Above Ground Pool Liners

Updated 3 months ago ​by Blake Bonds

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Introduction, pre install considerations:

 

  1. Check the liner box for the correct label, including size, wall height, pattern, and rather is is beaded, overlap, or dual/multi bead, and compare to your order and pool. Also check the box for any visible holes, and if present, inspect the liners outer layers as you take it out of the box to check for holes. Most of these can be repaired before/during/or after installation and if done correctly, will last as long as the liner does, and will not have any effect on the structural integrity of the liner.
  2. Read all instructions, this is a supplement to those instructions, not a replacement. If there is conflicting information, please follow mfg’s instructions, or call support for clarification.
  3. With beaded or j-hook liner installation, your pool bottom material should make up about 2” of the wall height. Example: if you have a 54” wall, and you measure from a string across the top of the pool, down to the sand in the middle of the pool, it should measure 52”. The liners are designed to fit these pools assuming there is a 2” base. The thickness of the sand is not as important as the finish depth of the pool. If your ground is lower in the middle of the pool, you could have 3-4” of sand to make that same finish depth 52”.
  4. Pool cove: This can either be done with the foam cove option with your pool, or you can make it out of sand. If you choose to make it out of sand, a good guide line is a 4-6” cove. Meaning, the sand goes up the wall 4-6” at an angle, and comes out from the wall 4-6”. Typically a 1:1 ratio or 48 degree angle. This helps with multiple things such as the liner fitting properly, and preventing it from creeping underneath the pool wall. The liners are manufactured with the assumption this will be present, and the liner needs this present to fit properly.
  5. If possible, have a Shop Vac ready. This guide covers this type of installation, but there are other ways to do it. 4-5hp is recommended. This will stretch the liner evenly over the entire pool, the floor and wall included, instead of only stretching from the top of the wall as the pool fills, eliminating many tightly installed liner issues such as rips, tears, or beaded liners coming out of the track.
  6. Before filling with water or cutting any holes in the liner, make sure that it is fitting properly, and you are happy with the way it looks. Most wrinkles will not be movable after a very small amount of water is added.

 

Unfolding the liner

 

All liner types:

 

            Completely unfold the liner inside the pool and center the floor of the liner with the pool. Oval liners typically have 2 seams that run long ways with the pool floor. They should be centered on each end of the pool. You can measure the distance between them, and make a mark on the inside of the pool wall for each one if you wish. Example, if they are 8’ apart, find the center point of the pool and make a mark 4’ to each side of the center point. Then line those seams up to those marks and the liner will be centered. The marks should appear the same on both ends. Some small adjustment may be necessary after the liner is hung depending on pool installation. For round pools just unfold the liner and make sure it doesn’t look twisted on the pool floor.

 

Installation

 

Overlap:

 

            After the liner is completely unfolded, pick a starting point and overlap the liner on the wall. A good starting point is to put the wall seam about midways up the cove on the liner. As you overlap the liner, add the coping strips to hold the liner on the wall. Work your way around the perimeter of the pool, not pulling the top of the liner around the pool as you go in a circular motion. Vinyl expands and contracts with temperature change, so if it is hot, and you pull it to much as you go around, you may end up with too much liner, and have to go back around and loosen it up. If you come up short, then you will go back around and pull some of the top with you as you overlap it over the pool wall. Stretching it a little as you go around, giving you the extra perimeter you need. At this point, it may be a good idea to add the stabilizer rails, top joiner plates, and uprights to the pool if you have not done so already. This will help stabilize the wall as you go around. It is ok to use minimal screws , and not tighten all the way in case you have to come back and make adjustments. If you do, these parts will need to come back off. Once the liner is attached all around the pool and the rails are installed, proceed to the Final Fitment section below.

 

 

 

J-hook

 

            Pick a good starting point, and hook the j-hook portion to the wall a few feet at a time. Work your way around the perimeter of the pool, not pulling the top of the liner around the pool as you go in a circular motion. Vinyl expands and contracts with temperature change, so if it is hot, and you pull it to much as you go around, you may end up with too much liner, and have to go back around and loosen it up. If you come up short, then you will go back around and pull some of the top with you as you overlap it over the pool wall. Stretching it a little as you go around, giving you the extra perimeter you need. At this point, it may be a good idea to add the stabilizer rails, top joiner plates, and uprights to the pool if you have not done so already, doing one section between the uprights at a time. This will help stabilize the wall as you go around. It is ok to use minimal screws , and not tighten all the way in case you have to come back and make adjustments. If you do, these parts will need to come back off. Once the liner is attached all around the pool and the rails are installed, proceed to the Final Fitment section below.

 

Beaded

 

          Hang the bead track on the wall. With this type of liner, we recommend putting on all the stabilizer rails and joiner plates at the top after you install the track. Remove the J-Hook portion from your liner if your liner is a dual, or multi bead. (See mfg instructions) Pick a good starting point and insert the liner bead into the track. This is easiest when done a few feet at at time, 2-4’ and then going back over it to make sure all the bead seated in the track. Work your way around the perimeter of the pool, not pulling the top of the liner around the pool as you go in a circular motion. Vinyl expands and contracts with temperature change, so if it is hot, and you pull it to much as you go around, you may end up with too much liner, and have to go back around and loosen it up. If you come up short, then you will go back around and pull some of the top with you as you overlap it over the pool wall. Stretching it a little as you go around, giving you the extra perimeter you need. Once the liner is completely in the bead track all the way around, proceed to the Final Fitment section below.

 

Final Fitment

 

            Once the liner is fully attached all the way around the pool, either with a soft bristle brush from outside the pool, or with your feet from inside, pull as many wrinkles towards the walls as you can. Try to make sure the floor portion is centered in the pool, if it looks really loose on one side, and tight across from there, the liner is not centered. Take your shop vac hose and insert it in your skimmer hole, running the hose down the inside of the wall until it is 4-6” above the cove. Turn on the shop vac and the liner should start to suck down to the floor and the walls. This only takes a few minutes depending on the shop vac size and HP. As it is drawn down you can move wrinkles from the floor to the pool walls with the brush or from inside the pool with your feet. Be careful if you are in the pool not to do damage to the pool floor, or the liner from shoes. (see tip section) If the vacuum is not pulling the liner completely, and if it still seems a little loose, tape up the square hole around the shop vac hose with duct tape to close the air gap there, and also over the round return hole in the wall. This is not always necessary.  If you are getting really good suction, and the wrinkles are no longer moving, you can turn the shop vac off for a few moments, let it loosen back up, then continue adjusting until you get it how you want. Turn the shop vac back on. Anytime during this process you should visibly inspect the seams in the liner for quality. Once the liner fitment is acceptable, you can start filling with water. The shop vac will stay on until the water level in the pool gets to the bottom of the shop vac hose. Roughly 10” deep in the pool.

 

Cutting in

 

            We recommend filling the pool about halfway up before cutting the skimmers and returns in. Once the pool is half full, follow specific mfg instructions for installing those wall fittings.

 

 

Tips

  • The liner should look like it is full of water with no water in it before you add water. It should fit like a glove. If it does not, prior to adding any water, take photos and send to our support department, then call. 95% of the time small adjustments can make all the difference in the world on how your liner fits, and our expert team will help you achieve that. There are cases where steps leading up to the liner install weren’t followed or weren’t done correctly that can affect how the liner fits. Most times they just result in minor imperfections in the finish and most DIY customers are ok with that at this point.
  • Make snow shoes out of cardboard for walking over the liner to minimize footprints in the sand, or stay out of the pool completely after the sand is smoothed out.
  • DO NOT INSTALL THIS ON A WINDY DAY
  • If you are unsure, seek support by calling or emailing.
  • Do not cut any holes or add any water until you are happy with the way the liner is fitting. Very little can be done after water is in the pool, and even less when holes are cut. 
  • Visibly inspect seams prior to filling. Punctures and tears can be repaired, but seam separations are part of the structure, and are normally not repairable. You don’t have to spend a lot of time looking this over, chances are you will not have a problem. But if you do happen to catch it prior to filling with water, it will definitely save a lot of time

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