Installing an Expandable Pool Liner

image from Doughboy® pools have a long and rich history in America. They are one of the only aboveground pools with a deep end section. They are also the only aboveground pool to use an Expandable pool liner.

Expandable pool liners stretch into shape as you fill the pool, by slowly releasing the vinyl liner as the pool fills with water. Other liners are fully lining the walls and floor before filling begins.

Doughboy sells their own expandable pool liners, or you can buy replacement expandable liners made by GLI, Swimline or Lomart.

In The Swim expandable pool liners are available in 11 stock sizes, for Doughboy® pools with a 60″ or 72″ deep dished out area, at prices from $159 to $429, depending on size, depth and pattern.

Do you have a Doughboy® Pool?

  • Straight wall sections have a slight curve in the panel.
  • 2-3′ safety ledge is installed around a 5-6′ deep area.
  • Deep area is a rounded bowl, not a hopper bottom.

How to Install an Expandable Pool Liner

Tools: Set of 18-24 rubber tipped clamps, soft push broom, rounded end trowel, good set of screwdrivers, razor knife.

Materials: Expandable pool liner ordered to fit pool inside dimensions and depth, new skimmer and return faceplates and gaskets.


Most Doughboy pools don’t have a main drain, so draining completely will require the use of a pump, either a pool side, or a submersible pump.

Once the pump shuts off or starts sucking air, carefully walk down to the deep end, and with a razor knife, cut the liner around the base of the wall, all around the pool. Two people pull the liner up to drain the last bits of water to the pump. Remove the pump, and remove the liner from the floor of the pool.

Working around the pool, remove sections of the top rail and coping strips to remove the liner as it goes over the wall. Replace the top rail sections, but not the coping strips.


Now that you can see the wall, broom it clean of any dust or deposits. If rust is visible, scrape off and paint over, and consider using wall foam. Also decide if you can reuse the wall cove, between the wall and floor, or if you should replace the pool cove.

expandable-pool-liner-installation-1Next step is to prep the floor with brooms and trowels to smooth out the sand, reshaping areas or adding masonry sand if necessary. Remove any pebbles or wind blown debris, and use tools to lower high spots and fill low spots. Start in the deep end and work your way out of the shallow end, creating sharp transitions on the safety ledge and shallow slope.


Here’s where things get different – up to this point, it’s been the same as any other pool liner job, but for an expandable liner, the next step is very unique.

Unbox the liner in a clean grassy area, unfold it and mark the seam intersections with duct tape. This will be helpful to make sure the liner is not ‘askew’ in relation to the round or oval pool shape.

Refold the liner, accordion-style, or fan-fold it starting at the shallow end. With 4 people, carry the liner and place it on the top of the shallow end top rail. Using clamps and all 4 people, carefully pull the liner over the pool, pulling it over the top rails and gently clamping it to the rail.

After some adjustment to center the liner around the pool, using your duct tape marks as reference – adjust the slack of the pool liner, so that the wall-to-floor seam is 4-6″ from the top of the pool wall, then reclamp the liner to the top rail all around the pool.


The last step to installing an expandable liner is the one that requires close attention. Begin to fill the pool with water, and allow the liner to become taught and stretch.

For every 1/10 of water added, release the liner 1/10 of the way. This is done gradually, releasing several clamps, allowing the liner to slip a few inches into the pool, and reclamping the liner to the top rail. If wrinkles appear, reach over the wall and pull the liner towards the wall.expandable-pool-liner-installation-2Filling from a truck, although costly, will make this step last only 1-2 hours. If filling from a hose, you’ll need to let out the liner a few inches, every few hours until completely full, which can take 24-48 hours.

When the expandable liner has completely stretched into place, there should be just a few inches of liner left on the outside of the walls. Remove the top rail sections, place the coping strips over the liner to secure it to the wall, and trim off excess vinyl material on the outside of the wall.

Last step is to screw on the skimmer and return faceplates (tightly), and cut out the vinyl inside the faceplate, to flood the filter system and plumbing.

~ Congratulations! You’ve just installed your own expandable pool liner. There may be a few wrinkles, that’s considered normal with this type of pool, but if you are patient and allow the liner to stretch, wrinkles will be minimal.


  • Don’t use an expandable liner on a pool not meant to use one – the walls may collapse inward during filling!
  • If filling from a hose, measure your GPM flow rate by timing the filling of a 5 gallon bucket, so that you can time when to release more liner.

Balance the pool water and begin filtering and sanitizing and you’re ready for the first swim in your newly lined Doughboy pool!

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor

Insane Pools: Off the Deep End

insane-pools-logoThere are custom pools and gardens – and then there are Insane Pools! Animal Planet’s new TV series, INSANE POOLS: OFF THE DEEP END, follows pool builder Lucas Lagoons as high and dry homes morph into exotic waterfront properties through grand designs.

The six-episode series, INSANE POOLS: OFF THE DEEP END, plays on Fridays at 9:00 pm on Animal Planet.

From a long generation of landscapers, Congdon was inspired to revolutionize an industry that was stuck in the habit of making square, boring pools. From concept to creation, his Florida-based company, Lucas Lagoons, creates one-of-a-kind backyard oases across the country. From majestic waterfalls to natural saltwater grottoes on remote islands, Lucas and his crazy team of artisans, including his mother who everyone calls “woman,” have been building creations that reinvent outdoor living for over 20 years.

Congdon’s passion for these aquatic paradises is contagious, and he often finds himself convincing clients to go big or go home, lucas-congdon-in-texassuch as the couple whose original plan for a $25,000 koi pond turns into a $165,000 pool remodel. These upgrades cause serious tension for construction teams striving to build a dream pool in only ten days. High Drama!

A Show is Born

Lucas Lagoons were not really “discovered” by Discovery channel scouts but had dreamed up the idea themselves, based on the success of their YouTube channel videos. They hired a PR firm and production company to sell the idea, and voila! it’s now a companion show to Animal Planet’s “Treehouse Masters”.

Custom Pool Customers

All of the homeowners featured in the 6-series show are actual homeowners who contracted with Lucas Lagoons for a pool renovation, but weren’t planning on necessarily spending $200,000 on the job!

lucas-congdon-in-truckCongdon said that although the homeowners aren’t paid actors, they were given a roughly 10% discount for agreeing to be featured on the show. Congdon himself is only paid $1500 per episode, but has already seen an increase in the demand for his pool designs.

Florida Pool Construction Reality TV

Florida is no stranger to reality TV programming, having hosted many over the years. Insane Pools is set in the Bradenton / Sarasota area of Florida, which is south of Tampa, on the Gulf coast.

Here’s a gallery of some of Lucas Lagoons work transforming boring backyard pools into aquatic showpieces!

Finally, a reality TV show that I can actually watch! Tune in Fridays at 9pm to catch the next episode of Insane Pools. If you don’t have the Animal Planet channel, you can view episodes online at

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor


INSANE POOLS: OFF THE DEEP END is produced by Fishbowl Worldwide Media in association with CryBaby Media for Animal Planet.


Health & Aging: HIV & Swimming Pools

drpool-med-bookThere are many myths out there regarding HIV/AIDS. Many people are unsure of what a swimming pool means for those who have HIV.

Does the virus travel via the water? Can we ‘catch’ HIV from someone who has an open cut or sores?

Before we can answer these questions, let’s consider some history and facts about HIV.

  1. What is HIV/AIDS? Summary and History
  2. How is HIV Contracted?
  3. Connecting HIV/AIDS and Swimming

bluecrossWhat is HIV/AIDS? Summary and History

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. What this means is that this virus, which only affects humans, weakens the immune system by eliminating cells that fight infection and disease. It takes over the cells and reproduces itself, and unlike other viruses like the cold or the flu, the human immune system is unable to remove HIV.

Once HIV removes many CD4 cells, it makes your body helpless in fighting infections and diseases, which can allow other viruses to enter your system, such as AIDS.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome – which translates to the final stage of HIV – a syndrome, not a single disease due to the symptom range. This stage of HIV leaves people with damaged immune systems.

It is believed that HIV originated from a type of chimpanzee from Western Africa – and that humans came in contact with HIV when they hunted and ate the infected animal. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that the virus had made its way to the United States for several cases and instances.

"HIV can’t survive outside of the body and can’t reproduce. It will not spread via air or water, which means that it cannot be spread person-to-person in a swimming pool".

bluecrossHow is HIV Contracted?

HIV is found from certain human body fluids, and thus if the fluids enter into another human’s body, it can infect the body and spread HIV.  Many fluids can transfer the HIV virus, including blood that is infected.

The following table shows what will and will not cause HIV to spread.

Unprotected Sex? Yes
Injecting Drugs using needle? Yes
Using a public toilet? No
Hugging, shaking hands, kissing? No
Body piercing or tattoos? Yes
Being spit on or scratched from an infected person? No
Mosquitoes? No
Food? No


bluecrossConnecting HIV/AIDS and Swimming

HIV can’t survive outside of the body and can’t reproduce. It will not spread via air or water, which means that it cannot be spread person-to-person in a swimming pool. Even if an infected person had a cut, the blood in the pool water wouldn’t last long and therefore would not cause you to become infected with the virus.

The virus is unable to survive in pool water and is therefore there have been no reported cases of HIV transmission from pools or hot tubs. Chlorine instantly kills any virus (HIV, Ebola, Rhino…) that it contacts, in addition to the fact that these viruses cannot survive outside of the human body.

HIV can NOT transfer through swimming pool water. While there is no effect on HIV to pool water, swimming can be an advantageous activity for those suffering with the AIDS.

Swimming can be beneficial to those who with HIV infection because exercise will increase the muscle mass and counteract the effects of atrophy. Because some medications have side effects such as fatigue and numbness, you should talk to your doctor before swimming, to find out if any side effects prevent you from exercising.

Swimming and aerobic exercise has many positive effects on the body and mind. Studies have found that exercise has reduced the amount of stress hormones that the body releases as response to mental stress. One particular study of 50 HIV infected persons in 1990 showed that aerobic exercise reduced symptoms of depression and increased energy.

Exercise and conditioning can enhance the immune system, and this is also true for those living with HIV. Doctors do not recommend excessive exercise, as a more moderate approach is ideal. Exercise can increase the muscle mass, as well as neutralize the effects of wasting that occurs from HIV.

There are no risks for HIV transfer through pool water and for those that have HIV, the positive effects of swimming – or any aerobic exercise – are proven through various studies.

Get your Swim On, America!

Dr. Pool

Dr. Pool


“What Is HIV/AIDS?” Web.

“HIV Transmission.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.

“Swimming and Diving.” HIVsport:Web.

Seaton, Jessica. “Swimming and HIV.” SPMS. Southern Pacific Masters Swimming, n.d. Web.