The topic of the day started out as a question; can you install a vinyl liner into a concrete pool? Yes, you can, and I've done it before, on a concrete pool from the 1950's.
Perched on a steep hillside, the pool was crumbing and cracking, and would one day soon need replacement. While saving for a pool replacement, a cash strapped homeowner asked me if I could stop the leaking with an inground vinyl liner?
The pool was about 15x30' rectangular with an irregular floor and deep end bowl, and a set of wedding cake concrete steps in the shallow end corner. Really I think most pool guys would have run far away from this job, however I had a professional curiosity, let's just say.
Installing a Vinyl Liner in a Concrete Pool
After carefully measuring the pool, I sent it the form to my vinyl fabricator who was made aware that this is a vinyl liner for a concrete pool. I was advised to expect some wrinkling or ill-fitting behavior across the floor and steps. Ok, we can deal with that.
Since my customer opted to abandon the existing (leaking) plumbing, we connected new pipes running across the deep end deck (under the diving board), and dropping into the pool. In a few hours we had a 'Lily Pad' Skimmer and LWS (low water suction) lines on one pipe, and the pool return on the other pipe. You could also use the Skim-A-Round skimmer, which floats around.
To install the liner track, I bought a case of Quaker Plastics liner bead receiver QP-521, and screwed it to the top of the pool tile, using long Tapcon screws. Not the most elegant solution, it stuck out like a sore thumb, but it would get the job done.
When the liner arrived, we draped it across the pool, and locked it into the track. Using a Mighty Vac, we sucked all the air out from behind the liner until the liner was tight, to mimic the fit when full of water.
Wrinkles... as promised. We adjusted the fit as much as we could by shutting off the Mighty Vac and pulling and pushing vinyl in directions away from the small creases or folds in the vinyl. After much exasperating work, we settled on 3 large folds running across the pool floor, and 3 small folds on the pool step vertical risers. A cinder block pool would be easier, with an even slope, but we had a traditional concrete pool floor slopes.
We filled the concrete/vinyl pool with water and started up the filter system. The Lily Pad skimmer and LWS was providing a good replacement for the old skimmer and main drain, and the return was creating a lot of circulation.
This concrete pool with a vinyl liner, although not pretty to look at, survived several seasons, perhaps 5-7, solving major leaking problems in the pool shell and pool plumbing.
If I was to do it again, (put a liner in a concrete pool), I would use laser measurement of the pool (not available in those days), for a better fit than the analog measurements we used. Also I would fasten the track at the top of the tile, but not above the tile, where you can find loose mortar beneath the coping stones.
The liner track could also be installed more permanently in a concrete pool, under reset coping stones, or a repoured pool deck. Choose the C-face coping for a poured concrete deck, or lay the horizontal track under the mortar bed of the reset or replaced coping stones. There is also a wood deck coping offered by Cardinal Systems.
Installing a vinyl liner in a concrete or fiberglass pool can be done. In this case we abandoned the old plumbing and ran pipes across the deck. We could've put the pipes underground, or installed new (vinyl) skimmers, drains and returns, but that'd tripled the cost of the project.
To convert concrete skimmers, main drains and returns to vinyl skimmers, vinyl drains and vinyl returns, you have to literally cut the entire thing out, and replace with a specific vinyl liner fittings which uses gaskets and screws to secure a waterproof faceplate. We chose to lay new pipes across the deck, under the diving board, but you could also drill holes through the wall, and install new (vinyl) suction and return plumbing underground.
If you want to talk about putting an inground vinyl liner in a poured concrete pool, gunite pool or cinder block pool, give us a call, or download this measurement form for printing. We can help you with measurements and supplies like wall foam, liner track and liner lock.
SPP Pool Expert