Liner Replacement - Further Reading

Liner Replacement

To see how different liners look in the water see the Vinyl Liner Pattern Roundup Project.

Replacing a liner is a rite of passage for many pool owners. There is much to be considered when looking to hire someone to replace your liner.

It is a risk to leave a liner pool empty for long. Especially if rain or storms as a possibility. The water in the pool helps support the walls. Without the water there is a risk a wall can buckle or fall in. It is best to brace the walls with 2x4s and plywood if the pool will be empty.

Here are questions a member[1] developed to interview contractors:

  • The pool is operational right now and it’s not an emergency. What would be the best time for you to replace it – mid season, closing or opening next season?
  • You may not have an easy way to drain all the water, will you truck it away? if yes, how much will it cost? Or can come up with some piping to drain it into a storm drain as an alternative.
  • Are you concerned about the pool floating up and breaking the deck around it when it’s empty? And if not and it happens, what are you going to do about it?
  • What will you do about a non-functioning pool light that you don’t want. Would you fill the cavity (how much extra?) or just put a new liner over it? Note that one of the most requested features is restoring a pool light that was previously filled in. So think twice before filling in a pool light.
  • Will you truck the water in and how much will it cost or will you use my water (~$350)? It will take couple of days to fill the water from my line, will you run a vacuum non-stop to keep the liner in place for the duration?
  • Can you save the water in bladders fro reuse?
  • Do you use liner lock. If liner comes off the track, will you come fix it?
  • How do you deal with wrinkles? Will you make sure none are present after you’re finished? How long can you be called to come fix it?
  • What’s your policy about leaks if there are any present afterwards?
  • Payment. Can I pay a deposit and the rest afterwards when I’m happy with the results.

If you have a custom made liner your pool will need to be measured unless you have the serial number. The serial number may be printed into the liner on its backside, typically in the shallow end near stairs, if you have them. Or it could be with any paperwork left by previous owner.

Liner thickness can be 20 mils to 30 mils although some people say that the thicker liner does not stretch as well in the second half of its life.

UV protection on a liner is new and we can't say if it's true, time will tell. The sunny side waterline gets beat up the worst with fading. The deeper blues fade the most with most brands. There's a gray color that Merlin Liners has that's nice and has held up great so far, its flawless.[2]

There are many liner manufacturers including:

  • McEwen Industries
  • Latham Liners
  • Tara Liners
  • Merlin Liners

Things to consider if you are going to DIY a liner replacement:

  • The critical component is to make sure your measurements are 100% accurate and the proper size liner is ordered. For a complex / irregular shaped pool, that could be the biggest challenge for a non-pro.
  • What materials your walls and floor? steel? Fiberglass? Vermiculate?
  • What repairs will your walls and floors need?
  • Consider the weather. End of season is great time while its still warm out. Spring is worst time as its rainy and not warm enough.
  • Will dewatering pumps need to be installed to lower the ground water level around the pool to allow for repairs to be made? This may involve digging a hole in the deep end bigger than a five gallon bucket and putting in gravel and a bucket with holes drilled around the bottom and then putting a small pump in for a few days to dry out the deep end so repairs could be made
  • You will need one or two 3 hp vacuums to pull the liner in place
  • Cutting holes in a new liner isn't for the faint of heart
  • Fill the water up to the level where cuts need to be made

When replacing a liner other work to consider are:

  • cleaning vermiculite
  • foam
  • new coping,
  • new gaskets
  • new skimmer faceplate
  • new drain cover
  • new return eyeballs
  • new lights
  • steps

Repairing a Liner Pool Floor

Liner pool floors typically have vermiculite as their base.

You can smooth out the floor with some vermiculite or mix of vermiculite and dry concrete or just some dry concrete. Use straight portland cement for any divots or pimples. If its a big spot then you need a patch of vermiculite.