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Understanding Fiberglass Inground Pool Prices

Updated on January 15, 2013
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A Slippery Issue

Fiberglass swimming pools have been around for a long time, but it's only relatively recently that they've surged in popularity. These days, just about everyone building a new pool will at least consider fiberglass as an option. Unfortunately, trying to figure out how much you would pay for a fiberglass pool can be difficult. As with pool installation costs in general, fiberglass inground pool prices vary too much to give anything more than a rough estimate.

One thing's for sure: If you're looking at an article from 2010 or earlier, you're likely getting bad information. The recession took a major toll on pool builders, forcing them to hold down prices to attract business. Due to increased supply costs and an improvement in the housing market, prices are now creeping up.

Another thing that's safe to say: In general, fiberglass pools are more expensive to install than other types of pools. However, despite that, many people still find them to be the best choice, for a variety of reasons.

Fiberglass Selling Points

Before looking more closely at pricing, it's important to note what you're getting with a fiberglass swimming pool. Here are some of the chief advantages that draw people to this type of pool, even if it costs a little more than the alternatives:

Quick Installation. Fiberglass pool shells are shipped to your home in one piece (or perhaps in several modular units). Installation can be done in a matter of days, as opposed to the weeks or months involved in building other types of pools.

Easy on the Feet. Some people prefer the rough feel of concrete, but for many others, the smooth surface of fiberglass is superior. Families with young kids especially appreciate this feature (baby feet!).

Low Maintenance. The surface of a fiberglass pool is nonporous, and therefore more resistant to algae. As a result, you can expect to spend less time and money on pool chemicals.

There are disadvantages of fiberglass as well, such as a smaller selection of pool shapes, sizes, and custom options. However, these seem to get fewer and fewer each year. The main downside is cost.

Pool Cost Comparison

Type of Pool
Installation Cost
Maintenance Cost
Vinyl
Low
High
Gunite (Concrete)
High
Medium
Fiberglass
High
Low

The Total Cost of Fiberglass Pool Ownership

The exact cost of a fiberglass pool depends on the size, optional features, and many other factors. Most prospective pool owners probably hire a general contractor for a "turn key" installation - in other words, a full package that includes all the decking, electrical work, and other essential components in addition to the actual installation of the pool shell. For that, the current price is probably in the range of $40,000-70,000.

That's a pretty wide range, and the truth is, there are plenty of pool installation jobs that cost more or less for various reasons. The price of your pool shell and the profit margins/labor costs of the contractors you hire are two huge factors, but there are many others.

While fiberglass is more expensive than other types of pools (particularly vinyl), the investment looks better and better as time goes by. As long as it was installed correctly, a fiberglass pool should last for decades without needing significant repairs. As mentioned, you will also spend less on pool chemicals each month as compared to vinyl or gunite.

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Building a "Cheap" Fiberglass Pool

Okay, there's really no such thing as a "cheap" fiberglass pool. Even at the low end, we're talking about thousands - probably tens of thousands - of dollars. However, there are some things you can do to lower the price tag.

One is to install the pool yourself. Installing any pool is a daunting task, but if you're capable of such a project, you can save a load of money. There are even fiberglass inground swimming pool kits for sale that come with everything you need.

Another option is to serve as your own general contractor, hiring more specialized contractors to do all the tasks necessary for installation. Managing a major project like this is a full-time job that shouldn't be underestimated. However, if you have the time and/or are well-connected with contractors in your area, it could be a viable option.

If you're not up to tackling either one of those options, here's a simple tip to follow - shop around. Be patient and keep looking for pool builders until you find one that offers the price (and quality) you can live with.

Is an Inground Fiberglass Pool in Your Future?

Building an inground pool is a humongous project that's guaranteed to have a big impact on your finances. Obviously, it's not something to take lightly. This is especially true of fiberglass pools because they fall on the higher end of the swimming pool cost spectrum.

That said, if you can afford the high initial price tag, inground fiberglass pools offer some key benefits over vinyl and concrete. It's an investment that can increase the value of your home and bring years of joy to your family.

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