Pool Liner Problems – Repair or Replace?

pool-liners-repair-or-replace-?With the pool finally open, some of you are wondering if the ol’ vinyl liner can make it another season.

Inground liners may last longer than aboveground liners, but at some point – all vinyl liner pool owners will face a decision to repair the liner or to replace it.

Faded Pool Liners

Over time, the sun will fade some of the bright or darker colors of your pool liner, especially on the top steps and at the waterline.

Chlorine can also bleach a liner, in localized areas from undissolved pool shock, or all over, if chlorine levels have been very high for extended periods of time.

For bleached or faded liners, we have no dye that you can just throw in the pool, and there is no such thing as pool liner paint, sorry to say. borderlines-for-liner pools

For waterline fading, and small tears or rips at the waterline, one solid repair could be to install BorderLines, an adhesive strip, similar to a wall paper border, that you affix to the top 6 inches of the liner. It can really brighten up faded pool liners!

Leaking Pool Liners

Sometimes you can have a leak in a vinyl pool, which continues to leak after plugging the lines, so you know it’s in the vinyl – but where?

Finding a hole in a vinyl liner can be a little like looking for a needle in a haystack. If the water stabilizes at one particular level, look for a small patch of debris stuck onto the vinyl, which has been sucked into the hole.

The best method to find a pool leak may be (If the water is warm enough), to use a diver’s mask and snorkel to search the entire pool closely. You can use colored dye in a small bottle to dye test suspect areas, which should include the cutout areas around the steps, returns, skimmers and lights.

Most leaking pool liners are fixed, without need to replace. In cases where there are dozens of leaks, from ice or animal damage, or from kids using the pool pole to pole vault into the pool – you may need to buy a new pool liner.

Ripped or Torn Vinyl Liners

Small tears, 1-2 inches in length can be easily patched with a vinyl liner patch kit.

Large tears, those of several inches to several feet, can also be patched using larger pieces of vinyl, but the long term success of the patch may be doubtful. Many people would also rather not have a patchwork quilt for a pool liner, and may prefer to replace, when budget allows. pool-liner-patch-kit

Patches tend to have the best success when they are small, and not in a corner, or too close to the bead, or any of the “cuts” to the vinyl – steps, returns, skimmers, lights. Vinyl repairs on the wall are usually successful, if the vinyl is not overly stretched and stressed in that area. If it’s high on the wall, patch it dry, low wall or floor patches are usually patched wet, or underwater.

If the vinyl liner is very old, rips and tears will occur, seemingly on their own. Vinyl liners of a certain age, they become hard and brittle, and can easily ‘snap’, or tear horizontally, near the waterline, as shown in the top image.

There is likely no real need to replace the liner for just a small tear, or even a large one – but if the overall condition of the liner is leading to tears and rips, there will soon be many more, and at some point, it’s time to plan for a pool liner replacement.

Wrinkles in a Vinyl Liner

Don’t feel bad if you have a wrinkle or two, many vinyl pools have wrinkles. Wrinkles can be part of a mis-calculated liner installation, or they can be a result of erosion under the liner, or the vinyl can pucker in certain corrosive water conditions.

Wrinkles not only look bad, but they also form a weak spot in the liner, and a spot vulnerable to being snagged by pool cleaning tools or automatic pool cleaners. Numerous wrinkles will also trap dirt against the folds, which can help bacteria and algae grow.

Once wrinkles have been under the weight of water for any length of time, they become hard, if not impossible to fully remove. Maybe not a reason to replace a pool liner, but there is usually little one can do to repair a wrinkled liner.

Stained Pool Liners

It’s not uncommon for spring to bring some odd colors to pool liners and steps. If balancing and shocking the pool doesn’t remove liner stains, you can renew the hue of your liner with our stain removal chemicals for vinyl liners. pool-liner-stains

In the old days, stains on a pool liner were not easy to remove, but with so many specialized stain removers, there is usually no need to replace a pool liner because of staining.

If this year is the year for a new pool liner, check out our selection of inground liners and aboveground liners, and with vinyl liner installation accessories.

If you have any questions about pool liner problems of your own, see our related posts below, or give our vinyl liner techs a call at 800-288-7946.

Davy Merino
InTheSwim Blog Editor

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Pool Liner Problems – Repair or Replace? — 1 Comment

  1. I like that you pointed out that rips and tears in a pool liner often need to be professionally repaired. I think that, when it comes to that, you should make sure to get the right company to install a quality swimming pool liner to replace your old one. I’m preparing to buy a new house that I will have to repair the pool in the back, and I find this really interesting.