Swimming Pool Repair Tips
SWIMMING POOL VINYL LINERS
A Vinyl Lined pool has a vinyl membrane as it's pool floor and wall material. This vinyl fabric is custom made to fit the shell of the pool. Gunite and Shotcrete pools use a plaster finish, troweled by hand over the cementitious substrate. Plaster may also be called whitecoat or marcite. Aboveground vinyl liners may be Beaded, in which the top of the liner has a thick ridge which locks into a track or they may be an Overlap liner, which wraps over the top edge of the wall and down the outside. All inground liners are of the beaded type. Underneath the liner is a sand or cementitious floor, specified in dimension to the "cut" of the liner that is to be used. The floors come up to meet the walls, which are commonly 3 ft by 8 ft panels made of galvanized steel or thermoplastic. These walls are usually supported from behind so that they won't bow out against the weight of the water. All of the wall panels are secured together to make up the perimeter shape of the pool. For this reason, there are some limitations to the possible shapes of a vinyl liner pool.
Vinyl liner pool sales seem to be regional. Many areas of the country seem to have nothing but vinyl liner pools, whereas in other areas you'd be hard pressed to find even one. If you already own a vinyl pool; here are some service tips from our vinyl help file:
Vinyl Liner Repair
Liner bead coming out of the track? Liners are meant to fit tightly into the shape of the pool. If the liner was installed slightly off center, or if the liner is too large or too small for the pool's shape, you might experience the bead popping out of the track.
With the use of a heat gun or blow dryer and a lot of elbow grease (eat your wheaties), the liner can be stretched and locked back into the track. I was also informed by a pool tech recently that boiling hot water works well when you need to stretch a liner. If this is a continuing problem, the use of liner lock can help in keeping the bead in the track.Use caution with using electrical equipment (heat gun) around water (pool)
It's usually a lot of pulling and pushing to get a liner back into the track. In some cases you'll need to lower the water level a foot or more if it is out very far. Better to put back in small areas than to wait until you have to lower the water. Use of a small hair dryer (blow dryer) can heat up the liner, making it more stretchable, and easier to get back into the track. Be careful, keep the dryer moving and not too close to the vinyl! I once heated a hole right through a brand new liner using this trick! Also, if you drop the dryer into the water, don't reach in to grab it, you could become electrocuted. When the liner is put back into the track (it can be exhausting work, I'm telling you) consider using liner lock, pennies or popsicle sticks to help hold it in the track.
Liner losing its color? The original color of your liner will fade with the use of sanitizing chemicals and the effects of ol' Mr. Sun. Harsh chemicals and high concentrations of such are to be avoided. This will remove the plasticizers which give liners their resiliency, leading to brittle vinyl, which leads to new liners. The chemical makeup of modern vinyl allows manufacturers to create liners that are now much more durable and resistant to chemical, solar and algae problems.
Vinyl liner leaking? Not an uncommon problem. Liners are typically manufactured in 20 mil thickness (28-30 mil option). Although resistant to punctures...it can happen, and will happen. Especially as the liner ages, losing its resiliency. If you are fortunate enough to see a small hole in the liner, simply patch it with a vinyl liner patch kit. If underwater, buy a "wet" patch kit. If the source of the leak isn't readily apparent, go to our section on Leak Detection. Most patching of vinyl is fairly successful. Even large holes and rips can be patched, but for the best success, anything over 1-2 inches should be patched on both sides. Generally speaking, a vinyl liner patch done "dry" will have better success than an underwater vinyl repair. For large repairs, lower the water level, if possible. We have patch kits available for all types of repairs.
If you are adding more than two inches of water to your pool per week, discounting splashout and backwash waste water, you probably have a leak. Do not allow leaks in vinyl liner pools to go unchecked. Leaks can washout supporting back fill behind the walls, can corrode the walls and may wash away sand on the floor, creating sinkholes.
It is not advised to drain your vinyl liner pool, or allow it to leak out below the level of the walls. The water in the pool holds the liner tightly against the walls and floor. If the water is removed, the liner must be reset with a vacuum to suck the liner into place while filling. Otherwise, large wrinkles may appear when filling a loose fitting vinyl liner. In addition, an empty vinyl liner pool may allow rain water to seep in under the walls, washing away and destroying the specifically contoured shape of the floor. There also exists the risk of a wall collapsing or caving in. Consult a professional for assistance in these areas.
Never add undiluted granular chemicals, specifically pH decreaser and Calcium Hypochlorite (shock) directly to the pool. These particles will settle to the bottom, "bleach" the vinyl, and compromise it's strength and resiliency. Always mix pool chemicals into a bucket of water and pour the mixture around the edge of a pool. If granules do fall in, brush briskly with a pool brush.
Resetting your vinyl liner: If the liner has been drained, or leaked out on it's own, it will need to be "sucked back" into place with a vacuum device to remove the air between the liner and the pool shell (walls/floor). This vacuum will be in place until the water level is at a predetermined point on the wall. The vacuum is then removed, and the pool continues to fill. This is necessary to ensure proper fit, and reduce or eliminate wrinkles in the vinyl. Prices will vary on labor and trip costs involved, but expect a few hundred dollars when it's all said and done.
Replacing your vinyl liner: Sooner or later, your pool's liner will need to be replaced. While this is done is an ideal time to modify the shape, depth, circulation or functionality of the pool. You may wish to add steps, an automatic cleaner line, another skimmer, enlarge the pool or add an attached spa.
Vinyl liners are not limited in colors and patterns as they used to be. Changing a pool lining will dramatically improve the visual effect of your pool. The cost of the liner will depend on it's shape, size, thickness, and pattern choice. As an example, a 17' x 35' oval, with a Rockcliffe print, 28 mil thickness, will cost in the neighborhood of $1200.00.
In Ground Vinyl Liner Installation
The labor involved in replacing a vinyl liner begins with the measuring of your pool for the new liner. After the liner is delivered (allow 2-3 weeks), replacing a vinyl liner is a full day job. The pool is drained, the old liner is cut up into smaller pieces and removed to the recycling plant. Then work on the walls. Wall joints are taped, rust or irregularities are scraped and sanded. If the wall is rough, pitted or corroded, we will recommend foaming the walls to prevent contact with the new liner. Wall foam also gives the walls a nice, soft feel and can give some additional protection against tearing of the vinyl. All of the face plates surrounding the suction and return ports are removed. The track, where the bead of the liner fits into, is inspected, and if necessary, cracked sections may be replaced.
Floor preparation is the final step before "dropping" the new liner and setting with a vacuum. If the floor is sand, remove any discolored or muddy sand, and replace with new. The floor is hand troweled with large plaster trowels or wood darby floats to remove any irregularities and achieve design specs for which the liner was manufactured. Pebbles and sand balls are removed while we back out of the pool very carefully. If the floor is cement or vermiculite, it is swept and cleaned. Irregularities such as cracks and divots are filled in with a vermiculite mixture and troweled smooth.
After the walls and floors are prepped, two to four people can drape the liner across the pool and lock it into the track. Positioning one or two vacuums to set the liner into place, working out any wrinkles as the vacuums suck out the air from behind the liner, creating a tight, suctioned fit. Then the main drain and steps (if they exist), are cut in and the plates are put on. Then we put a hose in to fill the pool. The vacuums continue to operate until the water level is at a predetermined point on the wall. Remove the vacuums and lock in the liner at these points. The pool continues to fill. When full, cut-in the wall face plates and a light ring (if there is an underwater light). New face plates should be used (if available) The filter is then started up, and you're in business!
Labor on a liner installation is usually $1200-1500, depending on size of the pool, and extent of wall and floor work. Complete liner replacement charges range from $2,500 -3,500.
Don't try this at home kids, we're professionals. You have been given just enough information to be dangerous! Unless you have assisted on a pool liner installation before, consider hiring a professional to perform the measurement and liner installation portions of the job.
Above Ground Vinyl Liner Installation
The information above is primarily inground vinyl liner information. Installing an aboveground vinyl liner is not so difficult. Not so easy either. Not a real fun job, but here's the basic lowdown....
First, make sure you order the proper size. Measure carefully the length, width and depth. Measure from the point the liner flips over the wall or locks into the track if it is a beaded liner.
Disassemble the top of the wall only to the extent necessary. Try not to remove any bolts or screws that are unnecessary to the removing the liner. Move slowly. Remove any screws holding in wall fittings. Remove the U channels clamping the liner in place as it turns over the top of the wall. Cut and remove the existing liner.
Smooth out a sand floor with trowels. Remove any pebbles or rocks. Replace any sand that is contaminated with algae. If there exists any vegetation, pull it up and treat the sand with bleach or algaecide or herbicide to prevent any vegetative growth. If the walls are rusted, scrape and paint. You should also put foam over this repair if the rust is severe enough that it may damage the new liner. Put duct tape over any rough areas or seams in the wall panels. Floor padding can be used to make a floor soft and smooth. Pool Cove can also be placed between wall and floor for a smooth transition.
Drape new liner over pool leaving just a little slack so that it will stretch ever so slightly into place. Be careful not to disrupt the smooth sand floor by dragging the liner over it. Make sure liner is not twisted. Replace U channels to secure liner to top of wall. You can use a shop vac to set the liner with (removing all of the air between the pool wall and the liner), but most people do not. Just make sure that there is enough slack so that the liner will stretch into place.
Begin to fill pool. Keep an eye on the liner while filling to make sure it doesn't slip. If wrinkles develop, you can likely work them to the side if you catch it soon enough. Any wrinkle under more than 9 inches of water will be difficult to remove. After you have 12 inches of water over the pool walls, you can turn off the shop vac, if you used one, and/or relax that the liner has "set". If you have wall fittings, wait until pool is full to cut in these. We have replacement liners at poolcenter.com.
copyrighted information provided courtesy of poolcenter.com