Swimming Pool Blog
by Mark Garcia April 22, 2014
Replacing an Above Ground Pool Liner
For above ground pools, dropping in a new liner is an easy weekend project, and a fast way to give your pool a facelift.
I like to replace my liner about every 5-10 years. Once you start to develop holes that seem to come from nowhere, it can grow into an entire season of chasing little leaks.
Or, a liner can be replaced for appearances sake, if you have rust, stains, fading or ugly patches.
If you have never replaced your own above ground pool liner - it's easy! And, you can save lots of money, sometimes doing it for a third of what pool companies may charge you.
Why pay over $900-1200 to have your liner replaced? Do it yourself, for just $300-500!
Step One: Drain the Pool
This is the step that really throws people off, if they don't have a small submersible pump. A $60 pool cover pump will work. Maybe a neighbor has a sump pump you can borrow, or you can rent one from a rental shop for about $20 per day.
Use enough hose to pump the water away from the pool a distance, just to keep it dry around and under the pool.
Step Two: Remove the Liner
Once all of the water is nearly out, use a razor knife to cut the liner at the bottom of the wall, just above the floor. Then cut the liner vertically with several cuts. Remove the faceplate screws for the skimmer and return, and place these in a safe place. Remove the liner from the track, or remove the coping clips, for overlap liners, and roll the old liner up into strips that you can remove from the pool.
With a helper, pull the floor liner piece inwards, to pool any remaining water in the center and pump it out. You can spill a few gallons, but try to get most of it pumped out, to keep the floor as dry as possible.
Step Three: Floor and Wall Prep
Inspect your walls for any rust or dust. If rusty, scrape and paint with a Rust-O-leum type paint. If your wall is rough or rusty, you should use wall foam to protect your new liner. Order a roll large enough for your pool perimeter, and a few cans of spray adhesive.
If you find any crimps or dents on your walls, you can place 2x4's on either side of the wall, and use a large hammer to smooth out the wall.
For the floor, a sand bottom will require that you trowel it smooth, to remove any footprints and uneven areas. Use a flat trowel, with rounded ends to reduce high spots and fill low spots. You can add a little bit of sand, but not too much, or a beaded liner may no longer fit properly. If you want to take an easier route, lay down Happy Bottom floor padding
A cement pool floor or vermiculite bottom usually just needs to be swept clean. Any divots or cracks can be patched.
Step Four: Install the New Liner
For pools with no deck, lay the box in the middle of the pool and pull the liner out. Unfold it and open it to the width of the pool, and begin to lock the bead into the track, or pull the liner over the wall, and clip it into place. Exit the pool, and then lock the remaining liner evenly around the pool - from outside of the pool, to keep the floor smooth.
For pools with a deck, lay the liner on the deck and pull it across the pool, being careful not to snag the vinyl on anything sharp. Lock the liner in place in a few spots, and then work opposite each other until the liner is locked into the track, or pulled over the pool wall, all around the pool.
Make adjustments as necessary so that the liner is hanging straight down the walls (not twisted), and so that the liner is just barely touching the center of the pool floor, and is an inch or two above the floor near the walls. This will give it the room to stretch into shape without forming wrinkles.
Step Five: Fill the Pool
With pool liner in place, you can begin to fill the pool from the garden hose. Most hoses will add 1000 gallons in about 2 hours, so depending on your pool size, you may have to wait awhile. Continue filling until full, and then screw in the faceplates of your skimmer and return, with new gaskets. Tighten down very tightly, and use a large (#3) Philips head screwdriver to torque them until the plastic creaks and squeaks.
Connect your hoses from the pool skimmer and return to your pump and filter, and then you can cut out the vinyl piece inside of the faceplate, with your razor knife. Prime up the pump and start filtering the water! Finish up with testing and balancing your pool water, and start adding sanitizer.
Depending on how fast you can drain and refill the pool, replacing your own aboveground pool liner can be done in 1-3 days. The real 'work' of the job, steps 2, 3 and 4, should take no more than 3-6 hours of time. Not a bad investment to save $500-700!
Thanks for Reading!