Vinyl Liner Pool Renovation – Liners, Track, Coping, Skimmers and Drains

Vinyl Liner Pool

Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool Renovation

A vinyl liner swimming pool renovation can include something as simple and straightforward as a liner replacement, or it can become more involved and include changing the coping and liner track style, repairing the bottom of the pool which is usually vermiculite {hard bottom} or sand, and in some cases concrete. Skimmers, return fittings, and lights are also the other areas where a vinyl liner pool can be renovated.

Liner Replacement Before and After

Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool Coping and Liner Track

Replacing the vinyl liner can make a huge difference in the overall swimming pool look and feel. If there is any thought that the liner track is fatigued or “letting go” of the liner, it must also be done at the same time as the liner replacement.

Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool Main Drains

When a liner is being replaced is also a great time to perform a main drain update. Many older vinyl liner pools are equipped with just one main drain. The code currently requires two dome-shaped drains, spaced at least 5′ apart be installed on new installations. At the least the main drain should be changed to reflect the dome-shape, and wherever possible, updating to two is the best choice.

Vinyl Liner Replacement with Second Main Drain and Dome-Shaped Covers installed

Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool Coping

Coping on a vinyl liner pool has also come a long way. Aluminum bull nose coping was the industry norm for a number of years, and included the “coping” as well as the liner track. Current choices can include using more materials as the coping including one of the Pool Guy’s favorites, tumbled bluestone. Cantilever patio decks where the concrete comes over the top edge of the pool are also fairly popular, and in that case the liner track would be installed at the top of the steel pool wall for the liner to connect into.

Best time of year to perform renovations

Many homeowners ask what is the best time of year to perform a swimming pool renovation. The answer to this question has many variables. Anytime that it needs it is a great time to perform a swimming pool renovation project. You may want to take into consideration the climate, as most renovations are best done in favorable weather conditions, where it is warm enough that materials used are not so cold they are freezing and brittle, and not too hot that they are melting and sagging.

Another consideration will be the schedule of the contractor. Based on when they are available to perform the work is always a great determining factor.

Late fall versus early spring is also a good time to think about a renovation. Once the summer is winding down and the pool has been enjoyed, it’s much less stressful on the homeowner and the contractor if the renovation doesn’t have to be rushed so the pool can be used. The weather conditions are often favorable, warm and dry, this time of year as well.

Early Spring Renovations and Ground Water Issues

Early spring when it is often the wettest is not the ideal time to perform a renovation on either a gunite or vinyl liner pool. Ground water pressure is a concern with a gunite pool. While it is essential that when draining a gunite pool {under the supervision or direction of a pool professional} that they hydrostatic relief valve in the bottom of the main drain functions to pop open and allow water in if the ground pressure is greater than the pressure holding the pool in place, it’s also important that you choose the right conditions to even attempt this. Please don’t think you are saving any time by draining your pool while you wait for quotes or a pool professional to come and evaluate your pool. It is never a good idea to empty a gunite swimming pool, unless you know exactly what you are doing.

Ground Water and Vinyl Liner Swimming Pools

The concern with wet conditions for a vinyl liner replacement are that once the liner comes out, if ground water starts pouring into the pool through cracks in the hardbottom, or in between the steel walls it can cause issues with setting the liner properly and wrinkles. If ground water cannot be avoided there are several options, such a burying a pump under the pool, installing ancillary sump pumps near the pool to drain the water, or having a pump available during the installation to remove the water just long enough to get the new liner in and water on top of the liner to keep the ground water under control.

Floating Swimming Pool Liners

If you have a vinyl liner pool that experiences floating, it is a good idea to assess your yard and conditions. It is possible that a floating liner is caused by a leak in the liner, a pin hole is enough to drain an entire swimming pool. Other potential causes of a floating liner could be inadequate yard drainage, where the yard or patio slopes toward the pool rather than away from it. Gutters and downspouts on a home also protect the pool from the additional watershed that could occur. Broken underground sprinkler lines have also been found to cause water issues. If soil conditions are sand based, most water will drain away from under a pool relatively well. If the conditions are clay, or swampy with a high water table, some of the water remediation options may need to be explored.

Lifespan of Vinyl Liners

If a swimming pool liner is floating, it is often possible to drain the water from behind the liner and reset it. This is possible if the liner is newer (within 5 years of original installation). The typical vinyl liner will last up to 20 years, with the average being 10-12. The longevity of the liner depends on the care of the liner, attention to water chemistry, and overall pool environment. Often a liner will fade and the pattern will become less visible due to the sun and chemical use. If a liner is torn or ripped, sometimes a patch can be used to lengthen the lifespan of the liner. Once a liner gets older, it becomes less pliable and more brittle. In this instance, attempting to reset a floating liner could cause harm to the liner, and a full replacement would be recommended. It is also common to see liners start to pull away from the corners as they get older and more brittle. If the corner of a vinyl liner tears, patching will not usually hold, and the liner should be replaced.

pH Wrinkles in Vinyl Liners

Another issue which is often present in vinyl liners are small wrinkles covering either a small part, or sometimes the entire surface of the pool walls or floor. These are called pH wrinkles, and are caused when the water chemistry is not maintained in the proper balance. Once pH wrinkles form due to the liner absorbing water due to low pH, low alkalinity or stabilizer levels, or excessive use of bromine, there is no way to remove them, and the only option would be to replace the liner.

pH Wrinkles in a vinyl liner pool

Homeowners often choose to perform vinyl liner pool renovations to address functional issues such as leaking or wrinkling, though many times it’s purely aesthetic. If your family enjoys a pretty pool more than an older looking or dated pool, then it’s always a great decision to make.