Understanding pool types and their costs
The cost of a pool varies significantly depending on the type of pool, with options such as precast plunge pools, fibreglass pools, concrete pools, and above ground pools all having distinct price ranges. It's crucial to have a clear understanding of the kind of pool you desire before requesting quotes from installers to obtain accurate cost estimates.
Pool shell vs total pool zone cost
With all pool types, there are two very distinct costs to consider, the price of the pool shell, and the overall cost to build your pool inclusive of all the extras such as tiling surrounds, fencing, hard and soft landscaping etc.
Every pool project is different and whilst the pool shell costs may be reasonably consistent for a rectangular 7m x 3m pool (even between concrete and a fibreglass pool), the extras are what can really make the difference. The prices we are using in this guide are based on fairly standard options and do not take into account a job that may require an extra 50 square metres of tiling or a steep slope.
To help you navigate the various options, let's explore each pool type and its associated costs, starting with precast plunge pools.
Above ground pools
Above ground pools are installed above the ground level, typically on a raised platform, providing a more affordable alternative to other pool options. These pools generally start at $10,000 in Australia and can be a great option for homeowners seeking a cost-effective pool solution.
However, it's essential to keep in mind that the lifespan of an above-ground pool is shorter than that of other pool options, with the vinyl lining lasting between 6 and 9 years and the pool itself up to 15 years.
Precast plunge pools
A precast plunge pool is a smaller, pre-manufactured pool, usually made of concrete or steel water tanks. A plunge pool offers a compact and budget-friendly option. These pools are typically priced around $12,000 to $35,000 (for the pool shell) and are an ideal choice for those with limited space or budget constraints. Fully installed, precast plunge pools can range anywhere from $18,000 to $50,000 depending on the size of the crane needed and filtration options chosen.
While they may not provide the same versatility and customization as other pool types, precast plunge pools offer a refreshing and affordable alternative for homeowners looking to make a splash in their backyard.
Fibreglass pools, constructed from a moulded fibreglass shell, are known for their quick installation. A fibreglass pool professionally installed typically starts from $40,000 to $70,000, with costs potentially reaching up to $80,000 and beyond.
Longer crane lifts can also impact the installation price greatly.
With a lifespan of around 25 years, fibreglass pools are an attractive option for those seeking a quick and durable pool solution.
Concrete pools offer the greatest flexibility in terms of size, shape and depth, allowing for organic, personal designs and swimming pools that blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape and home. While concrete pools generally start at a similar cost to most fibreglass pools, they can reach considerably higher maximum price points, as more additional options are available.
Concrete pool costs typically start around $40,000 to $60,000, but can run into the hundreds of thousands for something truly spectacular. The customisability and durability of concrete pools make them an appealing choice for homeowners seeking a unique pool design that is personalised to them and their home.
Factors affecting swimming pool installation costs
Various factors can influence the total cost of swimming pool installation, including site access, crane costs, site slope, soil conditions, pool size and shape, a two-stage build, the cost of the professional swimming pool builder and equipment quality, pool tiling, fencing and decking, and additional features.
Each of these factors plays a role in determining the overall cost of your pool project, and understanding their impact can help you make informed decisions as you plan your dream pool.
Site access is a critical consideration for pool installation, as it can greatly affect the cost and complexity of the project. Limited or difficult access to your property may require additional equipment, labor, and time, increasing the overall expense.
Furthermore, poor site access can impact the safety and security of the installation site, making it essential to address this issue before commencing construction.
Pool builders will ask you the following questions to assess site access to determine your swimming pool cost:
How wide is the access to the build site?
- Pool builders ask this to determine the size of the digger that can be used, and how difficult it is to access the dig site. Here is the basics of access:
- 5m+ wide: this is considered great access and enables the pool builder to use a standard large digger - your cheapest option;
- 3m+ wide: this is considered good access and enables the use of a large digger;
- 2m+ wide: this is considered decent access and requires the use of a small digger and will increase the cost of excavation;
- 1.5m+ wide: this is considered tight access and will require the use of a very small digger and will increase the cost of excavation further;
- Less than 1.5m wide: this is likely to require a hand dig which is typically the most expensive excavation option.
For precast plunge pools or fibreglass pools, crane costs are another factor to consider, as they can significantly impact the overall cost of your pool installation. Crane rental costs vary depending on the type of crane required and the length of its utilisation, with small mobile cranes costing around $2000 per day and larger operated cranes costing about $15,000 per day.
The overall cost of a plunge pool can quickly match the price of a larger fibreglass pool or custom concrete pool if you need to use a large crane to put the pool in place. While fibreglass pools can become more expensive than a comparable sized concrete pool with a longer crane lift.
The site slope, or the angle of incline of the ground where the pool will be constructed, is another critical factor affecting pool cost and installation costs. An steep slope will require either significant foundations, supports or retaining, depending on the pool type.
Soil conditions can also influence the cost and complexity of your pool installation, as they impact the stability and drainage of your pool site. Poor soil conditions can lead to increased construction costs, as well as potential shifting or damage to your pool over time.
A soil test can also be used to help indicate how long a pool excavation may take, giving a more accurate price in the pool quote. And anticipating other potential costs, like rock excavation or foundation requirements.
It's essential to consider the physical and chemical properties of your soil, such as texture, porosity, density, pH level, and carbon content, when planning your pool project. A soil test is usually required before a pool builder will give you an accurate quote, especially if your property is in an area prone to challenging soil conditions.
Pool size and shape
The size and shape of your pool will obviously impact the overall cost of your pool. In most cases, the size of the pool itself doesn't make as big a difference as you would think. For example, a typical 7m x 3m concrete pool is likely to cost around $45,000 to $55,000, and a 9m x 3m concrete pool will typically be $53,000 to $63,000 - and the same goes for fibreglass.
The shape of the pool can be a more significant cost factor than a small size increase as a custom pool shapes and design may increase the complexity and cost of your project.
Understanding the impact of pool size and shape on your installation costs can help you make informed decisions when selecting the perfect pool for your needs.
A two-stage build process is usually required when a pool is constructed alongside a new house build or renovation. In situations where the pool is going in the backyard and access will be challenging or impossible after the house is constructed, a two-stage build is likely required. This means the pool builder does the excavation and installs the pool shell before the house is built, covers it up and protects it, and then returns to finish the job once the house is completed. This increases the cost of the pool build due to the requirement of a protective cover for the pool, temporary fencing and any other factors required to protect the pool shell while the house is built. But usually greatly reduces the overall cost of building the pool after the house / renovation if access will be reduced or lost.
Pool & equipment quality
The quality of your pool and equipment plays a crucial role in the overall cost of your pool project. As with anything in life, selecting high-quality materials and equipment will increase the overall cost of your pool. Investing in high-quality pool equipment and maintaining it properly can help ensure the longevity and efficiency of your pool.
Pool surrounds tiling, fencing & decking
Pool surrounds tiling, fencing, and decking are additional factors that will significantly impact the overall cost of your pool installation. The cost of pool tiling can vary depending on the type of tile, the pool's dimensions, and the complexity of the installation. Similarly, the cost of pool fencing and decking depends on the type of fencing and decking materials chosen, as well as the size and complexity of the installation.
It's essential to consider these additional expenses when planning your pool project.
Additional features such as pool lighting, water features, pool heaters, pool covers, and automated pool cleaners can enhance the enjoyment and functionality of your pool, but they also contribute to the overall cost of your pool project. The cost of these features can vary depending on the type and complexity of the feature, so it's essential to consider their potential impact on your overall budget when selecting which features to include in your pool.
When making decisions about which features to include in your pool, it's important to consider the cost of each feature and how it will affect your overall budget. Additionally, you should consider how the features will enhance the enjoyment and functionality of your pool.
Ongoing costs of pool ownership
As a pool owner, it's important to consider not only the initial installation costs but also the ongoing costs of pool ownership, including maintenance, energy consumption, and repairs and replacements.
Each pool type comes with its own set of ongoing expenses, which can impact the overall cost of owning a pool. Understanding these costs can help you make an informed decision about which pool type is the best fit for your needs and budget.
Regular pool maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and efficiency of your pool. The maintenance requirements can vary depending on the type of pool, size, and filtration type. There are many automated options to help in keeping your water balanced and healthy for swimming.
Proper maintenance not only keeps your pool looking and functioning at its best, but can also help prevent costly repairs and replacements down the line.
Energy consumption is another ongoing cost associated with pool ownership, as it factors into the operation of pool pumps, heaters, cleaners and lighting. The size and shape of your pool, the type of pool, the quality of the pool and equipment, and the type of heating and filtration systems all impact energy consumption.
Implementing energy-efficient equipment, installing a pool cover, and utilizing a timer for the pool pump can help reduce energy consumption and lower your ongoing pool costs.
Repairs and replacements
Repairs and replacements are another ongoing cost to consider, as pool equipment and materials may require fixing or replacement over time.
Regular maintenance can help prevent costly repairs and replacements by identifying and addressing issues before they become more severe.
Pool registration and certification are important aspects of pool ownership in Australia, as they ensure the safety and compliance of your pool installation.
By understanding and adhering to these requirements, you can ensure the safety and legality of your pool installation.
Fencing options and costs
In Australia, pool fencing is a mandatory requirement, and the minimum height for pool fencing is 1.2m. The cost of pool fencing varies greatly. Aluminium pool fencing can start at $200 per metre installed, while high-end glass fencing can be as much as $600 per linear metre.
When selecting a fencing option, it's essential to consider both the aesthetic and functional aspects, as well as the costs involved, to ensure the best fit for your pool and property.
Financing your pool project
Financing your pool project is an important aspect to consider, as the costs of pool installation and ongoing ownership can be significant. Home loans are one option for financing pool projects, but there are also other options available such as unsecured personal loans, home equity loans, and financing through a pool builder.
Will a pool add value to your home?
The potential for a pool to add value to your home depends on various factors, such as the location of your home, the climate, and the aesthetic compatibility with your property. In popular pool areas with warm climates like Perth, Brisbane, and Sydney, a well-maintained and attractive pool adds value to your property. For cooler climates, ensuring your pool is heated, or has the ability to be heated is an important consideration.
However, it's important to consider why you want a pool, weigh the financial cost versus benefits, research if it adds value to your property, and remember the ongoing maintenance costs when making your decision.