Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool Videos, Maintenance Tips & Common Questions
Vinyl Liner Swimming Pools
How To Fix A Floating Pool Liner?
Every spring swimming pool companies are flooded with calls from pool owners who have discovered the liner is floating off the floor of the pool. In a mild case the floor of the deep end would be floating and in severe cases the shallow end floor can even be floating. This is especially a concern if you have in wall steps with a compression flange as the liner can tear away from the bottom flange. In most cases a floating liner can be fixed easily with acceptable, though not perfect, results. If a hole in the liner is the cause of the floating liner this would need to be repaired before you could pump the water from behind the liner as shown in this video.
Not all pools will have this problem as well built swimming pools will have the ability to drain water away from the pool from behind the walls. In some areas however this is not possible due to naturally existing water courses and in this situation a permanent sump well should be installed directly adjacent to the pool to allow pumping of localized water around the pool during periods of high water tables. At minimum this sump well must go as deep as the bottom of the pool walls, and deeper is better, and all waste water must be pumped well away from the pool area to prevent the water from returning to the pool area underground.
How To Install A Pool Return - Hayward VS Jacuzzi
Easily one of the most common mistakes made by pool owners and pool "professionals" alike is to incorrectly install Hayward brand return assemblies with an extra gasket. As shown in this video the design of the Hayward return uses a single gasket and the vinyl liner itself forms the gasket of the water side of the pool return. The Jacuzzi brand uses two gaskets and this further complicates the problem for those who are not familiar with the difference between these two designs.
A very common leak point in vinyl liner swimming pools is return flanges that have stress cracks at each of the four screw locations. These cracks prevent the flange from retaining a compression tight seal and will slowly over time begin to leak water. Unfortunately changing the gasket orientation on an existing pool liner is risky as the liner could shift permanently during the repair process preventing you from being able to position the hole in the liner over the return port. This is a problem that you do not want to have and are better to live with the leaking return flanges until you are ready to replace the liner. If the liner is still very new, one or two years old, then the potential for being able to replace the gasket and flange on your returns goes up but is still a risk.
Is It OK If The Screws On My Skimmer Faceplate Are Loose?
Vinyl swimming pool leaks around the skimmer are very common and often a leak that is ignored over time. This video shows just how much damage can result from ignoring this type of leak. A common problem with certain styles of pool skimmers is for the grommet on the back side of the skimmer to break off. This grommet serves the function to receive the fastener from the front of the skimmer faceplate flange. If this grommet is missing, or spinning in place, you will not be able to tighten the skimmer faceplate past finger tight. The temptation may be there to think that with so many other screws perhaps it will be OK if just one is loose...nope!
In a situation where you are faced with a skimmer screw that will not tighten a reasonably good solution (other than replacing the skimmer) is to drill a hole on either side of the problem screw about 3/4" away. You would then use a screw (stainless) that is slightly larger than the hole that you drilled to tap into the hole. This is usually a one shot deal as if you strip this screw you will need to oversize it with another screw if you hope to get the flange compression tight. The old skimmer screw hole is then filled with 100% silicone. A skilled pool technician can perform this repair with a high degree of success. See the follow up to this video leaking skimmer part 2 here.
How To Put Vinyl Liner Back In The Coping Track - Fixing Liner Pulls
Possibly the most common problem that you can encounter with a vinyl liner pool is then the liner bead pulls out of the coping track that retains it. This can happen due to the coping track stretching or often by water forming into ice in the coping track which forces the liner out of place. Once the liner has started to run out of the track it is likely to continue doing so. A liner that will not stay in the track even if you put it back in place you can add spacers and wedges to help pin the liner bead into the track. The wedges are called liner lock, T-bead, popsicle lock, snap lock and other names depending on the type of coping you have. Using tapered wooden clothes pegs (with the springs removed) are a great temporary solution to keep the liner in the track both burning the liner pull fix and after you have the liner back in the track preventing it from coming out again.
The newer the liner is the easier it will be to get it back into the coping track. New vinyl has a good amount of elasticity which diminishes over time due to UV and chemical damage. A liner that is 1-3 seasons old will still stretch fairly well when you apply boiling water to it. After this time the amount of stretch reduces yearly. Liners 7-10 years old or older essentially have no stretch left at all and will be very difficult to get back into place. Lowering the water level to expose more vinyl to the boiling water may allow you to get just a little bit more stretch out of this process in a difficult situation.
How Do You Install A vinyl Pool Liner?
A lot of new pool owners are curious as to how you actually install a pool liner - specifically how do you get it to stay in place? Many people assume the liner is somehow attached to the walls and floor with a glue or adhesive however this is not the case. The liner is positioned by the installer and a series of vacuums are used to evacuate the air behind the liner. This is accomplished by seaming all areas where air could escape from behind the liner with duct tape or silicone.
As the vacuums remove the air the liner is sucked back into place with such force that it can no longer be manually manipulated or positioned. If the orientation of the liner is off by more than an inch or two then there will be wrinkles evident in the pool that will not disappear should the pool be filled with water as-is. A skilled pool technician can orient the liner extremely accurately and can manually manipulate small sections as the vacuums begin to pull air from behind. So long as the vacuums continue to run until the pool water level reaches the shallow end then any wrinkles that were "lost" will remain gone.
New Liner Installation - How To Install Vinyl Steps
The hardest part of installing a new vinyl liner for most people will be doing the cut-ins of the components such as lights, returns, main drain, skimmer and most especially, in-wall steps. In wall step flanges can have as many as a few hundred screws and every single one must be installed in exactly the correct spot and with compression tightness. If you want to inspect the quality of a vinyl liner installation the steps represent the most challenging part of the install.
There are two general schools of thought as to how this should be done with the two essential options being "dry" or "wet". This video above details a dry installation where the stairs are cut out as soon as the liner is installed. This should only be done on pools where the liner fits extremely well. If there is any stretch, coving, wrinkles or abnormalities in the stairs then they should not be cut in dry. Instead you should wait until there is a minimum of 8" of water in the shallow end of the pool before cutting in the stairs. This will allow the liner to stretch into place under weight of the water in the pool especially the are where the pool wall meets the pool floor in the shallow end.
How Do You Measure A Freeform Pool Liner?
Learning how to measure a vinyl liner for a swimming pool is something that takes experience to do consistently well. Rectangle and circular pools are fairly easy to measure due to their inherent shape. Kidney shaped pools, and any other form of "freeform pool liners" must be measured using a plotting system to allow the liner manufacturer create an accurate 3-D model of the pool. The pool liner must fit exactly in place to avoid wrinkles and the plotting process does this by identifying key areas of the pool and including these referenced points in the measurement plot. You will need to denote the shallow end break, the beginning and end of the deep end pad (floor), the length of the long slope, the back slope and the side slopes in the deep end as well as the overall length, width and depth of the pool.
Since liners are custom made for each inground vinyl liner pool it is extremely important to measure your pool properly. Liner manufacturers can potentially alter a liner that has been mis-measured however this is certainly a situation that you want to avoid. Some liner manufacturers offer a liner measurement service that you can pay for if you are not confident that you can measure it properly.
Can You Drain A Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool?
The short answer to this question is simply no. Draining a vinyl liner swimming pool will cause the liner itself to shift and possibly tear and it will no longer go back into the original, correct, orientation. Draining a vinyl pool will typically result in needing to purchase and install a new vinyl liner.
A second, more common circumstance that pool technicians encounter is pool owners who understand that they need a new liner so they just go ahead and drain the pool in advance. The pool requires the weight of the water to provide outwards pressure on the walls and floor of the pool. This prevents from experiencing a total failure of the pool kit walls or floor resulting in major repair costs or even sometimes total failure of the pool. In addition to this the pool liner and water in the pool helps to protect the finished condition of the pool floor.
Left unprotected the floor in a pool, typically made from mortar concrete or vermiculite concrete, will begin to degrade. The smooth finish of the floor is very important in protecting the vinyl liner long term and any imperfections in the floor will need to be repaired before a new liner can be installed. Removing the water and old liner from the pool will almost certainly increase the workload required to prepare the pool for a new vinyl liner.
How Long Does A Pool Vinyl Liner Last?
A very common question from new pool owners is how long will the vinyl liner last before needing to be replaced. The answer to this question has been changing steadily for the last 20 years (for the worse). Vinyl used today is different from the vinyl that was in your grandparents pool. Many toxic products have been removed from the liner manufacturing process, which is good, however this impacts the longevity of the product. In recent years vinyl used in the vinyl manufacturing industry has started to be imported from offshore and overseas which has vastly reduced the quality (and thickness) of the vinyl commonly used today which ultimately reduces the longevity you can expect to get from it. Liners today last half as long as liners from even one generation ago.
Often overlooked is just how much water chemistry and balancing can determine the life you will get from your pool liner. As outlined in this video pool water quality will have a huge negative impact on your vinyl liner and can ruin it in as little as one or two years with marginally maintained water. extremely poor water quality, like very low or very high pH values, can ruin your liner permanently from a single instance so be sure to invest in your water balancing knowledge to get the most out of your liner.
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