Darlington Designs
A view of an inground pool in a residential backyard pictured behind patio furniture.

The Expert Guide to Comparing Inground Pool Cost by Pool Type

Evaluating Which Pool Type to Purchase

Cost—it’s practically guaranteed that all pool buyers consider it a top decision-making factor. 

When you think of inground pool cost, do you think of the upfront costs, like the design, build, and installation costs

Have you taken into consideration maintenance costs? Or the lifetime costs of pool ownership? 

Unlike upfront costs, estimating maintenance costs or lifetime costs may not be so obvious to new pool buyers. Luckily, Darlington Designs is here to provide an expert guide on the average inground pool cost per type of inground pool.

We have been specializing in the design and build of custom pools and spas for over 15 years. Our one-stop-shop approach to pool design and build allows you to work with one, dedicated team throughout the entire project, eliminating any potentially problematic gaps that may ensue with multiple teams. 

When you want a one-of-a-kind pool that is as special and unique as you and your family are, turn to the team at Darlington Designs. 

Inground Pool Cost by Pool Type: A Breakdown

Below, we’ve broken down the costs associated with common inground pool types in hope that you (the pool buyer) can use this information to make an educated decision on the best pool for you.

First, we will go over some key pool installation terms. 

Generally, there are two installation packages a pool buyer can choose from: 

  • Basic installation
    Basic installation includes everything in an assisted installation package, plus hired labor for the complete installation of the pool, gravel for the backfill, water to fill the pool, maintenance and cleaning equipment, building permit acquisition, and concrete installation around the pool. 
  • Turn-key installation
    Turn-key installation is the most convenient option for pool buyers. It includes everything in a basic installation package, plus hiring contractors, acquiring bids, and scheduling and overseeing all work. Darlington Designs only provides turn-key installation packages, where we handle all aspects of the build process (and design, too!) 

Fiberglass: Initial Costs 

A fiberglass pool is premade in a factory and comes to your house in one, large piece. A large hole is dug in the designated spot in your backyard and is placed (by construction machinery) into the hole. They’re not as customizable as other inground pools, but they have a smooth surface, are generally low maintenance, and need fewer pool chemicals. 

Basic installation packages typically cost $37K-$55K. 

Turn-key installation packages cost $45K-$85K on average. 

Vinyl: Initial Costs

Vinyl pools are inground pools lined with vinyl. They are generally the cheapest to install, but the vinyl liner is not permanent and will need to be changed. 

Vinyl-lined pools have DIY kits for sale online which, including the cost of building your own pool, can cost under $20K.

Basic installation packages typically cost $25K-$45K. 

Turn-key installation packages roughly cost $35K-$65K. 

Gunite: Initial Costs 

Close up of deep blue, checkered vinyl liner in a pool with wavy water. Gunite is a type of concrete pool. Gunite is typically sprayed onto the walls of the pool, allowing for a more even, smooth texture and faster dry time. With gunite pools, there is no self-installation option; only turn-key options. 

Gunite pools are the most customizable of all three options. They can be built into almost any shape, which makes them easily blendable into current landscapes. You can pick from many different finishes and colors, like pebbles and stone for a more natural look, or glass for a more modern and minimalist look. 

They also have the capability of incorporating many unique add-ons that other pool types cannot, such as custom lighting, sun shelves, built-in bar stools, and automation features. 

Darlington Designs specializes in gunite pools because they are the most capable of customization. We pride ourselves on building one-of-a-kind pools that are just as unique as each of our customers, and gunite pools are the best foundation for these kinds of projects. 

Since gunite pools can greatly vary in size, shape, and complexity, the cost greatly varies. Typically, pool buyers can expect to pay $70K-$150K. 

Fiberglass: Yearly Cost

Fiberglass pools are generally very low maintenance. They only require the costs of basic pool chemicals to keep the water clean, as well as electricity costs to run the filter, pump, and any other additional equipment you have (such as a heater, pool lights, a pool vacuum to clean the bottom of the pool, etc.). Fiberglass pools generally have the least expensive yearly maintenance costs. These costs gradually increase and become more complicated when discussing vinyl pools, and increase even more in cost and complexity when discussing gunite pools. 

Over a year, maintenance will typically cost $500-$1K, and will include basic opening and closing costs, as well as regular cleanings. Opening and closing costs will tend to get more expensive depending on the nature of the pool design.

Vinyl: Yearly Cost

Vinyl-lined pools are generally low maintenance, but the liner typically needs to be replaced every five to nine years. Experts in the industry also note that this type of pool requires more pool chemicals and filter/pump sessions than a fiberglass pool, but less than a gunite pool. 

Over a year, maintenance will typically cost $1.2K-$3.5K, and will include basic opening and closing costs, as well as regular cleanings.

Gunite: Yearly Cost

Since gunite is a porous material, it needs more pool chemicals than its counterparts (fiberglass and vinyl). More pool chemical usage means the filter and pump will need to run more frequently and at higher speeds, upping electricity costs. 

Gunite pools also generally need to be resurfaced every 10-15 years, which is often an expensive project. 

Over a year, maintenance will typically cost $3.5K-$5K, and will include basic opening and closing costs, as well as regular cleanings.

Inground Pool Cost Knowledge Is Power

Now that you are more informed on the real cost of different pool types, did your initial decision change? 

Whether or not it did, we hope we were able to provide more clarity as you begin the exciting pool-building process. 

To prepare for your pool-building experience even further, download Darlington Designs’ informative guide, 38 Questions To Ask Your Home Pool Contractor

At Darlington Designs, we’re committed to making your pool dream a reality. Contact us today at info@darlington-designs.com or call us at 856-442-0440. We proudly serve local neighborhoods in Southern New Jersey and the Greater Philadelphia region. 

Also, feel free to contact us via our project form found at the bottom of our Pools and Spas page