There are a few basic duties of a pool liner that range from keeping the water inside the pool, enhancing the appearance of the pool, and keeping all the troubles at bay, as far as the damage to the pool sides is concerned.
For maximum benefits, one must opt for the best kind, which are mainly available in four basic types namely - overlap pool liners, expandable pool liners, beaded pool liners, and unibead pool liners.
The types of pool liners are decided on their functioning which in turn decides their durability. There are three main types of pool liners available, each with its own unique feature and benefits.
Despite the warranties and guaranties, pool liners do get out-of-function after a certain period of time. People having swimming pools in their backyards often worry a lot about the replacement, as it is a tough job for an amateur.
However, it is not impossible, if one knows how to carry out the replacement. Once one is sure about the techniques involved, then one can replace it easily, with the DIY way.
There are various reasons which would lead one to perform the task of replacement. Beads coming off the liner, liner getting old and losing its color. But the biggest reason is pool liner leakage.
One can always try the replacement when there are no chances of repairing them. Here are some easy steps given ahead.
Draining the Pool
There are a few primary steps that one must take before starting the replacement. The first step is draining the pool. It is said, that one must take measurements for the new liners only when the pool is dry.
It is also very important to see to it that the drained water is pumped safely into a natural drainage system and not soaked underground. Doing so, could work negatively if it channels back to damage the pool or one's dwelling.
Removing the Old Liner
This is the second step. For removing the older pool liner, all that one needs is a good sharp pair of scissors. With the help of the scissors, cut off the liners around the pool fittings. Cut it off from the skimmers, lights, and return lines, etc. After that, follow the liner track that is situated at the top of the pool wall.
If the liner track is made of aluminum, one would find a gray locking strip there. Safely remove that and clean it, only to reuse it while installation of the new liner (if it is in shape). If the liner track is made of plastic, then remove it carefully, across all sides of the pool, fold it well, and discard it.
In case of plastic track, cut it off keeping its 6" flap from the bottom edge of the liner and pull it up gently. This would protect the new liner from cracking or breaking.
Cleaning, Sealing, and Repairing
Remove all the debris from the pool to make way for the new liner. Use a pair of vice grips with the Allen key, which will loosen the debris, if any, from the track. To collect all the removed debris, one must always use a shop vacuum.
Once done with the cleaning process, it is time to seal any cracks that may be present in the fiberglass or wooden swimming pool. One can use silicon cement or duct tape for this purpose. After one is done with all the cleaning and sealing, it's time for removing all the fitting.
Remove all the face plates from the pool fitting, without breaking any of the screws. In case of breakage, use drilling machine to dig them out. Do not forget to re-tap the holes of the broken screws. Make sure that all the gaskets are well in shape and if not, replace them as well.
Inspection and Preparation
Remove all the burrs and other tiny debris from inside the pool wall, so that they won't come in the way of the new pool liner. After one is done with it, start preparing the base for the new liner. If the base of the pool is made of sand, then it must be totally fine grade and free of any foreign matters.
Now, wet the sand and trowel it with the help of the bull-nosed steel float. Cover at least 2" area (depth) with it, at the base of the pool. If one has vermiculite pool base, cover the area with a mixture of one part of Portland cement, three parts of vermiculite pool base, and water.
When dry, sweep the base in order to remove any remaining foreign matter and vacuum the pool base. Work with patience while removing the debris, as it is very crucial in the procedure.
Start with securing the gaskets, if any. Now, place the pool liner box at the shallow end of the pool. Make sure its arrows are pointing at the deeper end of the pool. Remove it from the liner box and spread it all across the width of the swimming pool. Ask two to three people for help, so that the replacement is done successfully.
Make sure the liner is placed, without any folds. After that, it is time for the most crucial part, which is aligning the pool liner. Always start aligning from the corner of the deeper end. Alignment of the liner is done by aligning the buttons that are present on its surface.
Start alignment from the center button with the pool's corner radius and insert it into the liner track. One would have to insert the deep end corners first. When one is all set with the deeper corners, insert the pool liner into the track along the deeper end wall of the pool.
Work in the same manner towards the shallow end of the pool. After finishing with all the corners, insert the whole liner into the track and re-insert the gray locking strip if necessary. Never use any hard tools for the purpose of inserting the liners as it can damage the pool liner, severely.
After one is done with the installation, it is time to replace the suction hose exactly in between the liner and the pool wall. One can use a 'wet dry shop vacuum' for the cause. Once one has inserted the suction hose through the skimmer, make sure to secure it with a damp piece of cloth, only to create an air seal.
Now turn the machine on and remove all the wrinkles as possible. Vacuum must be applied only to remove all the wrinkles and folds from the liner. When one is done with the vacuum fitting satisfactorily, it is time to refill the pool with water.
While refilling the pool, make sure that the vacuum is still on. Fill the deep end of the pool with about 18-inch water and then seal it with the face plate. When the pool is filled satisfactorily with water turn the tap off and close the main drain end of the pool.
Remember that the liner would be very slippery and hence have a helper who can guide with a pole. At this time, do not forget to remove the suction hose and turn off the vacuum as well. Now restart the water filling process and fill the pool to the maximum to allow the pool liner to stick all across the pool.
It is very important to decide the time to install the face plates. As a rule of thumb, install the face plates when the water is half way up the pool walls. Premature installation of the face plates could result in extra pressure on the liner which may hamper its durability.
Those who are not able to carry out the replacement on their own could always get help from the professionals, by paying the required replacement cost.