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How Much Does It Cost to Build an Above Ground Swimming Pool?

$1,500 - $2,000
Average Cost
$10,000 - $12,000
$14,000 - $16,000
(building a 12’x24’ rectangular hard-sided pool with deck and stairs)

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How Much Does It Cost to Build an Above Ground Swimming Pool?

$1,500 - $2,000
Average Cost
$10,000 - $12,000
$14,000 - $16,000
(building a 12’x24’ rectangular hard-sided pool with deck and stairs)

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Having a pool in your backyard can be a fun way to cool off on a hot day. Pools are common additions to many properties in hot climates, and can also be fairly common in seasonal climates as well. If having an inground pool seems like too big of a commitment to make, or if you’re unsure of how much use the pool would get, starting with an above-ground pool can often make a better choice. Above-ground pools can be just as enjoyable but are generally less expensive and 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, on average, $10,000 to $12,000 with the average homeowner spending around $11,000 on building a 12’x24’ foot above ground pool with a built-in wood deck.

Building an Above Ground Pool

Building an above ground pool costs
National average cost$11,000
Average range$10,000 - $12,000
Minimum cost$1,500
Maximum cost$16,000

Updated: What's new?

Above Ground Swimming Pool Cost by Project Range

$1,500 - $2,000
18’, round, metal pool with ladder
Average Cost
$10,000 - $12,000
Building a 12’x24’ rectangular hard-sided pool with deck and stairs
$14,000 - $16,000
Hard-sided pool with deck, site clearing and leveling, and waterfall

Pros and Cons of an Above-ground Pool

Like any addition to a property, above-ground pools can have both positive and negative attributes that you need to consider. Above-ground pools are generally less expensive and easier to install than inground pools. 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 terms of size and shape than inground pools. Above-ground pools will likely be round, oval, or rectangular in shape, and most are sold in kits, which have 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 inground pools, needing to be repaired or replaced within 3 to 10 years, depending on the material and its construction. They may also hurt the resale value of your home, as they are not considered a permanent structure.

Cost of an Above-ground Pool by Size and Depth

Above-ground pools may be more limited in terms of options than inground pools, but there are still several choices for both the size and depth of the pool. Typically, an above-ground pool may be available in one of three depths: 48-inches, 52-inches, and 54-inches. Not every size of pool is available at all three depths; generally, the larger the pool, the deeper it is likely to be. 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 shape of the pool.

Costs can be determined by both size and depth as well as by material. There can therefore be a significant range of costs depending on 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.

Above Ground Pool Cost

above ground pool cost

15-ft round by 48-inches deep$800-$1,500
18-ft round by 52-inches deep$1,000-$2,500
24-ft round by 52-inches deep$2,000-$3,500
12-ft by 24-ft by 52-inches deep$2,000-$5,000
24-ft round by 54-inches deep $2,500-$4,000
16-ft by 32-ft by 54-inches deep$3,500-$6,000
33-ft round by 54-inches deep $4,000-$7,000

Above-ground Pools Costs by Type

Like inground pools, above-ground pools do come in many different types and varieties. This includes the materials they’re made from, as well as their overall style and appearance.


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 or not, and are typically either hard-sided or metal framed.

An oval above ground pool sets on grass in the backyard on a sunny summer day


Rectangular pools aren’t as common, but may be used for lap pools. Some endless above-ground pools will also be rectangular in shape. They may also have decks and are typically either hard-sided or metal framed.


Round pools are a good choice if you’re short on space. They have the most options for what they’re made of, and can be hard-sided, metal frame, or inflatable, which gives you more options in terms of how they’re erected. Many small round pools can be put up by the homeowner, saving on installation costs.

Round metal steel frame pool

Lap Pool

Lap pools are designed for exercise, and they’re typically just long and deep enough for a person to swim laps in comfortably. They may be narrow and fully inground, fully above-ground, or sometimes semi-above ground. Often to get a fully above-ground version you will need to go custom, rather than with a kit, which most commonly means opting for a metal frame.

Metal Framed

This is the classic above-ground pool. It’s made from a metal frame kit that’s fairly easy to put together. A liner is then stretched over the frame. They tend to be a little smaller and not as durable or long-lasting as hard-sided pools.

Metal frame swimming pool ready for a bath


A hard-sided pool has walls that are made from either aluminum or steel that have been covered with a resin coating. They’re very durable but limited in terms of size and shape. They can come in 48-inch, 52-inch, and 54-inch heights.


Inflatable above-ground pools are newer, using air compressors to quickly shape the pool. They tend to be smaller, and round in shape. They aren’t meant to be left out year-round, but are deflated and brought in at the end of the season.

Blue inflatable pool in a garden


Semi-above ground pools are a blend of inground and above-ground pools. You can get more depth than a normal above-ground pool, and you don’t need to deal with the same level of excavation as a true inground pool. They will appear a lot like an above-ground pool when viewed from the outside, but once you climb in, you find that they go significantly deeper.

While there are many types of above-ground pools, many people who choose this option still want all the amenities available with an inground pool, such as a deck, lights, and a heater. The following visualization shows you the breakdown of costs for a hard-sided above-ground pool with all of those amenities included. If you do not need land clearing, lights, or covers, you could still use this visual to help you see where your costs are going to land for the other components. Keep in mind that this is one of the more extensive setups available; you can certainly build an above-ground pool for less, including fewer amenities or in a smaller size.

This graphic includes all the pieces of a fully developed, hard-sided above-ground pool including the materials, labor (including both assembly and land clearing), and the components to help the pool run after it’s installed.

Above ground pool with deck cost

Above ground pool with deck cost

Metal frame$500-$3,000
Lap pool$7,000-$10,000
Semi-above ground$10,000-$20,000

Above Ground Pool Liners

Metal framed and some hard-sided above ground pools will require a pool liner. There are four basic types of liners that you may want to consider, and they are generally categorized by how they’re installed.

  • Overlap: overlap liners 1 are inexpensive and easy to install. They fit over the edge of your pool, and an edging channel goes on over them, holding them in place. They cost between $100 and $400, depending on size.
  • Beaded: beaded liners are more popular, lining only the interior of the pool and not going over the top edge. They have a channel just under the top lip that they adhere to, so installation is a little trickier. They are also not available in as many sizes as overlap liners. They cost between $150 and $500 depending on size.
  • Unibead: unibead liners are considered replacement liners. They can be used with either an overlap channel or a beaded liner channel, making them more versatile. They cost between $100 and $500 on average, depending on size.
  • Expandable: 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 different pool sizes or shapes, which takes some of the guesswork out of determining the best fit. They’re more expensive than the other types, starting around $200 to $700, depending on size.

Pump and Filter

Like all pools, your above-ground pool will require a pump and filter to help keep the water clean and circulating properly. Most pumps and filters are the same type used in inground pools, although they should ideally be sized to fit the pool they are installed in. Water pumps cost around $2,100 on average, while a filter will cost around $1,005 on average. Keep in mind that many above-ground pool kits will come with a pump and filter included.

Ladder and Steps

Above-ground pools require some type of ladder or steps in order to access them. This is true whether the pool has a deck surround or not. Many above-ground pool kits will come with a basic ladder or set of stairs included, but sometimes these may be rickety or difficult to use, and you may wish to purchase your own. Pool ladders usually start around $100 while steps start around $500. You may wish to have one on the outside of the pool and a second on the interior as well, to make it easier to access.

Labor Costs to Install an Above-ground Pool

Most above-ground pools are made of pieces that are designed to interlock together to form the basic pool. This makes their installation much simpler and easier than that of an inground pool. First, the land is leveled if necessary to accommodate the pool, and the material is delivered. The frame is constructed, usually through the process of interlocking the various panels in a hard-sided pool, or assembling the frame in a metal-framed pool, then stretching or attaching the liner 1.

The pump, filter, and any lights or other accessories are installed, and if a deck is being built this will be constructed at this time. If you have not had a pool in this area to this point, you will need to have electricity run to the area, usually through a small trench in the ground. The pool is filled with water, and the pump 2, filter, and other components tested. The entire process can often be done in under two days, and is usually carried out by the pool professionals you purchase the kit from. Most will charge between $2,000 and $5,000 in labor, depending on the size and type of the pool, whether the land needed to be leveled, and whether you are having a deck built around the pool.


Above-ground pools are typically lower maintenance than inground pools, but they do require at least some degree of work to keep them in good 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 as well as opening and closing the pool themselves. However, for larger above-ground pools, you may wish to contract with a pool company to do the yearly opening and closing maintenance. 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 size and condition of the pool.

Saltwater Above-ground Pool

Any pool can be converted to a saltwater pool by including a saltwater generator in the installation. This will convert salt to chlorine, which will lower your maintenance costs to around $100 yearly for chemicals, and will make the water feel softer and less drying on the skin. The average cost of the initial setup is between $1,400 and $2,000.

Enhancement and Improvement Costs


Like all pools, your above-ground pool will require a cover to help keep it clean and to keep out debris. There are several cover options to choose from in terms of covers, including solid and mesh. Covers will range in cost depending on size and shape, as well as type. You can expect to pay from $100-$300 on 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 as well. Most pool fences including a latching gate will cost around $1,120 to encompass a 12’x24’ pool.


Decks are not always necessary for an above-ground pool, but they can increase your enjoyment. A deck allows you to sit on the side of the pool, easily watch children in the pool, and entertain more easily. The deck is raised to go around the pool at the top edge. You may wish to install a deck on just one side, two sides, three, or to completely go around. Pool decks for above-ground pools are generally built more like a house deck, with a wood frame and decking material on top. Costs will start at around $18 per square foot on average. For a 12’x24’ pool, a deck encompassing the entire structure would cost around $5,180, while a small, one-sided deck would cost closer to $1,200, a two sided deck would cost around $3,000, and a three-sided deck would cost around $4,000, assuming basic decking materials are used.


Most pools will have a heater installed to help 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-$450, or some hard-sided pools may have additional lights installed for around $1,200.

Waterfalls and Fountains

Waterfalls and fountains are not common with above-ground pools, as they usually don’t have the space to support them easily. However, if you have a pool with a deck and would like to add a waterfall, they can be built for around $1,020.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • If your ground is not level, you may need to add in land clearing and building site preparation costs to add the pool to your property. Land clearing can cost between $1,500 and $3,000, depending on the amount done.
  • Depending on the type of above ground pool, you may need a permit. Some inflatable pools are not considered permanent structures, and do not require permits. Check with your town or city hall to find out more.
  • Some pools with heaters and filters will require electricity to be run out to the pool. This is usually done underground and you should expect to pay an electrician between $65 and $85 per hour for this work.
  • Installing any pool, including an above ground pool, may cause a rise in your homeowner’s insurance costs. Contact your insurance agent to find out what your rate increase could be.
  • You will have water costs associated with the pool installation. Typical costs to fill an above-ground pool are between $80 and $160.
  • Above-ground pool kits and inflatable pools are available which can be put up by the homeowner, saving you on labor costs. Always make sure you check the directions first, to make sure you are comfortable with the project before beginning.
  • Most above-ground pools do not increase the value of your property, so may not impact your property taxes. This can vary by municipality, however, so always check with your local tax office.
  • Kiddie pools are a good alternative to staying cool without erecting a permanent structure. Kiddie pools are usually much smaller than other inflatable pools, meant for children’s use, although some may be large enough to accommodate an adult. You can get fairly large inflatable kiddie pools that can last a season for around $100-$300.


  • How much does it cost to have someone install an above-ground pool?

Labor costs are usually between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on the type, size, and scope of the pool.

  • How long does it take to install an above-ground pool?

Depending on the size and type of pool, it can take up to two to three days.

  • How do you prepare the ground for an above-ground pool?

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.

  • Can you install an above-ground pool on grass?

You can, provided that the grass and the ground beneath it are level.

  • How much does pool installation cost?

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.

  • How long do above-ground pools last?

Above-ground pools may last between 3 and 15 years, depending on the model and how well they are taken care of.

  • Can you install an above-ground pool in the ground?

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.

  • What is the best above-ground pool?

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.

  • How deep can an above-ground pool be?

The deepest that an above-ground pool can be is around 54-inches on average.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Liner 1 Liners: A covering, usually made of vinyl, for the walls and floor of a swimming pool, used to keep the water in and protect the pool's surface.
glossary term picture Pump 2 Pump: A device used to move air, liquid, or gas by mechanical means

Cost to build an above ground swimming pool varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
Kids having fun in an above-ground swimming pool
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Cost to build an above ground swimming pool varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources