Pricing the costs of a home swimming pool construction project
Independent Tips for the professional at Leisure
Many professionals want to have a custom swimming pool built on their property,
but there are many risks associated with in-ground custom swimming pools:
Leaks can be catastrophic - A leak in an in-ground pool is a major
problem, and sometimes the entire pool must be scrapped and re-built from
scratch. A pool is not the place to try to save money. Make sure
to use a state licensed general contractor.
Wide variation in prices - The costs of an in-ground swimming pool
range widely. Some pool installers consider themselves artists, and
In sum, always use a licensed general contractor and carefully verify their
reputation. Let's take a closer look at how to evaluate estimates for a
custom in-ground swimming pool.
The costs of custom swimming pools
When pricing a swimming pool, it is possible to develop a rule-of-thumb for the
costs of a at-home pool.
Get a bare bones estimate - First, remember that the "extras"
(fountains, tanning ledges, custom lighting, waterfalls, infinity edges) can
cost more then the pool itself, so always get a price for a no-frills pool
before adding customizations.
Get a sketch - For a few hundred dollars, an independent architect
can sketch-out your dream pool, and you can use this drawing to get
apples-to-apples cost estimates for your home pool construction.
Check for reputation - Your architect and project manager can get you
pool construction forms with a good track record and reasonable prices.
You should pick 3-4 recommended pool vendors and get their estimates.
Get average costs in your area - A nationwide average for swimming
pools costs is approximately $50 per square foot (as of 2008), but there can
be +- 20% variance in your area.
Here are some ideas that I received from pool contractors:
|Always have an architect sketch out your pool so that
you can get apples-to-apples price estimates. For example, this
pool is about 1,000 square feet, or about $50,000 without frills.
|Also, compute the total square footage for
your pool so that you can make an intelligent evaluation of costs, and
always keep the frills as a separate project.
Estimating the costs for an in-ground pool
If your costing estimates are an apples-to-apples comparison, it's relatively
easy to estimate the square footage for your custom pool, even for oblong and
While the $50 sq-ft. can server as a rule-of-thumb, there are variables:
Size - An Olympic sized pool is 165 feet by 82 feet (13,530 sq. ft.)
and would cost approximately a half million dollars (about $41 per sq ft.)
to build with gunite (cement).
Water Depth - If your pool has shallow areas (kiddie pool, tanning
ledges) the costs will be lower because there is less excavation and less
concrete required to support the weight of the water. The cutoffs for
pool depth pricing is 5 feet or less, 5 to 13 feet deep, and greater then 13
Frills - As we noted, frills like waterfalls, infinity edges and
fountains can double the cost of your swimming pool.
For a detailed example see, this document titled
pool construction cost estimating. This
web page shows a chart
with the costs of various sizes of swimming pools, and you can see a general
downward price trend as the size increases. Here are some general costing
guidelines for a custom in-ground home swimming pool, using high-quality gunite
Swimming Pool Size
Cost per square foot
|16 x 32
||27/(16 x 32)
|18 x 36
x 36) = $48
|20 x 40
||35/(20 x 40)
|165 x 82
In sum, always follow these guidelines when estimating the costs of your home
Expect to pay about $50 per square foot
Shallower areas are less expensive than deep areas
Use a reputable licensed general contractor
Get an architects sketch and us it for all cost estimates
Price the frills as add-ons, to get an apples to apples comparison