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How Much Will My Fiberglass Pool Cost???

One of the first questions potential pool owners want to know is : How much does a fiberglass pool cost? Another common question is what are some of the prices I should expect for my entire fiberglass swimming pool project, including such components as fencing and electrical expenses? Although this is a very difficult question to answer, I will try to do my best here to explain some general pricing guidelines.

The purchase of a swimming pool is much like the purchase of a vehicle or even a home. With so many options available, price ranges can vary drastically. Just as a Ford F150 can start around 20k with just a basic package, it can quickly cost over 40k once a shopper adds such items as power windows, CD player, all-leather interior, chrome finishes, extended cab, 4-wheel drive, 4 doors versus two, upgraded wheels, dual exhaust, spray-on bedliner, built-in GPS system, etc, etc. Considering that the average American sells or trades-in their vehicle within the first five years of purchase, why do so many people elect to get so many upgrades? The answer is because most people understand the importance of getting what they want the first time so as to not have any regrets down the road. Because most Americans spend over 30 minutes a day in their vehicles, they want to make sure their vehicle will provide them with comfort, quality, longevity, and ease of use. These same principles typically apply to most inground swimming pool shoppers. Understanding that they are going to have to see their pool everyday for as long as they live in their home, as well as the fact that picking the right pool with the right options the first time is critical as to ensure maximum enjoyment with minimum maintenance, most shoppers elect to get the pool that will make them happiest in the long-run. Unfortunately, some people only focus on the initial price of the pool with the only goal of finding the "cheapest" contractor, therefore sacrificing low-maintenance, quality, warranty, and aesthetics, which inevitably leads to regret, especially considering that unlike a vehicle, a swimming pool cannot be traded in if one is dissatisfied and disenchanted.

Now that you hopefully understand the vehicle analogy, I will list some of the most common "add-ons" found in the purchase of a swimming pool:

  • Perimeter/waterline tile
  • Colored pool surface finishes
  • Fiber optic lighting/low voltage lighting
  • Extra concrete decking
  • Decorative concrete decking (stamped concrete, spray deck, colored broom finish, pavers etc.)
  • Sliding boards
  • Mosaic inlays
  • Salt chlorine generators
  • Security covers
  • Automatic covers
  • Diving boards
  • Handrails and ladders
  • Water features
  • Additional jetting
  • Automatic vacuums
  • Inground and above ground hot tubs
  • Raised bond beams
  • Retaining Walls

As you can see, there are many options available, and when someone receives a quote from our company, we thoroughly examine each option as to educate the homeowner on the option's benefits as to identify its overall importance to the success of the project.

When an inquiry is made as to how much our pools cost, extent of installation is also a key factor. What I mean by this is that as an example with our company at River Pools, we have four different packages we offer our customers. Unlike most pool companies, we will do as much or as little as our customers would have us do. This flexibility leads to less stress and more savings for the customer. As a consumer, this flexibility is a quality you should look for as you are searching for pool companies. Many pool companies have different packages available for their customers. Here are their corresponding price ranges:

  • 1. Self Install: In most cases, this package includes the pool shell, shipped to the homeowner's house, with all of the pool's equipment (ie. filter system, plumbing, etc). With a self-install, the homeowner is responsible for all labor involved with the project, including: excavation, setting of pool, backfilling, adding water, concrete prepping and forming, final grading, electrical, fencing, permits, etc, etc. Although the concept of installing a fiberglass pool is not very complex, it does require quite a bit of attention to detail and there is a small margin for error. I recommend self-installs to homeowners who are very skilled with excavation and construction knowledge, and have the needed equipment to facilitate the process. The average person spends between $12,000-$30,000 on a self install, based on the size of the pool and the options that come with it.

 

  • 2. Pool Less Concrete Decking: This package normally includes pool shell, shipping, pool equipment, excavation, setting of pool, backfill, filling pool with water, installation and pool permit. The homeowner is responsible for concrete forming and prepping, final grading, cleaning of pool, electrical, and fencing. This particular package is one of the most prominent offered by swimming pool companies throughout the country. This is due to a pool company's ability to complete the entire project in only a few days. It also allows the company's prices to be much lower as well when they are not worried about the concrete patio, fencing, grading, etc. The price of this package typically ranges from $20,000-$45,000, again depending on the size and options. (***Note: It is our recommendation here at PoolSchool that if your pool builder does not offer the concrete patio in their package, make absolute sure that you have a dependable concrete expert lined up BEFORE you make any comittments on the purchase. Many consumers don't realize that although there are many concrete companies out there, the majority of these companies have no idea how to pour a cantilevered concrete deck around a fiberglass swimming pool.)

 

  • 3. Pool w/Concrete: Package #3 includes everything mentioned in #2, but it also includes the concrete decking, pool cleaning, and final grading. Most homeowners will spend on average $30,000-$60,000 for package #3.

 

  • 4. Turn-Key: In this package, all that is found in package #3, as well as fencing and electrical, are included. Most customers will spend $35,000 - $75,000 for a turn-key project, with a large majority falling in the $45,000 - $60,000 price range.

As you can probably see, the price ranges vary quite a bit, just as they should considering everyone has different tastes, wants, and budgets when it comes to building a swimming pool. As far as a composite/fiberglass price comparison with other types of pools, one might expect to find the following:

Vinyl Liner Ingrounds

For obvious reasons, a vinyl-lined pool will cost the least amount initially. This is because it is not viewed within the pool industry as a permanent structure. Simply stated, a vinyl liner swimming pool is a short-term solution to a long term investment. Although its initial cost is normally $5,000-$10,000 less than a fiberglass or concrete pool, its long-term cost is often much more. With the average liner replacement costing around $4,000 (when one considers labor, liner, and water), one can easily make up the price difference within 10-15 years after the pool's installation. This doesn't even factor a fiberglass pool's appeal to a potential home buyer (again due to its low-maintenance and longevity) as well as its general year-to-year savings on chemicals. Simply stated, your best bet is too look past the 'initial pool price' and look forward/estimate the 'long-term cost' of your swimming pool project.

Concrete

Concrete pools typically cost about the same as a fiberglass pool initially. When one analyzes long-term costs though, they will find a huge discrepancy. For example, concrete pools typically have to be replastered every 8-12 years. This repair usually costs between $6,000-$10,000. There is also a substantial difference each season on chemical/maintenance costs. With the disadvantages of high chemical use, constant wall brushing, discoloration, scrubbing, acid-washing, and surface roughness; it is rare that an educated consumer will choose concrete over fiberglass unless the shape or size of the pool is very unusual and low-maintenance is not a concern.

 


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