Above Ground vs In-Ground Pools

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In-ground vs Above Ground Pools

If you’re thinking about taking the plunge for a pool, the decision whether to have an inground or above ground pool is a very important one.

Cost
The biggest factor is cost, as most inground pools are going to be significantly more expensive than an above ground pool.  An inground pool, whether it’s made of vinyl, concrete or fiberglass, is going to cost on average between $45,000 to $100,000.
That cost is reflected in the installation of the pool, the size of the pool, the patio or decking around the pool, electrical hookups, grading and landscaping and accessories such as heaters, covers and chlorine generators.

The size of the pool and the options one chooses will determine whether the inground pool is on the high end of costs or less expensive.

An above ground pool will run about $4,000 to $20,000 depending on the price of the pool kit, the cost for installing it and the pool surround or decking, if any is used.

Pool Size
An above ground pool can be the same size or even larger than an inground pool.  For instance, a 30 ft. round above ground pool is actually larger than an 18 x 36 ft. inground pool. The main difference is the depth of an above ground pool will be the same whereas an inground pool will go from shallow to deep.
The smaller above ground pools don’t provide a lot of swimming and are more for wading and cooling off.

Maintenance
The maintenance of an inground pool vs. an above ground pool is similar in terms of chemicals and cleaning time. However if there is no deck for the above ground pool it is harder to get around and vacuum up the debris that collects.

Longevity
If one wants a pool to last a long time, they’re generally going to go with an inground pool. Pools made of fiberglass should last over 20 years while vinyl pools have liners that need to be replaced every six to 11 years. Concrete last well over 20 years, but it will need resurfacing every ten to 15 years which can get very expensive.
Above ground pools are going to last from 8 to 15 years before the structure gives out, however liners will last five to nine years before having to be replaced.

Climate
Aside from these factors, the other big one to determine is the climate one lives in to know how much use and enjoyment will be achieved with the pool.
Above ground pools are easier to winterize than inground pools so this will be an important factor if the summer is short.

Finally, the people who are using the pool will be a determining factor as well. If there are young children, an above ground pool that is harder to reach may be a safer option as children are more likely to fall into inground pools.  Teenagers and adults will benefit more from inground pools with more space for swimming and lounging.