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Thread: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

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    Question I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    I have had the pool for 3 years now, and it's been ok for the most part. It is 15 years old, around 30,000 gallons. It wasn't covered for the winter, and it was really bad with algae and solids. So I had the bright idea to drain it and start fresh. I also wanted to drain so I could clean some of the white build-up from the vinyl. I had drained enough to fully expose the shallow end, but then realized I was in over my head. Started seeing some things on-line about the risks of draining and possibility of collapse. So I didn't drain it all the way. But the weight of the water remaining in the deep end has put a strain on the liner, causing it to start pulling away from the shallow end. It hasn't come out of the fastener, but there is no slack to push it back against the wall. I just wanted to get some ideas of how to proceed. I don't see how I can get the liner straightened back out without completely draining. IMAG0023.jpgIMAG0026.jpg

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    Since you have lost the set, you will probably need to do a full drain to reset the liner. You will need to use a vacuum to keep the proper set until the water is about six inches in the shallow end. If you have ground water, you will need to get that under control before doing a full drain.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    This is the exact reason we advise people to always leave at least a foot of water in the shallow end of vinyl pools when doing a partial drain. It is unlikely that you will be able to get the old liner to go back into the shallow end without substantial wrinkles and due to its age you might want to consider going ahead and replacing it. (I suspect much of the fading seen on this liner is due to chemical abuse and not directly age given the overall somewhat bright color seen above the water line).

    Ike

    p.s. if you give us a location better than just United States we can give better advise based on regional knowledge for most questions
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    your best bet is to start filling it back up with water. Maybe you will get lucky and it wont tear. You might be able to use your broom to try and smooth some of the wrinkles as its filling, but likely not. If the liner doesnt tear you might get a bit more use out of it. If the liner is as old as the pool, its likely on its last leg anyhow and need replaced soon enough. Now might be the time consider replacing it.

    If you competely drain, there is almost no chance of getting an old liner reinstalled without it tearing.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    Thanks for the feedback. I am in Maryville, TN (East TN valley). The bright area on the first picture is where I started cleaning it with just some CLR. The liner doesn't seem to be in terrible shape, it just has a lot of build-up. Took quite a while just to get that small area clean. It sounds like either way I will have to do a full-drain. Do you think I can save this liner? Is there an easier way to clean this white build-up?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ok, I have started to refill, and will see how it goes. But I suspect you and others are right, I'm going to have to go ahead and replace the liner.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    Worry about getting water back in it first before worrying about cleaning, if you are successful at that we can then try to get you on the way to a well balanced nice pool. The problem is as liners age they become more brittle and prone to tearing, so you will just have to try and see how it goes.

    Ike

    p.s.do you have a shop vac that you can use to suck the air out from behind the liner?
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    I rigged up the shop vac behind the liner with duct tape. There is about 5 inches of water in the shallow end now. The vinyl is getting stretched really bad in the corners...not looking very hopeful. I didn't have any luck trying to work out the wrinkles.

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    With the liner shifted so far into the deep end, you are unlikely to get a reasonably good reset by just refilling.

    Your best bet would be to do a full drain and refill. Once drained, you would shift the liner back into place and then use a liner vac to hold the set until you get about 6 inches in the shallow end.

    There is a possibility that you will not be able to get a good reset even with a full drain and refill. If the liner is old and brittle, it might not go back in. A hot sunny day would help quite a bit.

    Do you know if you have ground water?

    Note: Don't do a full drain until you verify that there is no ground water or that the ground water is under control.

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW View Post
    Do you know if you have ground water?

    Note: Don't do a full drain until you verify that there is no ground water or that the ground water is under control.
    I haven't had any problems with ground water so far, but I don't really know how to tell. I do live close to a flood zone. The landscape the pool is built on has a decent grade.

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    Are there any types of water nearby that could indicate the ground water level, such as a lake, pond, river etc?

    If your pool is substantially higher than the surrounding areas, then you would probably not have high ground water.

    If the builder hit problematic levels of ground water, then they probably put in a well point to control the water. You could contact the builder to ask them if they hit water. You could call a pool service company to advise you or do the reset for you.

    If necessary, you could drill a test hole to the depth of the pool to see if you hit water. You would have to be sure not to hit any underground utilities, such as electrical, water lines, sewer, septic etc.

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    I am late to the party but never ever drain an older liner all the way. Leave at least a foot of water on the shallow end. This is the best advice I can give you unless you want a new liner. Vinyl will almost start to shrink immediately once you remove the water.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
    We build vinyl, fiberglass, stainless steel pools
    Certified in Hydraulics

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    Quote Originally Posted by swimcmp View Post
    I am late to the party but never ever drain an older liner all the way. Leave at least a foot of water on the shallow end. This is the best advice I can give you unless you want a new liner. Vinyl will almost start to shrink immediately once you remove the water.
    That's good advice, however, the poster has already drained too much water and the liner has shifted into the deep end. I don't think that they will be able to get the liner back into position without a full drain.

    I think that if they just refill, the liner will be too far from the shallow end wall and under too much stress.

    It's quite possible that they will need a new liner. On a hot, sunny day, they might be able to get the liner back in, but as you say; it will shrink and might not go back in without ripping.

    If you are not going to have a hot sunny day soon, you might be able to heat up the liner some way. Perhaps by covering the pool and using a heater.

    If the liner is really old, then you might be better off just getting a new one.

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    It will be really difficult to get that liner in place without a complete drain.

    I think the chances are good a new liner may be in order anyway but a complete drain and reset of the liner might be worth a shot.......I wouldn't hold out too much hope for it being successful.

    You've gotten decent service from that liner so just putting in a whole new one just might be very rewarding
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    Hello all, thanks again for the advice. The liner was definitely not going to be saved, so I did a complete drain and took my measurements. Does anyone have advice on shopping for a vinyl liner? I was planning on comparing the cost of ordering online and installing myself vs a local company installation.

    Any rough ideas of how much I'm looking at? It is a rectangular pool 36'x18' deep-end depth is 8.5'.

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    Hope it's ok to bump this thread. To give an update, things are coming along slowly but surely. I have ordered the liner but needed to do a lot of concrete work on the pool deck in the meantime.

    My question now is how to go about patching the bottom of the pool. I am still confused on even what the mix is. It has a very thin hard outside layer but very grainy/sandy on the inside. I'm guessing this is a normal sand-bottom pool bottom? Can someone look at the pics and confirm?

    As far as patching the holes...am I ok to just use surface bonding cement, or is there some reason the sand or vermiculite is needed? Looks like this has already been patched before.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback! I definitely need some advice.



    - - - Updated - - -

    More pictures






    28K 36'x18' 8.5' Deep-end. Vinyl. Hayward S-200 Sand Filter. Hayward Pump. TF-100 kit.
    Year 5 now with a pool built in the early 90s. So far have had to replace the liner and pump.

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    That looks like a sand/cement bottom. You can patch with a sand/cement mix or a vermiculite/cement mix. The existing bottom looks kind of thin and might not hold up well under the pressure when the pool is full. You could completely redo the bottom, but that's a big job. You will have to decide if it's worth it to redo or just patch and hope for the best.

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    Thank so much for the reply. The angled side-walls do seem very thin, and the existing damage proves that point. But the actual bottom seems more substantial, like concrete. No cracks/holes in the hopper or the main bottom ramp between deep/shallow. In any case, it is definitely not in the budget to redo the entire bottom.

    As far as patching, can you help me understand why the sand/vermiculite is needed. Could I just use surface bonding cement to fill the holes? Or does that cause problems with the vinyl?
    28K 36'x18' 8.5' Deep-end. Vinyl. Hayward S-200 Sand Filter. Hayward Pump. TF-100 kit.
    Year 5 now with a pool built in the early 90s. So far have had to replace the liner and pump.

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    Re: I've got myself into a mess - Vinyl liner

    You could use cement, but it tends to be rough and brittle. Vermiculite mix is softer and more flexible.

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