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by Kelly O’Mara

October 2, 2019

If you can’t get to your workout, swimming at home might be an option

Putting a lap pool in your backyard is every swimmer’s dream. But it’s not cheap. One study found, on average, an inground pool in the U.S. costs about $39,000. However, most backyard lap pools are longer and larger than the average inground recreational pool. That will make the price tag higher. A full-length 25-yard or 25-meter pool can easily exceed $100,000, once you factor in everything.

The cost to build a backyard pool with a lap lane varies with location, materials, topography, and the type of features you want. That makes it hard to pin down the precise cost, but we can break down some of the factors.

Materials

Generally speaking, a backyard lap pool can be made out of three different kinds of material: vinyl, fiberglass, or concrete (also known as gunite). Each comes with its own prices and pros and cons.

Vinyl is the cheapest at around $21 per square foot. However, the vinyl lining also has to be replaced every five years or so.

Fiberglass is essentially a shell molded to your specifications at about $35–$65 per square foot. Fiberglass is fairly easy to install. However, shells are generally limited to about 40 feet long.

Concrete or gunite is the most expensive option at $55–$72 per square foot. Plus, concrete pools require tiles or some kind of liner coating on the inside. However, they are typically the nicest pools and can last about 15 years or so before requiring re-surfacing.

You also have to factor in the cost of the deck materials and accompanying amenities like pumps, lights, and covers. Labor costs to install your backyard lap pool will also add up, depending on how big the project is.

Topography

One of the major issues to consider is your layout and where a lap pool will fit in your backyard. If you have to do major excavation or tree removal, then that adds to the cost —especially if the excavation will require building a retaining wall because of the slope of your yard.

As you plan, ask yourself: What kind of deck, fencing, and landscaping do you want around your pool? Many cities require certain kinds of fencing or gates to prevent children from wandering in, which can cost a few thousand dollars. Will your backyard lap pool have an automatic cover or a manual one? If you want to swim year-round, do you plan to have the pool heated or behind an enclosure? A pool heater is about $2,000, depending on the size. And an enclosure can be anywhere from $2,000 to $50,000, depending on how fancy you want to get. Some people design expensive retractable glass walls that enclose their lap pool. What about lights, drainage, and gutters? There are lots of options that could add to your price tag.

Other Factors

For serious swimmers, one of the most common issues with a lap pool in the backyard is the waves and turbulence—unless you’re aiming to practice open water swimming. Gutters or infinity edges can help absorb the chop but can be more expensive. Simply adding lane lines can cut down on the waves, but then the pool might need to be slightly wider to accommodate the lane lines.

Another cost to consider for a backyard pool is the maintenance over time. Of course, you’ll have to use some kind of chemicals or chlorine to treat the water. You may also need to get the heaters and filters maintained regularly. Each type of pool material has different costs and needs for cleaning and electricity use. And depending on what kind of pool you decide on, you may also need to replace the lining or resurface the pool over time.

Alternatives

An alternative to an actual backyard pool with a full lap lane is a backyard swimming machine, such as made by Endless Pools. Swimming machines use jets and a strong current to create a treadmill-like swimming experience. That means you can swim in place, which takes a lot less space than a competition-length pool. Swimming machines tend to cost around $30,000, with a higher price tag for more features, but the maintenance can be cheaper.

Already have a backyard pool? Endless Pools makes a swimming machine that can be fitted into your existing pool.


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