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All about Above Ground Pool Liners
by Guest Blogger Dave Milspilkin, August 17, 2011
If you have a vinyl pool liner, you know - that there's a lot to know. Taking care of your vinyl liner is important to prevent bleaching, staining and tearing of your pool surfaces.
Replacing your vinyl liner is inevitable. I have seen them last 20 years, but more and more, liners are less durable than they used to be. This may be due to more restrictions on their manufacture. Less plasticizers and resins in modern, domestic vinyl causes them to break down in a shorter time period.
Here's some general information on above ground pool liners.
Measuring for an above ground pool liner. Before you can replace an above ground pool liner you will need to measure your pool. If you have a round pool, you will need to know the diameter and wall height. Oval and rectangle pools will require measurements for the length and width. You will also need to know information about the bottom of your pool. A standard floor has a coving (where the floor meets the wall) that is about 4 inches in height up the wall and 3 inches inward from the wall.
Overlap liner pools tend to have larger coves and most overlap lined pools are built to fit universal overlap liners ranging from 48-54 inches in height. Measuring the wall height from the base of the bottom track to the top of the wall. Do not measure from inside the pool, always measure from the outside. Move any debris that may be in the way so you can measure from the base of the pool. Measure upward to underneath your pools top rail. This is your wall height. Next you will need the diameter, if your pool is round. Measure across with tape measure making sure your at the halfway point.
If your pool is oval, take your measurements from the inside of the pool wall near the top of the pool. Use a tape measure and measure from straight side to the other straight side (this is the width measurement) on the inside of the wall. Next use a tape measure from one curved end to the other curved end (this is the length dimension of your pool) in the center of the pool. Place the two dimensions together; this is your oval pools length by width measurements.
Measuring a rectangle pool is done the same way as an oval pool. You just need to specify to merchant that your pool is ether rectangle or oval.
Mil Vs Gauge which one is best thickness for you? Most manufactures sell liner thickness with two choices. There is the mil choice and the gauge choice. The fact is that these terms are interchangeable and mean the same thing in the pool industry. So when you have the choice of a 20 mil its the same as a 20 gauge. This 20 mil or 20 gauges represents the standard thickness of above ground pool liners on the markets today. Having a 25 mil or 25 gauge liner is of course thicker and will carry a better warranty and generally last longer. All liners are subject to punctures and tears from outside elements.
Overlap pool liners will overlap the top rim of the wall and are clamped down with a coping strip. These pool liners are the most affordable. You may not be able to find many colors or patterns in this type of liner though. Overlap liners are the hardest to install, requiring basic items which will come with your pool. These liners now come universal to fit pool wall heights of between 48-54 inches.
J-hook pool liners are called that because of the way that are mounted and hang on the top of your pool wall via a J-shaped adapter. They are not as cheap as overlap pool liners, but are easier to remove and replace should you need to do so. J-hook liners also come in a wider variety of patterns and colors than overlap liners. J-Hook liners can come as a uni-bead or an ez-bead.
Regular beaded pool liners are considered the best available, mainly because they include the largest variety of pattern selection, they are easily installed. They require a track system called bead receivers. The tracking is placed on the wall itself to receive the bead directly into the groove of the bead receiver. The bead snaps into the track. If your pool was installed with this system then replacing your liner could not be easier. Taking apart the top rails is not necessary. Just remove old liner and the new liner fits in the same bead track.
Uni-bead liners are liners are both the J-hook and regular beaded together as one. You can use both applications separately. For J-hook you simply hook the liner over the top of your pools wall. For a regular bead you cut away the J-hook portion and tuck the bead into your bead receivers.
Ez-Bead liners are almost the same as the uni-bead liners but with this difference. If using the J-hook simply hook the liner over the top of your pools wall. For regular bead application you fold over the J-hook onto itself and it becomes the regular bead that snaps into your bead receivers.
Wall Foam & Pool Cove Foam pool cove are a choice in regards to an above ground pool liner installation. We recommend if your pool has them to inspect for any damaged pieces and replace them if needed. There are two choices when it comes to covering the bottom of your floor base. First is regular foam which comes on a roll and can be cut and taped into place before the liner is set. Second choice is a geotextile material that is manufactured to fit your floor exactly. Just lay it out into place and tape it to the bottom of the wall. Not all cut to fit pads fit perfectly so adjusting for fit will be necessary. The geotextile is more expensive but it was developed and used for trash dump containers. So it is very tough when it comes to protecting against rocks and other debris that may make it to your floors bottom.
How to care for your above ground pool liner In order to keep your above ground pool liner looking its best, you need to take care of two main things. There are two main ways to keep above ground pool liners functional for 10+ years. Having correct water chemistry and the general care for the pool liner itself. Chemistry plays the biggest part in keeping your pool liner like new. Making sure that the pH level is between 7.2 and 7.6 and the chlorine levels should stay between 1.5 and 2.5 ppm. The calcium hardness should be at 200 to 300 ppm and the total alkalinity should be at 80 to 100 ppm. When you can maintain these levels you’ve can extend the life of your liner by years. On the other hand if these chemistry values are not kept up to par then algae and bacteria can grow, and they can cause damage to your pool liner.
It’s also a good idea to maintain the physical element of the liner itself. You will want to vacuum and dispose of the debris that can collect on the liner. Never use harmful cleaners on your above ground pool liner for stains. It could damage your pool liner. Also, never drain your pool unless you are replacing the liner. If you were to remove all the water it will actually ruin your pool liner.
David W. Mispilkin has been in the above ground pool installation business for the past 15 years. His experience includes, but not limited to above ground pool and liner sales, repairs, and installations. Over the years, David has installed thousands of above ground pools and liners from various manufacturers and has expertly installed moved and changed pools and liners. You can see more at davesabovegroundpools.com
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