensive. They are also a good choice for anyone who wants a place to cool off on a hot day.
Metal frame pools range from $500 to $3,000. This is the classic above-ground pool. It is made from a metal frame kit that is fairly easy to put together. A liner is then stretched over the frame. They tend to be smaller and not as durable or long-lasting as hard-sided pools. You cannot use a saltwater generator with this pool. The salt may corrode the metal, which could cause leaks.
Round above-ground pools cost $500 to $3,000. Round pools are a good choice if you are short on space. They have the most material options and can be hard-sided, metal frame, or inflatable, which gives you more options in how they are built. Many small round pools can be put up by the homeowner to save on installation costs. If you decide to have professional installation, your costs are still lower than with other shapes. The pool is designed to go up quickly so that it can be ready for use in hours with professional installation.
Oval pools cost between $1,000 and $4,000. Oval pools are one of the most common shapes for above-ground pools. They have more space than a round pool but without sharp angles or corners. They may include decks and are typically hard-sided or metal-framed. They cost more to install than a round pool. The kits are more complex for oval pools, meaning they take longer to install.
Hard-sided pools average $1,000 to $4,000. A hard-sided pool has walls made from aluminum or steel with a resin coating. They are very durable but limited in size and shape. They come in heights of 48, 52, and 54 inches. Because of the resin coating, you can use a saltwater generator with this pool. This can make your pool more comfortable for long-term use.
Rectangular above-ground pools range from $1,000 to $4,000. Rectangular pools are not as common but may be used for lap pools. Some endless above-ground pools are rectangular. They may also have decks and are typically hard-sided or metal-framed. This type is the most common shape to use with a deck. If having a deck with a built-in appearance is important, this is the shape you want to choose.
Above-ground plunge pools average $1,500 to $4,000. Plunge pools are small, usually rectangular pools. They are not designed for swimming but only cooling off on a hot day. Some may be jetted to act as a hot tub when not in use, but most are small permanent pools. They are usually made with a hard shell exterior. Because of this, installation costs are usually low, but the pool is more expensive for its size than other types.
Above-ground lap pools cost between $2,000 and $5,000. Lap pools are designed for exercise and typically long and deep enough for a person to swim laps in comfortably. They may be narrow and fully in-ground, fully above-ground, or sometimes semi above-ground. You need to go custom for a fully above-ground version rather than a kit, which most commonly means opting for a metal frame. The custom frame adds to the costs. While these pools may not be much larger than others in total square feet, having a custom pool increases purchase and installation costs.
Semi above-ground pools range from $7,000 to $10,000. Semi above-ground pools are a blend of in-ground and above-ground pools. You can get more depth than a normal above-ground pool and do not need to deal with the same excavation as a true in-ground pool. They appear like an above-ground pool from outside, but once you climb in, you find they go significantly deeper. While there are many above-ground pools, many people who choose this option still want all the amenities available with an in-ground pool, such as a deck, heater, and lights.
You can also have a custom-built above-ground pool made of many materials. These materials are more costly than standard above-ground pools, but they can provide stunning results. Some of these materials can be beneficial for specific installation types, such as building into a hillside or if you have particularly rocky terrain or a high water table. All are made to order and have much higher costs than standard pools.
|Liner Type||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Fiberglass||$7,000 - $10,000|
|Concrete||$18,000 - $60,000|
|Glass||$20,000 - $80,000|
|Acrylic||$20,000 - $80,000|
Above-ground fiberglass pools average $7,000 to $10,000. Fiberglass pools cannot be installed fully above-ground. They can be installed in a semi above-ground application. The fiberglass shell is not strong enough to stand alone and be an above-ground pool. It needs at least some dirt backfilling around it to maintain integrity. This can be a good option if you want a fiberglass pool and do not have a perfectly level yard.
Above-ground concrete pools cost between $18,000 and $60,000 for the material and an additional $10,000 to $20,000 for installation. These pools are attractive and more durable and long-wearing than traditional above-ground pools. They are usually built into the yard’s hillside, leaving one exposed side. They are also a good option if you want a concrete pool but have extremely rocky terrain or a high water table. These pools are always rectangular. They may be combined with glass or acrylic.
Above-ground glass pools range from $20,000 to $80,000. These pools are rarely made of all glass. They are usually a concrete pool with one or more glass walls. Some pools may also have a glass bottom, particularly if they are installed above a building. Glass is usually less expensive than acrylic, but while acrylic can be formed into large pieces, the glass sides must be made of many pieces. This means you need more glass and that cancels out potential savings.
Above-ground acrylic pools cost between $20,000 and $80,000. These pools can be made of acrylic but are more commonly mixed with other materials. They may have one or more walls of acrylic, then use concrete or a retaining wall for the remaining sides. Acrylic pools are very eye-catching and can let you see into the pool through the sides. While it is more expensive than glass, you can form most of the pool from one continuous piece. This limits the size but makes installation easier and means you need less material to keep costs down.
Metal-framed and some hard-sided above-ground pools require a pool liner. There are four basic liners you may want to consider, and they are generally categorized by the installation method. The liners are generally made of vinyl. Like vinyl in-ground pools, the liners may need to be replaced over time for the pool to maintain integrity.
|Liner Type||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Overlap||$100 - $400|
|Beaded||$150 - $500|
|Unibead||$150 - $500|
|Expandable||$200 - $700|
Overlap liners are inexpensive and easy to install. They fit over the pool’s edge, and an edging channel goes over them, holding them in place. This is one of the most common types and is also frequently used in in-ground vinyl pools. They average $100 to $400, depending on the size.
Beaded liners are more popular, lining the interior and not going over the top edge. They have a channel under the top lip that they adhere to, so installation is trickier. They are also not available in as many sizes as overlap liners. They provide a better-looking finished edge, which can make them more desirable. They range from $150 to $500.
Unibead liners are considered replacement liners. They can be used with an overlap or beaded liner channel, making them more versatile. Because liners wear out over time, expect to replace them every 7 years. These liners are common and can be found with most pool installers. They cost between $150 and $500, depending on the size.
Expandable liners are tough, durable, and last longer than other types. They are made to stretch to fit the pool, so one liner can fit many sizes and shapes, which takes some of the guesswork out of determining the best fit. They are more expensive than the other types, starting at around $200 to $700.
There are several common and popular above-ground pool kit brands to choose from. These kits are sold at many retailers, including major pool installation companies and big-box stores. Some are designed to be easy-to-install DIY, while others are recommended to contract for professional installation.
|Liner Type||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Intex||$200 - $1,000|
|Wilkes||$1,000 - $4,000|
|Trevi||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Doughboy||$3,000 - $10,000|
|Kayak||$4,000 - $12,000|
Intex pools range from $200 to $1,000. These pools are usually easy to set up and meant for DIY installation. They include inflatable and some soft-sided pools and metal frames. They have a wide range of styles and sizes. These pools are also widely available. You can usually purchase and set one up in a day.
Wilkes pools cost between $1,000 and $4,000. Wilkes specializes in metal-framed pools. These are generally fairly easy to set up and can be done DIY. They require a liner and have different available types. Their pools come in a range of sizes and styles. They are readily available, and professional installation is also available.
Trevi above-ground pools average $2,000 to $5,000. Trevi makes a wide range of pool kits. These include metal-frame and resin kits. They come in several sizes, styles, and finishes. The kits are fairly easy to install, but professional installation is usually recommended. These pools generally have a decent warranty and are fairly long-lasting.
Doughboy pools range from $3,000 to $10,000. Doughboy makes a wide range of pools in various styles and sizes. They have steel-sided and resin-sided pools. They have lower-cost lined pools and also more highly durable and longer-lasting resin designs. Their pools are meant to be professionally installed.
Kayak pools cost between $4,000 and $12,000. Kayak pools are considered high-end above-ground pools. Many of them have decks, which are included in their costs. They have a variety of resin and hard-sided pools to choose from. They also have several shapes, including rectangles and some specialty pool types like lap pools. They are designed to be professionally installed.
Above-ground pools are typically lower maintenance than in-ground pools, but they require some work to keep them in order. This includes balancing the chemicals, cleaning out the traps and filters, and skimming debris from the surface. Because above-ground pools tend to be smaller, most people do these jobs and open and close the pool themselves. However, you can contract with a pool company for the yearly opening and closing maintenance in larger above-ground pools. The average cost of fully opening a pool is around $225, while the average cost of closing is around $250, including chemicals. Your costs may be higher or lower, depending on the pool size and condition.
Many pools can be converted to a saltwater pool by including a saltwater generator in the installation. This converts salt to chlorine, which lowers your maintenance costs to around $100 yearly for chemicals and makes the water feel softer and less drying. You still need to test the water and add chemicals as needed, but you add salt instead of chlorine. The generator turns that salt into chlorine, keeping your pool sanitary. The chlorine produced has a silkier feel. It is also less irritating to your eyes and skin. It can, however, be detrimental to surrounding plant life and wooden decks. It cannot be used with metal-framed pools because the salt can damage the frame.
The average cost of the initial setup and installation for a saltwater generator is between $1,400 and $2,000.
Like any addition to a property, above-ground pools have positive and negative attributes to consider. Above-ground pools are usually less expensive and easier to install. They also typically have lower-maintenance and ongoing costs and are generally easier to keep clean.
However, most above-ground pools are more limited in size and shape than in-ground pools. Above-ground pools are likely round, oval, or rectangular, and most are sold in kits with pre-determined sizes. There are few, if any, custom options available, so getting one with a specific size or depth may not be possible.
Above-ground pools do not last as long as in-ground pools and must be repaired or replaced within 3 to 10 years, depending on the material and construction. They may also hurt your home's resale value because they are not considered a permanent structure.
Like all pools, your above-ground pool requires a cover to help keep it clean and to keep out debris. There are several cover options to choose from with covers, including solid and mesh. Covers range in cost depending on the size, shape, and type. Expect to pay from $100 to $300 for most covers.
All pools must be fenced in with a latching gate in order to pass most building and safety codes. The fence must be durable and not easily scaled. Most pool fences with a latching gate cost around $1,120 to encompass a 12’x24’ pool.
Most pools have a heater installed to make the pool more comfortable in cooler weather. Pool heaters are sized to the pool and cost around $1,800 to $2,400 installed.
Pool lighting is an option for some above-ground pools, but not all. You can purchase floating lights for around $300 to $450, or some hard-sided pools may have additional lights installed for around $1,200.
Waterfalls and fountains are not common with above-ground pools because they usually do not have the space to support them easily. However, if you have a pool with a deck and want to add a waterfall, they can be built for around $1,500.
Labor costs are usually between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on the type, size, and scope of the pool.
Depending on the size and type of pool, it can take up to two to three days.
This depends on the condition of the ground. If it’s already level, nothing needs to be done. If it’s not level, it will need to be graded first.
You can, provided that the grass and the ground beneath it are level.
Installation costs for an above-ground pool range between $2,000 and $5,000, while installation costs for an inground pool start at $10,000.
Above-ground pools may last between 3 and 15 years, depending on the model and how well they are taken care of.
While there are semi-inground pools, a pool meant for above-ground use should not be sunk into the ground. You may need a concrete slab if your pool will be heavy and your soil or yard not strong enough to support it on its own. Some pools, however, do not require this; always speak to a pool installer to find out more.
This depends largely on how much use it will get and what your needs are. Most people find that hard-sided pools are the longest lasting.
The deepest that an above-ground pool can be is around 54-inches on average.