What Are The Different Types Of Inground Pools And How Much Do They Cost?

Kenneth Wilson

It’s great to have your own pool, especially during these times. You don’t have to go to a local beach for a quick swim, and you can enjoy the pool all to yourself. Besides using it for relaxing, swimming is a great way to exercise without straining most of your body parts.

One of the most common types of residential pools is an inground swimming pool. Compared to above ground pools, semi-buried pools, and inflatable pools, this fully-buried pool is a more permanent pool feature and is best for homes that have a warm climate all year long.

There are many ways you can design and shape your inground pool. But before deciding on the size and its features, the first thing to consider is the type of inground pool to get. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, as well as initial costs and expenses in the long run. I'll talk more about these after, for now, let’s find out more about the inground pool.

Inground Pools

Since getting a pool is a major investment, it is important to know more about inground pools to find out if this is the type of pool that you really want to get. 

As mentioned above, inground pools come in different shapes, sizes, and designs. There are also countless features that can be installed, such as waterfalls, slides, diving boards, and more. No wonder having an inground pool can increase the property resale value.

Since it is a more permanent structure, it offers better quality, is less prone to damage, and has a longer lifespan than above ground pools and other types. On the other hand, this means that it is not portable so you must choose the location wisely. It also tends to be huge so it will take up plenty of space. You should also be prepared to learn more about pool maintenance and chemicals because an inground pool requires regular upkeep and water balancing

Even if one chooses the least expensive material for your inground pool (which will be discussed later), it’s still going to cost thousands of dollars just to install. This doesn’t include the electricity expenses to power the filter and/or heater system and the water expenses to constant refilling from water evaporation. But the same goes for above ground pools and other types - you already know that this is going to be an expensive investment.

On a final note, especially for those who have children and pets, there is a higher chance for people and animals to slip on a wet deck or fall into an inground pool. If you can’t keep an eye on them at all times, you can get a pool cover. Not only will this help prevent accidents, but it will also make it easier to maintain the pool and prolong its lifespan.

Now that you’re convinced of getting an inground pool, it’s time to determine which type to get. Here are the different kinds of inground pools you can choose from, the pros and cons of each, and their costs.

Inground Concrete Pools

Concrete is one of the most common materials used for the walling of an inground pool. This is a material made by mixing cement, sand, water, and coarse aggregates, such as gravel or stone. For the concrete pool shell, it is created either by spraying shotcrete or gunite. 

Shotcrete is a wet material that is sprayed on at high pressure. The term comes from combining the words ‘shot’ and ‘concrete’ because concrete is ‘shot’ on the surface. On the other hand, gunite is a dry mix that is combined with water, which is placed in a gun-shaped device, hence the name gunite. There is not much difference between the two, but sometimes shotcrete has larger grained particles than gunite. 

The shape, size, depth, and design of inground concrete pools can be easily customized, perfect for those who have small outdoor areas. This is also the best option for those who prefer an extremely large or deep pool.

Inground pools in general are more durable compared to other types, but those made out of concrete are sturdier. It will be able to withstand impact from pool equipment and other sharp objects. If you have dogs who love to swim, you won’t have to worry about them ruining the surface inside the pool. 

While it is durable, the problem will be with the finish. Eventually, the surface will become rough, which can hurt our hands, feet, and other parts of our body. You can replaster the surface if it becomes too harsh, but it would be best to get children to wear water shoes to avoid injuries.

Not only can the finish harm us, but since it is porous, it allows for more algae growth. It is also difficult to remove the algae since it can embed into the surface. You will need a steel brush and regularly use it on the entire surface to prevent algae buildup. If it gets worse, you will need to spend more on chemicals to get rid of the algae. 

You will also need more pool chemicals due to the nature of this material. Concrete is alkaline-based, which contributes to the increase in the water’s pH level. This means you will need to regularly balance the water. Concrete is also incompatible with salt, which can damage the interior finish. So if you’re using saltwater, expect that you’ll need to get it refinished once every 10 to 15 years.

Now, for the installation and cost. The cost of a basic inground concrete pool is around $35,000 up to $60,000. A small inground concrete pool with plaster and waterline is already around $40,000. If you count features and other add-ons, you might be spending $80,000 or $120,000 more. For a larger pool with a connected spa will, this is close to $100,000. If you prefer a smoother surface, a fully-tiled pool with an attached spa can cost more than $220,000. 

This is just the installation costs. It doesn’t count the expenses of maintaining the pool and electricity and water bill for the pool system. In the future, you may even need to get it acid-washed or even remodeled.

Inground Vinyl Liner Pools

Years ago, one of the disadvantages of vinyl liner pools is its limited designs. But today, you can also choose the shape, size, and depth of your inground vinyl liner pool. There are now more design options, with liners of different colors, thickness, and patterns. 

Better yet, inground vinyl liner pools have a smooth finish. This means swimmers won’t get their feet, arms, elbows, and other parts of their body injured when swimming in this type of pool. It also feels great to walk over the smooth surface of a vinyl-lined pool. 

Besides the feel of the finish, this type of material makes it easier to take care of the pool as well as cut down on the maintenance costs. Vinyl liners are non-porous, which means it is less prone to algae growth, unlike concrete.

That’s why vinyl liner pools are the go-to of homeowners who prefer the most economical option. What’s going to be expensive is replacing the vinyl liner, which can cost around $1,400 to $4,800. Of course, this price increases as the pool gets larger.

But when it comes to installation costs, this is the least expensive of the three. You’ll be spending around $22,000 to $50,000 for a basic inground vinyl liner pool. If you want a bigger one with add-ons, expect to pay double the price mentioned above. It will cost more, but if you get the same style with similar additional features in concrete, it will still be less expensive.

Inground Fiberglass Pool

Now if you prefer an easy-to-maintain inground pool more than the price and design, then one of the best options is an inground fiberglass pool. Similar to inground vinyl liner pools, this type of pool has a non-porous surface. It has a gel coat finish, so it doesn’t have rough cavities for algae to grow or hide in.

Not only is it low maintenance, but it is also less expensive to maintain. This material does not affect the water chemistry, unlike inground concrete pools. This type of pool is also compatible with salt systems, so salt won’t affect the fiberglass shell.

It is also quick to install inground fiberglass pools because the shell is pre-manufactured off-site. This shell is also durable and not easily damaged, unlike vinyl liners. Unfortunately, the customizability of the shell is limited. Most designs are less than 10 feet deep and have a standard shape. While the size and shape may be limited, it makes up for it with the beautiful finish. Fiberglass pools usually have an attractive design with various colors and gorgeous ceramic tiles. 

With such an aesthetic look, no wonder it is more expensive than inground vinyl liner pools. Installing an inground fiberglass pool can cost between $30,000 to $65,000. Since most shells are manufactured off-site, it can be expensive to ship them. It has to be handled properly because the gel coat can crack during the transport as well as when installing it. 

This doesn’t include the costs of getting additional features and accessories. If you want the add-ons, you’ll be spending around $45,000 to $85,000. It costs more, but it is still less expensive than an inground fiberglass pool with the works. Plus, considering the low costs when it comes to the upkeep and the time and effort saved, you may find it worth more than a vinyl liner pool.

Comparing The Different Types of Inground Pools: Cost, Pros, and Cons

To make it easier for you to decide among the different types of inground pools, here is a table comparing all three. This will help you to choose based on the installation costs, maintenance costs, maintenance level, durability, and more!



  • Installation cost: $35,000 to $60,000.
  • With features and add-ons: $80,000 to $200,000
  • Yearly maintenance costs: Around $1,200
  • Acid wash: $178 to $255
  • Replaster: $5,000


  • Durable: Lifespan can range from 25 to 40 years
  • Customizability: Can come in a variety of shape and design
  • Flexibility: A large range of sizes and depth 
  • Countless features: Add-ons like waterfalls, spa, swim jets, tanning ledges, and more
  • Compatibility: Can withstand most climate conditions


  • Rough finish: Can harm swimmers
  • High maintenance: Cleaning and balancing the water chemistry
  • Porous surface: More prone to algae growth
  • Expensive: Both to install and maintain
  • Long installation: 3 to 6 months



  • Installation cost: $22,000 to $50,000
  • With features and add-ons: around $100,000
  • Yearly maintenance costs: Around $700
  • Liner replacement: $1,400 to $4,800


  • Cost-effective: Less expensive to install and maintain
  • Quick to install: 4 to 8 weeks
  • Appearance: Various design options
  • Low maintenance: Less expensive to maintain as well
  • Surface: Smooth feel on the feet, hands, and other parts
  • Non-porous: Less prone to algae growth
  • Redesign: Easily change the entire look by replacing the liner


  • Sensitivity: Liner can easily get damaged from pool equipment and pet’s claws
  • Stains: Liner can get stained from debris
  • Constantly replace liner: Every 5 to 10 years
  • Shorter lifespan: 15 to 20 years
  • Lower resale value: Compared to concrete pools



  • Installation cost: $30,000 to $65,000
  • With features and add-ons: $45,000 to $85,000
  • Yearly maintenance costs: Around $400
  • Resurface: $6,500
  • Repairs: $250 to $350


  • Easiest to maintain: Does not affect water chemistry
  • Quick to install: 3 to 6 weeks
  • Less expensive maintenance costs: Does not need plenty of chemicals
  • Surface: Smooth finish that doesn’t harm the feet, hands, and other body parts
  • Non-porous: Less prone to algae growth
  • Lifespan: 25 years or more
  • Aesthetic appearance: Comes in various beautiful designs
  • Compatibility: Works with salt systems


  • Difficult to install: Pre-manufactured shell
  • Installation expense: More expensive than vinyl liner pool installation
  • Limited customizability: Not much range when it comes to shapes, depth, and size
  • Recoat: Gel coat needs to be recoated every 5 years
Kenneth Wilson
August 11, 2020
Cost Guides, Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

Ask The Author Your Questions In The Comments!

  • Hello Mr. Wilson,

    We have been reading your blogs with avid interest. Even though many experiences and efforts are anecdotal in nature, they are very much aligned with reality and provide a much needed realistic data point. Needless to say that we have been analyzing pros and cons of moving to Florida from Northern Virginia, and your blog has been a great help in planning.

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    There are a few other things like that where we would need a little share of your experiences. Let me know.

    Thanks for this excellent blog!

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