Dec 27, 2014

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How much does it cost to build an inground concrete swimming pool in the Houston, Texas area?


It may not be what you want to hear, but the short answer is, it depends.  Let me explain… Just like a new car, when you have options, you have changes in price.  So, in building a new in-ground concrete (also known as gunite) pool, it all depends on the options.  But to give you a general idea, the lowest price you will probably pay in today’s market for a small pool is around $30,000 and the sky is the limit on the other end.  I have tried to address all the costs involved in pool building below, and hope this is helpful for you as you think about your own backyard.

Here are the items you have to consider:

Necessary equipment to run a pool are a pump, filter, and a time clock; that is the bare minimum.  Other items most pools also include are gas/electric heaters, chlorinator (salt or standard), lights, multiple skimmers, and automatic cleaners.  Some additional items to consider and that make your pool user friendly & make homeowners LOVE their pools are automated systems, LED color-changing lights, variable speed pumps as well as additional pumps to run water features and the like, in-floor cleaning system, salt systems, swim jets…The list could go on & on!

  • The bare minimum in equipment should run you around $2,000.
  • The average home-owner will spend around $8,500 in equipment.
  • The bells & whistles will be a large range of pricing, so that would vary greatly from pool to pool.

Size & depth of your pool:
The size of your pool is determined by both the area of the surface of the pool and the perimeter in linear feet.  This price will be determined by the price of concrete and rebar.  Therefore, it changes as the market changes.
The depth of the pool has a typical range of 3 feet to 9 feet.  The cost is based on how deep the crew needs to go during excavation, as well as the soil conditions.  A minimum cost for excavation, concrete and rebar is going to be around $16,000 and the average pool is around $20,000.

Area of decking
Your decking refers to the amount of either concrete, pavers or other material around your pool.  This price varies greatly depending on your choice of finishes, size, etc.  Price range on concrete today is around $10-$13 per square foot (and again that price depends on the size & how the concrete is finished.)  Pavers cost about the same.  Natural stone or other like materials will cost you more.

When it comes to your pool, the features you can add are endless.  You can do rock waterfalls, grottos, all types of slides, any water feature imaginable, sconces, lighting options, splash pads, swim jets, chiller (to cool your pool during those hot Texas summer days), decorative additions in the gunite (i.e. mosaics depicting animals or just designs), fire features, planters, waterfalls, outdoor kitchens, pergolas, etc.  The list is endless… If you can imagine it, you can do it!  Of course, each of these items will come with their own price tag.  A good pool builder will price these items out individually.

Pool with a Spa or No Spa
In Texas, with our wonderful weather, some families choose to exclude a spa, and therefore save money in excavation, building, and equipment.  But most people, if they are putting in a pool, do feel the spa feature is worth the additional expense.  In fact, for therapeutic reasons, some families will do the opposite, and just go for the really tricked-out spa.  To add a basic in-ground spa to a pool with the minimal equipment, you would probably pay around $8,000.

Feet (in length) between electrical source & feet (in length) between gas-line & pool equipment:
In order to have your new pool up and running properly, you have to have access to both electricity and gas (that is, if you are putting in a heater)… The cost on this item depends on how far the electric or gas line has to be run.  The longer the run, the more it will cost.  The base cost to run an electric line is $200 and then an additional  $7 per foot.  The base cost to run a gas line is $450 and then an additional $13 per foot.  These costs can add up quickly and it is wise to put the equipment as close to the utilities as possible.
The finishes are all the beautiful touches you want to add to your pool to make it yours and unique.  These would be items like your tile choices, the plaster finish, the coping (this is the transition between the pool and the decking), your waterfall finishes or waterfall sconces, fire bowls or other decorative planters, etc.  Most pool tile comes in two types, either ceramic or glass.  Glass is more expensive, and can range from $7-$30 per square foot, and ceramic is around $5-$15 per square foot.  Natural stone tile is available, but is easily damaged by pool chemistry and is not usually recommended.  Plaster comes in many options, starting with your basic white plaster all the way to a polished pebble plaster that can include abalone, mother of pearl, and glass which will give you lots of sparkle.  Your average white plaster will cost around $2,500.  Your pebble plaster starts around $7,000.  Pebble plaster is the plaster of choice because of aesthetics and its ability to withstand pool chemistry fluctuations with ease.

Permits required by your city and other HOA fees:
Obviously, each neighborhood may vary on fees required to either submit plans or pay a deposit while work is being done.  Your city may require additional permits and other fees to do construction.  They may also require engineer or architectural plans as well as additional safety measures.  All of these items will vary by job, and again, a good contractor will let you know about all of this in advance.

The memories you will make with your family, the dream come true of a backyard oasis, the vacation in your own backyard, the BBQ’s, the pool parties, the soak in the spa after a long day, the volleyball or basketball games in the pool…The list is endless but the lifestyle you can create in your own backyard is up to you and it truly IS priceless!

This blog is not meant to be the end-all for pricing in pools.  It is meant to give a general idea of why building a pool costs what it does TODAY.  Also, as mentioned, most items will change in price as our economy changes.  So your bid for your pool will be dependent on the timing as well.
If you are currently considering building a pool, what are the must-haves for you and what are the items you think you can do without?

I would love to answer any additional questions you might have.  Post them here & I will get to them as soon as possible.