Aboveground Pool Liners: Overlap, Beaded and J-Hook

AboveGroundPoolLinerSwatchesIt is that time of the year again – pool openings are just around the corner! Whether you have been putting it off for the last couple of years or just want a new look and feel to your pool; what better way to start off the pool season than with a new above ground pool liner?

There are several different types of above ground liners. How do you know which type of pool liner is right for your pool? If you have your original pool manual it would tell you in there, but most of have lost/misplaced that years ago. There are some very easy ways to determine what kind of pool liner you will need for your pool.


ag-liners-overlapOverlap pool liners

Begin with standing poolside. Look under the top rail to see if any of the liner is visible on the outside of the pool. This is the easiest way to determine if you have an overlap liner pool. If you’re not sure, you can remove two upright caps and a section of the top rail. A typical overlap pool uses plastic pool coping strips to hold the pool liner in place. Whenever the liner is hanging over the outside of the pool wall, it’s an overlap pool liner.

Overlap liners are made for flat bottomed pools with a wall height of 48” to 54”. You only need to know the size and shape of your pool. For example, if you have a round pool, you will need to know its diameter. If you have an oval pool you will need to measure the length and width. (Don´t guess at your pool measurements, please measure from wall to wall – to be sure.


ag-liners-beadedBeaded pool liners

Beaded liners differ from overlap liners because this type of liner fits into a pre-existing track on the pool wall. There is no need to take off the top rail in most cases. The beaded liner inserts into the track and does not go over the wall, as does an overlap liner.

A standard bead measures a little over 1/8” on the top width and 5/16” on the hook and extends down to 1-1/8” to the bottom. When purchasing a beaded liner you need to order the exact wall height. If you end up with a liner that is too long, unsightly wrinkles are the result. Carefully measure the wall height from the flat floor to the track. Check in two or more locations to be sure of your measurement. If ordering by phone, be sure to let our representatives know your wall height – either 48”; 52”; or 54”.


ag-liners-unibeadUni-Bead pool liners

Also referred to also as a “J” hook because they are so close in design it makes them interchangeable. This type of liner bead looks like a hook (or an upside-down ¨J¨) which slides over the pool wall.The J-hook hangs the liner over the wall, instead of using a track.

The top measurement is 3/16” and the hook extends down to a little less than 3/4”. The long side of the hook measures 1-1/2”. J-Hook, or Unibead pool liners allow more pool liner style choices, and also allow you to do away with liner coping strips.

You will need to order the proper wall height, to use a Unibead liner. With overlap liners, you can always pull the liner over the wall further, to prevent wrinkles. J-Hook liners have a fixed wall height and are not adjustable in this manner. To avoid problems, measure your wall height precisely, in several locations, from the flat floor, to the top of the pool wall.

CONVERSION FROM OVERLAP TO BEADEDLiner Conversion Strips allow you to quickly and easily convert your overlap pool into a Beaded Pool. Beaded pool liners attach to a track that runs along the pool’s edge.

Now that you have an understanding of the two different liner types, what happens if you have an overlap pool, but prefer the selection of beaded liner patterns? A simple conversion using In the Swim Liner Conversion Strips. They come in 4’ sections. If you’re not sure how many you need please feel free to use our on-line chart or call one of our friendly pool professionals. Order enough Liner Strips to encircle the entire pool perimeter. If you have a beaded liner, you cannot change it to an overlap style, only the other way around.

If you have any questions regarding replacing an above ground  pool liner – In The Swim is here to answer all of your questions, 24 hours a day 7 days a week!!

Next time we´ll talk about how to replace your aboveground pool liner. Now that you know which type of pool liner you need – have fun choosing from our 2013 selection of aboveground pool liner patterns and styles. You´re going to really enjoy your new aboveground pool liner!

Sheryl Sollis
InTheSwim Staff Blogger


Aboveground Pool Liners: Overlap, Beaded and J-Hook — 21 Comments

  1. I have purchased a used pool and was told I needed a overlap liner, now that I have found out my pool is a allegro by Augaleader they state that I need a J hook liner (whatever that is). Is it possible to use the overlap liner that I have already purchased????

    • Hi Crystal, a J-Hook liner is a type of liner that also hangs on the wall, like an overlap liner, but doesn’t need to use coping strips to hold it in place, and keep it from slipping. J-hook liners can also be used as a beaded liner, one can tear off the j-hook portion at the top of the liner, and it becomes a beaded liner, like a dress with a tear away hem, if there was such a thing. Now usually, if a pool can use a j-hook liner, hanging on the wall, the pool could also use an overlap liner, with coping strips. In your case there may be some design factors that make it hard to pull an overlap liner over the wall and clip in place, easily, without extensive top rail removal, etc. You may be able to use the overlap liner, but they don’t advise it… can’t be certain, but look at your pool, under the top rail, and if you can pull a liner over the wall, and then clip on the coping strips, you should be able to use it.

  2. My pool is about 20 some years old. I have always had it an overlap style. I am getting tired of replacing the liner and going through taking it all apart and putting it back together. If I converted it to a beaded liner I am afraid that this would not hold the liner up and I will end up with rips. Can you help me with some extra facts on this type of liner? I am not sure which way I should go as I need to replace the liner once again! Thank you

    • The beaded liner is a time tested method, I don’t think you have to worry about rips, or too much stress, because the liner is ordered to the correct wall height (48″, 52″ or 54″). To convert to a beaded liner, you install bead receivers, which are long strips that hang on the wall, very securely. And then the bead of the liner locks into the attached groove or track. Just be sure to order the correct depth liner, as measured from the flat floor to the track. It does make liner replacement much simpler no doubt. Probably could do the whole thing in one day.

  3. Hi. I had a liner replaced last year and apparently the contractor installed an overlap liner despite my pool having a j-hook receiver (unbeknownst to me). They just tucked it in. I’m now having problems keeping the liner attached. Is there an adapter that can fix this or do I have to get a new liner?

    • Hi Gary, if you can remove the J-hook receiver, from the top of the wall, then you can pull the liner over the wall and clip it in place using coping strips. You’re saying that they just tucked the overlap liner into the bead receiver or track? I guess they cut it to fit first, rolled it up and stuffed it in there? Brilliant… real geniuses. Perhaps Liner Lock could be used to keep their method going, it’s a wedge shaped flexible bead that can get stuffed in there too, to take up space and help hold the liner in the receiver track. Or if there is enough material to fit over the wall, you can clip it to the top of the wall with the 24″ long ‘Coping Strips’ that we sell, in 10 packs. But it could be a whole afternoon and evening, depending on how much disassembly is required. Get a helper too. Maybe the contractor can perform the surgery for you – for Free – if you provide the coping strips…?

    • Hi, for beaded liner pools, you can buy a beaded liner, or a J-Hook liner, but not overlap. J-Hook liners can be used on both overlap and beaded liner pools, the J-Hook hangs over the wall on overlap pools, and for beaded pools, the J-Hook is removed or separated from the edge of the liner (just snip with scissors and tear it off, all the way around), which leaves only the bead, to fit into the liner track, aka bead receiver. Be sure to order your correct wall height, 48″, 52″ or 54″ depth liner.

  4. I have a beaded liner and the outside of the pool measures 54 inches from the bottom of the pool to the top of the pool. I would assume that I would need a 54 inch liner. The invoice of the pool stated 27 foot by 54 inches.

    • If the pool invoice says it is 54″ tall, then that’s probably true. But to be certain, the way to measure the pool height (or depth) is done from inside the pool, measuring from the flat floor bottom, to the bead receiver, or liner track (where the liner bead snaps in to the track).

  5. I am replacing a beaded liner, i have bead receivers and the last liner was beaded. But i ordered a unibead, can I just remove the bead receivers and install the unibead liner onto pool wall? Or is there something in the top rail that doesn’t allow that install?

    • Hi Alan, most unibead liners, included ours I’m sure, can be used as a J-hook, hanging off the wall, or you can rip off the J-hook portion, and use it as a regular beaded liner. It’s probably easier for you to use it as a beaded liner. There should be instructions in the box, on how to convert the edge, or tear off the J-hook portion. Just snip it with scissors, and work around the edge, pulling it off, or separating it

  6. The box of my liner says 52 inch 15ft round pool but we can get it to fit. It’s a j hook and it starts to pull the wall out of the channel when we try to install the last 2 feet. Seems the diameter is not wide enough. Please help

    • Hi Patty, I’ll first ask the obvious, but do you have a 15′ round pool? Might be a 16′ diameter pool, or possibly 18′? If not, the liner could just need some massaging, to remove any (and all) wrinkles around the edge of the pool, where the line is already over the wall. Use two people starting at one point, pulling opposite each other, to pull out any slack (wrinkles) where the j-hook goes over the wall. Secondly, if done on a cold day, vinyl will shrink slightly and be harder to stretch into place. Not a huge difference, but warm temps and sunshine can sometimes make a difference. There is the possibility that the liner is mismarked, but I believe that 15′ is the smallest size, in many cases. The liner can be measured across the floor, seam to seam, and should measure close to 15′ diameter, although not unusual to be a few inches less , like 14′ 10″ or something.

  7. Hi. Is there a concern water could get behind the liner strips of a standard beaded liner? Do the liner strips overlap each other? I am putting a new pool with a salt system.


    • Hi Eric, no concern at all about that – the water level shouldn’t be that high anyway, normally, but even if it is, it won’t cause a problem. Liner strips, or what we call Bead Receiver, hangs on the wall, and they don’t overlap each other, but do butt up against each other. They are used to convert an overlap liner pool into a beaded liner pool, or allow an overlap pool to use a beaded liner, which have more patterns and options than overlap liners.

  8. I don’t know what my liner is. It has a white border, a little bead on the edge, however it overlaps the pool by an inch, and a metal 4 48 inch piece holds it on.

    • Hi Kim, if you can see your liner on the outside of the pool, (overlaps pool by an inch), then you have an overlap pool liner. However given that you say it has a bead on the edge, sounds like it may be a j-hook liner (aka hung liner) the metal 48″ piece is called a coping strip, and serves to hold the liner to the top of the wall, which isn’t normally needed when a J-hook liner is used… So – you can use an overlap liner, or you can also use a j-hook liner – or, if you installed liner bead receiver, which just hangs over the wall, you could install a beaded liner.

  9. Pingback: Automatic Pool Cleaners for Above Ground Pools | InTheSwim Pool Blog

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