Avoid These Vinyl Liner Mistakes: 6 Causes of Pool Liner Damage
Your swimming pool liner is one of the most important elements in your pool. Liners typically last many seasons - but they are not invulnerable. Improper treatment will dramatically shorten the lifespan of your liner, leading to frequent replacements, more pool owner headaches, and significantly higher maintenance costs over time.
Fortunately, we have some super easy tips that will help you extend the life of your pool liner, repair your pool liner, and reduce the harmful fading that can occur on your pool liner. By practicing proper maintenance and upkeep, your liner can last upwards of 20 years!
How to Extend the Life of Your Pool Liner
Here are five ways you can extend the life of your pool liner so you can enjoy your backyard swimming pool for years to come.
1. Clear Away Sharp Objects
Unfortunately, your backyard can harbor plenty of hazards to your pool liner - from fallen branches to thrown rocks to other backyard elements. Remove as many of those items as possible from your pool area to avoid puncture damage. Prune your shrubs, remove fallen branches, and place decorative stones far away from the pool.
2. Allow Pool Toys Only
Just like your backyard hazards, the wrong toys can cause a world of hurt to your pool liner. Pool toys are soft-sided, designed specifically to interact gently with the relatively delicate material of your liner. Sure, water guns can be fun, and dolls have their place - but neither should be allowed in your pool where their pointy edges can cause rips and tears in your liner.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Pets
Pets love the pool too - but you might want to keep an eye on your liner, especially where they exit the pool after swimming. Small scratches can turn into holes, so make sure your dog can easily exit the pool or they may try to swim to the side and claw their way out. Training your dog on how to exit the pool is important for the health of your liner and for the safety of your pets. Don't assume all dogs know how to swim!
4. Don't Expose Your Pool Liner
Never totally drain your vinyl-lined pool. When exposed to air, vinyl will shrink and crack as it dries out. This is especially true of older liners, as vinyl becomes weak and brittle with age. If you want to clean the floor of your pool, leave at least 6 to 12 inches of water over the shallow end to help protect your liner.
5. Use the Proper Tools
First and foremost, never use household equipment as pool equipment. Household cleaners and tools are typically manufactured for use on non-vinyl. Even that innocuous kitchen scrub brush could leave scratches and holes in your vinyl pool liner.
Even some pool equipment is not intended for use on vinyl liners. For example, some vacuums and brushes made for concrete pools will destroy a vinyl liner. Be sure to exercise caution with any metal tool, such as a pole. If you carelessly use the end to scrape anything off the side of your pool, you may end up with a much larger problem.
6. Prevent Vinyl Liner Fading
Fading is one of the most obvious ways a liner fades over time. There are lots of things that contribute to fading, so read on for our mini-guide to prevention:
How to keep your Vinyl Liner from Fading
Although a faded pool liner will still allow you hours of fun in the sun, you'll appreciate your pool even more if it looks nice. On top of that, fading can reduce the lifespan of your liner. Here are five ways to help prevent the fade.
1. Provide Shade
Other than chemicals, the sun is the biggest offender for bleaching out the color of your vinyl pool liner. And sometimes, fading isn't just cosmetic damage. It can also wear away the material. While some degree of slight fading is to be expected over time, there are a few easy steps you can take to preserve the vibrant color of your liner. Consider some landscaping elements to block more of the sunlight. Shade Sails, pergolas, awnings, trees, shrubs, and surrounding buildings can block the pool liner from direct sunlight. If you are going on vacation, covering your pool can help prevent fading and keep out debris.
2. Balance Your Water Chemistry
Test your water chemistry at least once a week (or more often if you use the pool a lot) to ensure its proper balance. Maintaining balance will keep the pH at the correct level and prevent corrosion. When the pH I too low, and the water becomes acidic, your liner will slowly degrade over time.
Keep an eye on these elements of water chemistry. They are the most likely culprits for damaging your pool liner:
Chlorine - High chlorine levels will degrade your pool liner faster. Always dissolve chlorine in a bucket first and then add it to your pool to prevent the granules from coming into direct contact with the vinyl. And when adding multiple chemicals, only add one at a time. This will prevent over-concentration in one area that can bleach and damage your liner. In addition, try not to over-shock your pool. If you aren't having any issues, you might consider shocking a little less often.
pH - try and keep your pH levels between 7.2 and 7.8 to prevent the “acid bath” effect.
Calcium Hardness - the “hardness” or “softness” of your water is determined by the calcium in your pool. Water that is too soft can also damage a pool.
Alkalinity - your total alkalinity will affect your ability to influence your pool pH. If it's difficult to make adjustments to your pH, test for your total alkalinity.
3. Choose a Thicker Material and a Lighter Color
When purchasing a new pool liner, choose a thicker liner that can better withstand the harsh UV rays and chemical fading. Opting for a light-colored liner (like pink, light blue, or teal) will make fading less noticeable.
4. Don't Cover Your Pool Right After Treatment
Another way to take care of your vinyl liner is to leave your pool uncovered after treating your water. You will need to leave it uncovered for at least 24 hours after adding chlorine or other chemicals. The sealed environment under the pool cover prevents the chemicals from being able to properly dissipate. And keeping them trapped can cause excessive exposure and lots of fading.
Help Your Pool Liner Last for Years
By following these steps, you can extend the life of your pool liner and keep your pool looking nice. However, it's always a good idea to have a conversation with your local pool professional or pool builder for any extra tips they might have.
If you want to speak with a pool professional in your area, you can use our dealer locator to find high-rated professionals. Visit our dealer locator.