In-Ground vs. Above Ground Pools: Which Is Right for You?

It’s warming up in Louisville and everyone wants a pool for their backyard.

As a pool installation company since 2018, few others know more about the wants and needs of homeowners than we do when it comes to pools.

But what is best for your backyard?

One of the primary decisions you’ll face is whether to go with an in-ground or above ground pool model.

Each type offers distinct advantages and challenges, and the best choice depends on your budget, landscape, and lifestyle.

Here’s a detailed comparison to help you make an informed decision.

The Costs

Above ground pools are generally more cost-effective, both in terms of initial investment and maintenance.

This is due to easier maintenance and setup.

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The average cost for above ground pools for our customers can range from as low as $1,500 to around $5,000. More elaborate setups with extensive decks and other features can cost up to $10,000 or more.

In ground pools are more expensive upfront due to the extensive excavation and construction required.

However, they often add more value to your property than above ground pools.

The cost of in-ground pools starts significantly higher, usually around $35,000 and can go up to $100,000 or more, depending on the size, materials (concrete, vinyl, or fiberglass), and custom features like waterfalls, lighting, and landscaping.

Durability and Maintenance

While above ground pools are easier on the wallet, they’re less durable than their in-ground counterparts.

They are more susceptible to weather-related damage and typically have a shorter lifespan.

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For example, above ground pools have walls that are exposed to external pressures and can be damaged more easily than the buried walls of in-ground pools.

The weather is also a variable that can directly challenge your pool’s longevity. Since it can snow and rain heavily in Louisville, many homeowners don’t like the extra effort and costs it takes to maintain their pool.

The liners of above ground pools can be prone to tearing or puncturing. Liners must be carefully maintained to avoid leaks.

Factors such as chemical imbalance in the pool water, debris, or rough handling can degrade the liner more quickly.

Above ground pools typically have fewer skimmers and drains, which can make it harder to keep the water clean and debris-free.

Owners often need to manually clean the pool to remove debris that the skimmer doesn’t catch.

Constructed from more robust materials, in-ground pools are designed to withstand the elements and provide many years of enjoyment.

They require regular maintenance, including cleaning, chemical balance, and occasionally resurfacing or liner replacement.

A well-functioning pump and filtration system are crucial for maintaining water clarity and hygiene.

The pump should run long enough each day to ensure the entire volume of the pool is circulated through the filter, typically around 8-12 hours depending on the size of the pool and the efficiency of the pump.

Long Term Investment

Generally seen as a less permanent solution, above ground pools can be dismantled and moved if necessary.

Their impact on property value is minimal compared to in-ground pools.

Our Opal fiberglass pool model, with its beautiful organic shape, is inspired by the gem’s beauty.

In a lot of ways you can view above ground pools as big lawn chairs.

Moving them around isn’t too big a problem – but maintaining them can be.

Unlike with an in ground pool, your property value will be barely affected by them.

Often viewed as a long-term investment, in-ground pools can increase property value and appeal, especially in climates like Louisville where they’re more rare than in Florida or California.

The average increase in property value from installing an in-ground pool in Louisville, KY, is generally in line with national averages but can vary significantly based on the neighborhood and local market conditions.

Nationally, in-ground pools can increase home values by about 4-7%, with some locales seeing increases up to 8% depending on the desirability of pools in the area.

In Louisville, as in other areas, the added value from a pool also heavily depends on neighborhood expectations and the prevalence of pools in the area.

This is especially true since pools are more of a commodity here than in other parts of the country.


A common concern we’ve noticed for young families is that they care about their child’s safety.

Above ground pools can be safer for families with young children, as the elevated entry point can be easier to secure against unintended access.

It also requires them to climb a small ladder to get access to the pool, meaning that there’s another barrier to keep them out of harm’s way.

The risks of having an in ground pool are warranted.

In-ground pools require diligent safety measures, such as fencing and pool covers, to prevent accidents, especially with young children and pets.

However – this shouldn’t be your main barrier stopping you from going with an in ground pool.

There’s plenty of safety features like covers in the wintertime, child-proof gates, and responsible adult supervision that would stop a tragedy from happening.

Just like how if you started a fire in the fireplace – you wouldn’t leave your home with it still burning. 

Responsible adults with young children shouldn’t worry about this.

Our Opinion

At this point you probably know our recommendation, since we’d get paid more from an in ground pool than an above ground one.

But it isn’t just in our best interest – it’s probably in yours too.

Every year we hear about Louisville homeowners who regretted buying an above ground pool instead of getting an in ground pool.

This is usually because the above ground pool is starting to leak or the property value increase isn’t there.

And with financing options available, don’t let a six figure price tag scare you.

Especially compared to the long term investment it can have for your home if you plan on living there for an extended period of time.

With so many options to choose from – you can also invest in a design which speaks to you and you enjoy looking at everyday.

If you’re a Louisville area homeowner and want to learn more about getting a pool installed for your backyard, give us a call at (502)-308-4555!

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