Should I install an above-ground or in-ground pool

Family decided on above-ground vs in ground pool

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Should I install an above-ground or in-ground pool?

If you are lucky enough to have a choice whether to install an in-ground or above-ground pool, the decision on which to install can sometimes be difficult. With so many benefits of each, it’s hard to know which would best meet your needs. 


The professionals at Family Pool Maintenance of Delaware want you to have confidence in every choice you make regarding your installation of an in-ground or above-ground pool. Here are some factors to consider that can help you make the right decision. 


1. Your budget 

As is the case with most decisions we make on a routine basis, the major factor is cost. On average the cost of installing an in-ground pool is greater than that of an above-ground pool. The price of the pool itself varies by size of course, with larger above-ground pools nearing similar price points to in-ground pools. However, due to an in-ground pool’s need for excavation, cement or stone, landscaping, equipment pads, and installation labor, the costs significantly outpace above-ground pool costs. 


Depending on your market, the average cost of an above-ground pool can range from $2,000 to $7,000 depending on the size and setup of your liking. In-ground pools however can cost upwards of $20,000 to $40,000, with additional fees for features, landscaping, and site preparation pushing costs much higher. 


Maintenance money aside, the costs of permitting and taxation should be considered when considering your budget. Because of their installation needs, in-ground pools typically require permitting from local authorities, both for construction and use. Some above-ground pool units may require similar permitting, but that varies depending on your community. 


Lastly, users should consider additional taxation that could occur upon an installation. While some communities value above-ground pools differently, most communities add additional taxable space on your property tax bill for an in-ground pool installation. That additional assessed value on your tax bill could come as a surprise when adjustment periods occur, but thankfully homes with pools installed value higher in equity and upon re-sale, so consider the pool installation a continued investment. 

2. Square footage available

If you have a vision for what kind of pool you want and where you want it, you have likely made some back of the napkin estimations of how much space you have. In-ground pools typically require a little more space than an above-ground pool, due to the steps, railing, and necessary equipment. The average in-ground pool (vs an above-ground pool) measures 600 square feet. That’s larger than most people think, and when installation plans are made, the available space in your yard gets absorbed quickly during planning and design. 


During design, there should be enough space for your pool to be installed while also allowing for enough space to maneuver around it or have nearby seating. If you are seeing your available space consumed, an above-ground pool instead of an in-ground pool may be a better option. In addition to potentially being more size friendly, above-ground pools can be versatile in their shape and depth characteristics. If square footage is a concern, having the flexibility of an above-ground pool vs an in-ground pool could be appealing. 


3. How long do you want your pool to last?

For the pool owner who is increasingly comfortable in making a long term decision, an in-ground pool installation (instead of above-ground) is usually favored. Because of the construction and installation methods, in-ground pools have a significantly longer useful life. On average, in-ground pools last 20 to 30 years. Conversely, most above-ground pools last on average 7 to 10 years. This can be a deciding factor when trying to determine which pool to install. While the above-ground pool may not have as long of a “shelf life,” it also comes with flexibility. If an incident requires you to close your pool, an above-ground pool vs an in-ground pool provides a speedy tear-down process if needed. When it comes to choosing between above- and in-ground pools, the main question you should be asking is about the longevity of your decision. 


4. Your maintenance plan

Pool maintenance is often neglected when thinking of your pool’s initial installation. However, maintenance is always something that should be considered when trying to maximize the useful life of your pool. For those who are debating an in-ground or above-ground installation, the equipment, time, and costs of maintenance can differ significantly. Assuming that the size of the pools is the same, the maintenance needs for an above-ground pool are typically lower because of the construction materials involved. The steel or aluminum framing and wood decking allow for liner installations that are less intrusive and for heating/filter elements that are smaller and less costly to maintain. 


Should I install an in-ground or above-ground pool?

Ultimately, the decision between an in-ground pool or above-ground pool comes down to personal preference and your individual circumstances. If you’re still unsure, consider consulting with a pool installation professional to help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and budget. To have a conversation about what would work best for you and your family, give the team at Family Pool Maintenance of Delaware a call at 302-270-3700 today. 

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