How to Replace an Above Ground Pool Liner

If you have an above ground pool, there may come a day when you need to learn how to replace an above ground pool liner. It could be that your current liner is stained or has developed a rip or hole in it. In either case, the best course of action is to hire a pool service professional to ensure that the job is done correctly.

Even though you're hiring someone to do the complex job for you, it makes sense to understand the process.

Above Ground Pool

When To Replace an Above Ground Pool Liner

In addition to the two instances we discussed earlier, there are some other times when it becomes necessary to replace your pool liner. They are:

  • It's time: Pool liners typically last 6-10 years before they need to be replaced.
  • It's cracking: The sun, along with the chemicals you use to keep the water balanced, can eventually cause cracks in your pool liner. If you notice that you're losing water faster than normal, look for cracks around the edges and fittings in the pool. If you find them, it's time to replace the liner.
  • It's stretching: If your lining has wrinkles in it or is sagging, it may be time to replace it. Another sign of a sagging pool liner is when it frequently slips out of its track or becomes saggy around the skimmers and pump.
  • It's fading: When your liner begins to fade, it's a sign that it's nearing the end of its lifecycle.

What Type of Pool Liner Do You Need?

Above ground pool liners come in three types, and they are all installed differently. It's best to speak with your pool professional to determine which type will best work with your pool and environment. The three types of liners are:

  1. Unibead pool liners: These pool liners have a J-shaped fastener that sits around the top of the liner that hooks over the top of the pool. They are also called J-hook liners or universal bead liners.
  2. Beaded liners: These liners fit into a track that spans the top of the pool. The liner has a groove that fits neatly into the track, creating a smooth look.
  3. Overlap liners: These are the least expensive liners you can purchase. To install them, the pool professional will drape the liner over the pool and clamp it into place with coping strips.
Did you know?

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How To Replace an Above Ground Pool Liner

Once you've hired the right pool professional, here are the steps they will take to install your new above ground pool liner.

Measure the Pool

Measuring the pool is the most important step in ensuring that your new pool liner will sit right. And here's the deal: If your measurements are off by even an inch, it will prevent the liner from fitting your pool properly. Depending on the shape of your pool, the pool professional will measure it differently.

  • Round and oval pools: The professional will determine the diameter of the pool by measuring across the center of the pool. They will measure it in various places and use the widest measurement.
  • Rectangular pools: Your pool professional will measure the width and length of the pool across the middle.
  • Pool height: Standing on the outside of the pool, the professional will measure the distance from the bottom rail to the top rail.

Drain the Pool

The next step in the process is to drain the pool. The professional will likely use a submersible pump because the pool will need to be drained except for a few gallons of water. The remaining water can be poured onto the ground.

Detach the Liner

Now the professional will disconnect the pool's plumbing from the skimmers, remove the faceplates, and take out all the pool accessories such as steps and ladders when they are attached to the liner. Then, they will remove the liner from the track, if it has one, and slice the liner into smaller pieces. This is easier than trying to remove the entire lining at one time. If your pool has an overlap liner, they will remove the top rails.

Prepare the Pool's Floor

The next thing you'll see is the professionals leveling out the pool floor. If they are using sand to do the job, they will fill in any holes and then use a level to ensure that the bottom of the pool is flat and smooth. You will notice that they won't add much more sand to the bottom. That's because it would affect the measurements they took earlier. Finally, they will round the corners of the pool with sand. This will provide the liner a spot to rest on.

If your pool's floor is made of cement, they will repair any cracks or holes and then remove all debris from the area.

Prepare the Pool's Walls

While the liner is off of the pool, the professional will take the opportunity to sand off any rough or rusted areas of the frame. This will prevent any future corrosion to your pool frame.

Install the New Liner

For this step in the process, the professional will need extra help. They will place the liner in the center of the pool while the additional workers stand outside of the pool. Then, they will unroll the liner to the edges of the pool. The people standing outside of it will pull up the liner over their portion of the pool's wall.

Next, they will temporarily clamp the liner to the wall. Or if it is a beaded liner, they will insert it into the track until it is even all the way around the pool. In the end, the liner will sit about an inch above the pool's floor.

Remove the Wrinkles

It's inevitable that some small wrinkles will remain in the liner, no matter how much effort was put into removing them. The professional will likely use a shop vacuum to get rid of all the wrinkles that are left. They will start by creating a seal around the pool by duct-taping the returns and openings. Then, they will insert the vacuum's hose into the skimmer and put it between the liner and the pool wall. When they turn on the vacuum, it will cause the liner to stick to the wall, removing the remaining wrinkles.

Add Water

With the shop vacuum still going, they will fill the pool with 6-8 inches of water. Once it reaches that level, they will remove the vacuum hose and continue to fill the pool.

Add the Finishing Touches

Once the pool is full of water, the installation team will reinstall the faceplates and gaskets they removed earlier.

There's Only One Step Left

As you can imagine, the only thing left to do is to test out your new above ground swimming pool liner by diving in!