11 Ways to Lower Your Initial Swimming Pool Costs

Imagine relaxing in the pool, cooling off after a long work day. Not much could make the summer more enjoyable than having a swimming pool installed in your backyard. Just envisioning the cool, clear water on a hot sunny day is enough to have you daydreaming about the best pool designs and latest water features. 

However, it is no secret that the initial swimming pool cost can add up quickly when you add all the bells and whistles. Fortunately, there are many ways you can lower your initial outlay. By doing your research and carefully considering your options for your pool’s size, style, and other necessary features, you can maximize enjoyment while still minimizing costs. 

Here’s how to do that.

1. Use Vinyl (Over Fiberglass or Concrete)

When designing your pool, vinyl is an excellent option to get your inground pool at a lower cost. A pool with a vinyl liner is made with a custom-made sheet of vinyl that goes between the pool floor, walls, and water. The liner locks at the top edge into a track at the bottom of the pool coping, separating the pool from the surrounding environment. 

The floor under the liner is usually sand or cementitious, and the sidewalls come up to meet the walls, which are traditionally panels made of thermoplastic or galvanized steel. The pool’s walls are supported so they do not bow out from the weight of the water, and they are secured to form the pool’s perimeter. There are some limitations when choosing the possible shapes of a vinyl pool because of this. Generally, a vinyl pool will be less expensive than other styles and can typically be built in less time. 

2. Landscape Later

Landscaping has the potential to be a considerable expense, especially if your goal is for it to be fully customized, detailed, or intricate. However, you can take some time to observe and analyze how your family and guests use the pool before determining the final details of your decking and landscaping. Waiting and analyzing pool use can give you an idea of where to place seating or other features, like a permanent shade structure

3. Use a Manual Cover

A pool cover is beneficial for many reasons. It prevents debris from getting into your swimming pool, reduces the evaporation of water, and can help trap heat. While an automatic cover can be convenient, a manual cover will save you money. 

A manual cover does need to be pulled on and off the pool by hand, and they are generally stored on a large roller. However, you can choose various styles, such as mesh, winter, solid, and hybrid. 

4. Downsize the Pool

A smaller pool will cost less for multiple reasons. First, you will save on the initial cost of materials and equipment for the pool, plus decking and labor costs. Over time, you will also save money on maintenance and upkeep. 

However, some costs, such as excavation and plumbing, will remain roughly the same even if the pool size changes. Therefore it is essential to crunch the numbers and determine how much the overall size will affect costs so you can still get as much pool as possible. However, the perimeter shape will affect the swimming pool’s square footage. 

For instance, a rectangle and a kidney-shaped pool with roughly the same 12′ x 24′ measurements will have different square footage. Thus the shape will affect the overall cost, so it should be a determining factor. 

5. Avoid Custom Shapes

Speaking of shapes – keep your design as simple as possible. While a custom-shaped pool will add personality, it will also add to the final price tag. Choosing a design from your pool’s manufacturer will help keep costs down. 

Popular pool shapes include an oval, rectangle, kidney, full-L, and round. You can still find ways to customize your outdoor living area in the future to keep your initial project costs within your budget. 

6. Consider a Pre-Built Swim Spa

A swim spa, sometimes called an endless pool, plunge pool, or swim pool can be a budget-friendly alternative to a traditional inground pool. They are also beneficial for small yards. A swim spa costs less to install, offers a hot tub, and you can use it year-round. 

7. Choose a Simple Deck

If you do want to install your deck now, keep it simple. The less fancy the design, the less money you will spend initially. You can save money by installing a basic concrete deck. Remember, you can always add a custom patio and landscaping later if it is more important to save money now. 

8. Plan Around Trees

It is important to consider existing landscaping when installing a swimming pool. First, you will need to determine whether you need to have a tree removed or have limbs trimmed back. 

Leaving trees may be better if you use them for natural shade, but too much shade may make it harder to keep the water at your ideal temperature. If you want to keep existing trees, you will need to consider root systems and ensure you can install the pool far enough away that there is no impact. As a reminder, vinyl liners and decks are the most susceptible to root damage. 

9. Skip Extra Water Features

Many water features certainly add a little fun and flair to a pool but are optional. Slides, color-changing lights, fountains, and other elements are exciting but will add to your final bill. Feel free to cut back on non-essentials to reduce your project’s final cost. 

10. Don’t Build a Deep End

Shallow pools are less expensive to install due to lower material and labor costs. Furthermore, you will save money over time on maintenance and upkeep. You can skip the deep end to save money and still have a beautiful pool to relax in all summer long. 

11. Fencing

In many cities and towns, local regulations often require pool owners to install a pool fence as a safety measure. Fencing regulations often have a maximum height but may have a minimum height when used as a pool boundary. 

There may be other specifications, so check with your town or city to ensure you follow the laws. However, as long as you follow regulations, you have a variety of options from which to choose. 

Chain link and mesh fences are often the cheapest, but vinyl is considered another affordable and aesthetically pleasing option. Some materials require more upkeep, such as painted wood, so if future maintenance is important, consider that. 

Additional Pool Cost Considerations

Other costs will be associated with installing a pool, most of which cannot be lowered or avoided. It is important to consider these factors when budgeting for your pool and ongoing expenses:

  • Permits – Understand your local municipality’s ordinances regarding adding permanent structures and any required inspections and permits. You can’t legally avoid these costs, so make all the necessary calls and know how much you’ll be paying upfront. 
  • Insurance – The liability of a pool may increase your homeowner’s insurance. Speak to your agent about your policy to discuss overall costs. 
  • Taxes – If installing the pool increases your property value, there is a chance that your property taxes will increase, so be prepared for this possibility. 

Buy One-Time, High-Quality Tools

After the pool is installed, your costs will transition to maintenance, cleaning, and general upkeep. The best way to save money is to learn how to clean your own filters, balance the pool chemicals, blow out pool lines yourself, do other general maintenance that does not require a specialist, and invest in quality equipment and tools. 

Buying high-quality tools will make your job easier and save you money in the long run since you won’t have to replace them every season. For example, a durable skimmer net designed to withstand heavy-duty use will save you time and frustration all season long.

Building a Dream Pool Is Possible, Especially If You’re Able to Lower the Initial Swimming Pool Costs

When installing a new swimming pool, the goal is to enjoy your new outside space and build memories with family and friends. We encourage you to research which style, size, and features will meet your needs without breaking your budget. 

Once you have your pool installed, you can reduce ongoing costs by trusting ProTuff to provide pool equipment that allows you to clean your pool quickly without hassle and with the assurance that a lifetime warranty backs your equipment. Contact us today to learn more from one of our friendly pool experts. 


Disclaimer: Pool ownership and maintenance is very complicated, and we know every situation is unique. While we’ve done our best to cover the best practices here, we encourage you to reach out to ProTuff directly at [email protected] with any specific questions you may have.

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