The vinyl liner swimming pool is becoming one of the most popular types for small to medium size homes. The new generation of liner pools are durable, look great and come in a wide range of shapes and sizes for both in-ground and above ground. Custom ordered in-ground pool liners are available from some suppliers to match any shape pool you can think of. The rugged vinyl liner is supported by a steel or aluminum frame bracing, or in some cases, wood, with the pool walls reinforced by panels of fibreglass or metal.
A well maintained vinyl pool liner can have a service life of up to ten years, but sooner or later it will need replacement. Small holes in a liner can be repaired with a patch, but the fading and staining of the vinyl’s finish due to prolonged exposure to sunlight and chemicals can only be remedied by replacing the liner.
A new liner need not be prohibitively expensive, and for standard size pools, can often be no more expensive than a new paint job on a concrete pool. The standard liner thickness is 20 mil, but you can get heavy duty thickness liners in 28 to 30 mil thicknesses which will last longer.
One interesting benefit of installing a new pool liner is the opportunity to change your liner color. Many manufacturers offer vinyl liners with stain and fade-resistant natural looking patterns which mimic traditional pool lining such as tile, pebble and natural stone. If your old liner is faded just at the waterline and you don’t want to invest in a complete replacement liner yet, some manufacturers have products that apply a new liner over the waterline area around the pool wall’s perimeters, so that is another option.
Some of the leading established liner manufacturers are Triac, Vynall, Des, and Garrett Liners, although there are many more. Look in the yellow pages for local liners installers and fabricators, or consult the website of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP) at www.apsp.org
Pool Liner Repairs
Tears, holes and leaks in pool liners are fairly easy to deal with. Liner repair kits are available in patch or sealant form, and both can be used while the pool is still full of water. This is important, because if a liner pool is drained, then the vacuum holding the liner against the wall panels needs to be reset with a vacuum pump to ensure the liner remains straight and wrinkle-free.
Also, liners shouldn’t be allowed to dry out, because they tend to shrink when dried, which can cause further leaks and cracks. The liquid sealant is for repairing smaller holes, while the patches are used for repairing larger holes, leaks and cracks.
For stains, which vinyl liners have a tendency to get, ascorbic acid works well to clean stains. You can buy granulated ascorbic acid at some pool supply stores and add it to your pool water; be sure to dilute the granules in water before adding, as undiluted granules should not ever be added directly to pool water. Alternately, put a handful of vitamin C tablets (only use the kind containing mostly ascorbic acid) wrapped in a rag or towel, and scrub the stain with it.
When replacing a pool liner, it is important to get the proper measurements of your pool. You can have the installer or fabricator who is supplying the new liner take measurements, or make them yourself. You will need a plan view indicating the dimensions of the pool’s width and length, if it is rectangular, or for circular pools, the radii and location of the curvatures. Side and end views showing the depths and radii of corners are also required.
If you have the original blueprints of the pool or liner, your job will be much easier. Otherwise you will be better off allowing the installer to take measurements, as they know exactly what is required.
To install the liner, at least two people are needed, and a crew of four is best, one for each corner. The folded vinyl liner is net in the shallow end of the pool and unrolled toward the deep end as the corners at the shallow end are held in place.
The liner edges are inserted into the groove on the coping around the periphery and the liner is pulled into position so that there are no wrinkles. A vacuum hose is used to eliminate any air between the liner and pool walls and then the pool can be filled with water.