Replacement Pool Liner 101

By: Steve Merillat

Most swimming pools are protected by liners. Liners extend the life span of swimming pools by protecting the walls and floors from damage and molds. These are made of durable components such as vinyl or other synthetic materials. Installation is done during construction, using waterproof adhesive.

Above ground pools use either overlap or beaded liners. Overlap liners cover inches beyond the top of the wall while beaded liners use liner locks that snap into a track. There are beaded vinyl liners for in ground pools as well but an overlap is not applicable. Most above ground applications are simple since shapes are typically oval or round in shape. In ground pools can be more complicated with the varying shapes. Installation for in ground pool walls can be expensive and challenging that it should be done by licensed pool contractors.

At some point liners will need to be replaced due to wear and tear. A licensed pool professional specializes in installing a replacement pool liner set especially for in ground pools. However, do it yourself installation of a replacement pool liner is easy whether for an above ground or in ground pool. Here is a step by step process that may be useful to the do-it-yourself homeowner.

First off, you will need tools and materials including trowels, sand, liner lock and duct tape. In some cases, coping strips are used instead of a liner lock.

To remove the old set of liners, you will need to drain water from the pool. The top rail is removed by unscrewing the bolts and screws. Liner locks or coping strips are taken off next before pulling out the old liners.

Sand is sieved to ensure there are no rocks, smoothened and leveled using a trowel. Grass or weed growth should be prevented by sand. The pool's walls should also be checked to make sure that the entire surface is smooth. Walls can be sanded, cleaned and painted if necessary to prevent rust. Duct tape can be used to cover severe damage from rust or surfaces that cannot be repaired.

As you cover the area with your replacement pool liner, allow for some slack as the replacement pool liner stretches when water fills it up. There should always be excess coverage over the wall top for an overlap replacement pool liner. Coping strips or locks are placed once the replacement pool liner is in place. Just make sure that the replacement pool liner is smooth and straight. Once the replacement pool liner is set in place, you can start filling with water.

Make sure that the rim or top of the wall is secure and that the replacement pool liner does not slide or slip out of its place. At this point smoothing out the wrinkles would be easier while water level is shallow, ideally below one foot deep. As water fills the pool, you can start cutting out holes for your fittings such as the inlet and outlet of the filter pump. Strainer plates can be installed as water continues to fill up the pool.

Most skilled do-it-yourself homeowners can install a replacement pool liner. When there is doubt, there are licensed pool professionals who can do the job for you.