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When Should You Replace Your Vinyl Pool Liner?

The time will eventually come when you will have to replace your vinyl liner. We often get calls for a new liner quote, only to find out there is nothing wrong with the current liner or the caller has been told by a pool company they need to replace it and given no real reason why. We’ve put together a quick guide to help determine when it’s time to replace your liner or at least what you can look out for so you’re prepared when the time comes.

The only way to know as a homeowner is by visual inspection. Here’s some things to look out for:

  1. Rips & Holes

Seems obvious, because it is! Vinyl can be patched but there are limitations with size and location of the hole. Although we have done it, its hard to install and guarantee a patch bigger than 3”. If you have a large rip, you can patch it to stop water loss and limp your way through the summer but you’ll want to replace the liner before winter. If the patch fails and water drains out when the pool is closed, you can damage the pool and create an even bigger problem and cost.

  1. Wrinkles

There are two types of wrinkles that form: 1. Straight wrinkles, usually from improper install or ground water causing the liner to float, move and settle. These can be removed by a professional and usually doesn't mean you need a new liner. 2. “Squiggly” wrinkles. These cannot be removed. They are caused by the liner “growing” and losing elasticity. Even if you drain the pool, these will stay in place and are permanent. When you start to see these appear, it’s a matter of time before you get a leak and it’s usually caused by a vacuum, pool brush or swimmers walking on them. No need to panic if you have them, just understand that your liner is nearing its end of life and its better to replace it before a problem happens.

  1. Bleaching

There is a difference between fading and bleaching of a vinyl liner. Fading is normal and will happen the first year of the liner being installed. The water above and below the waterline will be a slight shade different. That's ok and only really noticeable when the pool is drained down for winterization. Bleaching, on the other hand, is when the vinyl below the waterline no longer has any pattern on it and looks completely different from the vinyl above the waterline. At this point, the vinyl has probably lost all elasticity and has become brittle, increasing the risk of a puncture in the liner. At this point, its very difficult to properly patch any holes and it's highly likely that more will form.

  1. Age of your liner

New liners typically last 8-10 years but old vinyl liners lasted much longer. We’ve replaced vinyl liners that were well over 15 years old, the oldest being 27 years old! Don’t get too excited, these are usually meticulously maintained pools and the newer vinyl used is not manufactured the same way which makes it very unlikely you’ll get that long of life out of your new liner. Start preparing for replacement if your liner is reaching the 8-10 year age range but there is no need to replace it if it's in good condition.

  1. Water Loss

If you think you're losing pool water, the best way to check for free is the Bucket Test. If that test shows more loss in the pool than the bucket or you’re losing an inch or more of water per day, you definitely have a leak. The best thing to do is book a professional leak detection. We can come and pinpoint where you are losing water and potentially patch the liner and save you from replacing it. Leak detections do have a cost so if there are lots of leak points or the liner is older than 10 years, we will recommend replacing it to avoid you having to pay for multiple leak detections and still inevitably replacing the liner. 

The best thing you can do to extend the life of your pool liner and avoid potential issues is to maintain properly balanced water and keep an eye out for the things listed above. As always, if you have any questions, reach out to our Client Care Team or check us out on our social media for updates, info and more!



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