One of the most common questions that pool builders get is—“How much does it cost to build a swimming pool?”
As with many other purchases, prices vary greatly depending on what the prospective buyer is desiring. We all have different tastes. Following are a few examples of why it is so difficult to answer the simple question—“How much does _____________ cost?”
When selecting a restaurant, there are those who would prefer to just spend a few dollars per person for a meal, while there are others who prefer a gourmet meal and will spend $100 or even more. I imagine we could all tell the difference between the dining experience at McDonalds vs. the dining experience at The Mansion Restaurant (at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek).
Hotels in the DFW area start at less than $40 per night and go up to well over $500 per night (The Ritz Carlton Dallas—per tripadvisor.com). Of course hotel costs can vary greatly, and some of it is based on supply and demand, but mostly it is based on quality. The high end hotel would likely provide a much better experience than a $40 per night hotel.
And how about new cars? New cars start at approximately $12,110 (2018 Nissan Versa—per US News & World Report) and go all of the way to $3,900,000 (2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001—per Forbes.com). I believe that we would all agree that the Aston Martin would provide an unforgettable experience.
Homes also vary greatly in price. I was recently talking to a local custom home builder in Denton and asked him about new home prices in the area. He said that there are new tract homes in the area that start at around $120 per square foot, but that custom homes are considerably more, and that he has built homes that are as much as $450 per square foot. It likely wouldn’t take any of us long to tell the difference in a home costing $120 per square foot and a home costing $450 per square foot.
So, back to the original question, —“How much does it cost to build a swimming pool?” Recently, we have seen inground pools in the DFW area as low as $30,000 and as high as $310,000. (information was attained from pool building permits). There have even been residential pools constructed in the north Texas area for upwards of $1,000,000. With that being said, most of the basic pools that are being built in the DFW area are in the $50,000 to $70,000 range. Why the wide range in pool pricing? There are many variables, following are a few of them:
- Quality of construction—Pool construction is like any other type of construction, there are different levels of quality, not only in the materials used, but also in the installation of those materials—some installers are simply more skilled than other installers. Many of these components cannot be seen once the pool is complete, but quality is typically reflected over the long term. The bad thing about construction is that once it is done, it is done—if it is possible to change it, it can be very expensive.
- Materials selected—These are the components of the pool that you see, the finish out materials. There are many types of materials to choose from, some that vary greatly in cost. A few examples of options in the area of materials selected are: interior finish of the pool (all tile, pebble, quartz, white plaster, etc.); coping material (stone, travertine, etc.); and deck material (travertine, stamped concrete, textured concrete, gray concrete).
- Features of the pool—There are quite a few features available for a pool, such as an attached spa, beach entry, waterfalls, fountains, slide, diving board, etc. All of these features add to the cost of a pool.
- Other backyard components—Typically a swimming pool is just part of the backyard project. Oftentimes there are additional backyard components such as patio area, shade structure, outdoor kitchen, fire pit, putting green, landscaping, etc.
- Elevation changes—Many backyards are not flat in elevation. Elevation changes oftentimes require the use of retaining walls or raised beams in order to deal with them—both from a structural standpoint and a functionality standpoint (proper drainage). This typically adds thousands of dollars in costs to even the most basic pool.
- Size and depth of pool—We naturally think that the wide range in pricing mostly has to do with the size and depth of the pool. Although size and depth does factor into the cost, it is not as big of a factor as the other variables mentioned here. There are small pools that have been built that are very expensive and large pools that have been built that are cheap.
- Warranties—I am not sure if I have ever seen a pool that did not require at least some level of warranty work needed. Unfortunately, doing warranty work costs money. It is easy for a pool company to say that they have a “lifetime warranty”, but when they are not around to support that warranty, it really doesn’t mean much. Support after construction costs money.
- Roots—This is oftentimes referred to as “overhead”, but this “overhead” is what every quality business has—insurance, equipment, quality staff, etc….Texas is a state that does not require licensing or bonding for pool builders, which means easy entry and even easier exit out of the pool business. The DFW area has had dozens of pool companies over the years who have gone out of business with unfinished projects. Most of the older, larger pool companies have stories of finishing pools for pool contractors that went out of business during the construction of a pool.
As you can tell, there are quite a few variables when it comes to the cost of swimming pools. One of the biggest mistakes that we see when selecting a pool builder is basing everything on price alone, instead of options that you want or need. Although price is important because you do not want to overpay, you want to be sure that you get what you want and not be misled by price alone. It would be like buying a car without an air conditioner or power windows; although you bought the car for less money, you really did not get what you wanted.
If you simply cannot afford the exact pool that you would like to have, our recommendation would be to cut features and other backyard components, which oftentimes can be done at a later time. Never scrimp on the quality of the construction—you will eventually regret it, potentially paying for it in the long run by having more maintenance and repairs and it could also hinder your house sale when you do decide to sell. It is not a car—you cannot just trade in a pool if it doesn’t work out. You are stuck with it.
Bottom line—It is a good idea to never make money the number one priority in any type of construction project—once that happens, bad things begin to occur and you rarely end up happy.