In my last blog, we were discussing new above ground pool liner types. Today we are taking a look at some vinyl liner installation accessories, specifically pool pad and pool cove.
My first above ground pool liner install was at a home next door to my old friend’s mother’s house. My friend had purchased the house and we moved in – excited about the fun pool parties we were going to have. All those years of watching the neighbor’s kids over the fence, having so much fun. Little did we know the condition of the liner.
The first clues hit me when they told us they had been using bleach as a sanitizer and that it was the original liner. Good fortune smiled on us and the backyard that winter. I was offered a position at In the Swim, and was quickly learning from the pool professionals.
Since I now worked for a “pool company”, of course it was my job to rehab the pool! After picking out a new liner, I made a list of what else we may need during the liner replacement. I was told that a few handy helpers are a must, and I should plan on buying lunch for the crew and other miscellaneous beverages – for the end of the day.
Inspecting the floor of the pool later that night, I saw hundreds of foot prints. The old neighbors were always jumping feet first into the pool, and there was lots of evidence of that. I guess it’s better than the consequences of diving head first into 4 feet of water. Whether you permit it or not, some joker is always cannonballing into the pool. Hence footprints. Everywhere.
After looking at the job in front of us we had some decisions to make. I didn’t want a pool with big foot marks all across the floor, so pool floor padding (Happy Bottom) was added to our pool liner budget.
I was also advised, by my very knowledgeable co-workers here at In The Swim – “You have to get the cove too, it’s so much nicer with pool cove!” they told me. OK! Pool Cove was added as another line item to our growing pool repair budget.
Before we went to bed, we started removing the screws from the top caps and top rails. Some above ground pools have hundreds of screws holding them together. That of course, was the type we inherited!
The night before the liner install I was worried with anticipation of our big pool project the next morning. Laying in bed, I realized that If thousands of homeowners do it themselves every weekend of spring and summer; then I could too!
PREPARE THE POOL FLOOR
The following morning we placed the liner box out in a sunny area to warm it up. The old liner was “crispy”, and it was literally breaking apart in my hand. When the liner was removed, it felt like I was standing in a Roman arena waiting for a lion to get me.
The walls were intact and in good shape, but the sand – ugh. Some sections of the floor had mold and there were little puddles here and there. I was so happy that we decided on using pool pad for the floor. We removed the moldy dark green areas of sand with a flat shovel, and then used gardener’s rakes to smooth over the floor.
LEVELING THE POOL FLOOR
We rented an electric tamper to smooth the floor out again. You can also use round ended trowels to smooth high spots and fill low spots. When installing pool floor pad it is very important that the floor is level. While leveling the floor, also clean it to remove debris. Throw out any pebbles larger than a sweet pea.
HAPPY BOTTOM POOL PAD INSTALLATION
We followed the pool pad instructions carefully, by reading all of the instructions first! You will need a utility knife for cutting the floor padding. The Happy Bottom floor pad comes in a 4 ft. wide roll, and you order by your pool size.
Following the instructions we measured, and with the utility knife, cut the first piece of pool flooring, for the length of the pool. We placed the piece inside the pool and trimmed the edges a little to match the curve of the wall.
Then we measured the next section length, cut this piece and positioned it right up against the first piece. We trimmed along the wall then used the tape provided to tightly secure the two pieces.
We continued across the pool floor. We had 6 sections for the 24’ round pool. Honestly it moved along quickly. Also there are no worries on cutting the perimeter exactly, as the pool cove is going to cover it.
POOL COVE INSTALLATION
After a short lemonade break, we pulled out the 19 sections of pool cove. I jumped in the pool and my friend handed me one piece at a time. I purchased the peel and stick pool cove because I was unsure about the track. All you have to do is remove the sticky tape and push it against the wall.
It took less than 15 minutes. Just like the floor padding, you need to really tightly place these next to the last section so there are no gaps or space between. When I got to the last section, it needed to be trimmed. Following the instructions, I cut the last piece 1.5” over what I needed and squeezed that last piece in. It was easy.
Years later the pool still looks great. We had the liner changed – not because it needed to be but because it is easy to do and we liked a new look to the pool every so often. But that original pool floor padding and cove is just as good as it was when it was installed. It was a great investment for the pool and as expected at the first pool party my brother-in-law cannonballed into the pool; but no lasting footprints.
I would recommend the pool pad and pool cove to anyone. It adds a few hundred dollars to the pool liner installation, but it protects the liner, and makes your pool look and feel really nice, even if you have cannonballers!
InTheSwim Staff Blogger