When Should You Replace Your Liner
While owning a pool can be a lot of fun for the whole family and friends, it does come with its upkeep cost. One of the biggest ones being replacing the liner. On average, pool liner will last around 10 to 12 years. There are a few signs to help you determine when yours will be do:
Cracks / Rips
The most obvious sign that a liner should be replaced are holes and rips that can not be patched with a vinyl patch kit. Over time, vinyl material can get brittle and lose its elasticity which can make the liner more prone to ripping and cracking. The most common trouble spots are around the scum-line, where the UV has damaged the elasticity quicker than the rest of the pool, in / around the step area, skimmer, returns, and light areas.
Water Loss / Leaks / Evaporation
It is not always easy to determine whether you have a leak or if evaporation is the reason your water level is dropping. Leaks can be hard to find but thats why its important to monitor it and check common areas. These include, but are not limited to, the skimmer, main drains, returns, plumbing, lights, and steps. Dye kits can help you locate a leak when you have an idea where it could be coming from.
To help determine what is causing the drop, you can try the “Bucket Method”. Which requires you to place a bucket on the entrance steps of your pool and fill it with water to the same level as the water in the pool. The water in the pool and in the bucket will evaporate at the same rate, which will reveil whether you have a leak or on evaporation. Make sure to give it a few days to better determine if there is a leak.
Fading / Staining / Chemistry
While the majority of pool liners manufactured make fade resistant vinyls, the UV rays and chemicals will gradually wear on their color and become more prone to staining. Fading is one the first indicators that your liner is getting older. Leaving debris at the bottom of the pools like leaves and organic matter will start to stain the liner easier as the liner dries out and becomes more brittle.
Maintaining good water chemistry and not using liquid chlorine will help prevent premature fading and help your liner stay more vibrant longer. Using a winter cover can also significantly help reduce fading over the months where the water is down and liner is more prone to UV exposure.
Stretching / Wrinkles / Movement
Although less common, if a pool liner starts to stretch and shift under water it can be a sign of ground water problems. A pool liner stays in position from the pressure of the water in the pool so if it is moving and stretching, it’s an indication there is something that needs addressed sooner than later to prevent bigger damages. In these cases, the liner is likely to resettle with winkles in it once that water escapes. This effect can cause the liner to pull out of its' coping and require it to be repositioned in its place. We recommend contacting us and not attempting this lift yourself if you are not experienced doing it. Depending on the age of the liner if could cause more damage if not done properly.
Wrinkles can also prematurely appear if your water parameters are not kept in the manufacture suggested range. Calcium hardness, sanitizer, and pH levels can drastically make a difference when balanced vs out of range. Not only will they help make your pool maintenance easier when balanced, but they will help add a few years of life to your vinyl liner, in return saving you money.
What’s the best time of the Year To Replace A Pool Liner?
To make the pool of the pool season, the majority of pool owners will choose to do their pool liner replacement either in the Spring or the Fall depending on when they placed a deposit and the when the measurement is completed.
If you are planning to have your liner replaced the following season, it is always recommended to get it measured the season prior to make sure it can be ordered over the winter and not cause delays with installation. Typically early installations get booked up quickly, so it is best to think of it in advance to get the most of the summer you replace it.
How long do pool liners last? How can you extend their lifespan?
In our region the average pool liner will last around 10-12 years. That being said, there are many factors that can increase/decrease the lifespan of a liner. These include:
Water Balancing and Testing.
Good water chemistry is key to your liner lifespan. Regularly testing your water and getting sample analyzed can greatly increase the life of a pool liner. A few parameters being off can cause premature wrinkles and fading, not to mention it will make maintaining your pool more work in the long run and could damage filtration equipment and heaters.
Low pH or alkalinity can stretch the liner and cause wrinkles to form, while low calcium hardness can cause the liner to become hard and brittle. Improper use of chlorine and salt system can cause bleaching and cause fitting to dry out.
Drainage Problems & Ground Water.
In areas with high groundwater levels, water can seep in under the liner, causing it to “float”. While the liner will eventually settle back down when the groundwater recedes, you run the risk of the liner stretching, wrinkling, or coming out of the coping.
Making sure that you have proper property drainage around the pool is crucial to prevent this. If you have an emergency well, keep an eye on it and pump water out as needed.
Winter Cover and Closing Procedures.
A few extra closing steps can go a long way. Although the upfront investment will seem like a lot, a winter cover can drastically extend your liner lifespan and save you hours of work.
Scrubbing the scum-line throughout the season and specially at the end of the season helps prevent built up at the water liner. This build up once frozen, can never be fully removed and will lead to that area of the liner cracking and becoming more prone to discolouration.
Using a Closing Kit and removing all leaves and debris can also help reduce staining over the winter and having to need as much product come the spring time to re-open the pool
The Liner Measurement.
It is always best to have a liner custom ordered in advanced rather than trying to make one fit. If the dimensions of your liner isn’t custom to your pool the liner will need to be stretched to fit it and could make the liner gauge uneven or result in you having too much liner and wrinkles.
Although you may have the old pool plans from the original install, it is always best to request a custom measurement as pools can shift over 10 years +.
Replacing a pool liner can be expensive, however prolonging the replacement could cost more. Leaks can cause extra damages to the overall structure of the pool. Steps can be taken to help extend your current liner lifespan and make your next one last longer.
Early planning allows you to make sure you get the right fit and the replacement timeline you want to get to most out of your summer. Most pool owners will want their pool liners replaced in the early spring, so we recommend contacting us sooner than later to avoid a mid summer replacement.