Inground vs. Aboveground Pools
You know you want a pool, but what kind do you go for? The flush simplicity of an inground pool or the more affordable aboveground option? Both have their benefits and drawbacks, and the best one for your home will depend on several factors, like your preference, budget and plans. Let’s look at how aboveground and inground pools differ and how to choose the right type for your home.
Appearance-wise, inground pools are usually considered more attractive, and they come with a wider range of options. Inground pools can be custom-built to just about any shape you can imagine, with options for greater depth and even gradation. Material options are also vast, as you can choose from hard surfaces like gunite or fiberglass as well as softer vinyl liners. Inground pools can also have various deck materials, like concrete, pavers, tile and stone.
Aboveground pools can still look nice, but they usually require creative landscaping and/or wraparound wooden decks. Your options are usually limited to circular or oval shapes and a steady depth of around 4 to 5 feet. Still, vinyl liners offer many color choices.
The first thing you’ll probably notice when comparing the two options is the price difference. While aboveground pools can range from $800-$15,000, inground pools typically cost $20,000 to $65,000, according to data from Home Advisor. Additions like automatic covers, waterfalls and swim-out spas can, of course, drive up the cost significantly. The materials for inground pools are usually more expensive, and with a lengthier and more involved installation process, labor costs are higher.
If budget is a big concern, aboveground pools have the upper hand and can easily cost less than a third of an inground pool. Repairs tend to be more affordable, too. Aboveground pools can even be put together by an avid DIY-er, which reduces the cost of labor and brings us to the topic of installation.
Installing an inground pool is a big project that calls for professional expertise. From excavating the space to pouring concrete, this job is definitely one you’ll want to hire out, especially if you’re adding things like waterfalls, diving boards or swim-up bars. The whole process can take anywhere from a week or two to a couple of months.
An aboveground pool has the advantage of being a potential DIY project. While we always recommend professional installation, this can be a good way to save money if you know what you’re doing. Keep in mind that many service providers won’t install a pool if it wasn’t purchased from them.
Whether your safety concerns include kids, pets or inebriated adults, aboveground pools are the safer option by default. Swimmers must climb a ladder to get in, and there’s a built-in barrier. However, you shouldn’t dive in an aboveground pool — the Red Cross recommends 9 feet of depth for diving, and most aboveground pools are around 48-54 inches deep.
While inground pools in their most basic form leave a wide-open space, you can add security options like fences and safety covers and nets. With the right products, both aboveground and inground pools can be made much safer. These products include:
Property Value and Resale
It may seem like adding a pool could only increase your home’s value, but that’s not necessarily the case. Pool ownership is very much a question of personal preference. Some owners don’t want to maintain a pool or pay for the upkeep, and it can be seen as a turnoff depending on the buyer and market. Buyers in affluent neighborhoods, for example, may be more likely to prefer a pool and pay more for it.
While pools still add value, the numbers are pretty modest, with an inground pool adding just 5%-8% to the real estate value of a home. Avoid using return on investment (ROI) as a deciding factor.
Your future plans are of more importance. Many homeowners choose an aboveground pool because they don’t want the commitment or investment of an inground pool if they may be leaving the property within the next decade or two. On the other hand, if you’ve found your forever home and think your market would like the addition of a pool, the more permanent inground option can be an attractive, long-lasting choice.
Inground pools are the more permanent option of the two, offering a much longer life span. Your pool’s material will make a difference, but you can generally expect 50 years or more from a well-maintained inground pool. Aboveground pools might last less than a decade or up to 25 years with perfect maintenance. Again, this may be a benefit or a drawback depending on your situation and preference.
Damage has varying effects on both pools, too. Since the walls are buried, it’s a little harder to damage an inground pool. If it does become damaged, inground pool fixes are usually more expensive. Aboveground pools, while cheaper to repair, are more vulnerable because of the exposed sides and materials used. Products like liner pads can help minimize the risk of damage.
Pools aren’t set-it-and-forget-it. They require continuous upkeep with tasks like:
- Adding chlorine.
- Replacing or cleaning filters.
- Testing and monitoring pH balance and water quality.
- Vacuuming and scrubbing the pool interior.
- Skimming the water.
- Removing algae.
- Performing repairs for heaters, pumps, lights and more.
- Winterizing the pool.
Aboveground pools are slightly easier to maintain simply because they are usually smaller, meaning there’s less surface area to clean. But, of course, this depends on your pool’s size and depth. Some products are exclusive to one type of pool. Automatic covers, for example, are usually an inground-only option, while liner pads are built to protect aboveground pools. If you want to make your maintenance as hands-off as possible, consider what kinds of accessories you’ll be able to get with your pool.
Supporting Your Aboveground or Inground Pool With SPQ Brands
Both inground and aboveground pools can be great choices depending on your situation and preferences. Whichever you choose, you’ll probably need a few extras to complete your vision. From safety to fun, SPQ Brands manufactures a range of high-quality pool products like fences, alarms, covers, solar heaters and lights. We also make the products you’ll need to maintain your pool, like nets, vacuums and hoses.
Regardless of the type of pool you install, SPQ Brands is committed to helping you create a safe, fun and easy-to-maintain swimming environment. Browse through our pool products today to see how we can help!