Monthly Archives: November 2009
Do you automatically adjust the “shrink factor” on your pool liners during the colder months so that I get a full cut liner with less stretch? If not, can I request a “winter cut”?
When we make a pool liner, we create a drawing that shows the dimensions of your swimming pool. In the design process, we reduce certain dimensions to provide for just enough stretch so that the liner will fit without wrinkles, but also without stretching the vinyl too much.
Those of us who make the best liners and who are most confident in our ability to make great fitting liners use minimal shrink factors. This is why good measurements are so critical and why you should always pay a pool professional to measure your swimming pool. We do not adjust the length and width so that your liner will have the same perimeter as your pool. Most of the time we only adjust the depth dimensions by a few inches to provide the proper amount of stretch. We will also occasionally adjust the slope dimensions as needed.
This is how we make “full cut” liners that fit so well. We do this year round. In the old days, some manufacturers would make a “full cut” pool liner only in the cooler months. In the summertime, they would shrink the dimensions more than normal, maybe even shrinking the length and width. They knew that the hot summer sun would loosen up the vinyl, kind of like warm butter, and help it stretch into place.
Today, we make a “full cut” liner year-round, even on the hottest summer days. No adjustments are necessary based on the season.
When an inground pool with a liner is leaking, there are only about five things that can be wrong:
1. Your liner may have a split seam.
2. There may be a hole poked or ripped in your liner.
3. There may be a leak in your pipes.
4. There may be a leak in the face plates of the steps, skimmers or return fittings.
5. Your liner may have been attacked by ants or termites.
In trying to find and correct the source of your leak, it’s helpful to look for the most common possibilities first and then to eliminate these possible problems one at a time. I will try to address each of these problems with a different post over the next few months. Let’s begin today with the least common of the potential problems: ants or termites attacking your liner. I have only seen this happen a few times in 30 years. It makes sense that these bugs, thirsty for water, come up through the ground and chew their way through the liner, causing leaks. These attacks seem to happen more in arid regions, regions with lots of termite activity, or in periods of drought when insects are desperate for moisture.
I am told that if you look from the backside of the liner, you can actually see the “teeth marks” in the vinyl. I am also told that you can see the “trails” they leave in the sand or vermiculite floors, much like you would see in an ant farm toy.
* The following article was written by a liner manufacturer:
TERMITES AND ANTS
For many years, it has been known and proven that termites and ants will attack a vinyl pool liner. It is suspected that the termites are attracted to the pool area due to the dampness around the pool.
Usually, the first signs are very small holes in the liner in the area above the water line. Quite often, the liner may have dozens of holes in it within a short period of time after they have begun their attack on the liner.
Most of the time, if the liner is taken out of the bead track and pulled away from the wall, you may see the trails that the termites have left behind. Usually the holes they make in the liner are relatively small, about an eighth of an inch in diameter and are round or oval shaped.
If the pool liner has to be replaced as a result of termites or ants, the homeowner is advised to get an exterminator to treat the ground beneath the liner and around the perimeter of the pool deck.
Here are some of the more likely places for termites and ants to appear:
- A yard where a tree has been removed
- A yard where a patio or walkway has been removed
- Around wooden flower planters
- Around wooden fences
Although this is not a widespread problem, it should be taken seriously. An average of ten to fifteen cases a year are reported to us.
We often hear pool owners question whether they should be able to see the seams in their liner.
The answer is yes. Every liner has seams, at least every six feet, and they are more visible on some patterns than on others. In the old days, when all patterns were on blue base film, you could not really see the seams since there was less ink coverage. Today, when most all patterns are on white base film, the seams are more visible, but the less ink there is, the less noticeable they are.
We advise that you wait until the pool is filled before you worry about the seams. While they are always there, they are much less noticeable under three feet of water.
The liner pictured below (pattern: Robertson) is a good example of visible liner seams on a properly manufactured liner. The seams on the floor are barely visible. The vertical seam is razor thin, perfectly straight and the tile is matched almost perfectly at the top.
Bottom of pool (below):
Pictured below is Morrison, one of our most popular patterns. If you look closely, you can see two liner seams in the shallow end of the pool. The Morrison pattern has one of the most visible liner seams out of all of our patterns. That being said, you will notice that the seams are barely visible, especially if standing 10 feet away and if the pool is filled with water.
In the picture below, you can see a seam across the bottom of an unfilled pool (pattern: McDowell).
Below, we present you with the McDowell pattern again in a pool completely filled with water. From this viewpoint, it is impossible to notice any liner seams.
Pictured below are two more examples of highly visible liner seams on properly installed pool liners.