In-Ground vs. Above Ground Swimming Pools

August 7th, 2015 by

Once you’ve decided to build a pool, the next big choice you have to make is whether to install an above or in-ground model. The team here at Latham has put together this list of pros and cons to help you decide:

Above Ground Pools

For our purposes, an above-ground pool is a semi-permanent structure between four and six feet deep, with a diameter of between 12 and 30 feet. These pools are known for being relatively cheap, fairly easy to assemble and providing seasonal enjoyment for families.


The cost savings from the installation and lifetime maintenance are the biggest advantage of above-ground pools. Though the cost of an in-ground pool varies widely depending on your specific project and location, once you factor in the excavation, specialty plumbing and permits you will likely spend around $25,000. On the other hand, a quality above-ground pool can be installed for significantly less, depending on your requirements units can be found for under $2,000. Additional benefits include ease of installation and removal.


While the savings of installing an above-ground swimming pool is a definite benefit, there are a number of disadvantages to that option, including:

  • Durability: the structure of an above-ground pool is exposed, making it vulnerable to damage and more prone to wear and tear, as well as accidental impact damage during storms or when kids are playing near it;
  • Aesthetics: an above-ground pool literally sticks out from the rest of your landscaping, it can be unsightly and neighbors may complain about it, your HOA may even have an ordinance against them; and,
  • Safety: ladders for access can be tricky for the young, old, or disabled visitors who come to use your pool.

While these issues aren’t necessarily deal breakers for all homeowners, your circumstances may make an above-ground pool less desirable.

In-ground Pools

The most obvious characteristic of an inground pool is that it doesn’t stick up out of the lawn; instead, the installers have probably excavated an opening for your pool to be poured so that it opens flush with the rest of your landscaping. In-ground pools are viewed as an attainable luxury and are known for providing years of reliable service to families across the nation.


The best thing about an in-ground pool is the value it can potentially add to your property. It’s great to know you can claw back some of that $25,000+ investment when selling your home.

Other benefits include:

  • Style: virtually limitless variety of sizes, styles, finishes and accessories are available to help you customize your in-ground pool to suit the landscape that surrounds your home as well as your personal style;
  • Durability: because of the infrastructure that an in-ground pool requires, it has a longer lifespan, typically accompanied by a substantial warranty; and,
  • Functionality: the options for customization paired with the longevity of an in-ground pool give you as a home owner the opportunity to adapt your pool for a variety of uses from standard fitness or entertainment to rehabilitation and therapy or serious athletic training.


In-ground pools cost more, from planning and permitting to construction, maintenance, insurance and repair. There are also safety implications that merit careful consideration, since it’s possible to fall into pool from ground-level.

Choosing the right pool for your family comes down considering the budget, landscape, and regulations for your project. When making your determination, the experts here at Latham are always happy to discuss ways your pool project can be tailored to meet your family’s needs. Feel free to contact an independent builder for a consultation today.

Meet Our Expert

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Jeremy is the Director of Digital Marketing for Latham. He loves working within a company that has a strong culture built on camaraderie and revolutionizing the industry.

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