During the almost 36 years of me installing them, above-ground swimming pools have come a long way. No longer are they only for people on an extreme budget or only want something for a year or two. All income levels are now considering and then choosing to have a more lasting above ground pool.
NOTE: THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN PRIOR TO 2020 – FOR MORE ACCURATE PRICING, ADD 30% TO ALL THE COSTS IN THIS ARTICLE
A typical good quality, average size above-ground pool with installation, electrical, and a decent-sized wood deck will cost around $15,000 for the total project.
THE FOUR MOST COMMON REASONS PEOPLE CHOOSE AN ABOVE GROUND POOL
1 Cost – let’s be honest. Everyone would love to have a beautiful custom Inground swimming pool. But they have become ridiculously expensive. Here in Central Florida, the average cost of a concrete pool is now over 50k. The cost is even higher in most other areas of the US.
To make matters worse, Inground pools don’t add nearly as much to the value of the home as they cost, so they usually don’t make financial sense.
Above ground swimming pools can cost as little as $300. You don’t get much for that but it will be a body of water that you and your family can swim in.
2 They only want something temporary – Many people aren’t sure whether they want a pool or not, are planning on moving in a couple of years, or are renting their house. And although above ground pools aren’t as re-useable or re-installable as people think, they can be drained and taken down with little effort.
3 Their yard can’t have an In-ground pool – Some yards have too much grade (they live in a hill with a sharp drop), their earth is too hard (rocky), or their yard is too wet (high water table). For these reasons or others, their yard can’t have something in the ground, so they get an above ground pool instead.
4 They live up north – The further north you go, the more who will choose to get an above-ground swimming pool. The biggest reason for this is the shorter swim season. In a place like Florida, it’s much easier to justify spending 50k on a swimming pool as the swim season can be eight months or longer and you don’t have to close the pool.
The further north you go though, the smaller the swim season. It’s hard to spend so much money on something you can only use a couple of months out of the year.
The other reason is the harsh winters up north. With extreme cold, a pool owner has to worry about In-ground pools getting damaged by frozen ground and frozen water. In the more extreme north, there is this thing called “frost heaving” which can cause really heavy things in the ground (like a concrete pool) to rise up or move off level. Not good.
Above ground pools are a lot less likely to get damaged by a harsh winter. And if it does, the cost of the damage is considerably less than to an Inground.
Wood Deck (Average/Large)
Landscaping and Lighting
FOUR PARTS TO A HAVING A COMPLETE ABOVE GROUND SWIMMING POOL SET-UP AND WHAT IT COSTS
1 The above ground pool and equipment
Your first decision and purchase will be the actual pool. There are a lot of decisions to make here, so for the sake of keeping it simple, I’ll just refer to the most common size and model specs. The average size above ground swimming pool is a 24’ round that is 52” tall.
As I stated earlier, you can get a complete above ground pool package for as little as $300, but that is a very cheap, Chinese made soft-sided pool usually from Walmart. The Intex/Coleman type pool lasts an average of one season, so I’m going to assume that you are wanting something better and longer-lasting than a Walmart pool.
If you are looking for something that has good equipment and a pool structure that will last between ten and twenty years, then expect to pay in the $2,000 to $4,000 range for a 24’ round pool with some resin frame parts, a good quality thicker liner, and a decent pump and filter.
If your heart is set on getting an oval-shaped pool, then add another thousand or two for a comparable size to whatever size round pool you want. Ovals have a lot more parts to them, so they cost more.
Also, there are a few upgrades and add-ons like bigger steps, salt chlorine generators, and lights that can add a few hundred more to the price.
Back in the eighties, when I started building above grounds, more than half of the people would install their own pools. Today, I estimate that about twenty-five percent of metal walled above ground pools are installed by the homeowner. This is because some want to save the install cost, but mainly because many cannot find an installer in their area.
As an installer, I’ve seen many DIYed above ground pool installs that were done fairly well. As a general rule though, my opinion is, if you can find a good installer, pay the money and have it installed professionally.
The cost of installation depends mainly on the area of the country you live in, how off-level your yard is, and what type of earth you have. If you have a fairly level yard, don’t live on a giant rock, and live somewhat close to a bigger town or city, then the price is pretty close around the country.
Again using the most common size, a 24’ round pool installation will cost in a median range of $800 to $1200. To give you an idea for prices for other sizes, here’s my install price sheet for Orlando, Florida.
Once again, if your heart is set on getting an oval-shaped above ground, expect to pay close to double for the install to a comparable round pool. Ovals aren’t engineered well, have a lot of extra parts and steps, and are harder to install properly. And many experienced installers may turn down installing one in the busy season. Personally, I don’t install ovals over the summer.
There are a few things that you can have done as part of the installation to make the pool better. Most will get the equipment PVC hard piped and add valves. Some will have a main drain installed or have an extra return line plumbed in. And few will have a deep center or deep end dug for their pool. All or some of these things will raise the install price anywhere from $100 to $1000.
The biggest upgrade with above ground pool installations lately has been sinking it some. A semi-inground installation means that the installer will dig a hole two feet or so down, and then install the pool in the hole. This is a common but expensive upgrade that makes the overall project much bigger.
If you are planning on a semi-inground installation, expect to add another $1000 to $2000 to the price. This can be more depending on how hard the earth is, if you need dirt hauled away, and how easy the backfilling will be.
Many people just use an extension cord to power the pool pump. This is an inexpensive way to go and many do this for years, but I don’t recommend it.
Some either have enough electrical knowledge or know someone that can do it. In this case, it’ll cost a couple of hundred bucks for the wire, conduit (if needed), breaker, fittings, timer, and/or receptacle.
The best way to deal with the electrical needs of an above ground swimming pool is to have an electrician do the job. This way, the wires will be run to code (deep in the ground), you’ll have a dedicated circuit with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter), and a waterproof, lasting timer.
If you go the electrician route, expect to pay between $500 and $1000 for a complete electric job. This will depend on how far he has to dig to get to the pump from the home’s power box, where the power panel is located, and how hard the earth is (for digging).
Consider too if you have purchased any add ons that require electric, like pool lights and salt chlorine generators. They may need additional electrical needs.
4 Pool deck
Building a deck for your above ground pool can easily be the most expensive part of the project. Pool decks can anywhere from just big enough to get in and out of the pool without a ladder to being built to completely surround the pool.
Of course, the bigger the deck is, the nicer and better the entire pool project will be. Bigger also means more cost. A lot more. Some will go crazy and build a giant deck with multiple levels and fancy railings.
There’s no end to the possibilities of a deck for an above ground pool, and there’s no end to what that will cost.
For the sake of creating an average and realistic deck size, assume that the average deck will be big enough to hold a few lounge chairs, a smaller table with chairs, and some open area. For something nice this size, expect to pay in the range of $4000 to $6000 to have someone make this out of wood UPDATE: Post 2020 prices can be as much as double this estimate. Add more if you want composite.
I know by reading the above, some may be in “sticker shock” and will think it won’t cost that much. This is common. Most start out thinking they’ll be spending a couple thousand for the deck they want. By the time it’s all done though and it’s what you want, it’ll be at least double what you originally thought. Don’t kill the messenger.
The deck portion of the pool project is where you can really tweak your overall budget. Certainly, you can get by with something smaller and it still be great. The deck though, is a big part of the functionality of the pool, so if you want something special or something fun for more people, this is where you’ll spend your budget.
5 Landscaping and lighting
Landscaping around your pool area can really give it some “pop” and add a finished look to it. Make no mistake though, landscaping can get expensive! At the least, most will make a border around the pool’s bottom and add mulch or rock. Adding a few plants and walkways is a nice addition.
Lighting is great, but it too can get pricey. Most will opt to use the less expensive solar lighting and that looks nice and works ok. Lighting run by your house’s power source is nicer though as it will be brighter and light longer, but it will cost more.
Landscaping and lighting are not necessary and can range from expensive to cheap. Most will pay under $500 for those two things.
6 Screen enclosure
Screen enclosing an above ground pool isn’t very popular, but they do exist in the southern regions that don’t get much snow.
2 thoughts on “How much does it cost for a nice above ground swimming pool with a deck?”
Thank You so much for the information , it was very helpful
Thanks for helping me understand that pool decks can be just big enough to get in and out of it without a ladder surrounding the area. I guess I can have lots of options for this now that we moved into our new home. I actually have been considering a concrete pool deck, so I should get an estimate of its cost first and the benefits that I can have if I opt for that.