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    5 Steps to a New Swimming Pool Liner

    May 29, 2014
    Matt Spencer

    choose from dozens of inground liner patterns

    When you own a vinyl liner pool, eventually you will want to replace the pool liner, degraded by sun, chemicals or sharp pool toys.

    If you have a vinyl pool builder or service company in town, you could call them and get on their list for a vinyl liner replacement, or - you could do it yourself, for about half the cost of what a company would charge!

    Replacing a pool liner is an easy weekend job, requiring only basic tools and equipment, and of course a new pool liner.

    STEP ONE: Measure Your Pool:

    For aboveground pools, measure the diameter for round pools, or the length and width for oval pools. For beaded liners, take a depth measurement from the liner track, to the flat floor.measure-the-pool

    For inground pools, the process is more complicated, but using our online inground liner measurement form makes it easy. Just select your pool shape (or custom shape), and it tells you exactly what and how to measure. After measuring, just enter the measurements directly into our online form!

    You do not need to drain the pool to measure for an inground liner, even if you can't see the bottom clearly. Using a pool pole and a broom stick, or pool pole connected to a plumb bob, you can locate the corners of your deep end hopper bottom, and measure from the wall to each corner of the hopper. All of the other inground liner measurements are simple to take.


    • Use two people to measure the pool, it's easier and more accurate.
    • Double Check your measurements, you know what they say!
    • Use a measuring tape that is longer than your longest measurement.
    • When locating deep end corners, make sure your vertical pole is ... vertical!
    • Make note of any safety ledge or cove at the base of the walls.
    • Measure the shallow end depth at the wall, and at the break, to be sure it is not sloped.

    STEP TWO: Buy a New Pool Liner

    wall-foam-for-poolsSelect your pattern and thickness. For aboveground pool liners, choose from 7 overlap designs and 4 beaded designs, in depths from 36" to 72", and thicknesses of 20 or 25 mil. do not forget to also purchase liner accessories like coping strips, pool cove and floor pad for aboveground pools, or wall foam. It's recommended to replace your faceplates and gaskets, for the main drain, skimmer and returns.

    Inground pool liners are available in dozens of patterns, and are all custom made from your measurements. There are no in stock liners for inground pools, they are all custom made to fit your particular pool like a glove.

    liner-conversion-stripsOverlap liner pools can be converted to use a beaded liner with the use of our Conversion Strips. The advantage of conversion is a much easier liner installation. No need to remove the top rails or deal with rusty screws, just hang a new beaded liner into the track, which fits neatly over the top of the wall.


    • Choose a liner color that blends with your home, pool deck or outdoor decor.
    • All over liner patterns tend to hide wrinkles and dirt.
    • Dark liner colors have a slight solar heat benefit.
    • Order liner accessories at the same time as your liner.
    • do not forget to order new gaskets and faceplates.

    STEP THREE: Pool Liner Prep

    submersible-pumpDrain the Pool: Wait until you have all of your supplies, and that everything is the correct type and size. For most pools, using a submersible pump is the best way to drain the pool. If you do not own one, and can't borrow one, you can always rent one for about $25 per day. You'll need something to get all of the water out of the pool.

    Remove the Liner: With a razor knife, cut it up into manageable strips, and remove from the pool. Leave the floor piece in place until you are ready to work on the floor.

    Wall Prep: Brush them off with a broom if they are dusty and crusty - but if they are rusty, scrape/paint and then cover with wall foam, to protect the new liner.rounded-end-trowels

    Floor Prep: Vermiculite or concrete floors can be cleaned with a broom, blower or vacuum. Sand floors will need to be troweled smooth with rounded end trowels.

    Track Prep: For beaded liners, take a look at the track around the pool, checking for cracks or damage to the track. Clean out any dirt or insects.vinyl-liner-gaskets

    Gasket Prep: For inground pools, there is a gasket that goes under the liner for the main drain, skimmer and pool light. Use small pieces of tape to secure these gaskets in place before you pull across the new liner.


    • Pump your pool out to the storm drain, or as far from the pool as possible.
    • If you have a main drain, you may be able to use the filter pump to remove 90% of the water.
    • On vermiculite or concrete floors, patch any cracks or divots that may show through the liner.
    • Keep track of all of your faceplate screws, putting them in a safe place until needed.
    • Tape up the screw holes on your main drain, to keep out sand and grit while prepping the floor.
    • On sand floors, only small amounts of new sand can be added, or you risk raising the floor level.

    STEP FOUR: Pool Liner Installation

    helpersYou'll want to have 2-4 people on hand for this part, all being very careful not to snag the new liner as it's being moved across the pool. If you have 4 people, each can grab a corner and lock their section into the track, or pull it over the wall, for an overlap liner.

    For inground pools, line up the corners first, and then put the entire liner into the track. Adjust or shift the liner if it looks like it's pulling in one direction. The liner will naturally gravitate towards the deep end, reach over the shallow end wall and pull the liner up into the shallow end. Use small sandbags if needed, to hold it in place.

    cyclone-vacOnce the liner is in place, use a large shop-vac, or a Cyclone liner vac, to suction the liner up against the pool walls and floor. The vac hose is placed behind the liner and the air gap sealed up with lots of duct tape. This is usually not done for a/g liners, but can be if you want to all you can to avoid wrinkles in the liner.

    Speaking of wrinkles, you will probably have some at first. Work them toward the wall with a broom, or gently with feet and hands. Small wrinkles along the bottom of the wall will usually flatten out once you have the weight of the water in the pool.

    pool-main-drainIf your pool has a main drain, secure the main drain ring and gasket, cut out the vinyl inside the ring, and install the drain cover, once you have 6-12" of water in the deep end. Other faceplates - returns, skimmers, lights, steps - should wait until the water is right beneath them.


    • When you first put the liner in the track, pennies are helpful to hold it in place temporarily.
    • If you have lost some screws, replace with the exact manufacturer's screw.
    • Face plates look similar, be sure you have the correct ones.
    • Never cut the liner, until the water level has fully stretched the liner in that area.
    • If you need to walk on the liner, tread softly, or use long boards to walk on.

    STEP FIVE: Fill the Pool!

    fill-the-poolsDrop in a garden hose (or two), and start filling the pool! Most pools will fill in 1-2 days from a hose, but if you have low pressure, or use a shallow well for your water, you may want to have some or all of the water delivered by truck. This can be costly however, about $250 per 5000 gallons.


    • If you're using a liner vac, keep it running until you have the shallow end floor covered in 6" of water.
    • Wait until the pool is full before anxious kids are allowed to swim.
    • Wait until your pool is full to begin adding pool chemicals, or balancing the water.
    • Wait until the water level is right below a wall fitting before installing faceplates or step strips.
    • Check the water meter before and after filling the pool. You may be eligible for a sewer rebate.
    • do not use a corded drill to install faceplate screws, you may drop it in the water.

    Replace your own pool liner for half the cost of a contractor installed liner. For pool liners and installation accessories, we've got you covered. If you need more information, see our blog posts about inground liners, and our posts about aboveground liners, or just call us - we are happy to help!

    Matt Spencer
    SPP Pool Expert

    Blog Author
    Matt Spencer
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