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Updated: February 19, 2015
Many pool owners often will see sags, gaps, scratches and other issues with their vinyl pool liner every season. The change in temperature, constant rays from the sun and pool chemicals slowly wear away and discolor the liner, causing it to break from the wall. How much of it can be repaired versus replaced, and how much will those services cost? Learn more about vinyl pool liner repair and replacement, and what's involved in either process.
Repairing Vinyl Pool Liner
If your vinyl pool liner is in need of repair, there are some easy fixes you can usually do for less money than hiring a professional. What you'll do depends on the problem. Here are some of the most common problems you could encounter with a vinyl pool liner and how to fix it:
Liner bead off-track: When liners aren't tight because they�re off-center or too small or large, the beads will pop off-track. It's a simple fix to stretch and lock them back into place, though it will take muscle and time. Be prepared to lower the water levels in the pool a foot lower or more.
Leaking vinyl liner: When liners lose their elasticity, they might start to develop holes and punctures. This means pool leaks, and you might start to notice lower water levels over time. If you start adding an inch or more of water per week, there's likely a leak. If you don't fix the leak, water can wash out the backfill support, corrode walls, wash away sand and create sinkholes. It might require fixing a patch or hiring a professional to drain the pool and add a new liner.
Underwater leak: Vinyl adhesive can be used underwater without draining the pool. You might void the warranty of the liner if you drain the pool, so be sure to check.
When to Replace Vinyl Pool Liner
There are various reasons that lead to replacing the vinyl liner rather than trying to patch it. Be sure to check for these signs ahead of time so you don't lose too much water or cause an excess amount of damage to your pool. Otherwise you might need to do repairs to the swimming pool in addition to replacing the vinyl pool liner:
Age: As a vinyl pool liner grows older, it loses elasticity. The sun and weather conditions, along with the chemicals, wear it down. So it loses its color and can't support the pool wall or water pressure. When that happens, chunks of it fall off above the water line. These pieces will have to be replaced by a professional because they're too worn to patch.
Improper installation: Vinyl pool liners are supposed to be protective covers, not structural parts of your swimming pool. If they're installed incorrectly, they won't touch the ground and pool walls like they're supposed to. This could lead to a void in the warranty because it damages the liner bead or rips.
Cut by sharp objects: Since vinyl pool liners are soft, they can easily be cut. It's not easy to patch a vinyl pool liner after such an accident, so it's easier to replace than try and patch badly.
Wrong pool chemicals: If the wrong balance of pool chemicals is used, it can eat away at the vinyl pool liner faster. You need to be sure to use vinyl safe chemicals or not install a vinyl pool liner around your pool.
Replace with Vinyl or Fiberglass?
If you have to replace your vinyl pool liner, a swimming pool professional might recommend fiberglass materials. How do you determine which one is better?
Vinyl pool is the cheaper option for installation and doesn't have a rough surface. It also doesn't allow for algae growth and can be customized into any pool shape. However, its warranty is usually very pro-rated so it will cost a lot to replace or repair in comparison to fiberglass.
Fiberglass is lower maintenance and more aesthetically pleasing. Its long-term cost is usually less than a vinyl pool liner, and its resale value with the swimming pool is higher. However, homeowners will have to pay a lot more upfront to have it installed.
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