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Inground Pool Liner Installation

August 27 2013

Inground Pool Liner Installation

This may have been the biggest home project I’ve had so far.  We bought a house that had been through foreclosure and sat vacant for a while.  The backyard inground pool when we moved in four years ago was a green chemistry experiment full of algae and frogs.  We were lucky enough moving in that the fallen in liner could be reset in the bead track and our hopes were to get 2-3 years of life before replacement.  So after three years and a few hole repairs we knew we needed to replace our pool liner.   

For homeowners with inground pools that have a vinyl liner it is inevitable that the liner will need replacing.  A typical liner lasts from 5-10 years depending on the quality and treatment of the liner.  While this life span is typical I recently talked to a person who had his liner 20 years before replacing it!  Major factors that degrade liners are sunlight, pool chemistry, poor pool maintenance and heat and cold cycles.  Our liner having sat in an empty pool under Missourisun and weather had a significantly shortened life.  Once the decision to replace was made, despite my wife’s doubts, I did enough reading and research to develop the confidence that I could do this job myself.  I will detail the steps to replace an in ground pool liner as I believe this is in the realm of many handymen/homeowners ability level.

The first step is the obvious one, measure the pool.  This is the most critical aspect as a liner that does not fit or fit well will yield poor results.  There are pool liner forms available on the internet that guide you step by step to measure the correct areas of your pool to guarantee a perfect fit.  I choose to purchase the liner from Doheny’s Water Warehouse and the form I used is available from the following link:  http://www.doheny.com/Pdfs/Measuring%20Form-interactive.pdf.  The measuring process is a two person process that requires the old adage "measure twice and cut once” principle.  Even though you are not cutting anything measuring twice is necessary.  In fact, when I replaced my liner my son and I measured one day, printed another form and measured a second time the next day.  We did not reference the first day’s measurements until we completed all measuring the second time.  There were only two discrepancies and those were measured a third time to make sure we had the correct measurement.  This process requires simple tools - a tape measure, chalk and a pool pole or long board.

Once the measuring forms are complete the next step is to contact several vendors for price quotes.  I did not find a large discrepancy on liner pricing so for me it came down to the sales representative I felt the most comfortable with.  For me that was the Doheny’s representative.  For instance, the representative informed me that she had all of the replacement gaskets and step gasket materials that could ship with the liner thus saving me from finding those from another source. I appreciated this and having a one stop shop made the process even easier.

The last step before placing your liner order is to choose the pattern.   I liken this to choosing paint in that there are a multitude of colors and patterns. We choose (my wife selected) a very dark pool liner which I was a little hesitant on at first.  Here is where the knowledgeable sales representative helped. I explained that I had reservations about a dark liner because of staining that could leave light color streaks on the dark blue pattern.  She recommended a pattern that had a blue vinyl base instead of a white vinyl base before the pattern is overlaid.  This way, she explained, if there is a stain issue it won’t show up as a white streak but more of a blue that will blend in with the pattern.  With all the questions answered the order was placed and we waited to schedule installation on a weather appropriate weekend when my brother-in-law and handyman friends were available to help.


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