If you’re considering a swimming pool at your home, there’s no doubt that the cost of pool maintenance will be something at the top of your mind. It’s nice to have a swimming pool, but you need to make sure you can afford pool maintenance, otherwise you’ll only end up neglecting your pool and it won’t be usable. Not all pools are the same, there’s a wide variety of materials that can be used to construct a swimming pool. So, how much does swimming pool maintenance cost, exactly? Well, the answer isn’t simple.
Pool maintenance costs will vary depending on what material your pool is made of. Other factors that could determine how much you spend on pool maintenance include the weather in your area, what kind of pool chemicals you use and the size of your pool. Read on for a general overview of what you can expect to pay on pool maintenance for different types of pools.
Salt Water vs Chlorine Pool Costs
As mentioned, the types of chemicals you use can influence the maintenance cost of your pool. When is comes to upkeep between salt water vs chlorine pools, salt water pools tend to be cheaper, with an average cost of $70-$100 annually for pool upkeep and chemicals. Chlorine pools are quite a bit more expensive — expect to pay as much as $300-$400 per year on keeping your pool sparkling clean.
Salt Water Swimming Pool Maintenance Cost
Salt water pools require a chlorination system. The function of a salt water pool chlorination system is to break down salt in the water to produce natural chlorine. This process of producing natural chlorine, which is called electrolysis, means that salt water pools need significantly less chemicals.
The initial costs of a chlorination system is $500-$2500, depending on what kind of system you’ll need. The great thing about using salt water in your pool is that the natural chlorine prevents eye burn and doesn’t have a strong chlorine smell. However, you might find that you struggle more with calcium deposits in your pool when using this system.
As mentioned, your annual expenses for a salt water pool should be roughly $100 and you’ll save about $300 a year on pool chemicals. All in all, that makes a chlorination system well worth purchasing for the long-term savings you can enjoy.
To maintain the content, it will cost $50 to $72 for salt bags for a 2,000 gallon pool.
When weighing the pros and cons between a salt water vs chlorine pool, both are effective in combating algae, but salt water pool pH levels matter less than that of a chlorinated pool, which makes maintenance and chemical balancing a lot easier.
On the other hand, salt won’t kill bacteria as quickly as the conventional chlorine. Your pool system will also use more electricity, so you can add an extra $36 to $48 to your energy bill. Lastly, the salt content in the pool can damage wooden pool decks and other structures, so you’ll need to be more careful not to wet delicate surfaces with pool water. If you aren’t careful, salt water pool maintenance costs can add up in the form of damage to other structures besides your pool.
Chlorine Water Pool Maintenance
Chlorinated pools make up about 80% of all pools in the US, as they were introduced in the 1950’s as the most efficient pool system. But they can be pricey when it comes to pool maintenance costs.
You have to add 2-3 chlorine tablets per week to balance pH levels, and that adds up to $400-$600 per annum. Inhaling an opened chlorine tablet, or exposing it to children can result in medical emergencies, so there’s also some safety risks involved.
Your pool should also get a chlorine shock at least once a month and that’s an added cost. For this, you will need Sodium Hypochlorite (liquid chlorine), household bleach and a saltwater chlorine generator. You may also need to consider getting calcium hypochlorite (dry chlorine), potassium peroxymonosulphate, Lithium hypochlorite and dichloroisocyanuric acid. All these things make up a chemical cocktail that will keep your pool sparkling clean. Unfortunately, the expenses for all these chemicals will add up quickly, but pool shocks are sometimes needed to clear cloudy water, kill bacteria and fight algae.
The initial cost of any kind of pool (vinyl, concrete, fiberglass, etc.) is cheaper if it’s chlorinated, but is expensive in the long run. Algae often flourishes in a chlorine pool despite your best efforts to keep it at bay (especially in concrete pools). If you convert your chlorinated pool to saltwater, the upfront costs will be between $500 and $2,500 to install a chlorinator system.
Now that you know about maintenance related to the chlorine vs salt, let’s look at the material your pool is constructed with.
Fiberglass Pool Maintenance Costs
Fiberglass pools are cheaper to maintain than vinyl or concrete pools because they are smooth, weather resistant, and have a more stable pH level with less algae occurrence.
These pools are also a lot easier to clean besides being low maintenance, but when dirt and grime remains after cleaning it off with a damp cloth or sponge, or if you need to drain the pool to clean it, its best to call pool maintenance services professionals. Strong cleaners can damage the fiberglass coating.
Owning a fiberglass pool is cost effective and mostly hands-off, but DIY on this pool is not an option. Fiberglass pool maintenance and repairs can cost $375 per year. Generally speaking, fiberglass pool maintenance cost is 50% less than vinyl pools, and 75% less than concrete pools.
Vinyl Swimming Pool Maintenance Costs
Vinyl doesn’t seem as sophisticated as fiberglass, but the vinyl liners can easily last between 8-12 years. Once the pool does need replacement, expect to pay between $3,000-$5,000.00 (typically with labor included). Vinyl liner pools are thick and have UV protection, but they’re still more delicate than other alternatives, so avoid knocking the pool surfaces with too much force.
Because of the limited lifespan of vinyl liners, you need to factor pool replacement costs into your annual expenses. If lining your pool costs $4000 and it needs replacement after 10 years, that’s already a $400 yearly pool expense. Save this money each year so you’ll have it available when your pool needs to be redone. You’ll also need to add the expense of chemicals to your pool upkeep expenses, so it’s evident that vinyl liner pools are one of the most expensive options available in terms of maintenance.
Damage to vinyl pools can be patched up using the original vinyl material and there’s no need to drain the pool for repairs.
The Benefit of Vinyl Liner Pools
While fiberglass pools are impossible to construct on-site and difficult to transport into your backyard, vinyl panels can easily be carried around your home, and be assembled where you would like the pool to be in your backyard. Without prefabricated pool shells, the size and shape of vinyl pools is also more versatile, so they to offer some advantages, despite the higher swimming pool maintenance cost.
But pool maintenance cost remains as a disadvantage for vinyl liner pools. Leaves, metal objects and pool chemicals can all stain the vinyl liner. The pool entry steps in your vinyl lining can also wrinkle and become more slippery with time.
Sharp objects, strong storms and winds are another cause for concern — as they can damage the vinyl liner. For repairs and proper cleaning you will need to contact a professional for pool maintenance service.
Gunite Pool Maintenance Costs
Gunite is a dry mix of sand and cement brought on site, where its mixed with water. Pools constructed with gunite are generally more durable than fiberglass pools. They’re manufactured on your property and you have ample customization options in terms of pool size, color and more.
Unlike fiberglass, gunite pools are not always smooth, and the roughness of the structure can irritate your feet and snag swimwear when sitting on the steps.
Cracks appear in your gunite pool over time. Pressure and temperature changes, shifting soil, pool chemicals, or extreme weather are all unavoidable things that can lead to pool cracks.
To fill cracks in a concrete pool, your repair contractor will need to scrub away stains, replaster, and paint or tile the pool again. Before fixing cracks, the pool must be drained. All cracks and general repair work will need to be handled by professional pool maintenance services.
Repairs can cost anywhere from $800 to $1,550.(14) Filling gunite cracks costs roughly $65.00 per linear foot, but the price can vary. Filling hollow spots, or bubbles that result from the surface separating from the pool can cost $700.00 to $1,000.00.
The pool needs to be scrubbed down with acid to remove tough stains from time to time. The acid is extremely dangerous, so you will need call out pool maintenance services to do the job.
You also need to resurface a gunite pool if it’s plastered, as the pool surface will get damaged over time. It’s estimated that you’ll need to resurface your pool every 10-15 years, but you could go longer without resurfacing if you take well care of your pool. Pool resurfacing can cost as much as $10,000–$20,000. In Florida, surface plaster costs $3.60–$4 per foot, aggregate is $4.75–$5 per foot, and tiles cost $30–$50 per foot.
Conclusion: How Much Will Swimming Pool Maintenance Cost?
In conclusion, there are many pool types which seem easy to fix or maintain entirely on your own, but as mentioned, based on the types of chemicals and repairs, swimming pool maintenance cost can actually be kept to a minimum when hiring pool maintenance service professionals. Hiring a professional service will ensure your pool maintenance and repairs are done right. If you don’t know how to do maintenance tasks yourself, you might actually do more harm than good when fixing cracks or acid washing your pool. Overall, it’s best to opt for a fiberglass or salt water pool if you want to save on maintenance costs.