Can I install a vinyl liner in my concrete/gunite pool?

If you own a concrete inground pool and are wondering if it is possible to install a vinyl liner in your pool, the answer is yes, but we don’t suggest it.

Installing a vinyl liner is perhaps the most inexpensive way to fix a leaking concrete inground pool, but converting a beautiful concrete pool into a liner type pool should be the last resort.  We encourage you to repair your concrete pool if you can.

If you decide you must convert your pool, it requires accurately measuring the pool for a liner, installing a bead receiver around the perimeter and then converting the skimmer and other fittings to the liner type that have faceplates and gaskets.

The difficulty of the conversion depends on the internal shape of the pool, whether the contours in the floor are rounded or sharp, and if you have internal steps or other obstacles.

Every job is different so depend on your local pool contractor to advise if your particular installation is a good candidate for a conversion.

Liner wrinkles from rain water

It has rained all season long, your backyard oasis has turned into a pile of mush, and the rain has caused the one thing pool owners don’t want to see – liner wrinkles.

There are two issues here:  how to get rid of the wrinkles, and how to keep this from happening again.

Wrinkles can be caused by ground water, but if the liner looks “pruned,” the wrinkles are most likely due to water absorption. The debate is why did the vinyl absorb water? Is it improper chemical balance or is the material in your particular liner less resistant to absorption than it should be? With a pruned liner, you should always make a warranty claim and see if the manufacturer knows of a any material issue around the time your liner was made, We will talk more about water absorption in another post…

photoDuring periods of heavy rain, if the water level in the ground becomes higher than the water level in the pool, the liner will float.  When the ground water recedes, the liner comes back down.  If there is no vacuum on, the liner will stretch back into place unevenly, creating wrinkles in some areas and a tight stretch in others.  Usually the wrinkles are in the shallow end.

The solution is to drain the water about one foot back down the slope to the deep end, below the floor in the shallow end.  Pull the material back up into place in the shallow end, turn on a vacuum blower (just like during the initial installation) and refill the pool.

There are all kinds of ways to get in trouble here, so this is definitely a job for your pool professional.  If the ground is still saturated with water, the pool walls may collapse under the extra weight.  You may need to wait for drier conditions before attempting to re-seat the liner.  If the liner is more than a few years old, it may be brittle and may rip when you try to get it back in place.  The liner could also tear away from the face plates around the steps and skimmers.

The bottom line:  It is probably a simple and inexpensive fix.  Your contractor just drains some water, re-seats the liner and fills it back up.  Be aware that the liner may fail during the process, but if the liner is more than seven years old, it is about time to replace it anyway.

The second question is how to keep the liner from floating again when you have the next big rain.  You may need to install drains to carry water away from the pool area, or you may want to install a well point and pump to take care of the underground water.  Or you may just decide that this is a once every 10 year event that you can live with.

We have provided several pictures of liners that floated as a result of excess rain water.  You can see the liner wrinkles caused by the floating.

06-14-pool-liner-bubble-004

floating liner 1

 floating liner 2

Solid color pool liner walls between the tile and floor

When homeowners visit our website, www.mcewenindustries.com, they often wonder if the liner pattern pictures they are viewing are true to life of the actual vinyl material.

All of our liners today have the floor pattern coming all the way up the sidewall to the bottom of the tile.  When you look at the pictures of our patterns on our website or on our pattern chart, that’s exactly what you will see in the pool.  Homeowners who purchased liners from McEwen Industries several years back may have purchased a pattern that had a solid blue or white sidewall in between the floor and the tile border.

Today, all of those patterns that had the solid color sidewall have been discontinued in response to consumer preference.  As we started offering more and more patterns with the floor pattern coming up to the tile, the solid color sidewall patterns just dropped in popularity.

Another reason the solid color sidewall patterns were discontinued was that the solid sidewall would sometimes get stretched onto the floor during installation, resulting in a messy appearance.  With the floor pattern coming all the way up to the tile, that’s no longer a concern.

Visit our website and check out our liner patterns – what you see is what you get.

Which pool liner thickness should you choose?

Oftentimes people ask us which liner material is “better:” the 20 mil or the 27 mil?

In reality, there is no “better” liner.  The most important choice is not the thickness of the material, but the liner pattern that you choose.

Choose the vinyl liner pattern that you like the best.  If it comes in 27 mil at no extra charge, take it, but don’t pay extra for it.  You shouldn’t pass on your first pattern choice just to get the thicker material.  In our opinion, there is no meaningful advantage to thicker material.  There is no difference in wear, durability, longevity or warranty.

Liners fail for two reasons.  The ink fades or the material dry rots above the waterline.  Thicker material solves neither of these problems.

Most importantly, choose a vinyl liner pattern that speaks to you.  You are going to be looking at that pattern in your backyard for at least the next seven years.  Ultimately, the pattern you choose should outweigh the thickness of your liner material.  It is what you think looks the best that matters.

Welcome!

Here at McEwen Industries, we are always searching for new ways to educate our dealers and consumers about issues in the inground pool liner industry.  We have developed this blog as an interactive forum between our company, our dealers, and current and prospective pool owners – a place to discover and discuss hints and tips regarding inground pool liners.

McEwen Industries supplies quality pool products to professionals in the swimming pool industry.  While we love working with swimming pool dealers, we look forward to sharing our pool liner knowledge to those not in the industry.  Within this blog, we will concentrate on the homeowners looking to purchase a vinyl pool liner or homeowners looking for tips to maintain or replace their current pool liner.  We take pride in our extensive swimming pool knowledge and expertise, and we want you to be in the know as well.

Please stop by from time to time to check out our latest post.  We will continually update our blog and keep it swimming with an abundance of useful information.  We appreciate your interest in inground pool liners and look forward to keeping you updated.

Please feel free to leave comments and ask us any questions that you might have.

Subscribe to our Blog!

Enter your email address to subscribe to our blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

© McEwen Industries, Inc. and Inground Liners Blog, 2009-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to McEwen Industries, Inc. and Inground Liners Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.