Professionally installed above-ground pools average $4,000 to $8,000 and some can be installed in as little as a day. In-ground pools normally take six to eight weeks to build, and cost between $30,000 and $60,000. Above-ground pools are more budget friendly, but have fewer options for customization and are more visually intrusive. In-ground pools offer total customization, and are more durable, but the total cost of ownership is significantly higher.
Swimming pools come in one of three materials: vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete (gunite). Each offers a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Fiberglass pools are low maintenance, durable, compatible with salt systems. Because they are built offsite, and because of their low chemical usage, fiberglass pools boast the lowest total cost of ownership compared with both concrete and vinyl. However, the initial cost of fiberglass is higher than vinyl and the material is not customizable. Concrete pools offer total customization and extreme durability. However, they have the highest maintenance and chemical requirements, and highest total cost of ownership. They are also incompatible with increasingly popular salt systems. Vinyl liner pools are easily customizable and cost the least to install. But, the vinyl must be replaced every 5 to 9 years at a current cost of about $5,000. Also, the vinyl can harbor algae growth, which the other materials do not.
Finally, the choice of pool water treatment systems comes down to either chlorine or saltwater. Actually, both types of systems use chlorine to keep the water clean, but they do it in different ways. In salt water pools, salt chlorine generators use electrolysis to convert sodium chloride (table salt) into chlorine. This method delivers chlorine at a consistent rate as long as the pool pump is running. Salt water pools are a great choice for anyone who is sensitive to the scent or feel of chlorinated water. They have far lower levels of chlorine, and much lower total chemical usage (less than $100 per year). But, saltwater systems cost as much as $2,000 more to set up than chlorinated systems. And they can damage sensitive pool fixtures and concrete liners. Chlorinated pools are far less expensive to set up, and easier to fix without calling a pro. Chlorine is safe for pool liners and fixtures, and these systems are easier on your electric bill. But chlorinated pools require more monitoring and more chemicals (between $300 and $800 per year), which also means more chemical storage.