The flexible pond liner allows gardeners to reduce costs in the construction and maintenance of a water feature. While a thick layer of plastic or rubber sheeting can hold water, both are degradable by ultraviolet rays and readily tear. The most durable flexible pond liners are made of polyvinyl chloride, which is recyclable. Sunlight can also damage PVC, but it may be patched to seal leaks and prolong the water feature's liner longevity another year or so. However, not any glue or sealant may be used in successfully patching a PVC pond liner.
PVC Liner Characteristics
Compared to polyethylene and ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber pond liners, PVC types are less durable, less flexible and have shorter endurance. Although relatively inexpensive, PVC's inflexible nature and inability to stretch makes it more prone to severe tears or damage over time. Any rip or hole may be small at first, but can crack and spread as the PVC structure degrades, especially if exposed to ultraviolet rays. Using a construction adhesive to patch the PVC is problematic, as the adhesive must be compatible with the liner's compounds and also cure to be water resilient.
Numerous types of construction adhesives exist. Adhesive formulas may contain many solvents or be low in volatile compounds. Varying products may have specific applications for bonding certain materials together; one type may be useless in bonding other materials. Indoor and outdoor construction adhesives also exist, basing their durability on various ideal temperature and humidity conditions. Ultimately, construction adhesives are neither engineered for nor recommended for use in underwater sealing or repair projects. Only if the product label specifically mentions pond, tub or pool use may it be suitable for PVC liner use.
Constructive adhesives, glues and sealants are formulated for bonding dry items, such as tiles, wood and metal. Once dry, the adhesive remains strong and rigid, taking the place of a screw or nail in bonding items together. When applied and still wet, the adhesives may contain solvents or chemicals that could degrade the PVC pond liner. Or, if it is water soluble, the adhesive may smear when applied or dissolve once submerged under water later. Chemicals may be released into the pond water, harming plants or aquatic animals. Even if you do find a water-resistant constructive adhesive product, its use for patching the pond liner is limited and certainly short term.
Use construction adhesives above the water line in the pond. Fuse flat, stepping stones or wood edging to the top of the liner to secure it to the top of the hole or container being used as a water feature. For patching the leaks underwater, drain water away to expose the area and then use a water-insoluble, silicone-based product. Read product labels for any warnings for its use on PVC, as solvents may eat it away. Silicone products are flexible after drying and bond completely to seal off any cracks or leaks. PVC patch kits may also be used, but don't use construction adhesives to apply them or make them stronger.
- Langston University Aquaculture: Pond Types and Liners
- The Practical Rock and Water Garden; Peter Robinson
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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