How much does a pool cost?
Well, that’s a lot like asking how much does a car cost.
There are a lot of variables. Is it a Ford focus or a Range Rover Defender?
All pools are not created equal.
A swimming pool can be the ultimate pleasure to add to your life, or it can be a hole in the ground that you throw money into with constant regret.
There are many things a pool builder can do to save a lot of money building your pool.
Most of them are a very bad idea. The cost of correcting mistakes on a swimming pool can be equal to or more than the cost of the pool.
Parts like the valves that you turn to adjust the various pool water functions can be purchased at Home Depot for $8-12. Those will last a few years and cost several hundred dollars to replace and are a lot of hassle to use. Or you start with high quality valves, costing $60-$150, which are trouble free and are serviceable for a lifetime. With 3-6 or more of those valves on your system, you can save some money upfront by going cheap, but you will be left with a lifetime of headaches and future expenses to replace them.
The pricing on the pumps above is a great example of the cost differences between product choices. Imagine the savings to a builder using the Home Depot product when your pool requires 2 or 3 pumps. A builder can save a lot of money by using inferior products. With a difference in pricing of more than tenfold on many of the products that make up a swimming pool, you really need to be well informed on which products your pool builder will be using on your pool. Does more expensive always equal better? No! Some products are more expensive like Jandy stealth pumps, for example, which we have found don’t last and are a constant ongoing expense.
With the cost of concrete these days, the size of the pool deck will affect the cost of the pool dramatically. Currently in our local area, the price for high quality concrete work is about $28 a square foot so if you have no decking vs 1,000 ft of decking, that is a huge difference in the total price of the pool. Swimming pool decking (the concrete around your pool) is highly specialized. The method to do it correctly, with the proper details specific to swimming pool, is not the same as the foundation of a sidewalk. It is more complex and just more expensive to do it correctly.
Quality workers and sub contractors cost a lot more than those of lower quality. What is the condition of the soil? Solid rock? Expansive clay? Just imagine using the lowest cost pool builder to build a pool in bad soil. Bad things are going to happen.
How about the plaster? Plasters are made from a wide variety of materials, from very soft marble dust to very hard granite and quartz, with the lifespan, cost, and beauty varying accordingly.
Because owning a pool that is inadequate in some way is usually costly and stressful, the question you actually want to ask is, “What is the cost to build a good quality swimming pool from a reputable, experienced pool company that is financially able to complete your project, that will be around and profitable enough to take care of any warranty issues that come up in the future?"
In the Austin area, a quality pool is going to cost starting around $85k and a pool/spa combo will start at $95k. Typically home owners are opting for a total backyard makeover with outdoor kitchens or pergolas, which will cost $150k-$250k. Paying this much for a pool and all the goodies does not automatically mean you will get the quality you should be getting at this price point. We see pools all the time that people have paid a lot of money for that were constructed with the lower cost components. So it's important to either be well informed about exactly what products and methods are going into your pool project, or work with a knowledgeable contractor with the experience and ethics to build you a good pool.
Merrill Spencer CBP