McEwen Industries supplies quality products to pool professionals in the swimming pool industry. Our specialties include inground pool liners, above ground pool liners, safety covers, in ground pools and above ground pools. All of our products are custom designed and meticulously crafted to ensure years of carefree use.

Taking care of your vinyl pool liner

igplgirlsThis is a friendly reminder from McEwen Industries to take care of your vinyl pool liner throughout the summer.

Always maintain a proper water balance.  pH should fall in the 7.2 – 7.6 range, total alkalinity should be at 100-150 ppm, and calcium hardness should be a 200 ppm minimum.

Avoid allowing your pH to drop below 7.0.  This can cause your liner to form wrinkles.

Remember to maintain free chlorine residual between 1.0 and 1.5 ppm.  If free chlorine drifts below 1.0 ppm, algae and bacterial growth can hold more easily and may cause staining of the vinyl liner.  Chlorine is quickly absorbed by sunlight.  For this reason, it is recommended that all vinyl swimming pools be stabilized with cyanuric acid and that a range of 25-100 ppm be maintained.

Have a safe and happy summer!

What causes staining or discoloration of the vinyl below the water line?

While all stains are either mineral or organic, the most common cause of staining and discoloration of your liner below the water line is secretions by micro-organisms.  As these micro-organisms feed, they secrete dyes, which can be one of many colors that stain the vinyl.  Although these stains are unsightly, they in no way degrade the performance of the vinyl.  These dyes are compatible with the plasticizers in the vinyl, causing the stains to go all the way through the sheet.  There is no proven method for removing these stains.

There is a common misconception that the microbial resistance additives used in pool liners will kill the micro-organisms in the area adjacent to the liner.  Many people believe that there is a “protective zone” near the liner that will not support life, but this is not the case.  The additive in the vinyl prevents the vinyl from supporting life, but in no way does it prevent life in areas adjacent to the liner.  Extreme care must be taken during installation to insure that there is nothing behind the liner that may become a food source for these organisms.

There have been cases of stains forming in pools soon after the installation of a replacement liner when there was never a problem with the original liner.  Although there is no way that we can say for sure what has happened behind that new liner, it is believed that when the environment behind the liner is exposed to light and oxygen, a “rebirth” of micro-organisms takes place.  If the bottom and sidewalls of the pool are not properly treated, there is a chance that problems may arise.

There can also be changes in the ground water that introduce organisms into an area that had not been previously exposed.  Extended periods of heavy rain will often cause significant changes in the microbiology of the ground water.  Whenever there is a change in the environment around your pool, there is an opportunity for micro-organisms which hitherto were not present to move into the ground water, thereby creating the possibility of staining.

*The information provided comes from a liner manufacturer.

Can you make a liner for my Polynesian low-hung liner pool?

Yes, we make liners for every brand of pool, but with the Polynesian low-hung pool, you have a unique opportunity.  This pool originally had an acrylic pool wall like a spa and a track at the bottom of the wall so the liner could be “hung” 8 inches from the floor.  Seemed like a great idea at the time.  It’s kind of a hybrid of the acrylic wall/concrete floor pools that are still built today.  You get the beauty and durability of an acrylic wall without the maintenance demands of a concrete floor.

Only problem was, it was often difficult to keep the pool from leaking around the liner bead.  They had a system that used silicone caulk in the bead track and a special 3M brand tape to try and seal it off, but it often proved impossible to stop the leaks.  Today, we still make low-hung style liners, but many people take the opportunity to convert these pools to traditional liners that snap into a track at the top of the wall.

This is definitely a project for an experienced pool contractor.  You add a side mount bead receiver to the top of the wall.  The skimmer and lights usually already have vinyl liner style face plates anyway.  There are a few challenges to converting the returns and perhaps steps to receive a liner, but it’s very doable and suddenly your liner snaps in up top like every other pool out there.  Don’t miss this opportunity.

Behnke Lyons 001

 Behnke Lyons 010


Behnke Lyons 005

* The pool shown was installed by Ebeling Pools in Hutchinson, KS. 

* Pattern shown is Morrison.

What is the life expectancy of an in-ground vinyl liner?

Logan 1

The average life of a vinyl pool liner is seven years.  Though some make it 10 years or longer, seven years is the expectation.  If you live in a cooler climate where the pool is covered six months of the year, it may last twice as long as one in Texas that is exposed to the sun 12 months out of the year.

You can extend the life of your liner by keeping the PH and chlorine levels in the proper range.  However, after seven years of exposure to sunshine and chlorine, it will most likely be time for a new liner.

*Pattern pictured is Logan.

I have a stain on my vinyl liner. How can I tell if it is from algae or minerals?

This is a tough question. Below is a suggestion from one of the product engineers at the plant that makes the actual vinyl sheet.

The following approach could be used to narrow down the possibilities; however, there is risk of damage to the print pattern and liner material in doing so.

First, try direct contact on a small spot with some pH down in a sock to see if there is any change in the stain. If there is no change, the same approach can be tried with a neutral or high pH sanitizer (i.e. dichlor or calcium hypochorite).

If the pH treatment alone reduces the stain, it is likely a mineral stain. If the chlorine application reduces the stain, it is a microbiological stain, such as an algae.

If the stain is from algae growth on the back side of the liner, any success on removing the stain will likely only be temporary.

What would cause the pattern to flake off or rub off a vinyl pool liner?

To answer this question properly there must be a basic understanding of the procedures involved in the printing of your pool liner. The print pattern is applied by a process called “roto-gravure” printing. The inks used are solvent based and when applied to the vinyl, they actually bond themself to the vinyl by “biting” into the vinyl. Then a clear “top coat” is applied to increase abrasion resistance and provide an added layer of UV protection.

The cause of ink flaking off the vinyl is low water PH. An acidic environment will weaken the bond by softening the coating, and eventually the ink. The more acidic the environment, the greater the likelihood of damage. The effect is cumulative and irreversible. Once this softening occurs, the coating and ink are susceptible to abrasion and flaking.

Always keep your pool at the recommended PH of 7.4 to 7.8. Deviation from these levels will adversely affect the performance of your liner.

*The information provided comes from one of our liner manufacturers.

What is the best time of year to replace my inground vinyl pool liner?

Pool owners in need of a replacement liner often wonder when the best time is to replace and install their new pool liner.

If you choose to replace your liner in the spring, the key is to pick your day carefully.  It has to be warm outside, but the sun also has to be shining.  It is the sun beating down on the vinyl on a warm day that loosens it up and allows the material to vacuum into place properly.

We used to suggest installing liners on a day no cooler than 60 degrees and sunny for 20 mil liners.  Today, we suggest 70 degrees and sunny for 27 mil liners.

If you choose to change your liner in the fall, your pool will be ready to go on the first day of spring.  This prevents any waiting in the spring to get on anyone else’s schedule or for the weather to break.

What is the cause or causes of color fading below the water line on a pool liner?

There can be many contributing factors that lead to the fading of your liner.  All of those factors can be grouped under the heading of chemical attack, however the leading cause is simply over chlorinating.  Just as excessive use of bleach will fade your clothes, over chlorinating of your pool water will greatly accelerate the fading of your liner.

From the vinyl’s standpoint, any chlorine level above 3 PPM will accelerate the fading process.  The use of a chlorine based sanitizing system is going to bleach your liner, there is no way around that.  The higher the active chlorine level, the quicker the fading will occur.  Be especially careful when shocking, closing or opening the pool.  It is critical that you circulate the water for a minimum of 72 hours after any of these procedures.  The average shock treatment is going to bring the chlorine level of your water to at least 25 PPM and as high as 50 PPM.  The specific gravity of the chlorine is higher (weighs more) than that of the water.  It is therefore critical that you circulate your water long enough to insure that the chlorine will not settle out of the water and concentrate in the deepest part of the pool.  It is also important that you do not cover your pool for at least 24 hours after one of these treatments.  The covering of the pool will greatly restrict the chlorine’s ability to dissipate, thereby greatly increasing the likelihood of damage.

Our experience has shown that of all the sanitizing systems, Trichloroisocyanuric acid has the greatest potential to bleach a vinyl liner.  Alkaline sanitizers (Hydochlorite) are much more vinyl friendly and just as effective.  No matter what system you use, always use the minimum amount of chemical that will get the job done.

Remember: Less is best when adding chemicals to your vinyl lined pool.

*The information provided comes from one of our liner manufacturers.

What are the causes of discoloration, deterioration and “dry rot” above the water line on a pool liner?

In most cases, these three problems are different stages of the same phenomenon.  The causes of these problems are many and varied, but have a universal theme.  In most cases, the discoloration (usually brown), the deterioration (stiffening of the vinyl) and then the complete failure of the vinyl, commonly referred to as “dry rotting,” is due to the extraction of the plasticizers and stabilizers from the vinyl.  (Plasticizer is the additive which gives the vinyl its flexibility; stabilizers give the vinyl its high temperature stability.)  Under normal circumstances, the volatility of these additives is very low and the vinyl will maintain its physical characteristics for many years.

Experience has taught us that under certain circumstances the area above the water line can begin to deteriorate very quickly.  There are three main contributors to this problem: chemical attack, high temperatures and UV rays.  However, the UV resistant characteristics of pool vinyl are excellent and the UV rays themselves do not present a significant problem.

Clean your pool often by taking a soft cloth and rinse the contaminates from the vinyl using the pool water.  Substances such as body oil, sun tan lotion, baby oil, etc., will collect at the water line.  These substances, when exposed to the sun and the high temperate that can be found just above the water lines, will oftentimes turn brown and can be very difficult to remove from the vinyl.

* The information provided comes from a vinyl manufacturer.

Should I use a floating chlorine dispenser in my inground liner pool?

We do not recommend using floating chlorine dispensers in inground liner pools.  They are great until they get caught in the step or skimmer area or sink to the floor of the pool, laying chlorine right onto the vinyl.

Below, you can see the chlorine damage to a vinyl liner caused by a floating chlorine dispenser.

floating chlorine dispenser damage












floating chlorine dispenser damage 2To the left is another example of chlorine damage from a floating chlorine dispenser.  The floating chlorinator got caught under the solar cover against the wall and bleached the liner.

We recommend always introducing chlorine into the water though the skimmer or automatic feeder.  Be careful with your vinyl and don’t ever put chemicals directly in the pool or in a floating chlorine dispenser.




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