Install Above Ground Pool Liners – Quick and Easy Edition

Welcome to the 4-part series on above ground pool liners. In the first part, we will discuss installation.

  1. Installation (this page)
  2. Getting Wrinkles Out of a Liner
  3. Patching a Liner
  4. Repairing a Liner

If you have space in your backyard, getting a pool can answer several needs of your family. Having a pool in your home is an excellent way to relax and unwind with your loved ones. It can be used for exercise, as a playing space for the kids or just floating around and relaxing on a day off.

There are many different options for swimming pools and an above ground pool is both affordable and durable. An above ground pool does not need any construction in the ground and can be installed in one day. Though you can use them long term, they can also be relocated easily when required.

When you purchase an above ground pool, you will usually get all the pool components in the set. This includes the pool’s frame, the cover, the ladder, the pump and the pool liner.

A liner refers to the material used to cover the walls and the floor of the pool to keep the water within it. Pool liners can come in a variety of shapes, thicknesses, patterns and materials. Above ground pools require liners as long as they are not inflatable pools with soft walls.

Though an above ground pool will usually come with a liner during the first purchase, the liner will eventually undergo aging, if not damage. In that case, the liner will need to be replaced.

It might be daunting to think about installing your above ground pool liner yourself. However, the process is fairly simple once you get the hang of it and just by installing the liner on your own, you will save hundreds of dollars. We’ve put together this easy and straightforward guide on how to install above ground pool liners.

When Should You Replace Your Pool Liner?

Your above ground pool always needs a liner. However, if you already have a liner installed, you will need to replace it when there is damage or deterioration due to age. There are some factors that influence how soon you need to replace your above ground pool liner.

Your pool liner might get damaged from exposure to the UV rays in sunlight, leaving the part above the water brittle and weak. Your above ground pool liner can also get damaged and discolored if there is excessive chlorine in the pool water.

Above ground pool liners also go through a gradual process of aging and this process might be hastened if it is exposed to many weather and temperature changes. Lastly, if there is any tear or leak in the liner, it might be challenging to find and hence the only convenient option might be to replace the liner altogether.

Draining Your above Ground Pool

The first step to install your above ground pool liner is to drain out the water. For this, you will need a pump that you can find at the nearest home improvement store. The amount of time it takes to drain your pool fully will depend on the size of your pool.

Ensure that all the water drained out is directed towards a storm drain and does not go back into the pool. The pool will need to remain dry for at least the next three to five days so make sure that you are doing this when it is not likely to rain or cover your pool to keep out the rainwater.

Measuring Your above Ground Pool

Measuring your pool accurately is the first and foremost step of installing your above ground pool liner. If you measure correctly, the entire process of installation will become convenient. You should take all measurements from the inside of the pool.

First, measure the height of the pool from the bottom rail of the pool to the top without any obstacles in between. Measure the height from two different sections to eliminate any errors or height differences from leveling.

Then, depending on the shape of your pool, measure the other dimensions. For a circular pool, measure the diameter from any one point of the pool and then measure the diameter from the next quarter of the pool again.

For an oval pool, do the same but once each from the longer ends and the shorter ends. For a rectangular pool, measure the length and breadth from two points each.

Each measurement needs to be taken twice to eliminate any errors and leave room for adjustments. When buying the pool liner, if you cannot find the exact measurements for sale, then round up and buy a liner for the next biggest size.

Choosing an above Ground Pool Liner

There are different types of liners that are available at various price levels. The most affordable option is the overlap above ground pool liner, which is folded over the pool walls and held in place with coping strips. An overlap liner can be challenging to install.

Other than this, there are beaded liners that are tucked into a track built on top of the pool walls. J-hook liners have a rubber fold that is slipped over the top edge of the pool walls. Finally, there are universal bead liners that you can use in any of the ways mentioned above.

You can take into consideration the thickness of the liner, which will give you a hint as to the durability and ease of installing. Besides a liner, you also need to purchase a good quality liner pad that will protect the bottom of your liner and coving, which will make sure there are no sharp corners at the bottom of your pool.

Removing the Old Pool Liner

First, use a cordless drill to remove all the pool components such as drains, skimmers, return, etc. and remove the step gaskets. Then remove the old liner using a utility knife by first cutting below the beading and then cutting the bulk of the liner into small sections.

Remove the liner pad installed on the floor as a protective layer between the liner and the ground. Then remove the coving, which is installed around the bottom edges to create a gentle slope where the corners of the pool walls meet the floor.

Once you are done removing the old liner, clean and inspect the pool walls to ensure that there are no obstacles that might damage your new liner. Put duct tape on all the seams on the floor and the walls so that the liner remains smooth.

Installing the New Pool Liner

The process of installation will require around four people. While installing, follow the instructions of the liner you have bought and make sure that you are not wearing shoes or carrying any sharp objects.

First, install the coving on the corners of the pool. Place the liner outside the pool near the deep end and then start unrolling it towards the shallow end. Alternatively, you can begin by placing the liner at the center of the pool from the inside and start rolling it outwards.

Where the floor sections of the liner meet the wall section will be the seams of your liner. Pull the seams towards the coving you have already installed. Remove the top rails of your pool one by one while someone else securely holds the pool walls and makes sure they are stable.

Once the liner is all the way around the edges of the pool, start adjusting and fitting the liner into the beading, depending on what kind of liner you have chosen. If you are using an overlap liner, you have to remove and replace the coping strips.

After the liner is completely fitted into the beading, remove a small section that is just big enough for a vacuum hose that is about 30 inches long. This will make your above ground pool liner airtight.

Turn on the vacuum so that it starts sucking out all the air from between the pool liner and the pool walls. While the vacuum is still on, make your way around the pool slowly, while taking care not to tear the liner. Smooth out any wrinkles around the pool and push the lining towards the coving in the corners and the edges.

If you did not align the liner properly, you will not be able to adjust it while the vacuum is still running. Hence, turn off the vacuum, readjust the positioning of the pool liner sections and then turn it on again.

Once the liner is free from wrinkles and you are happy with the positioning and the alignment of the pool liner, keep the vacuum running and locate the main drain. Install the gasket and faceplate of the drain and cut out the liner inside the drain before installing the cover.nce the liner is installed, you can start filling in the pool with water slowly with a hose while keeping the vacuum running. Meanwhile, you can install the top rails back into the pool. Once the pool is filled with about six inches of water, you can remove the vacuum and reinstall the step gasket, skimmer, etc.

Summing Up

Installing above ground pool liners is convenient and straightforward once you get the hang of the process. Pool liners will need to be replaced every now and then due to damage and deterioration of quality but installing them yourself will ensure that it does not burn a deep hole in your pocket.

Once you have installed your new liner, make sure to take care of it to ensure its longevity. Clean your liner gently with pool brushes attached to telescopic poles and a vacuum with a vinyl-friendly vacuum head. Also, make sure to fill your pool with water that is not too high on chlorine, as that can damage your liner over time.

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