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    AG Pool Liner Damaged from Ice and Snow

    February 9, 2018

    pool liner in trouble

    If you own a swimming pool with a vinyl liner, it's only a matter of time before you will need to replace the liner. Even though vinyl liners are highly durable, they are not indestructible.

    This winter's hard freeze was very hard on vinyl pool liners. We have heard from so many people last month, frantic over what to do with their half-empty, frozen pool

    One question from Linda, described the usual half empty pool, but with pictures showing a large horizontal tear on the side wall. The question came in the subject line of her email, "Pool liner torn, can it be fixed?!?"

    So let's take a look at situations when a pool liner can be fixed, and when your better off throwing in the towel and buying a new pool liner.

    Years of sitting in the sun can fade your liner, and pool chlorine can bleach your liner with time as well. You might think fading is more of a cosmetic issue than structural, but faded liners indicate the fibers and material are being altered, slowly breaking down, which is a nice way of saying your liner is getting weaker as well as uglier.

    bad pool liner

    Unfortunately, there id no real fix for a faded pool liner, but as long as there aren't any rips or tears in the vinyl, you probably can still get some more life with the liner. However, you might want to start thinking about shopping for a new pool liner at some point in the near future.

    Many people replace their pool liners in the spring, especially those that were damaged during winter (like this year). But pool liners can be replaced any time of year, but try to install with daily temps above 60 deg. F, and 70 is even better, because the vinyl is more pliable and easier to work with.

    If you notice the water level in your pool dropping with regularity, you can be rather certain you have a leak. However, before you go tearing out the pool liner or doing any repairs, be sure to check your plumbing and all your wall gaskets, to rule them out as sources of the leak.

    Once you determine that it is, in fact, your liner leaking, take notice of where the water level drops to on your pool wall. When the water level stops or stabilizes at a certain spot, that is the best place to start looking for a small hole or tear.

    Having a leak in your vinyl liner is not always a death sentence for your liner either. You can repair small leaks with a pool liner sealant patch kit which includes a fast-drying adhesive and clear vinyl patches.

    To patch a pool liner, clean the area to be patched well first, and apply dry if possible, but can be applied underwater (during warm temps). Cut rounded patches about 1" larger than the hole or tear. For larger tears of 3-6", or gashes up to 12" long, apply a patch to both sides of the liner, first behind the liner, then on top of the liner.

    ez patch 28 sealantMy most often used vinyl repair kit however, is not a kit at all, just my tube of flexible vinyl liner repair sealant like the EZ-Patch 28. Squeezes out like toothpaste, just smooth it with your fingers. Great for small holes and tears and for sealing around wall return and skimmer faceplates.

    One thing to keep in mind when thinking about repairing your vinyl liner instead of replacing it is the liner age and overall condition. If your pool liner looks aged and faded, you might be putting in repair work that won't last very long as old vinyl will continue to develop tears, rips and holes.

    Larger rips are often less successful than smaller liner repairs, no matter how new or old your pool liner is. On large horizontal rips, we use a remnant or cut-out piece of vinyl as the patch. With enough glue, they usually hold and can last for quite a while but, if the patch is on the pool floor where feet and objects touch it, or in a corner or other stretched area, a vinyl liner repair can fail. That's when it is time for a new pool liner.

    A couple of scenarios where you most likely will need a new liner includes horizontal tears in the vinyl at the top of the pool wall (like Linda). Pool liners deal with an incredible amount of stress due to the weight of all the water, and if your liner was installed just a bit too tight in one area, that spot is likely to see the most stress. When this happens, no matter what you do, your repair will not last, and your vinyl liner will continue to rip.

    feel the vinyl How does the vinyl feel? If your pool liner feels dry and brittle from age, pool chemicals and UV rays, it could be time to buy a new liner. new vinyl is incredibly soft and supple, so you can tell by touch (and sight and sound) when the vinyl has reached the end of a lifespan. When vinyl liners reach this state, rips and tears become common. We've all had that summer when we chased leaks all season, and then got a new liner next spring!

    If you do need to replace your vinyl pool liner, you should always get new wall skimmer gaskets and coping strips installed at the same time. To make sure your liner will last for years keep your water chemistry well-balanced, avoid heavy shocking with chlorine, and use a safety cover to block the sun.

    So to sum up Linda's question, which if I recall was 'How do you know when to repair a vinyl liner - and when to just buy a new liner?. To figure it out, ask yourself these 4 questions... pool liner patterns

    1. How faded is the liner?
    2. Is the tear in an area of stress?
    3. How big is the tear (or gash)?
    4. How does the liner feel?

    Most small tears and many big tears are worth repairing, if the above ground pool liner condition is good. You'll have to make the decide - replace it now, or take a chance that you can get just one more year out of your liner.


    Blog Author
    SPP Pool Expert
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