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Thread: Why so much?

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    Why so much?

    This is pure whining--but also a bit of genuine questioning! Why are pools so insanely expensive?

    I want a hole in the ground, perhaps as small as 8x10, 12x10 at very largest. No diving board, no grotto, no volleyball net or spitting statues, no bulky faux-marble hot tub benches and stupid hot tub jet packs...just a container of some sort, with clean, cool chlorinated water of some sort. My quotes have now ranged from 50k to 100k, which is a bizarrely wide range. Am I being ripped off?

    I'd be ok with an above ground pool if they didn't all have egregiously-plasticky wide top rails or look like bloated blue cookie monsters.

    Two years ago I completed an 1800 sq ft house expansion--furnace, AC, flooring, framing, painting, etc. for less than 50k. I just...don't get it. What is it about pools that makes them cost so much more than, well, anything?

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    ELMitz's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much?

    Supply/demand curve, customer demographics, seasonality, location, etc... your/my pool project would likely be wildly variable due to these issues... same reason Apple charges >$900 for an iPhone with $230 worth of individual components: because they can...
    In Planning Mode: 20x44 IG, Diving Well, SWG, Heater, CoverStar Automatic cover
    Hoosier Family's Pool Adventure: Planning and Building Thread

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    Re: Why so much?

    Purple,
    I feel your pain. I'm in West Jordan and dealt with all the pool builders the salt lake area had to offer. We got our vinyl pool put in last year by our last choice for a pool builder. The builders in our small market can pick and choose which projects they'll take on. Maybe some of you in the industry can take note that Utah is a booming market and could use some decent pool builders.

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    Re: Why so much?

    Another thing, the saying about no one ever wishing they had built a smaller pool comes to mind. We were thinking we'd be fine with a dinky pool. When we seen the costs, we went ahead with the biggest our builder offered 20x40 about 34000 gallons.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much?

    ...........because you WANT one!
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
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    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much?

    All good answers from the folks above, but I'll add my 2 cents....

    First, at least the pool builders have been honest rater than stringing you along. There are many fixed costs involved in a pool build that don't scale downward with a smaller pool. Design and the time of the builder come to mind. Plus, things like excavation, plumbing, electric, and the like will take smaller amounts of "products, but generally the cost is in the labor. Instead of digging a big hole for a larger pool, for you they are going to dig a small hole, but the high cost labor is still there. They have to get equipment to the site and do the dig. Once the people and equipment are there there isn't much difference in cost as the hole gets bigger.

    In most areas of the country the pool builders only have "X" number of days during the "season" to build. During those days they have to make their money.
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    Re: Why so much?

    It sounds like you are a handy person from the house remodel, it might be worth looking at DIY build and just hire out the pieces you aren't comfortable with. Our 18x36' pool kit with pump, SWG was under 12k, add excavation cost, concrete for footing, and pool deck you can be under $20k, of course it can go up rapidly once you stat upgrading finishes, we have as much in the travertine deck as we do the pool.
    18x36 Vinyl, sports depth, 8' Roman steps at each end. Hayward 1.5hp 2speed pump, catridge filter, 2 skimmers, no main drain, 3 SR Smith Treo LED lights

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    Kpag's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much?

    Sounds like you will have some extra time to explore your options, which might be a good thing. If you are going to do it, you definitely want to get it right. So far you have explored lots of different options/types of pools. Lets see pics of your lot and we can share our ideas with you. The most important thing for "awesome" pool status is honestly how the pool fits into your landscape and how the living area around it integrates the pool with your home. Think of any "awesome" pool picture you have seen, and if you mentally remove the landscaping, decking, house, etc.... it's just a hole filled with water and probably not very impressive.
    IG ~12000 gallon 1988 freeform pool with IG spa, Hayward equip, Ecostar pump. Remodel done: NPT Arctic 1x2 tile in Lagoon w/ gray thinset & Light Pewter grout, French Gray PebbleSheen w/ grey fittings, Leuders buff eased edge limestone coping w/ Light Buff mortar, buff mastic

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    Re: Why so much?

    I just saw a thread start from someone in Utah DIYing a new pool. I bet they do it for maybe 20-30k. I think you have been talking with the wrong builders,
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Why so much?

    I had my house built then had the pool built. I had never witnessed the entire process of both before. I initially thought the price for the pool was high, but after seeing the steps and complexity that went into the construction of both, I'm surprised that the pool didn't cost more. The pool only cost about 12% of what the house cost.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, H400 & Heliocol Solar, Dolphin S-300, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit, Smart Home/Alexa pool control

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    Re: Why so much?

    In SoCal, you can get a basic pool for $30K. But the same pool with all the bells and whistles from a premium pool builder can cost you $100K.

    The difference comes down to this: Will the customer experience and quality of construction from the 100K guy be better than the 30k guy?

    At the very least, the 100K guy should provide you with a fully-itemized proposal. The premium guys tend to be more rational about these things and are quite open about their unit prices.

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    Re: Why so much?

    Quote Originally Posted by chiefwej View Post
    I had my house built then had the pool built. I had never witnessed the entire process of both before. I initially thought the price for the pool was high, but after seeing the steps and complexity that went into the construction of both, I'm surprised that the pool didn't cost more. The pool only cost about 12% of what the house cost.
    I have to agree there is much more work involved in each step of the build than it may look like with the end product. While a good bit of that work seems like pure "grunt' work, there is a LOT that requires knowledge and skill to get it right. I could tell I had a good crew working on mine just by how much time they spent in the prep side of things, and by the tools they brought. Making sure the job was set up right by using lasers and other sophisticated and expensive tools not only told me these guys had a serious investment, but the knowledge that the end result of the job reflects on the preparation. Another good clue was how "easy" they made the work look once they got started. That only comes with experience, and you could quickly spot the lesser experienced workers that way.

    Plain and simple, as a general rule, good work is not cheap..
    2017 Build, 12.5K gal, pebbletec blue smurf, EcoStar VS pump (pool/spa), 2hp TriStar pump (water features), SwimClear 425 multi-cartridge filter, Hayward 400K heater, Turbocell-15 SWG, Pro-Logic Automation, LED lighting, Hayward suction side cleaner (model TBD), TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Why so much?

    I wanted a inground pool too, but our cost was going to be 65k - 75k, and I wasn't going to pay that, so we went with a Doughboy above ground pool..We were going to have it buried 4ft into the ground, then deck it all around to make it look like inground pool. We have limited space to get bobcat to the backyard, so we had them install all above ground, then worked desking flowing toward the pool in layers. Then they skirted the side of pool with wood, and it looks sweet, and does the same thing as a 75k pool would do. With pool and install, it was 9k....Now we adding decking and furniture, so that added cost, but spent total of 13k on our backyard, and we have 24ft long by 16ft wide pool....send me email address and I can show you pics of how nice it can look, and fraction of cost.....Just a idea...
    24x16 doughboy Summerville..22" Waterway "sand" 1.5 HP 2sp motor..Misty Falls liner, and wedding cake stairs..

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    Re: Why so much?

    Thank you everyone for your kind responses! I definitely understand that quality work is costly; I don't work for free and I don't expect anyone else to work for free, either. That said, I was just taken aback by quotes close to 6 figures for something that is, essentially, a large-ish pond. My home value is about 500k--which is very, very modest in my area--and a pool possibly detracts from that value, so I'm gun-shy about the whole thing. But oh, how I love to float around with a cool margarita in summer

    Mepcards, per your advice I found a local doughboy dealer so I'm going to give them a call. It isn't the above ground-ness that bugs me about pools (those stock tank pools have a certain retro cool to them)--it's how cheesy the above ground pools look. So I'll check out doughboy and I also found a brand online called crestwood that looks nice.

    If all else fails, I found a 12' x 30" Intex pool on amazon. It's $100--but I'd pay $20k if it were pretty! Young entrepreneurs take note: build a pool without an ugly top rail or yucko sides (oddly, I find vinyl lining pleasant to the touch, but I can't stand the feel of resin top rails), and you'll capture the market.

    Anyway, I'm scheduling a meeting with doughboy--wish me luck

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    Re: Why so much?

    My neighbor has an above ground wooden walled pool. The top rails are solid wood, I think 10" wide. He actually walks around these when he vacuums. It isn't the normal eyesore that an above ground is and the sides are solid and strong. No above ground wobble if you know what I mean. IMO an ingriund pool is the worst and best investment one can make. Worst if you think it adds value to your home, the best if your family is a backyard and pool family.

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    mepcards's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much?

    Very nice purple..I too was very leary about a above ground, for I was never a fan, but after seeing what they can look like, I was sold. Im a person who could have easily financed the inground pool, but I like to pay cash, then enjoy the backyard knowing its all paid for, and be able to do a lot of other things in life like travel. The pool I have serves the same purpose a inground would, and believe it or not, I have ppl who have inground pool who loves the way we have backyard set up more than thiers..lol....Either way you go, you will love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    24x16 doughboy Summerville..22" Waterway "sand" 1.5 HP 2sp motor..Misty Falls liner, and wedding cake stairs..

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    Re: Why so much?

    A basic pool, no frills, no spa, no fancy decking, isn't that expensive. It's just that so many people just keep adding expensive features. I had quotes on a 16x36 play pool in the 30k range. Upgrading some plumbing details, in floor cleaning, adding a spa, SWG and some extra deck pushed things to around 45k or so. But that extra 15k is all on me. I could have had a perfectly serviceable pool a lot cheaper, or I could have easily doubled or even tripled the cost with some fancy decking, a few more water features, etc.
    chiefwej
    Tucson, AZ
    16x36 rectangular (19k) Pebble Tec play pool/spa, Pentair Intelliflo VS 011018, Super II 2hp (spa), Aqua Rite T-15 SWG, Pro Grid 60 DE, H400 & Heliocol Solar, Dolphin S-300, fill water w/high CH and TA, 50 ppm borates,TF-100 test kit, Smart Home/Alexa pool control

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Why so much?

    You can get a fiberglass pool shell for 8k if you do some looking. Dig a hole, drop it in, add pipes, gravel and level, sub out a cantilevered deck or flagstone it and you are in business. Seriously it is a bit more more complex but can be done affordably if you do it yourself. New pool proj.Flagstoning around (and on) my fiberglass pool

    I probably have 16K in my pool. But many many hundreds of hours.
    6000 gal inground fiberglass
    1.5hp pump / sand filter
    Liquidator

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Why so much?

    Purple, have you looked into Endless pools? They can be installed in ground and are much less expensive
    IG Gunite 20x40 pool with Pebbletec finish (Tahoe blue with luminous glass in mixed jade); Pentair DE Filter and Pump; Intellibrite LED lights; RayPac 8350 Heat and Cool Heat Pump; NPT Arctic Ice glass tile; Coverstar autocover; Cambridge Renaissance Pavers in Onyx Lite; bluestone coping.

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