If you have been thinking about replacing your inground pool liner, but are distressed by local prices of $3,000-$4,000, this post is for you. Inground pool liner installations is a weekend project that most handy homeowners can accomplish easily, and spend 50-75% less!
Today, we'll take a look at the planning steps that go into a successful vinyl liner replacement.
Selecting a Pool Liner
Pool Liner Thickness: Choosing a new pool liner is more than just selecting a pattern. You'll also select from several thicknesses. Standard inground pool liners have a thickness of 20 mils on the wall and the floor, but you can upgrade to heavier weight vinyl on the walls, floor or both. Thicker vinyl is more resistant to punctures and damage from sun or chemicals, and will usually last longer.
Pool Liner Warranties: Inground liners with longer warranty periods are generally a bit higher in cost. All have pro-rated warranty periods, with a few years of Full warranty, and reduced coverage in later years. They also only cover "defects in materials and workmanship", and not "Acts of God", or "acts of humans or animals".
Pool Liner Styles & Patterns: This is the fun part - selecting a new color or pattern can really change the look of your entire backyard. I remember when you could get any color liner you wanted, as long as it was light blue! Now available are all shades of blue, gray, brown and black.
Liner patterns simulate plaster, tile, stone and pebble surfaces. Choose one you like, or one that blends with your home or patio colors. You'll see that not all patterns are available in all thicknesses, so it's easier to decide if you narrow down your choices by thickness - and choose from styles in Good 20 mil standard, Better 28/20 mil, or the Best, all-over 28 mil liner.
Measuring a Pool Liner
The first step to take is to measure the pool. Even if you have the builder's spec sheet on the pool, showing dimensions, inground pools can have variance in size and depths. You do not need to drain the pool to measure the liner, unless the pool water is dark green, or half-empty, with the liner pulled away from the walls.
1. Print the Measurement Form that matches your pool shape, and round up a suitable helper to assist in measuring the pool accurately for your new liner.
2. You'll need a rigid contractor type of measuring tape, and also a longer (50 ft or more) flexible measuring tape. do not try to measure a 32 ft. pool, with a 25 ft. measuring tape! Any hardware store will have a reel-type of measuring tape of 50 or 100 feet.
3. Take careful measurements for all dimensions shown left, A-K. It's a good idea to take the same measurement at 2 or more points along the wall, as a double check. For instance, for measurement "E", take the measure in the middle of the pool, but also on each side of the pool.
4. When all measures are taken, measure "A", should match the sum of measures E, F, G & H, and "B" should be the sum of measures I, J and K. Corner to corner measurements are also asked for, to be sure your pool is square.
5. Fax, mail or email your measurements to SPP with your liner selection.
Hopper bottom style pools are very angular, with sharp, defined corners, as shown in the image. If your transitions are not well defined, and are more rounded, or if your pool deep end is "dished out" into a rounded bowl shape, measuring depth at regular intervals, with dozens of points, can be used to measure the floor. Contact us for more information.
Getting Ready to Install an Inground Liner
Each inground pool liner is custom made, and will take between 1-2 weeks to arrive. In the meantime, you can do some things to prepare for the new liner, but you should keep the water in the pool (if not already empty), and keep the liner covering the floor (if not already removed) - until your liner arrives.
Wall Foam: If your pool walls behind the liner are rusty and crusty, or to provide a little extra protection to your new liner, and a soft touch to the pool walls, you can add Wall Foam. Wall foam ships in long rolls that are 4 ft wide. With spray adhesive, the foam can be applied to the wall before the new liner is installed.
Floor Materials: If your pool floor is sand, you may need to have some sand on hand, to patch divots or low spots. Be careful not to add so much sand that you raise the floor, and then your liner measurements won't match the pool depth. For concrete or vermiculite floors, you can use a sand mix concrete or a pool base mix to patch any divots or large cracks; otherwise sweep the floor clean to remove any debris that may show through the liner.
White Goods: When replacing your liner, it's good form to replace the faceplates and gaskets, sometimes called 'white goods', on your skimmer, return, main drain and lights. Most pools will use Hayward white goods, or generics made to the Hayward standard. We have the complete selection of Hayward Faceplates and Gaskets available.
Liner Vac: You'll want to use a strong vacuum to "set" the liner before filling the pool. Liner guys use a blower like the Cyclone (also used for winterizing pool plumbing), but a powerful shop vac (5 hp or greater) can usually do the job. The vac hose is pushed behind the liner (between the liner and the wall), and duct tape is used to seal up around the hose. Using a liner vac before and during the fill will help prevent wrinkles from forming in the vinyl liner.
Helpers: To replace an inground vinyl liner, you'll need some help. 3-4 people during the initial draping of the liner across the pool is very helpful. After the corners are lined up and the bead is popped into the track in a few spots, 1-2 people can finish up the job.
Installing a New Inground Pool Liner
Finally the big day has arrived. You've got your new liner, supplies, equipment and helpers lined up. Check the weather to rule out heavy rains or storms headed your way. Assuming that your pool is still full, here's a start to finish template for replacing an inground vinyl liner.
- Drain the pool, using the main drain or a submersible pump. Be sure to drain far away and downstream of the pool, to prevent water from coming into the pool, under the liner.
- Enter the pool (always enter and walk gently to protect the floor). Cut the liner with a razor knife at the base of the pool walls, and across the pool floor.
- Remove the faceplate screws from the skimmer, returns, main drain, step sections and pool lights. Keep them separated and organized. Remove old faceplates and gaskets.
- Remove the vinyl from the wall in sections. Leaving the floor vinyl in place, clean the walls of any crusty or rusty deposits. Duct tape the wall joints. Foam the walls if planned.
- Remove the vinyl pieces covering the floor and inspect for needed floor repair. Sweep and clean the pool floor to remove any small bits of debris.
- Place the liner on the deep end wall and carefully open box, and unfold the liner to the sides. Look for a label on the liners edge, indicating deep end or shallow end.
- With one person holding the deep end wall part of the liner, two others walk the liner toward the shallow end. Lock the 4 corners in place, by pushing the bead into the track.
- Center any inside or outside corners on the liner with the wall of the pool. From the corners, two people work in opposite directions, locking the bead into the track.
- Gently enter the pool and pull the liner floor material up into the shallow end if needed, and push any wrinkles towards the edge or corners.
- For Step sections, use sand bags beneath the steps to hold the liner against the wall. With careful precision, install the step plates, gasket and screws.
- Set up your vacuum to suck the air out from behind the liner. If needed, work any wrinkles toward the wall and corners.
- Install main drain ring and cut out the vinyl inside of the ring with a razor knife. Install main drain cover.
- Begin to fill the pool, and leave the vac running until the water begins to cover the vac hose. Remove vac hose and continue to fill the pool.
- When nearly full, install the wall faceplates for skimmer, returns and lights, and cut out the vinyl inside the faceplate with a razor knife.
- Start your filter system, balance your water chemistry (do not forget Stabilizer), and enjoy your new vinyl liner!
15 steps - not so bad. After the pool is pumped out, pool liners can be installed and started to refill in just a few hours.
If you have any questions on planning a replacement inground vinyl liner for your pool, give us a call - anyone of our SPP Pool Experts are available for your free consultation before, during and after you install your own inground vinyl liner!
SPP Pool Expert