The Top 7 Hidden Costs of a Swimming Pool Project

The Top 7 Hidden Costs of a Inground Swimming Pool Installation

It’s December and our pool building season has come to an end (time for a little R&R). Even though it’s the start to the winter season, it’s a great time for home owners to plan their swimming pool project for the spring. I was speaking with a client out in Richmond Hill that has signed up and just waiting for the spring to start her project.
Her concern and a valid one was she was looking over some other quotes she received and noticed that we were the only company that included the concrete collar around the pool. Allow me to set the stage for comparing the quotes, we were NOT the cheapest quote she received, and we won the business because in her words “I just like and trust you!”
Why would some companies leave out such important details? It could be an oversight, or maybe the home owner has a set budget and to win the business coming in at the budget weighs more.

I want you, the homeowner, to be fully aware of the potential extra expenses you’re going to have with your swimming pool project.

The whole idea here is that you can set a budget and won’t have to go into a panic once the project has actually begun because something surprising has popped up.

Let’s look at some other hidden costs that might arise during your inground swimming pool installation project.
  1. Concrete Collar
  2. Extra Dirt Removal
  3. Retaining Walls
  4. Electrical & Gas Hook Up’s
  5. Landscape Restoration
  6. Fence & Gate Replacement
  7. Tree Stumps & Large Boulders

Hidden Costs #1: Concrete Collar

You have read my story from my Richmond Hill client. Concrete collar is a must have when installing a fiberglass pool the cost is from $2,500 to $4,500 depending on the size of pool and if the concrete collar will need to be reinforced with concrete sonotubes for water features or to retain some of the dirt behind the pool.
A pool builder might quote you a lesser price, but in my experience the cost of forming material, steel rebar, gravel and the concrete truck all adds up not to mention the labour.

Hidden Costs #2: Extra Dirt Removal

Here locally in the city 99% of the time we are hauling the dirt away in dump trucks and depending on the size of pool there is lot’s and lot’s of dirt.
When excavating dirt expands out of the ground 1.4x it’s original volume. Trucking dirt is a big business and an expensive one.
It’s important when getting your quotes that full dirt removal is included and in fact having less dirt on the project site is better off. Since landscaping would require some dirt to be removed as well so the less dirt the better.
What does it cost to truck away dirt? Depending on where the dump site is located the range is $850 to $1250 per truck load.

Hidden Costs #3: Retaining Walls

Let’s face it not every back yard is evenly flat and for the right reasons, proper water drainage depends on property swales, larger lots have different elevations and especially homes that back onto forested areas.
As it is seen as a landscape issue to deal with retaining walls, this is something that needs to be addressed or at least budgeted for. Depending on the size and span width they can be costly.
Here are some costs explained:
  1. Armour Stone are $120 – $160 per linear foot and are about 18” in height.
  2. Pisa stone wall (the most popular wall) range from $40 – $65 per 12” width & height
  3. Poured concrete wall the least expensive runs about $70 per linear foot and about 18” tall.
Now that you have a retaining wall you could think about adding a water sheer feature, water falls are a great way to hide a retaining wall and give it purpose both aesthetically and functionality.
You might need a few steps to transition from one level to the next, steps are approximately $650 – $850 per step depending on the stone material.
It’s best to get the price set before starting your pool project and get it in writing.

Hidden Costs #4: Electrical & Gas Hook Up’s

You got the best Variable Speed Pump on the market and super-efficient natural gas heater all included in the project quote. Sounds great but how are you going to power it up? It’s not uncommon to have the electrical and natural gas rough in and hook-up be dealt on a separate invoice / job. We allow our home owners to select their own utility tradesman or we recommend a few that we work with.
It’s usually never included, and every home is different, from trenching an underground cable and gas pipe to as simple as just coring through the basement.
Electrical costs from simple to complicated range from $1500 to $3500 and same for Natural Gas hook up.
Could you just hook up to your bbq line? The short answer is NO unless you have the proper sized piping which is calculated by your licensed gas fitter.

Hidden Costs #5: Landscape Restoration

Once we roll in with our heavy machinery to dig that hole, we will need to access the yard via your lawn and side and it will tear up the lawn. Sometimes having your neighbour on board is also required to gain access to your rear yard and restoration is a must.
You could simply throw down some seed and let nature take it’s course, I know I wouldn’t want a dirt patch on the side of my house for a full season. So lawn restoration might be required.
The cost for lawn restoration with some top soil and rolled lawn ranges from $2.75 to $4.50 per sq/ft. The larger the space the cheaper the rate, this is established once the landscapers have completed the patio portion of the project.

Hidden Costs #6: Fence and Gates

Removing portions of fence and gates including the posts are usually required to fit the excavator in the back yard. We will remove such posts and fencing and replacing is the home owners responsibility, why? Depending who is going to roll in after us, landscapers, concrete finishers and carpenters.
Have this conversation up front and know who is going to replace the post and fence and for how much? Sometimes this is a good opportunity for that fence make over and replacing it all together if it’s aged or not conforming to city bylaws.

Hidden Costs #7: Tree Stumps and Large Rocks

Unless xray vision is used, knowing what’s buried underground is impossible, and having this topic discussed is important.
Large tree stumps may seem easy to remove with an excavator but reality is that unless we are using a large excavator the mini excavators just don’t have the power to rip out a stump. So it will need to be ground down or cut into sections manually. This does occur more costs. Average stump removal $750 – $2,500.
Ever notice a super large rock on a front lawn in a newly built subdivision? Most likely that rock was too big to be removed and the developer just incorporated into the design. Removing rock is the most expensive type of disposal material. If controlled dynamite is required to hydraulic stone crusher the cost can easily creep up to the $1,000’s. We only had one instance that we had to bring in larger stone breaker equipment, even though it’s very rare in the city it can happen.
So there are my top 7 hidden costs of a swimming pool installation project. It’s not my intention to scare anyone just hope this article helps you to be more prepared when you’re ready to buy your swimming pool.

Having the proper budget is just the start, knowing what the the high end could be. My dad always told me “You can do it either the right way or the wrong way” Love you dad… Let’s do it the right way and for me that is being totally upfront with our pricing with no surprises.

If you have any questions, comments, or additions to the article, please don’t hesitate to leave your thoughts below.

If you are interested in an inground fiberglass pool or steel vinyl liner pool, you can request a pool quote from Uptown Pools to learn more.