How to Replace a Pool Liner


Vinyl pool liners can last 10 to 20 years if cared for properly, but they will need to be replaced eventually. It's a time-consuming project — budget a full day — but do-it-yourselfers can successfully take it on with some patience, attention to detail and a little help from their friends.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape for wall joints
  • Putty knives
  • Sander
  • Box cutters and blades
  • Large plastic trowel (for sand pool floors)
  • Vermiculite mixture (for concrete or vermiculite floors)
  • Broom
  • Cordless drill
  • Pool vacuum and hose
  • Drain your pool.

  • Remove fixtures, lights and drains.

  • Remove the old vinyl liner from the tracks and cut it into small, manageable pieces. Store the pieces off to the side so that you can recycle them later.

  • Tape the points where the walls join together with duct tape to make the seams less visible.

  • Scrape or sand until smooth any rust spots or irregularities on the pool walls.

  • Check the track where the bead of the liner fits for wear and tear. Replace any damaged sections.

  • With a sand floor, Look for muddy or discolored sand, which is an obvious sign the previous liner was leaking. Remove any of this sand and replace with new sand of the same consistency. Using the plastic trowel, smooth out the floor bottom. Remove any stones or pebbles that were tracked into the pull during this stage.
    If the floor is made of concrete or vermiculite, sweep it clean. Inspect the floor for damage or corrosion. If there are any cracks, fill them with the vermiculite mixture and trowel smooth.

  • Recruit three friends to help with this step. Drape the pool liner across the pool — typically starting from the deep end working toward the shallow end — according to manufacturer's instructions. Be careful not to let the liner drag on the surface of the pool or work area.
    Once the liner is stretched across the perimeter of the pool, carefully drop it down onto the pool floor.

  • Insert the beading on the outer edge of the liner into the track. If you are installing the liner on a hard bottom floor, you can remove your shoes and walk carefully inside the pool to make any adjustments to the liner while inserting it into the track.

  • Using a piece of duct tape, close off the skimmer hole. Insert a pool vacuum hose about the three-fourths of the way down the wall in between the liner and the pool wall. Use more duct tape to close up the openings where the vacuum hose was inserted to ensure a tight seal.
    Turn on the vacuum. You should see the wrinkles in the liner begin to disappear.

  • Begin to fill your pool with a garden hose while continuing to run the vacuum. Continue to fill the pool until you have about 4 inches in the deep end.

  • Rig a piece of plywood to a ladder as a work surface on a soft-bottom pool so as not to disturb the sand. For hard bottom pools, just remove your shoes and socks.
    Head down to the deep end where the drain is located. After locating the screws from your drain gasket, remove them and place the second gasket over the drain, setting it in place with self tapping screws. After the gasket has been secured, cut the liner around the inside of the two gaskets. Finish by attaching the drain cover.

  • Finish installing any other fixtures using the same technique used to install the drain in the deep end.

  • Continue to fill the pool. Once the shallow end of the pool has 2 to 3 inches of water in it, remove the vacuum and vacuum hose and slide the liner bead into the track where the vacuum hose was originally inserted.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the walls are rough or have signs of corrosion, put up wall foam before installing the liner. This can be purchased from a pool supply store and typically comes in large rolls. The wall foam ensures a soft surface and can help prevent damage to your liner in the future.
  • If you have to turn off the water/vacuum, be sure to turn the vacuum on first and let run for 15 minutes before filling the pool with water.
  • Do not smoke or carry sharp or heavy objects near the liner, which damages easily.

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