My Liner change story...so far

czipper

LifeTime Supporter
May 12, 2014
87
Long Island, NY
Opened the pool late this year, heres what we found:





Several other smaller spots too. Liner was 8 ish years old, no company would come out to pull up the liner and the ones I spoke to said when it pulls away from the corners there isnt much choice but to replace. Eight years not that long and the liner didnt feel brittle at all but I didn't feel adventurous to do it myself and we shopped for a liner company. between 3200 and 3800 bucks where I live (18x36). I went with one estimate in the middle, they seemed competent (the salesmen) and were the local distributor for Kayden liners (I wanted to have this companies liners) so i went with them.
NOTE TO ALL: The people who sell you the liner are NOT the ones doing the install so pay no attention to the manners of the salesmen, that is not who will come do the install.
Anyway, end of the season time to change liner, the company didn't warn me when they were coming as they said they would do. They came late in the afternoon, which means they needed to work into the night, not to mention the threat of heavy rain overnight. These made this seem like not a good idea to me, (my wife was horrified) but I deferred to them since they have done many liners. We were pleased with the look of the liner, and it seemed to go smooth despite the darkness. See here





We start to fill overnight, and indeed the heavy rain hits. Heres what I see in the morning:


(I highlighted the channel that formed in the sand bed underneath the liner with red marks)

I called the company, they told me to shut down the vac and stop filling. They came one day later, the fellow pulled down the liner and get in behind to retrowel the sand. He said there was a lot of water that came down through the decking and got under the liner, washing the sand out because there was no water in the liner to keep the sand bed in place. I also thought it possible that water came in by the steps (the fill water was running over the steps, and it seemed some sand i front of the steps was also channeling) they put the liner back up and started fillling again. The problem is that it just looks bad. Unfortunately the new liner (which I love) is so uniform in color that there is not enough contrast in the pictures to see how rough the repair job was, but here is how it looks:



(I highligted the line where the transition from shallow end to deep end begins, and where this transition smooshed out where the channel was repaired)

I called the company again, they said shut it down (Saturday morning) they could come Monday. I figured it was time to come to TFP for support/advice to ease my mind. Here's whats on my mind:
They started with a nice smooth even sand bed, their poor judgment in timing resulted in this problem in the sand. Am I reasonable to expect they will be able to get it back smooth and even? The liner is in (and stuck to the stairs and main drain), so they can't pull it out completely, and I'm afraid they will play the "its too late do fix that right, and we can't control the weather" game and leave me stuck with this clearly bad spot. Unfortunately The contract specified to complete payment when the water goes into the liner, and everything looked fine at that point so I've paid already. I don't think these guys have incentive to make it look good anymore and they'll tell me their job is done. What are the chances they will make this right? If not my only recourse will be to hire someone to come in and fix it, and try to sue them to get that money back. I'll try to update this when it sorts out, but I'd sure love to get some other opinions on what's going on here, and I know TFP is usually full of good opinions.


UPDATE MONDAY morning
They came (same guy) and retroweled again, but i wasn't satisfied that they got it smooth yet. This time the salesman (and I believe he also told me orginally he was the company's owner too) was there. I explained what I wasn't happy about, and he had his crew pop the liner out from the steps to halfway down the right side, and he grabbed a trowel and jumped down there himself and started troweling. I wish I'd take a picture of that but imagine smoothing your bedsheets out while kneeling on the bed underneath the comforter, except the comforter is a giant piece of 28mil virgin vinyl. They set the liner back, and set the vacuum and I was satisfied. Heres what it looked like
(same pic with and without a line showing the transition from shallow to deep)




Ok, I came in to update the post and after 5-10 min heard some salty language out by the pool. I went out and was greeted by this




As pool guy explained, the foam padding layer between the liner and the concrete sidewalls had collapsed around a good bit of the pool. (Backkground: The foam padding was nailed into the upper rim of the pool, a wooden layer sitting on top of the concrete walls). The foam was old but mostly in decent shape when they put this liner in, but it was clear that the foam around the nails was a weakpoint. The foam spends most of its life squeezed by the water pressure from the pool up against the concrete sidewall and its not going anywhere when the water is filled. But it had now been hanging by these same nails mostly for three days while the pool was unfilled. I guess that was plenty of time for that foam to tear away from those nails and crumple down behind the liner to where the water was. They popped open the liner all around and pulled out all the sagged foam and sealed it back up and and resumed filling.
The salesman told me that there isn't anything they can do about the foam layer at this point, and that the pool will just have to go without a foam layer between the liner and concrete wall. This does not make me happy, and I am not sure what I can do at this point since same salesman suggested that replacing the foam seems to require an entirely new liner; it seems if they have to pull out the old liner it won't be able to seal properly again. The implication being they weren't willing to make good on an entirely new liner.
YIKES. I am not sure a foam layer is truly needed for structural integrity, but I know it feels way better than a hard concrete wall along the side of the pool. I am going to have to figure out whether or not it is going to be useful to fight it out about the foam layer or not.
Uugggh!
 
Last edited:

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,471
Monmouth County, New Jersey
I read your thread multiple times and I am not convinced that they took their time. Vermiculite is very soft and I have a friend who had repair work done and quite honestly the pool should have been repaired with a Portland/Sand Mix. All depends on what your contract states. If this was me, I could not give up. Water behind the liner if set correctly in the track should have not entered at all. They are professionals and should have taken precautions not to mess up your pool, even with a very large tarp. Please keep us posted!

It appears that the first liner may have been compromised during measurements and/or installation. I doubt water entered behind the liner. Do you have a steel wall? Did the liner company use vinyl liner locks?
 

czipper

LifeTime Supporter
May 12, 2014
87
Long Island, NY
I read your thread multiple times and I am not convinced that they took their time. Vermiculite is very soft and I have a friend who had repair work done and quite honestly the pool should have been repaired with a Portland/Sand Mix. All depends on what your contract states. If this was me, I could not give up. Water behind the liner if set correctly in the track should have not entered at all. They are professionals and should have taken precautions not to mess up your pool, even with a very large tarp. Please keep us posted!

It appears that the first liner may have been compromised during measurements and/or installation. I doubt water entered behind the liner. Do you have a steel wall? Did the liner company use vinyl liner locks?

Thanks Catanzaro, The contract stated nothing about repairs, simply that the bed would be retroweled to be smooth. Shortly after you posted this the company came back and they were able to sort out the smoothing of the sand bed (you read what happened back on the original post, after the Monday morinng update). It was probably an issue of the experience of the troweler since the salesman was able to go down and re-smooth the without much trouble (he gloated to the other guys about what 18 years experience can do). I am satisfied with the smoothness of the bed now as you can see in the pictures.

The installers claimed water entered in from behind the pool walls, by filtering in through the deckboards on the side of the pool near the steps, but not directly at the steps (to answer your questions, I have now discovered they are made of concrete, and no liner locks). That's plausible to be sure, but I do not know whether that is really what happened. The whole pool is surrounded by decking and no other spots seemed to suffer this problem.

Further questions for you, since you seem to have expertise here: if the water from the decking that gets behind the pool wall can wash under the concrete wall, will that be a problem for the sand bed once the pool is filled? (it doesn't seem to have been a problem with the old liner in place up to this point)

If the install at the steps are compromised I guess will find out as soon as the fill line starts to go over the bottom step. I sure hope not.


Do you have any thoughts about the situation with the foam in my walls (again, explained in the updated original post).

Thanks
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,471
Monmouth County, New Jersey
Further questions for you, since you seem to have expertise here: if the water from the decking that gets behind the pool wall can wash under the concrete wall, will that be a problem for the sand bed once the pool is filled? (it doesn't seem to have been a problem with the old liner in place up to this point)
If the install at the steps are compromised I guess will find out as soon as the fill line starts to go over the bottom step. I sure hope not.
Do you have any thoughts about the situation with the foam in my walls (again, explained in the updated original post).

Foam behind the liner is always a good idea. I am assuming it is all fixed at this point. We are all constantly learning about liners, pools, etc. If there is enough pressure in the ground, the liner will float. All depends on what is underneath the deck and drainage. I have concrete, so water runs away (far away) from the liner and have very low water tables (at 157'-163' above seal level).

Can you explain exactly what they did? Did they peel the whole liner off the tracks, correct the base, fix the foam padding and then reinstall the liner again? I just want to make sure this is what happened?

PS: I only become an expert once a problem occurs. Outside of this, it is always a learning process.
 

1Sammy

In The Industry
Jul 20, 2017
403
Windsor, Ontario. Canada
I would go the no foam route myself if i ever had a pool that needed a new liner that had it. Vinyl on a hard surface has a better chance the on a soft surface. Sounds good from the person selling foam but not for me and when i mentioned it to a friend that has been installing pools for over 40 years he laughed at me. I hope all those wrinkles are gone ?
 

czipper

LifeTime Supporter
May 12, 2014
87
Long Island, NY
Foam behind the liner is always a good idea. I am assuming it is all fixed at this point. We are all constantly learning about liners, pools, etc. If there is enough pressure in the ground, the liner will float. All depends on what is underneath the deck and drainage. I have concrete, so water runs away (far away) from the liner and have very low water tables (at 157'-163' above seal level).

Can you explain exactly what they did? Did they peel the whole liner off the tracks, correct the base, fix the foam padding and then reinstall the liner again? I just want to make sure this is what happened?

PS: I only become an expert once a problem occurs. Outside of this, it is always a learning process.


Sure, the problem area was pretty limited to the shallow end, and was about 5-6 feet from the stairs and involved only the 3-4 feet adjacent to the right side of the pool (if you were standing opposite the diving board end). They didn't really need to retract the entire liner to get good access to the spot that needed to be retrowled. They undid the liner along the right side, only to about 1/2 to 2/3 the length of the pool. That was enough space for the pool guy to drop down next to the wall in the shallow end and reach all the area he needed to trowel (while the helpers held the liner away from the wall to give him space and light).

There was no re-install of the foam padding, they inspected along the length of the pool and pulled out all the sagging liner (hopefully all the liner to make it look even at least). At this point the liner is probably going to go commando (no foam). I will have a conversation with the owner to discuss how his mistake has left me without a foam siding, that I would have preferred to keep, I'll probably get apologies and nothing more.

My research into this is about 50/50 pro/con foam liner, I think I will prefer the softer feel of the foam, but if the foam negatively affects longevity then I'm happy to leave it off if it still looks good. I don't know the condition of the concrete behind the foam so if that wall is smooth and well finished it will look ok. They told me it looked good, but they never took the old foam down before putting in he liner, so how would they really know? But if there are any serious imperfections in the wall then these will definitely show through with the water pressing the vinyl up against it directly.

I did learn a lot, though hopefully I'll never need this knowlege again.
 

czipper

LifeTime Supporter
May 12, 2014
87
Long Island, NY
I would go the no foam route myself if i ever had a pool that needed a new liner that had it. Vinyl on a hard surface has a better chance the on a soft surface. Sounds good from the person selling foam but not for me and when i mentioned it to a friend that has been installing pools for over 40 years he laughed at me. I hope all those wrinkles are gone ?


I liked the soft subtle spongyness of the foam liner, but I really haven't felt a vinyl pool with no liner. I think the feel shouldn't make a big difference to me, although I am sure that the lack of foam is likely going to be the only thing my wife notices about the new liner. I am more concerned with how the lack of foam will reveal whats behind the liner in more detail. The pool is filling still, so wrinkles are still there. I discussed these directly with the install team more than once and they were all convinced these should iron out once water level rises enough to pull and stretch the liner into all the corners. These same guys thought it was a good idea to install a liner in the dark with heavy rain in the forecast though.
 

czipper

LifeTime Supporter
May 12, 2014
87
Long Island, NY
Has the pool been filled up with water? If so, please upload a nice picture of the pool from a distance. We all like pictures! Thanks!
No, still filling today, from my hose will probably take a couple days. Right now only the stairs and main drain have been attached to the liner and sealed. After the water gets up to a couple inches in the shallow end they'll remove the vacuum, then install the light opening and the skimmer openings (without causing any more issues I hope). But I will defintely post a before and after shot to compare how it looks, I sure like to see pictures too.
Cheers
 

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1Sammy

In The Industry
Jul 20, 2017
403
Windsor, Ontario. Canada
By now you should be a happy man or the other, lol. I wish you good luck with that NY cold water this time of year to pull those wrinkles out and to fill into the corners tight, fingers crossed for you.
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
1,336
Bangor Maine
Just an FYI as I see it, putting something between the liner and the walls is asking for a failure. The sand bases are always almost impossible to get “smooth” that’s why vermiculite is used. It hardens and can in fact be troweled to a perfect finish. High points can be grinder down as well.
 

czipper

LifeTime Supporter
May 12, 2014
87
Long Island, NY
Just an FYI as I see it, putting something between the liner and the walls is asking for a failure. The sand bases are always almost impossible to get “smooth” that’s why vermiculite is used. It hardens and can in fact be troweled to a perfect finish. High points can be grinder down as well.

Wish I had vermiculite alright, I could see what a pain the sand was to work out. We have such sandy soil here that it probably makes it easier to keep it as sand.

It seems a lot of folks are against using the foam, so I guess I wouldn't mind it, however the way the foam came out, there nailheads that were holding up the foam are sticking out of the wood coping around the top of the walls and are now flush up against the inside of the liner. AND in some spots the wood coping isn't even with wall, leaving an overhang (about 1/8-1/4 inch in places, but the foam on the walls smoothed them right over). That is a recipe for liner tear if I'v ever heard one, so I think a foam liner is going to be required here.
 

czipper

LifeTime Supporter
May 12, 2014
87
Long Island, NY
UPDATE on the situation

I had a conversation with the liner guy resulted in his confession that he isn't satisfied with way the liner is. He is willing to close up the pool as is (after filling a bit more) then in the spring open it up and replace with a new liner so he'll be able to get it done properly (He's busy now and cant devote the effort to get it done right at the moment. The catch is I'll have to pay for half the liner and new foam for all around (900 bucks more). I'm trying to figure out an angle on how to respond, I think the liner change agreement absolves him of responsibility for unforeseen difficulties, but can I make the argument that changing the liner in the dark the night before forecasted rains is just his bad judgment? My drama goes on....

Getting more rain tonight, hopefully that won't add any more to the drama.
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,471
Monmouth County, New Jersey
UPDATE on the situation

I had a conversation with the liner guy resulted in his confession that he isn't satisfied with way the liner is. He is willing to close up the pool as is (after filling a bit more) then in the spring open it up and replace with a new liner so he'll be able to get it done properly (He's busy now and cant devote the effort to get it done right at the moment. The catch is I'll have to pay for half the liner and new foam for all around (900 bucks more). I'm trying to figure out an angle on how to respond, I think the liner change agreement absolves him of responsibility for unforeseen difficulties, but can I make the argument that changing the liner in the dark the night before forecasted rains is just his bad judgment? My drama goes on....

Getting more rain tonight, hopefully that won't add any more to the drama.

Was this verbal or in some sort of writing? Verbal means nothing as he can go back on his word. If you have it in writing, then clearly you have a case against him if you need to pursue any further steps. The $900 is probably covering his cost not to lose money. If this as me, I would make him absorb all the costs, but you have to do what is in your comfort zone.
 

czipper

LifeTime Supporter
May 12, 2014
87
Long Island, NY
Was this verbal or in some sort of writing? Verbal means nothing as he can go back on his word. If you have it in writing, then clearly you have a case against him if you need to pursue any further steps. The $900 is probably covering his cost not to lose money. If this as me, I would make him absorb all the costs, but you have to do what is in your comfort zone.

We spoke on the phone and hatched the plan about closing and returning in spring with a new liner. He made no mention of splitting the cost of the liner, he didn't even suggest it. He then sent me an email to finalize the arrangements, and in this email was the added the stipulation for half the cost of a new liner and the foam, with language stating that the water getting under the new liner was neither of our faults. I'm not sure the original contract gives much clarity on responsibility here, but I haven't pushed the issue of his poor timing (doing it the night before heavy rain forecast) and lack of precautions against it happening when they were aware of this possibility (no tarp to cover the decking). I think I'll try that first. I am sure he wants to avoid more costs, so do I.
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,471
Monmouth County, New Jersey
It just may make sense to do this, but why a new liner? Can they not peel back the old liner? I am not sure. You may want to consider removing the first few feet (maybe 2' of decking) and using a thin layer of concrete to allow water to drain away from the pool. If it happened during installation, it can happen after installation. Please keep us posted. Thanks!
 

czipper

LifeTime Supporter
May 12, 2014
87
Long Island, NY
It's been a couple days since they've returned to the scene of the crime. They pulled the vacuum out on Wednedsay (today is Friday) and they could not get the part of the liner where the vacuum was set up back into the track! (Pic below,) They covered the gap with a piece of duct tape and just left it Didn't even fill it. I called today to ask what was up, and the owner told me to go ahead and fill it to the closing level, so I guess they aren't going to try to do anything to salvage this, maybe it a good thing, but it all depends on how much more it costs me. Part of me hopes that there is clearly a leak in the liner by the steps so that they know it was their fault. But I won't know that until the pool fills over the steps, and if it leaks then will that mean damage to the sand bed?



It took me day or two to cool down and figure out the proper arguments to make as to why we don't think we should pay for half of a second liner then write a straightforward reasonable email. That was yesterday, and I still haven't gotten a response about that, when I called about the current state of the pool he didn't have much to say other than he'll get back to me. Stay tuned
 

sktn77a

Gold Supporter
May 16, 2010
1,981
Chapel Hill, NC
If the installer isn't happy with the work then neither should you. And you shouldn't have to pay (more) to get the job done properly. I hope you still have a substantial sum owed to the guy as leverage?
 

Catanzaro

Platinum Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 30, 2014
3,471
Monmouth County, New Jersey
Czipper:

As an FYI, please keep a very detailed timeline. You will need this if this goes to small claims court. Think about it, they messed up one liner, and want you to pay to do another liner. Only way I would ever agree to this is after they install the new liner and it is perfect, a few weeks later when there is no water loss due to installation, then they can be paid. In addition, I would ask for a detailed warranty in writing.

This scares me as when I have to do my liner, people always want money up front. A pool company is a $1,000 more expensive than a person on the side. By then, I should have enough friends in the business to know where to go. Thank you.
 

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