Replacing your inground or above-ground pool liner yourself can save you thousands of dollars. If you determine you need a new liner, you can purchase a new liner by assessing what type you need and measuring your pool's length, width, and depth. Then, you can remove the old liner and install the new liner so you can enjoy your clean, leak-free pool all summer long.
Method 1 of 3:Buying the Right Type and Size
1Choose an inground vinyl liner if you have an inground pool. Unlike above-ground pools, there is only one type of liner for an inground pool. Inground pool liners are made from durable vinyl and are attached to your pool with a steel or aluminum frame.
Vinyl inground pools are generally less expensive than fiberglass, tile, or concrete.
In general, inground pools are either made to have a vinyl liner or not. While it's possible to cover a concrete, fiberglass, or tile pool with a vinyl liner, it's unlikely that the vinyl will lay seamlessly and could start to leak or tear.
2Get an overlap liner if your above-ground pool is deep. Overlap above-ground pool liners are liners that cover the bottom and sides of your pool and drape over the sides. Most overlap pool liners are easily adjustable and come with an expandable bottom, making them a great option for above-ground pools that are particularly deep.
While overlap liners are generally the easiest to install, they do tend to slip into the water more easily than other types of above-ground liners.
3Select an above-ground standard bead liner if you had a track installed. If a bead liner track was installed when you first got your above-ground pool, you'll need to get a standard bead liner to replace the old liner. Bead liners have a strip of beading around the top that fit into the track that was installed around the rim of your pool.
A regular or standard bead liner has a simple bead pattern around the top that snaps into the track.
4Opt for an above-ground j-hook bead liner if you don't have a track. If you didn't have a track installed but don't want to get an overlap liner, a j-hook bead liner may be your best option. A j-hook bead liner has a hook around the top of the liner that simply hooks over the rim of the pool when you install it.
If you had a regular bead liner track installed but you want to switch to a j-hook liner, you can do this by removing the track. The way in which you'll remove the track varies greatly depending on the type of track, however, so many sure you consult your manual or ask for professional advice.
5Go for an above-ground unibead liner if you aren't sure which to get. Also referred to as a multi bead liner, a unibead liner can either be attached to a track or hooked over the rim of the pool like a j-hook. Unibead liners have regular beading around the rim that can snap into the track, or you can pull the top of the beading apart to create a j-hook bead rim.
In some cases, you'll need to use scissors to cut off the j-hook or beading at the top, depending on how the unibead liner is designed. Therefore, it's important that you read the instructions before installing a unibead liner to see if this is the case.
6Take measurements of the length and width of your pool. Using measure tape, measure the length and width of your inground or above-ground pool. The way in which you'll measure your pool will largely depend on its shape.
For a round pool, measure the diameter of the pool across the center of the inside of the pool wall. Take this measurement in at least 2 places to make sure that your pool is actually round and not slightly oval.
For a rectangular pool, measure across both the short and long sides in 2 places to ensure your measurements are accurate.
For an oval pool, measure from one round end to the other to get the length, then across the parallel walls in 2 places to get accurate measurements.
7Measure the height if your pool is only one depth. If you have an above-ground pool or an inground pool that is one depth, you'll only need to measure the pool wall's height to get the depth. To do this, extend your measuring tape from the bottom of the inside of the pool to the top of the rail.
8Record the different depths if your pool has a deep end. To measure the depth for an inground pool that changes in depth, you'll need to measure both the shallow end and the deep end. For the shallow end, extend your measuring tape from the top of the track liner to the bottom of the wall on the shallow end. To measure the deep end, measure from the top of the track liner down to the flat part of the deep end.
9Purchase the appropriate type and size of pool liner. Using your measurements, order the correct type and size of inground or above-ground pool liner for your pool. If your pool is a standard size and shape, you'll likely be able to purchase a ready-made liner online or at a pool supply store. Otherwise, you'll need to get a custom pool liner made to fit the specific dimensions of your pool.
Method 2 of 3:Installing a New Pool Liner
1Drain the pool to remove any water. First, disconnect your pool from any plumping. Using a submersible pump, drain all the water from the pool. While it's generally not recommended to completely drain your inground or above-ground pool, you'll need to get all of the water out in order to change the liner.
If the pump can't remove the last bits of water from your above-ground pool, you can use a utility knife to cut a small slit into the side of the liner just above the floor. Then, lift the liner so the water drains out the slit.
You can also use a siphon hose to remove the water from either an inground or above-ground pool.
2Take off all the pool's hardware. With a large screwdriver, remove the screws on the faceplates and gaskets from the skimmer, lights, and main drain. Then, remove any pool accessories that are attached, such as ladders or steps.
Set these off to the side, keeping all the screws in a safe place so you'll be able to easily reinstall these later.
3Remove the existing liner from the pool. If you have an inground pool or an above-ground pool with a beaded or unibead liner on a track, pull the liner down and away from the track to get it out. If you have an above-ground pool with an overlap liner, pull the liner up and away from the pool structure to remove it.
If the liner is large and heavy, you can use a utility knife to cut it into smaller, more manageable pieces to remove it.
4Fill in and smooth out the flooring to prepare for the new liner. First, pour mixed concrete or sand over the places that need to be repaired. Then, using flat trowels, smooth out the sand or concrete on the bottom of the pool floor, shaving off any built-up spots. Then, fill in any holes with fresh masonry sand or concrete to ensure that the new liner fits tightly across the bottom.
Make sure that you don't overfill the holes or fill the entire bottom, as this can impact the measurements you've taken of the pool's depth.
For best results, fill in holes with masonry sand that doesn't have pebbles in it.
If you find extensive cracks or holes after you remove the liner, you may need to hire a professional to repair these before you can install the new liner.
5Sand and cover any rusted spots on the walls. To prepare your pool for the new liner, use sand paper to sand off any rusty areas. Then, paint over the sanded spots with pool paint to prevent any further erosion.
Pool paint is widely available at most home improvement stores.
6Lay the new liner inside the pool. First, unroll the liner across the pool deck. Then, carefully pull the new liner over the length of the pool, letting it drape into the pool until it's about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the bottom of the pool. If there's any sagging or bunching, pull on the edges to adjust the liner until it lays smoothly just over the bottom.
You'll likely need at least 1 or 2 people to help you lay the new liner in the pool.
If you have an inground pool that has more than one depth, start at the deep end and roll the liner out towards the shallow end.
7Attach the liner to the tracks or sides. If you're using an overlap or j-hook liner for an above-ground pool, hold the liner in place using overlap liner coping strips or hook the j-hooks over the rim. If you're using a beaded or unibead liner for your above-ground pool, or if you have an inground pool, insert the liner into the tracks by placing the beaded rim into the corresponding spikes inside the track. Shift the liner around and pulling it out towards the walls to straighten and remove any wrinkles as needed.
Leave about 5 inches (13 cm) of the liner loose so that you can fit you shop vac hose inside the liner to seal it to the pool shell.
8Use a shop vac to seal the liner to the pool shell. Once the liner is hooked, draped, or snapped into its track, stick the hose of your shop vac into the 5 inches (13 cm) gap you left loose. Then, use utility tape to tape down the rest of the liner so its sealed around the shop vac hose. Turn the vacuum on and leave it to suck the air out from under the liner for about 20 minutes.
If your pool is very large, it may take longer than 20 minutes to remove the air.
9Reinstall the face plates, gaskets, and ladders. Once the pool is filled and the liner is stretched into place, you can start to reinstall the pools hardware, including the faceplates and gaskets you removed to get the old liner out. In addition, you can reinstall any additional attachments, such as ladders.
10Reconnect all of the pool's plumbing. Make sure that you reconnect the pump and filter hoses exactly as they were before you replaced the liner. Once the plumbing is reconnect, use a utility knife to cut the vinyl from inside the face plate openings.
How you reconnect your pool's plumbing varies depending on the type of pool and pump set up you have. Therefore, consult your owner's manual or ask a professional if you can't remember how you disconnected it.
Once the face plates are open, your pool is ready to use again.
11Fill the pool all the way to the top with water. Place a garden hose into your pool, and turn on the water to fill the pool. If you're using an overlap liner, watch closely to make sure that the edges of the liner don't slip out of the coping strips and fall down the wall and into the water.
While it's unlikely, it is possible for inground, beaded, and unibead liners to pop out of the track as you fill the pool, so keep an eye on the track on these types of liners as well.
Once the pool is filled, you can add any chemicals you use to treat your pool, such as chlorine.
Method 3 of 3:Determining When to Replace a Pool Liner
1Replace your pool liner after 5 to 10 years. If you have an above-ground pool, you'll likely need to replace the liner every 6 to 10 years. If you have an inground pool, the liner generally needs to be replaced every 5 to 9 years. Even if you properly maintain your swimming pool, sun, chemicals, and years of use will cause wear and tear.
2Change your pool liner if you see any cracks or tears. Inspect your pool liner closely before refilling the pool every year to see if you notice any cracks or tears. Despite the fact that most pool liners are made out of durable vinyl, they can still start to crack and tear over time. Debris, bad weather, and harsh UV rays and chemicals can cause cracks and tears that will increase in size over time.
If the cracks or tears are small and your pool liner is relatively new, you may be able to repair it with a patch without replacing the entire liner.
3Get a new pool liner if the pool loses water faster than normal. In some cases, you may not be able to see cracks or tears in the liner even if you inspect it closely. If you fill up your pool and notice that the water level drops faster than it has in the past, it's likely that your liner has a crack or tear and needs to be replaced.
4Buy a new pool liner if you notice any sagging or wrinkling. As your pool liner gets older, it will likely begin to stretch out from the pressure of the water, as well as the weather. When it stretches out, you'll usually notice some sagging and wrinkling along the liner and some loosening around the edges and hardware. This can cause your liner to slip off its track and start to leak. Therefore, if you notice any sagging or wrinkling, it's likely time for you to get a new liner.
5Consider getting a new liner if it becomes stained or faded. Staining and fading on your pool liner won't necessarily cause it to start to leak, but it does make your pool look less inviting. While it may not be necessary, it might be worth it to replace the liner if the old one has become an eye sore.
Fading can, however, be a sign that the pool liner is reaching the end of its usable years. It may also be a sign that the liner is about to crack or tear as a result of too much UV exposure.