It comes as no surprise that one of the first questions people usually ask is “how much will my new in-ground pool cost?” The answer to that question is best given in two parts.
- What will it cost to get a new in-ground pool up and running?
- What will be the likely ongoing costs involved with owning that pool?
Let’s start by taking a look at the different options out there. The most common types of pool sold in Australia include concrete, fibreglass and vinyl-liner. Understandably, all pools are not equal and therefore have different price points in the market.
What does a fibreglass pool cost?
The entry level point for professionally installed fibreglass pools typically sits between $25,000-$35,000 and can range anywhere up to $50,000 plus. I know what you are thinking; “that’s a pretty big range”. And you’re right, it is.
So what factors influence the cost of your pool? It all really comes down to your site conditions and personal choices, as well as the manufacturer’s pool shell technology, but here are a few factors:
- Ease of access to supply and install the pool
- Ground and soil conditions as well as slope of yard
- The size and shape of the pool you have chosen
- The way you set up your pool to suit your lifestyle (will you choose an in-floor circulation and cleaning system for example)
- Any additional water features or lighting features you choose to enhance the look of your new in-ground pool
- The quality of the product you choose, including the pool shell manufacturing technology
There are some fibreglass pool manufacturers who offer DIY kits for around $15,000-$20,000 however, it is important before embarking on DIY that you also understand all the installation costs, including the hidden costs and associated risks of installing your own pool. Generally speaking, having your pool supplied and installed by a licensed pool builder is a much easier, safer and ultimately more cost-effective option.
Of course, while most manufacturers make a pretty good product these days, it goes without saying that not all fibreglass pools are made to be the same. It pays to be fully aware of what you are offered when comparing quotes (for example, there are important differences between traditional fibreglass pools and fibreglass ceramic composite pools manufactured by Compass Pools). What are the key benefits of the product you are looking at? Does it have features that you cannot get elsewhere? What operating system are they offering (operating systems can range from traditional filtration, to enhanced circulation systems)? What ongoing protection comes with the product (what written guarantees are provided in the manufacturer’s defect warranty document)?
It also pays to consider how long it will take to build your new pool. One of the great benefits of choosing a fibreglass pool option is that it can reduce install time dramatically. A fibreglass pool can generally be installed in a matter of days whereas concrete pools can take weeks or even months.
Vinyl-liner pool cost
Vinyl-liner pools come in two main types. Above-ground prefabricated vinyl-liner pools (with their lower initial cost) are a preferred option for some buyers and can be up and running for around $10,000. However, pool safety standards and fencing codes in Australia still require most above-ground pools to be fully enclosed, adding to the final cost. In-ground vinyl-liner pools are less popular in Australia than fibreglass or concrete options, but can be professionally installed and ready to use for a similar price as a fibreglass pool. Vinyl-liner pools may also require greater ongoing maintenance and care which we will explore in part two of this article.
The cost to build concrete pools
The benefit of a concrete pool is that your options are almost limitless when it comes to shape and size. This means it can be hard to give a detailed idea of pricing. Generally speaking however, concrete pools start at similar pricing to most fibreglass pools but they can have a much higher “top end” point.
Many people assume that concrete is a stronger and more durable option to build a swimming pool from; however, fibreglass technology has come a long way. These days, many fibreglass pool manufacturers have such well-engineered and durable products that their warranties match or surpass the warranties offered by concrete manufacturers. Compass Pools for example, offer a conditional lifetime structural warranty on its Bi-luminite fibreglass ceramic pool range. This warranty lasts the original owner’s entire time whilst at the property and can even be transferred to new owners for the balance of the first 25 years.
The ongoing costs of your pool are largely dependent on how you choose to set it up from the beginning. All pools require a certain level of care to ensure that they endure the elements and remain clean and healthy.
There are 5 main activities that influence the ongoing costs of your pool:
- The way the water is filtered (the cost of running and servicing pumps and filters)
- The way the water is sanitised (chemical costs/ salt water chlorinators etc)
- The way your pool is cleaned (self-cleaning systems, robots, suction cleaners, or manually)
- Keeping the pool’s interior surface looking great (aesthetic maintenance)
- The way you use your pool (heat-pumps, water features, pool covers or blankets)
Your selected solution for pool heating takes a great bit of the monthly cost. It depends on which solution/technology you go for. There is an option to select solar pool heating for pools in Queensland due to a relatively high number of sunny days in most of the regions. If you prefer a “traditional” heating option, we recommend the brand EvoHeat to our Queensland customers. Depending on the model you choose, they can save you $1,00 or more per year when compared to gas pool heating or $2,00 or more per year when compared to an electric element pool heating.
Ongoing costs of a concrete pool
When compared to the smooth gelcoat surface of fibreglass pools, some concrete pool surfaces are more porous and require more ongoing attention to prevent algae and bacteria becoming an ongoing issue. As such, some concrete pools require more money spent on chemicals to keep them healthy and safe to swim in. Some concrete surface finishes for example are more susceptible to black algae, which can be particularly costly and difficult to remove.
Another thing to consider when weighing up if concrete is right for you is the long-term maintenance of the pool. Concrete pools, again depending on the type of surface finish used, can often require resurfacing after 15 years or so. When this is necessary, it will become a significant cost to the upkeep of your concrete pool over its lifetime.
Ongoing costs of a vinyl-liner pool
Vinyl-liner pools (also known as vinyl-lined pools) can also have a higher maintenance requirement than fibreglass pools. Most vinyl pool linings have a life expectancy of up to 10 years, which means during a ten-year period you could expect to reline your pool at least once. It is also important to consider that vinyl-lined pools are more prone to damage from sharp objects, which also means you may be required to spend money on future repair work. A good quality liner is likely to cost over $4,000 for an average sized pool.
Ongoing costs of a fibreglass pool
From an ongoing maintenance perspective, a fibreglass pool tends to be a low effort/low cost option. Once your fibreglass pool is in the ground, generally speaking there is very little that you need to do to keep it looking great. Fibreglass pool manufacturers usually recommend that you periodically hand-polish the gelcoat surface above the waterline (just like you would with a car or boat) but aside from that you should not need to resurface, repaint, or reline your pool (provided that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and maintain balanced water and correct chlorine levels all year round).
Because the gelcoat surface on a fibreglass pool is smooth (compared to many concrete pool surfaces) it can be easier to control algae and bacteria. As such, the water in a fibreglass pool generally requires less chemicals and possibly even less filtration time, which can save you money in both chemicals and electricity.
The great thing about a Compass fibreglass ceramic pool is that you can opt to include the Vantage self-cleaning and circulation system. This system works to dramatically improve circulation in your pool making it even harder for bacteria and algae to grow. Not to mention that this exclusive in-floor system eliminates the need for suction cleaners or robotic cleaners. The Vantage system will save you significant amounts of money on electricity, chemicals and separate cleaning equipment.
One last thing to think of when comparing pool prices
Finally, another thing to consider when weighing up the cost of a pool is how much of your initial investment you are likely to get back (or even build on) when the time comes to sell your home.
Generally speaking, there are two types of buyers in the realty market. People either like the idea of having a pool or they are apprehensive of it. The main reason the latter group have concerns is that they don’t want to be caught in the trap of constantly working on their pool, or paying someone else to do it.
A fibreglass pool minimises the effort and cost required to own an in-ground pool. A Compass fibreglass ceramic pool with the optional and exclusive Vantage in-floor system, takes that concept to the next level with almost hands-free pool care.
It makes sense that you think about the future and consider which pool option is going to be the best for you. When the time comes to sell your home, you’ll want your pool to add to the appeal, not take away from it.
The bottom line is that there is more than the initial price tag to consider before you make a decision on which pool to go with. Sometimes the options which appear cheaper up-front can end up costing more than expected (DIY kit pools for example, with hidden install costs and associated risks). On the flipside, options which have the potential to be more expensive (concrete pools) sometime don’t offer the assumed value that goes with the extra price tag.