How to Build the Cheapest Swimming Pool Possible

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While you can pretty quickly and easily buy and install an above ground pool, they don’t add the same value to your home nor do they last as long. Inground pools on the other hand, add a “wow” factor to your home that above ground pools simply do not.

However, installing an inground pool takes time and is significantly more expensive. Many homeowners look at the estimated costs and assume an inground pool is simply out of their reach. Fortunately, with some careful planning and a little extra work, building an inground pool may not be as expensive as you think.

There are several ways to help keep the costs of building an inground pool down. The construction type, design, and type of water and filtration system all contribute to the bottom line. With these tips and ideas, you can keep costs the absolute lowest and build the cheapest pool possible. Then in no time you’ll be enjoying long days relaxing by your very own swimming pool.

Size Does Matter

One of the best ways to reduce costs on an inground pool is to build a smaller pool. A larger inground pool means digging and preparing a larger hole, using more materials (regardless of the type of pool you install), more chemicals, and more filtration costs. By reducing the size of your pool, you’ll save on materials and labor during construction, as well as overall lifetime maintenance costs.

A smaller pool also frees up more space in your yard for other features or needs like patios, firepits, gardens or simply a grassy space to run. Smaller pools are becoming more common and allow for some attractive designs that match perfectly with any space.  

Go for Vinyl

When trying to build an inground pool economically, it makes the most sense to go with a vinyl pool. There are essentially three types of inground pool – vinyl, fiberglass, and gunite or concrete. There are benefits to each of these materials but when trying to cut costs, there is no question, vinyl is cheapest. Fiberglass and concrete pools can nearly double or triple the costs of building an inground pool.

While fiberglass or concrete pools may be more durable, with proper care and maintenance, vinyl pools can last many years before the liner needs replacing. Any tears are generally minor and can be easily patched. When it is time for a new liner, it’s a great way to give an older pool a new, fresh look.

Stick with Freshwater

Saltwater pools are more expensive to build. They require special masonry work and are more complex so repairs can be costly. Saltwater can also damage essential parts of the pool like liners, lights and fixtures. If your are looking to build a pool as cheaply as possible, go for a traditional fresh water/chlorine pool.

Choose a Sand Filter

For any kind of inground pool, there are essentially three types of filters: sand, DE, and cartridge. Sand filters are the cheapest. A sand filter is the oldest and most common type. It works by having the sand trap dirt and debris at the bottom of the filter. It does require regular backwashing and sand needs to be replaced every 5-7 years.

Cartridge and DE filters each have benefits (less backwashing) and can filter smaller particle sizes but in terms of price, they will both require more cash for your initial investment.

Build in the Off Season

For most parts of the country, building in the Fall will be cheaper. The busiest time for pool installation is Spring and Summer. In many parts of country, during Winter the ground is too frozen or covered in snow to build a pool. Therefore, Fall with its cool and generally sunny days, is a great time to build (even though you may have to wait to enjoy it.)

Because Fall is considered the off season, pool supply companies may run specials or deal and pool contractors may be more willing to negotiate prices as they are less busy.

DIY What You Can

While it may seem crazy to try to build an inground pool yourself, you might be able to do more than you think with a pool kit. These kits provide everything you’ll need to install a pool, and with some plumbing, electrical, and carpentry skills, you might be able to manage on your own and save a ton. Whatever parts of the installation you can do yourself will save you money, whether it’s digging and preparing the ground, tiling or anything in between.

You could also save even if you buy a pool kit and hire someone else to do the entire installation. You do not have to go with a pool professional but could simply hire a handyman to follow the instructions in the pool kit.

Go Basic

Thanks to networks like HGTV and DIY, elaborate pool features are becoming more and more popular. But if you’re trying to keep costs down and build the most inexpensive pool, skip all the bells and whistles like water features, spas, and unnecessarily expensive fencing.

While these features can be nice, they add up quickly and may not enhance your pool experience enough to justify the extra costs. Be clear and firm with your pool installer that you do not want expensive upgrades. Stick with the basics and you can definitely save.

Get Multiple Bids

Not all contractors charge equally and prices can vary widely depending on the region where you live. This can make getting an idea for a reasonable offer difficult. Get multiple bids so you can get a better sense for the range of prices in your area. By casting a larger contracting net, you can find the ideal mix of experience and value. The easiest way by far to get a bunch of bids, without a bunch of hassle, is to use Homeadvisor.

Think Outside the Box

If the price of building an inground pool still seems too large for your budget, think outside the box. Explore other options like a “semi-inground” pool. These pools can work with certain landscaping or the slope in your yard. These types of pool can be above ground but use attached decking to give the appearance of an inground pool at a fraction of the cost. Even if you have to install decking, it can be considerably cheaper and still give you and your family the feel of an inground pool.

Building an inground pool is definitely an investment but chances are, it is not one you’ll regret. They are great for entertaining kids, teens and adults, and are a fantastic way to relax in the privacy of your own yard. While they can run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are ways to build inground pools much, much cheaper.

An inground pool will add value to your home and will continue to add value to your leisure time for years to come. Don’t let initial price tags from pool stores scare you into think it’s unaffordable. By understanding all your options and all the different components that go into building an inground pool, you can save thousands and be diving into good times before you know it.

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