Above-Ground vs. In-Ground Pools   

by Pool Builders on 01-31-2012 in Articles

Every prospective pool owner is faced with the same choice: in-ground or above-ground? The main differences deal with installation time, cost, and maintenance.


Installation time: it will usually take 6-8 weeks to install a in ground unit, but this will also depend on the contractor, season, and how difficult of a job it is€"contractors will sometimes run into problems with construction that will delay completion.

Cost: in ground units are more expensive partly because they are typically much bigger than above-ground pools and also because the construction takes so much time, labor, and supplies. Since they are larger, maintenance costs will be higher. Concrete units will generally be around $20,000 to build, depending on the size and design. Vinyl or fiberglass pools will be cheaper. You should also check to see if there are taxes for pool owners where you live; in ground units can raise property taxes.

Maintenance: in-ground maintenance will be more time-consuming because of the size. More pool means more cleaning, chemicals, and general upkeep. Also, once you have an in-ground pool, you'll always have one, so maintaining it must be a long-term decision.

It may seem as if there are a lot of cons to an in-ground pool, but there are undeniable benefits visually and functionally. Many owners prefer the look and recreational aspects to an above-ground model.


Installation time: for most in ground units, installation can be done in one day, but this depends on the model you choose. Some above-ground pools require adjustment of the underlying land that can take longer.

Cost: around $2500-$7500. Cost is the main reason why people choose above-ground over in-ground. There are two aspects to pricing an above ground unit. First, you must buy the pool kit, the most expensive of which will be around $4500, and then you have to pay for installation, which is often too complicated to do on your own. Installation will usually cap at $3000. This all varies on the size and type of the pool.

Maintenance: as previously stated, the smaller size of above-ground pools make maintenance easier. You still have the same steps€"chemicals, water testing€"but the difference is with the cleaning. If you have an algae problem or some other contamination issue, above-ground pools can just be drained, cleaned, and refilled. Also, there are automatic cleaners for above-ground pools, but many owners choose to manually clean with a vacuum style cleaner. Find the right pool cleaner for you pool at a pool supply store.

The In-between

There is such a thing as a semi in-ground pool. The advantages of this type of pool deals with your landscaping€"unique backyards are sometimes too sloped for either in-ground or above-ground, so these pools are built according to the landscape.

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