A new vinyl liner is a significant investment for any pool owner. If you have a swimming pool with a vinyl liner installed, you will eventually need to replace your liner to keep your pool in good condition. Extending the life of a vinyl liner will significantly reduce the lifetime costs of owning and operating your pool. As a bonus, a liner that is well-cared for will look beautiful until it comes time to purchase a replacement.
There are a lot of things that you can do to make sure your vinyl liner lasts longer. Learning about some simple dos and don’ts can help you save thousands on a vinyl liner replacement.
Install your liner correctly
Purchasing a new vinyl liner is extremely expensive, and it can be tempting to try a DIY installation. But, if you have no experience with vinyl liners, it may be a good idea to have a professional install your new liner.
Something as simple as the weather outside can cause a disaster with a new vinyl liner. During installation, a liner is prone to stretching, tearing and warping if you don’t know how to correctly handle it. Many pool owners have made the mistake of trying to install a liner themselves, and needing to purchase a replacement within a few years. Some even have the misfortune of paying for two liners, plus professional installation fees. Having a professional measure, order and install your vinyl liner can help to ensure it will fit perfectly and last longer.
Keep your water chemistry in balance
Water chemistry is much more important than many people realize. Unbalanced water will be irritating to the eyes, skin, and hair and can cause long-term damage to your pool and equipment. But beyond this, unbalanced pool water can also cause serious damage to your vinyl pool liner.
Unbalanced pool water can cause a variety of problems with a vinyl liner. High calcium can allow scale buildup that can make your liner more brittle, and excessive alkalinity will make your vinyl less flexible and less able to protect your pool. Keeping your pH, calcium and alkalinity levels in check is easy with weekly testing and balancing. With some care, you can extend the life of your vinyl liner (and all of your pool equipment).
Do not overshock or over-chlorinate your water
Keeping your pH and alkalinity in balance is important, but so is keeping your chlorine in balance. High chlorine levels can seriously impact a vinyl liner.
Low chlorine levels can allow algae to grow and stain your liner. But, excessive chlorine can cause your liner to wrinkle and become brittle over time. Chlorine levels should be kept consistently between 1.0 and 3.0 parts per million. This level will help you keep your pool clean and sparkling, and ensure you don’t need to overshock your water. With stable chlorine levels, your liner will look better and last longer (and, your pool will be more comfortable).
Clean and maintain your liner correctly
It is very important that you clean and maintain your liner regularly to prevent any long term damage or problems. This means keeping your liner scrubbed and clean without using abrasive cleaners or equipment.
Algae, scale and dirt that is left to build up on a liner can cause stains and weak points – particularly along the waterline. The resulting scrubbing required to fix these issues can also weaken your liner over time.
Protect your vinyl liner from the sun
Anyone who has ever owned a pool knows how damaging the sun can be. Equipment and furniture left out in the light can be prone to long-term bleaching and damage, and your liner is no different. Covering your pool to protect your liner from the sun is a great way to make sure the exposed parts of your liner aren’t worn out prematurely by the sun.
Avoid draining your pool
You should never drain your pool without the advice of a pool professional. Draining a pool can cause many different kinds of damage to your pool structure and system, and your liner may be part of the damage. A pool that is drained and left empty will cause a vinyl liner to warp, shrink or change shape. When it comes time to fill the pool again, your liner may be ill-fitting and prone to leaks. At best, this will result in repairs and at worst, will mean you’ll need a new liner (and possibly other repairs to your pool).
Keep an eye on pets and kids in the pool
Nothing causes more damage to a liner than exposure to pets and kids in the pool. Most liners need to be replaced because a dog has scratched the pool wall, or a child has decided to play a game involving rocks or sharp toys in the pool.
Be sure to let your kids know that only pool toys can go in the pool water, and teach them not to unnecessarily damage the liner. Keeping pets out of the pool will help you to prevent accidental damage to your liner. But, anyone who has ever had a dog who loves to swim will know how challenging this can be.
Take care of small problems quickly
When it comes to swimming pools, small problems can quickly develop into large ones. If your vinyl liner has sustained a small gouge or tear, it is very important that you repair it immediately. This will prevent damage from becoming more extensive and also prevents leaking damage to the structure of your pool.
Similarly, if you notice that a fitting on your pool is not sitting correctly and allowing your liner to droop, be sure to get it serviced right away. By moving quickly, you can be sure that a small issue with your liner doesn’t lead to an expensive early replacement.
Use the right equipment for your liner
It is very important that you clean and maintain your swimming pool to keep your liner in good shape. But, it is important that you use the right tools when you’re cleaning your liner to be sure you don’t cause any damage.
Make sure that any vacuum, automatic pool cleaner, or sponges that you use to scrub and maintain your pool are specifically designed for use with a vinyl liner. Many pool products have been specially designed to ensure they can clean thoroughly without causing damage to your liner with sharp corners or abrasive edges.
A well-cared-for vinyl liner will last longer
At some point, every vinyl liner will need to be replaced to keep a vinyl swimming pool in good condition. But, a vinyl liner that is well-cared for will last much longer, saving you time and frustration. If you take good care of your liner, you’ll be able to extend its life for many seasons, making it much more affordable to enjoy your swimming pool.