swimming pool

How much does a swimming pool cost?

A question that JD gets asked a lot is, “How much does a swimming pool cost?” His answer is generally, “about the same as a car.” Which really depends, of course, on what type of car you want and how much you want to spend. Remember the ads in the past featuring an elephant and a former football player spruiking beautiful pools for $10,000? We had one installed when I was a kid and I can tell you right now, by the time it was finished, it did not cost $10,000. More like three times that.


Look, pools are awesome and as a child I spent a good portion of every Perth summer playing Marco Polo and having pool pony races but the truth is, they’re not cheap. So, here are some things to think about if you’re planning on adding a pool to your property.


Is it in-ground or above ground? In-ground pools are obviously more expensive as there is excavation and waste removal required. However, they’re also a lot more popular as they can be integrated into the design of your backyard or outdoor area.


Is it a pre-cast fibreglass shell or concrete sprayed on site? A fibreglass shell is cheaper, but you are limited by the size and shapes that the pool company you’re using manufactures. A pool that’s concreted on site gives you complete design freedom.


Will the pool be tiled or pebblecreted? If you’ve gone down the concrete pool route, you then need to decide if the pool will be mosaic tiled – giving you complete freedom in terms of colour and potential design – or pebblecreted (the more cost-effective option that gives you a standard, pebble finish, although coloured options are now available. Concrete pools can also be painted – which gives you a wide variety of colour options.


Is decking/paving included? Pools don’t just sit in the ground surrounded by grass – they need to have a pool deck which could be timber decking, stone, tiles or a concrete slab. Whatever the finish is, you need to find out if it’s included in the pool quote you’ve been given.


What about the pool fence? All pools in Australia are required by law to be surrounded by a child-safe fence – for good reason. However, “fence” is a pretty broad term and a gorgeous, frameless glass fence is more expensive than a standard metal pool fence. Both budget and aesthetics need to be considered here.


Will your pool be heated? No matter how temperate the climate you live in, you’ll get more use from your pool if it’s heated. And if you live in Tasmania, it’s pretty much a non-negotiable. If you do decided to heat your pool, you need to consider whether it will be gas, electric or solar heated. Solar heating is the most cost-effective option, but no matter what type you go with, it’s best considered when you are building your pool, rather than trying to retro-fit it later.


Don’t forget about maintenance. Pools are not a set-and-forget proposition, they require regular maintenance to keep them looking good and staying safe. Before you dive into a pool purchase, talk to an independent pool maintenance service and ask about annual costs – there’s power, chemicals and time to consider as well as issues like tea leafing and black spotting. We had a small plunge pool at our old house – it was great for cooling off in summer and it cost $100 a month to maintain.


So, I know I haven’t really answered the question I posed at the start of this post, and JD really didn’t want to put a number on it, but, if you’re doing a decent-sized renovation, you’re probably going to be spending north of $50,000 on a pool of the same standard. That’s not a quote – just a reminder that pools potentially cost more than you might think.


Are you planning on adding a pool to your home? What type of pool would you like? Anyone else’s hair turn green over summer from all the chlorine?

Image courtesy of Kittijaroon at freedigitalphotos.net


  • Nicole @ The Builder's Wife

    Pools are hot conversation in our house at the moment, specifically do we want one, or are we better not to. In our previous house we had an above ground pool, that you walked into from the deck, it was beautiful. In our new home, we would need to have an inground pool, that would require a LOT of earthworks. Having 5 kids, all teenagers, it seems necessary to have one in our hot Queensland summer, BUT we are only 5 years away from them all moving on and I doubt we would use it after that. Lot’s to consider!

    • alix@thebuilderette.com

      Yes, pools are awesome when you have kids but they are such a big investment. We’re lucky to be near the beach but in Queensland I might be leaning towards one!

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