Beginners Guide to Vinyl

Wanting a pool to keep you cool that can be installed quickly, cheaply, and survive harsh winter weather with minimal effort? Vinyl swimming pools are the least expensive inground swimming pool option and can be installed in a few weeks. Plus, flexibility in design allows you to create your dream retreat right in your backyard. So without further ado, let’s take a look at vinyl pools.

Design

The first step in building your vinyl pool is gathering inspiration. Create a detailed list of your wants for your pool, along with corresponding images that will make it easier for your builder when you’re ready to create a blueprint. Consider our following tips when creating your list:

  • Vinyl pools are flexible in their shape, size, and color, so you can make any swimming pool dream a reality. There are pre-made, high quality, budget-friendly options but if those don’t match your vision, you can have a customized liner created for an additional fee. There are three types of pool liners that differ in installation: Beaded pool liners are installed onto a track, overlap pool liners are installed under a coping strip, and unibead pool liners are installed with a J-hook.
  • Liner type as well as thickness of your liner are decisions you will make in the design process. A thicker liner (25-30 mils) will have a higher initial cost but will stand up better to any potential damage. A thinner liner will have a lower upfront cost but will face a greater risk of damage.
  • Don’t forget steps, benches, and other design elements. You can choose from a variety of color options to match all vinyl liners. With this in mind, you can create one flawless, cohesive design that displays your personality and creativity.

And remember to consider other decorative touches, like custom pool lighting, water features, outdoor entertainment, and fun accessories like pool floats and games.

Installation

With vinyl pools, you have a choice of the building material – wood and concrete are options although galvanized steel or polymer are the most common choices. Material used can affect the longevity of the pool, so make sure to ask your pool builder what is best for you.

Vinyl swimming pool liners are custom-made sheets of vinyl that serve as a divider between the water and your swimming pool structure. This wall panel structure is secured together and supported from behind to prevent it from bowing. The pool floor, formed by sand or a cement-like material, blends up into the wall structure for a flawless transition. Your liner is then installed and secured at the top of your pool, vacuum sucked into place, and the pool is filled.

The 1-2 day filling process will allow the water pressure to keep your liner in place throughout the life of your pool. Don’t forget, vinyl inground pools can be installed in a few weeks to have you swimming in no time! (Who doesn’t love that?)

Maintenance

Your swimming pool is installed and you’re soaking up the sun, but don’t forget regular inspection and maintenance. Checking for tears can save you big bucks and prevent any backyard disasters. If you find a leak in your liner, you can easily patch it with a patching glue available from your pool dealer. However, if you are concerned the leak caused further damage that could lead to cracks, fissures, or sinkholes, contact a pool professional. Unlike a concrete pool, you cannot drain a vinyl pool. The water is what is keeping your liner smooth and in place. With the pressure released, your liner can shift and bubble up. If this happens, you will need to rent a special vacuum or hire a pool professional to get your pool back to normal.

Algae and Vinyl Pool Liners?

While it’s true that the smooth, non-porous surface of your liner inhibits algae growth, it is possible for algae to grow if your chemicals are out of balance. The best way to prevent algae is to keep up with your swimming pool maintenance routine: Test your water, add chemicals, remove debris, and brush the surfaces of your pool.

Another concern is that chemical imbalances and the use of chlorine can fade your liner significantly after a few years. Refer to the proper chemical levels and use pool equipment designed for vinyl pools to avoid any fading or accidental tears. When fall rolls around and you’re ready to close your pool, allow your water to circulate for a few hours to prevent the chemicals from staining your liner while your pool isn’t in use. And finally, vinyl swimming pool liners are prone to waterlines, whihc can be created from built-up dirt and grime in your pool. When the grime dries up in the sun, it forms a less-than-attractive ring around your pool -- and it also puts your pool at risk for premature cracking and drying. Therefore, it’s important to wipe the waterline regularly with a sponge.

Vinyl Pool Q & A

Q: What are the pros and cons of a vinyl in ground pool liner?

A: There are several pros to a vinyl swimming pool liner. Vinyl liners are durable, easy to repair or replace, and generally more affordable than concrete or gunite pools. They’re also easy to ship and install. A few cons? No matter how well you maintain them, vinyl liners will need to be replaced eventually.

Q: How much does a vinyl pool liner cost?

A: The cost of a vinyl swimming pool liner depends on several factors, including the size and shape of your pool. Other variables -- such as the thickness of your liner, the pattern, texture, and color of your liner.

Q: How long does a vinyl swimming pool liner last?

A: In general, a high quality vinyl swimming pool liner can last around 8 to 12 years. But keep in mind that the lifespan of your liner can vary. A well-maintained liner can last longer than the average.

A: Can I use a vinyl liner in a salt water pool?

Q: Yes. In fact, because saltwater pools require less chlorine, your pool liner may last longer than it would otherwise. One word of caution, though: Salt water is not a great choice for any type of pool with steel or metal components.