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In Ground Pool vs Above Ground Pool: Which is Right for You?

You made the decision to install a pool, but the question remains: Will you install an in ground pool or an above ground pool? There are actually more factors to consider than you would initially realize, such as your budget and location.

Read on to learn the differences between these two pools and which one is the best for your backyard.

In Ground Pool

If the climate of where you live is mostly warm, in-ground pools can be a great investment for your home. It enhances the landscape of your yard by adding a water feature, and can even be upgraded further to include fountains, detailed tiling, and more.

An in ground pool can become your main entertaining space, along with exercise and relaxation. However, there can be some drawbacks.

The initial expense of installing an in ground pool is large. Moreover, throughout the year there can be substantial maintenance costs, as well as a boost to your electric bill.

An in ground pool will take about six to eight weeks to install once work begins.

If you’ve calculated your budget and find these costs aren’t a deterrent, there are a near limitless amount of customizations available to you. This includes the shape, materials, decking or paving materials, and features such as waterfalls, slides, and diving boards.


The cost of in ground pools can vary greatly. For vinyl pool kits, the cost ranges from $5000 to $8000, while concrete pools installed by a builder can range from $30,000 to $50,000.

In addition, pool decking can range from $4 per square foot to $24 per square foot. This all depends on the kind of material you choose to use, such as wood, concrete, brick, or stone.


Concrete is the most popular kind of in ground pool material, with vinyl and fiberglass coming up second and third, according to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP).

Vinyl pools refer to the liner of the pool. Unlike concrete, these are pool kits that are ready to use in approximately a week.

While vinyl pools don’t offer as many options when it comes to the pool’s shape, you’re able to choose a wide variety of colors and patterns. Lastly, vinyl liner pools are typically less expensive than concrete pools.

Fiberglass pools are fully built by the time they arrive at your home. They take only about a week to install.


While vinyl and fiberglass pools come in a limited amount of shapes, concrete pools can be fully customizable. However, the classic rectangle pool is still the most used.

Above Ground Pool

Unlike in ground pools, above ground pools only take a few days to install in kit form and are far less expensive. The area will need to be leveled and cleared, the pool erected, liner installed, and the pool filled with water.

There’s also the entry/exit system, fencing along the top rail, and any kind of basic landscaping around the pool to consider as part of your installation costs and time. Note that many pools purchased online require DIY installation, though it shouldn’t be unduly difficult!

High end above ground pools can also include decking and railing options. You can also choose if you want them to be heated!

The largest disadvantage is that above ground pools don’t add value to your home, so you can’t consider it an investment for your property. This is because they’re considered a temporary addition to your backyard, and when it comes to selling can detract from the yard’s aesthetics.

There are also maintenance costs to consider. They typically come either 48 or 52 inches deep, so they’re not safe to dive in.


Above ground, pools can range from $900 to $3,000 for an online DIY pool, to $4,000 to $8,000 for an installed one from a local dealer. Size, optional equipment, and the quality of the materials and components all go into the price.

More expensive above ground pools are deeper, with durable materials and extra luxury features such as in-pool lighting, step systems, pool cleaners, and more effective filtration systems.


The three most popular kinds of materials for above ground pools are steel, resin, and aluminum. Each has its pros and cons.

Steel is more resistant to deformations than aluminum and costs much less. Compared to aluminum and resin, it’s the strongest material. Moreover, most steel pools have a galvanized coat that resists rust, which was a major issue in the past.

Aluminum is also a popular choice because of its ability to hold up to various kinds of weather. As it gets colder it retains its toughness and actually becomes stronger, without corroding or tarnishing. Unfortunately, most of them can have pitting due to oxidation.

Resin pools have a steel wall with resin components – they’re seen as the “next best thing” in the pool world. This makes them tough and they typically last even longer than steel pools. They won’t oxidize like aluminum pools. However, they’re prone to cracking and fading in winter weather and UV exposure.


Above ground pools usually come in a standard round or oval shape, limiting your options. However, taking your budget into account you can start with a small round or oval shape and increase in size as your budget and/or family grows!

Choosing the Right Pool

Now that you have this information, choosing whether you should install an in ground pool or an above ground pool should be more straightforward. It mostly comes down to your budget and whether you’re ready to invest in the aesthetics of your yard!

Ready to weigh your options with high-quality service and products? Contact us today!