How much does it cost to build a concrete swimming pool?
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In-Ground Concrete Swimming Pool Cost Guide
Updated: August 17, 2022
A swimming pool is a luxury to have for relaxation and the fun activities that come with it in the summertime. While many types are available to homeowners, a concrete pool is the best choice for homeowners for different reasons. Aside from aesthetics, these are a great choice for your property due to the many designs available, the ability for privacy and relaxation in the comfort of your own home, and the value it adds to your home. Installing one is a large investment. The cost is affected by factors like the concrete type, the finish type, the accessories, and enhancement costs.
The national average cost for installing an in-ground concrete pool ranges between $50,000 and $90,000. The average cost to build a 12’ x 24’ in-ground swimming pool made from shotcrete with a tiled finish and basic equipment is $60,000. On the low end, some people pay $20,500 for a basic precast plunge model with a painted finish. On the high end, a 20’ x 40’ fenced structural concrete unit with accessories and an enclosure costs about $300,000.
Cost to Install Concrete Pool
|Concrete Swimming Pool Cost
|National average cost
Prefab vs Custom Concrete Pool
You can expect to spend between $20,000 and $50,000 for a prefab pool. Custom models cost $29,000 to $90,000. When deciding on a model, one of the main decisions you will make is whether to build a prefab one or a custom one. The main difference between the two types is in the way they are made. Prefab models are built and assembled in a facility and brought to the construction site to be placed as-is. Custom models are built completely on-site, in the shape and design you choose. Prefab models can also be made in a pre-ordered shape, but the sizing and design options are limited. Here is how much you can expect to spend to install an average-sized pool of each type.
|$20,000 - $50,000
|$29,000 - $90,000
Concrete Pool Cost per Square Foot
The average cost for a concrete pool ranges from $69.50 to $175 per sq.ft. for a prefab model, while custom models cost $100.50 to $312.50 per sq.ft., depending on various factors. The size is the main factor that affects the exact project cost. They are mostly custom-made, as they allow the pool to be made in any shape or size. Precast concrete models are also an option, but they are limited in size and shape, so they are not frequently installed. The most common sizes homeowners opt for are between 300 and 500 sq.ft. Those that want a larger model can opt for a unit as big as 1,500 sq.ft.
Concrete Pool Costs by Concrete Type
Average concrete pools cost range between $69.5 to $175 per sq.ft. for prefab models and $100.50 to $312.50 per sq.ft. for custom models. The exact cost depends on whether your design is built in place or off-site and then shipped to your home. After deciding to build one, the next question is what type of concrete. Depending on the style and type you want, contractors can often recommend which will be the best. The chart below describes the cost per sq.ft. of the main types.
|Prefab Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
|Built-in Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)
|$69.50 - $175
|$100.50 - $278
|$111 - $278
|$121.5 - $312.50
|$156 - $312.50
Precast Concrete Pool
The cost of a precast concrete pool ranges between $69.50 and $175 per sq.ft. Precast models are made off-site in a manufacturing plant using a mold in which the material is shaped. The finished shape is then brought on-site and placed in the previously dug hole. Because of the weight of the material and manufacturing process, precast is the only type of prefab concrete pool. They are also limited in size and shape. Because they have to be shipped to the installation site, their size cannot be longer than 40 feet or wider than 16 feet. Because of the quicker installation and smaller size, they are usually the cheapest type.
In-Ground Gunite Pool
Gunite, or dry pumped concrete, costs between $100.50 and $278 per sq.ft. Like shotcrete, gunite is a material with a high concentration of cement and far less water than shotcrete or the cast-in-place type. Gunite is usually applied directly to the surface using a pressurized hose that pumps out the water and concrete. This material and building method are very durable. Pools built with gunite can last up to 100 years or more.
If you want a shotcrete pool, expect to pay between $111 and $278 per sq.ft. Also known as wet pumped concrete, the process involves pouring the material into a shotcrete pump that then sprays it out in layers via a nozzle. It is also known as free-form concrete, is highly versatile, and produces some of the strongest and most watertight in-ground pools. This type can last 50 years or more.
The average costs of cast-in-place pools range from $121.50 to $312.50 per sq.ft. For this type, the concrete is installed by first building a mold using steel or wooden planks. Then, the contractor pours in the concrete mixture and allows it to dry. This is one of the most commonly used methods for making an in-ground pool. It’s more expensive than prefab and gunite options, but it also provides a more uniform shape and aesthetic look.
Swimming Pool Structural Concrete
The average cost for a structural concrete pool is between $156 and $312.50 per sq.ft. These models use pre-made concrete slabs installed on top of existing structures, usually buildings or in hillsides. This is a great method to choose for oddly-shaped units or those that are installed on non-flat surfaces. Because of the specific construction and installation process and the added need for concrete slabs, these are the most expensive option to build.
Concrete Pool Costs by Type
Above-ground concrete pools cost between $17,000 and $80,000, while in-ground ones are $25,000 to $90,000. Choosing between the two is primarily a matter of style choice for the homeowner. However, one significant benefit of an above-ground model is that it costs less than an in-ground model to install and maintain. They are also easier to install than in-ground options as they don’t require excavation or lengthy installation. Unfortunately, above-ground models don’t add as much value to your home as in-ground ones.
|Cost Prefab (Installed)
|Cost Custom (Installed)
|$17,000 - $30,000
|$28,000 - $80,000
|$25,000 - $50,000
|$50,000 - $90,000
Above-Ground Concrete Pool
If you want an above-ground concrete pool, you can expect to pay between $17,000 and $30,000 for materials and installation of a prefab model and $28,000 to $80,000 for a custom model. Although the price may be a big determining factor for most, above-ground options have their limitations. If you proceed with getting an above-ground model, make sure that you have a level backyard and that you know your municipality or homeowner’s association’s size restrictions for a backyard pool. These models also do not require digging. They start with building the walls and continue with the usual gunite building process from there. However, they need retaining walls to support the weight of the water and prevent the material from cracking.
In-Ground Concrete Pool
An in-ground concrete pool runs between $25,000 and $50,000 for prefab options and $50,000 to $90,000 for custom models. It is more expensive than an above-ground one but has more options available in terms of shape. Besides being more expensive, they also take longer to install. It can take up to two months to have an in-ground model installed. Although they may be more costly to install and maintain, they add five to eight percent value to your home, unlike above-ground models that do not add value.
Concrete Pool Finishes
To complete your pool, you will need to choose a finish for it, which ranges from $1.50 to $30 per sq.ft. Concrete and gunite are very porous, and finishing them makes them less susceptible to wear from water and chemicals. The finish also makes it look visually appealing. There are three main types of finishes, including plaster, paint, and tile. These finishes are explained below with the pros, cons, and cost of each.
|Cost per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)
|$1.50 - $5
|$1.50 - $5
|$4 - $30
One common way to finish a pool is by plastering it, which costs $1.50 to $5 per sq.ft. Plaster consists of a mix of white sand, white cement, marble, and water and is applied to concrete using a flat-edged trowel. Although plaster is usually white, it can be dyed in different colors. Plaster is the least durable and lasts for roughly five to ten years. On the plus side, plaster is very affordable. It looks elegant and simple when installed properly and is used on most concrete pools. However, it has some disadvantages, like a rough feel and the need for regular surface maintenance. Without proper care, it can crack or stain easily.
Paint Concrete Pool
If you want to finish your pool by painting it, it costs from $1.50 to $5 per sq.ft. Paint gives a beautiful, long-lasting finish, making it look brand new and clean all over again. There are three types of paints: acrylic water-based paint, chlorinated rubber pool paint, and epoxy paint. Paint gives you a satisfying clean look without costing a huge amount of money. However, you will have to pay for the costs of repainting every two to four years because the paint slowly fades. Over time, the water may also become cloudy due to the paint wearing away. Every time you repaint it, you must remove all the old paint, which can be a large job.
Tile for a pool costs $4 to $30 per sq.ft. The tile is typically made of porcelain, glass, or stone. It can be textured, hand-painted, or glazed and is very commonly used for the waterline. Tiles are easy to clean and exceptionally durable, despite their relatively high price. They are typically cleaned with bead blasting, which involves using an abrasive, small-sized bead that gets blasted with strong pressure onto the tile surface to clean or polish it. They last for years with minimal maintenance but are at risk of chipping or cracking in some cases. This can lead to sharp and dangerous edges if you are not careful.
Concrete Pool Installation Cost
A concrete pool installation project costs on average $50,000 to $90,000 with labor ranging from $30,000 and $54,000, and the cost of materials ranging between $20,000 and $46,000. There are a lot of steps involved in building a pool. The whole project begins with an inspection, including the project design, proposal, permit, and approval. Usually, the contractor takes care of the inspection and the design and helps you obtain a building permit (although you need to take care of this). Once all of that is completed, the construction project can begin.
The first step in construction is establishing the layout. The contractor will carefully outline the exact location and shape of the pool on the ground. Once the forms are set, the excavation can begin. This part is done using front-end loaders to dig and push back the walls. Once the hole is dug, steel bars are used to reinforce the shell.
Following the steel installation, all plumbing is roughed in for the return lines, main drains, and spas. The concrete is then poured into the mold at least 6 inches deep and then left to dry for a few days. After completing this phase, any decorative tiles will be installed, and the plumbing will be finalized. Next, the equipment is set up, including the pumps and filtration system, and the electrical and gas hookups are completed.
Nearing the final stage of the project, the deck will be poured or laid, and construction materials and waste from the site will be cleaned up. After that is done, the interior is coated with finish, either plaster or paint, and the pool will be filled with water. Once full, the contractors test the equipment to make sure everything starts up properly and go over common maintenance procedures. On average, concrete pools take between 3 and 12 weeks to install because this material requires a longer time to cure after it is poured.
Additional Parts of a Concrete Pool
Parts for a concrete in-ground pool range between $9 and $3,000, or $3,029 to $6,900 in total. There are many parts that are needed. Without them, a pool would not be able to function and operate efficiently. These parts also protect swimmers by keeping bacteria, algae, dirt, and debris out of the water. Below are the most common parts and the price to install them.
|Cost per Unit (Installed)
|$9 - $30
|$20 - $70
|$300 - $500
|$500 - $2,000
|$700 - $1,300
|$1,500 - $3,000
In-Ground Pool Return Jets
The average cost for a return jet is $9 to $30 per jet. The water must be in constant motion to avoid the growth of algae and bacteria. The purpose of the return jets is to push the water back into the swimming pool after it has been filtered. Return jets also assist in circulating the water around, which helps the skimmers pick up the extra debris. They should point in the same direction, counterclockwise or clockwise.
In-Ground Pool Main Drain
The cost for a main drain is $20 to $70. The main drain is exactly what the name implies, the main drain of the pool. It doesn’t drain the water but instead helps with keeping the water flowing. Most commonly located in the deep end, main drains help pull water off the bottom and other areas to push it through the filter. It also helps with keeping the water temperature balanced.
Pool vacuums cost approximately $300 to $500. Filters play a major part in keeping most debris out, but they don’t catch all of it. Therefore, you will also need a vacuum. Vacuums can be used weekly to remove bugs, debris, and algae. You can choose from two types of vacuums, either manual or automatic.
In-Ground Pool Filter
The average cost to install a water filter ranges between $500 and $2,000, depending on the type of filter. The water filter is the second part that makes up the filtration system of a pool. Once the water pump has sucked in water, the water pushes out to the filter. The filter acts to clean the water of any fine debris or unwanted materials and then moves it right back. There are three types of filters: cartridge, diatomaceous earth (D.E.), and sand.
In-Ground Pool Water Pump
The average cost for a water pump is $700 to $1,300, including installation. A water pump is the first part of the filtration system. A water pump draws water from the pool, pushes it through the filter, and back out into the unit. The pump typically consists of two parts: a bucket with a lid and the basket that goes inside. Within the pump is a motor that spins to help suck the water in and shoot it back out.
In-Ground Pool Skimmer
The average cost for a skimmer is $1,500 to $3,000. Skimmers help to suck the surface water out of the pool and into the filtration system. Inside the skimmer is a plastic basket that helps catch debris floating around. The basket traps the debris and ensures it does not get to the pump. Depending on how big your unit is, you may need to install more than one skimmer.
Pool Inspection Cost
To get started with an inspection, most contractors charge an inspection fee, which costs between $25 and $115. Before building a swimming pool, some prep work needs to be done. The first thing that happens is an inspection. Your contractor or a potential contractor will come out to conduct the initial inspection. This includes a walk around the backyard to inspect where it will be built. They will determine how difficult or easy the process will be and if it is feasible. If you agree to move forward, an agreement will be signed, and a building permit obtained to start the digging.
Concrete Pool Accessories
Accessories range from $20 to $22,000 per piece. From a simple diving board to a fancy slide, there are many options for owners when it comes to accessorizing their pool. Accessories are extras that you can add to your model. Therefore, these are not things you must have but will improve the overall swimming experience if you include them. Below is a list of the most common accessories that can be installed.
|Cost per Unit (Installed)
|$20 - $300
|$30 - $60
|$200 - $400
|$250 - $400
|$450 - $1,200
|$500 - $2,000
|$2,700 - $22,000
|$6,750 - $8,000
Concrete Pools Pros and Cons
Concrete pools were once the most common type of swimming pool and remain one of today’s most popular choices. A few advantages of these are that they can be made in many shapes and styles, providing flexibility for the final look. They also tend to be eye-catching and attractive and are immensely strong and durable structurally. Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages. They can take a long time to install and cost a lot of money in parts and labor. They can also cost a lot to operate daily, so take the long-term bills into account. Plus, some of the surface finishes can be rough to the touch. Another drawback is that it cracks easily. This is primarily due to bad installation, soil erosion, and not sealing the material during regular maintenance. Cracks can be repaired. However, if the damage is substantial, you will have to have the entire unit replaced.
Concrete Pool Maintenance
Keeping a pool safe for swimming requires regular maintenance, which costs $450 to $1,200 per year. Aside from the regular cleaning to get rid of dirt, debris, and insects, they need to have the water temperature, pH, and calcium levels checked regularly. If the chemical balance is off, you would need to have an acid wash. The average acid wash price is $350 to $550. Calcium is another particle that affects the look and quality of water. Ideally, the calcium level should be maintained at a range of 200 to 400 ppm, so it does not clog the filter, roughen the surfaces, or make the water murky. You will spend an average of $80 per month regulating the calcium level. There are also filters to change, brushing and vacuuming to be done, and other essential maintenance tasks. To cut back on excessive maintenance costs, you can have a cover installed to protect it from the outdoor elements and debris that may compromise the clarity and cleanliness of the water.
Winterizing Concrete Pool
If your concrete pool is not located inside the home, you will likely need to winterize it. This means getting it ready to shut down for the colder months since you will not use it. Winterizing is not draining the water from your pool. Instead, it is keeping the water stable throughout the winter months. You will need to balance the chemicals in the water, clear out accessories and put them away, clean out any debris with a skimmer, add pool shock, add an algaecide to prevent algae growth over the cold months, and cover it. Winterizing involves many procedures, but doing so prevents many costly repairs.
Cost of Concrete Pool vs Fiberglass
The average price of a concrete pool is between $69.50 to $312.50 per sq.ft. The average price of a fiberglass one is $75 to $200 per sq.ft. Concrete is the most common pool type, but occasionally some people prefer fiberglass because it is easier to maintain, uses fewer chemicals and energy, and is faster to install. Fiberglass models take a few weeks to install, while concrete ones can take several months to complete. Below is a table showing how much you can expect to spend for each of them.
|Cost per Sq.Ft. Prefab (Installed)
|Cost per Sq.Ft. Custom (Installed)
|$75 - $200
|$69.50 - $175
|$100.50 - $312.50
Fiberglass vs Gunite Pool Price
Gunite is similar to concrete but is a dry mixed form of concrete, so there is a slight price difference ranging from $69.50 to $312.50 per sq.ft. Gunite has a price of about $100.50 to $278 per sq.ft. While gunite models are custom-made, fiberglass ones are made prefab and have a price of $75 to $200 per sq.ft. In terms of durability, a gunite model is a better choice than fiberglass. While gunite may be more durable, fiberglass is easier to clean and maintain because it doesn’t attract algae and bacteria as much as gunite’s porous surface.
|Cost per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)
|$75 - $200
|$100.50 - $278
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Concrete Pool Skimmer Replacement
Replacing a skimmer can be quite expensive, ranging from $1,500 to $3,000. The job involves removing the encasing of the existing skimmer and then plumbing the new one in place. A skimmer acts as a kind of gutter, cleaning the water through skimming. It gets rid of leaves, dirt, insects, and other unwanted debris, so it is a vital part of keeping your water safe and clean.
In-Ground Pool with Retaining Wall
Generally, the cost of a retaining wall is around $20 to $25 per sq.ft., costing $3,500 to $10,000 for the average project. If your backyard is sloped or you want to add a dramatic backdrop to your pool with a raised wall, installing a retaining wall is a good choice. A retaining wall is a structure that supports vertical slopes to hold back water and soil. Retaining walls can be made of stone, wood, interlocking blocks, or concrete. The cost to install a retaining wall ranges depending on the material used.
The cost to install a utility shed averages $5,650. With a pool comes many accessories and gadgets that need a place to be stored. A utility shed can be very handy for this reason. A utility shed can be a great place to store all those materials, keep them out of the weather, and secure them from theft or damage. A traditional size utility shed is 10’ x 12’, but you can choose the size and design based on your needs.
In-Ground Pool With Waterfall
The average cost to install a waterfall on a pool is $1,000 to $3,000. If you want to enhance the overall appearance of your unit, then installing a waterfall is a great way to do so. A waterfall is a decorative structure that acts as the focal point, adding a beautiful visual appeal. Along with aesthetics, a waterfall adds many other benefits, including preventing algae from growing, filtering the water, and providing a soothing sound.
In-Ground Pool Fence
It costs $3,000 to $10,000 to install a pool fence around it. Some of these designs may include a self-closing gate. Installing a fence can be very important to create a safety barrier around the unit and protect one’s privacy. You are required by international codes and law to install a fence for safety and privacy. That way, children and animals cannot access the water without permission. A chain-link fence is one of the most common types of fences used around pools. However, other fence options include mesh, vinyl, metal, plexiglass, wood, and tempered glass.
In-Ground Pool Heater
Installing a heater for a standard pool averages between $3,450 and $5,450. When choosing a heater, you have many options and factors to consider, such as the location, how much it will be used, and the type. If you want a comfortable temperature year-round, then installing a heater is a good choice. Ideally, a water temperature should be kept between 77 and 84 degrees. Keeping the water too cold could cause breathing problems or shock. Keeping it too warm may cause microorganisms to start forming in the water.
In-Ground Pool Enclosure
The average cost to install a standard pool enclosure is $10,000 to $30,000, including labor fees. An enclosure is a structure composed of clear panels surrounding and covering your pool. The purpose of an enclosure is to extend the swimming season by providing comfortable indoor temperatures to swim, shade and sun protection, security and safety from people entering your pool, and also protection from bugs, leaves, and other outdoor debris. An enclosure looks similar to a traditional sunroom. Many factors affect the price of an enclosure, including size, shape, and whether the enclosure is attached or detached from your home.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Resurfacing. After time, a concrete pool will need to be resurfaced. If you start to see spots, chipping, or cracking along the surface, then it means it is time to have your unit resurfaced.
- Warranty. When installing your pool, it is very important to pay attention to the warranty offered by the company. Although a “lifetime structural warranty” will cover many required maintenance or repairs, it does not apply to resurfacing. Prior to building it, it is vital to get the surface warranty down in writing. That way, if something goes wrong a few years in, the warranty will help you cover those hefty costs.
- Saltwater models. Saltwater models have become an increasingly popular choice for many due to their low maintenance costs. Although this may be a benefit, saltwater pools can be a disadvantage when it comes to resurfacing and corrosion of your accessories like ladders and diving boards. Saltwater can be extremely corrosive. You need to be sure to get marine-grade accessories and seal your deck properly.
- Time estimate. When approving the contractors to go ahead with the installation, it is advisable to request a written letter of how long the installation process “should” take. It will often take longer than they originally thought, and they may try to charge you more for that extra time in the end.
- Demolition. Demolition or blasting is a process that contractors complete during the excavation phase. The energy from blasting is used to break down rock to create a smooth surface for the pool to be built.
- DIY. Building a pool on your own would be a tricky task. If you decide to do it yourself, you could probably save somewhere around $10,000 or more due to eliminating labor and inspection fees.
- Residential building permit. Most towns, cities, and counties require a residential building permit to build an in-ground pool. This follows the building and zoning regulations. Before you begin the process, visit your local town or city hall to purchase your permit.
- Code. The ISPSC (International Swimming Pool & Spa Code and Commentary) is a comprehensive code that inspectors use for issuing pool and spa permits. The ISPSC contains information on all minimum regulations for public and residential models. It also covers fencing, decks, pumps, diving, design, and water quality safety.
- How long do concrete in-ground pools last?
This type of model can last 30 years or more, depending on how well it is installed and how you maintain it. You should also have a concrete pool resurfaced every 10 to 15 years.
- How much does a 12’ x 24’ in-ground gunite pool cost?
A gunite pool costs $100.50 to $278 per sq.ft. Therefore a 12’ x 24’ model would cost $29,000 to $80,000.
- What is a concrete pool?
It's a pool made out of concrete. The material is poured into a steel mold placed into a previously dug hole in the shape of the pool outline or design.
- How much does it cost to build a pool per square foot?
The average cost to build a pool is $150 to $250 per sq.ft. The cost is determined by factors relating to the type, the size, and the materials used.
- How much does it cost to build an in-ground pool?
The average cost to build an in-ground pool is between $10,000 and $100,000.