In-ground vs. above-ground pool: which is better?

Nothing beats the heat like a garden pool, and homeowners thinking about it have to choose between their own above-ground or underground version, as Jethro Bodine so memorably put it: “cement pond”.

There are big differences between the two options for this potential new centerpiece of family and friends fun. Cost is a good place to start, and either version can be expensive depending on your wallet and willingness to spend on something that may not be attractive to potential buyers if you decide to sell.

In-built pools can be the centerpiece of an ornate, elegant setting, the price of which is limited only by the depth of the buyer’s pocket and the designer’s imagination. Above-ground pools are much cheaper, but can still be well-equipped, including decks and wraparound siding, and are just as fun as their built-in brethren (but no scuba diving!).

Let’s go into detail.

costs sets the average price for an in-ground pool at $ 31,500 for a standard 12×24 foot pool with a concrete skirt, pool security fence, and retractable vinyl cover. That’s for a fiber optic pool. Gunite shotcrete, often used to make “cement ponds,” would cost about $ 1,500 less for the same size and shape. Vinyl lining is another option. Add in diving boards, a sloped entrance, and other amenities, and the end result could easily be over $ 70,000.

Now, do that $ 8,300 for an above-ground 19-foot (diameter) pool, concrete sidewalk, security fence, and retractable cover. That’s roughly $ 3,700 for the pool itself and the rest for the other functions and manpower. prices decking at $ 4 to $ 24 per square foot based on the size and design of the feature and the materials you use.

In reality, according to, there are so many variables that it is difficult to really price a pool. But there is a certainty. “For the cost of an underground pool on the lower end of the scale,” the website says, “you can probably get a top-notch above-ground pool – and still have cash to throw your first pool.” Party.”

And before you dig, check the permits. You will most likely need one for an in-ground pool, and possibly even an in-ground pool in particularly fussy jurisdictions. Your home insurance could go up as well.


Experienced or at least confident do-it-yourselfers can take over the installation of their own above-ground pool. In-ground versions are best left to professionals, unless your digging skills include. also recommends the use of professionals for above-ground pools due to the guarantee and experience in handling the various materials and mechanisms. The website also warns that while kits are available online and elsewhere at low prices, many installers only use kits that they sell. Ask first.

Depending on the work involved in sorting and leveling the site, an experienced crew of two can get an above-ground pool up and running in two or three days. An in-ground pool can take weeks.


Maintaining water quality involves the same tasks regardless of the pool type: cleaning, filtering and maintaining chemical balance. It doesn’t take a botanist to see that it’s algae that make your blue pool green, and it doesn’t take a chemist to keep the water clear, but it’s about chemistry. You can obtain detailed information on this from the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance.

Because they are in the ground, built-in pools have no exposed walls and are less likely to be damaged by elements or accidents. In this case, however, repairs are more expensive – in some cases even more expensive than the total price of an above-ground pool.

Pools need maintenance or they go very bad very quickly. assumes you will have to pay $ 500 to $ 1,000 a year in materials if you do it yourself and $ 80 to $ 150 a month for a service to do it.


An above-ground pool typically lasts 10 to 15 years, although the greatest care can be taken to extend its lifespan. For in-ground pools, make 20 to 50 years or more. For example, the plastered surface of Gunite pools can be re-surfaced, and fiberglass pools can be given a new gelcoat surface approximately every 10 years.

In-ground pools are a much bigger obligation. You are an integral part. As notes in its comparison between the two, “For some homeowners, the shorter lifespan is a reason to have an above-ground pool. They may not be prepared for the long-term commitment of an in-ground pool.”

If you decide that you no longer want a pool, the above-ground pool is much easier and cheaper to remove.


Are Pools a Good Investment? It depends who you ask – especially if you are a potential buyer. Some people want pools. Some people don’t look at houses they are in.

Here’s an article from that goes into more depth. However, experts say that above-ground pools can’t add anything and even affect the selling price of a home, while a well-maintained in-ground pool will add to the price, with estimates typically around 7% of the value of your home.

Comments are closed.