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Everything You Need to Know About Above vs In Ground Pools

Above-ground pools have come a long way in the last few decades. The quality of modern above-ground pools is vastly superior to their early predecessors. They’re longer lasting, more durable and more attractive.

Today’s above-ground pools are available in variety of shapes, sizes and designs. Round and oval-shaped pools are the most common, but rectangular pools are also available. Some are basic and economically-priced; others are more luxurious.

Most above-ground pools are sold as prefabricated kits that include a frame made of metal, wood or heavy-duty plastic, a side wall, a vinyl liner, and a pump and filter. Above-ground pools are relatively simple to install - they need to be constructed on a flat surface, filled with sand and plumbed. Some people hire a professional to do the installation, while others choose to tackle the job themselves.

Above-Ground Pool Sizes

Round above-ground pools range in size from about 12 feet in diameter to 33 feet in diameter. Oval and rectangular pools range in size from about 20X12 feet to 43X21 feet, which is considered huge. Above-ground pools are most often sold in depths of 48, 52 or 54 inches. The larger and deeper the pool, the more expensive it will be.

Above-Ground Swimming Pools Cost

Most above-ground swimming pools range in price from about $1,500 to $5,000. Professional installation adds another $1,000 to $3,000.

  • A round pool on the smaller size - say 15 feet in diameter - costs about $1,500 to $2,000, not including installation.
  • A mid-sized round pool - 24 feet in diameter, for example - sells for about $2,000 to $3,000, not including installation.
  • The largest round pools and almost all oval or rectangular pools sell for $3,000 to $5,000, not including installation.

In some cases, above-ground pools sell for as much as $10,000. At that price, you’ll get a large, top-of-the-line model with the cost of installation included.

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Above Ground Pools Pros

  • Price - Above-ground pools are far less expensive than in-ground pools, so they’re a better choice if you’re on a tight budget.
  • Ease of installation - Installation is relatively quick and simple because no excavation work is required. In many cases, installation only takes a day or two.
  • Portability - Above-ground pools can be disassembled and moved from one location to another. If you move to a new home, you can take the pool with you.

Above Ground Pools Cons

  • Durability - Above-ground pools are made using materials that are less durable than those used to make in-ground pools. Because of this, they won’t last as long. Most above-ground pools last 10 to 15 years.
  • Aesthetics - Above-ground pools are generally considered less attractive than in-ground pools. And there are fewer size and design options.
  • Depth - Above-ground pools offer only a single depth. Unlike in-ground pools, there’s no “deep end.” Generally, above-ground pools are fairly shallow with depths of four to six feet.

In-Ground Pools Overview

Below-ground swimming pools, or in-ground pools, can provide decades of fun and entertainment. Like above-ground pools, they offer a great way to relax and seek relief from the heat. However, they are far more permanent and expensive.

In-ground swimming pools can be constructed using one of three materials: vinyl, fiberglass or concrete. Vinyl is the least expensive, fiberglass is mid-range and concrete is the priciest. With an in-ground swimming pool, you have a wide variety of choices when it comes to shape, size and depth.

In-Ground Pool Sizes

The design of an in-ground pool is limited only by your budget. Traditional shapes such as oval, rectangular and kidney are the most popular and cost effective; any sort of custom shape or design will dramatically increase the price.

Size options are nearly limitless, too. You could opt for a lap pool measuring just 10x14 feet, or you could spring for an Olympic-sized pool. Depths usually range from about 3.5 to 12 feet, with many pools having one shallow end and one deep end.

Below-Ground Swimming Pools Cost

An in-ground swimming pool is a big investment. Most in-ground pools cost $20,000 to $30,000. However, you could spend as little as $10,000 or more than $50,000, depending on the size, materials and complexity of installation. Optional features such as heaters, covers, slides and decking will add to the total purchase price.

Size, depth and materials are the factors that have the biggest impact on price. Larger and deeper pools will cost more than small, shallow ones because more labor and materials are required. Vinyl pools are the least expensive, while fiberglass and concrete come with higher price tags. The cost of living in your area also affects price.

In-Ground Pools Pros

  • Longer lasting - In-ground pools last significantly longer than above-ground pools. A well-maintained pool can last 40 years or more, although some maintenance is usually required after the first 20 years.
  • More design options - In-ground pools can be constructed in a large variety of sizes, shapes and styles. The design options are almost limitless.
  • Better resale value - In most cases, installing an in-ground pool will increase the resale value of your home. The exceptions to this are in cold-weather climates and if you’re selling to a buyer who doesn’t want to deal with the upkeep that a pool requires. Buyers with young children are also sometimes hesitant to purchase a home with a pool due to the safety risks.

In-Ground Pools Cons

  • Price - Below-ground swimming pools are much more expensive to purchase and install. Expect to spend three to four times more than you would for an above-ground pool.
  • Require more space - In-ground pools take up a lot of space, so they’re not ideal for small yards.

Author: Ashley Smith

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