Swimming pool liner buying guide

Swimming pool liner buying guide

Patrick, Handyman, Bath

Guide written by:

Patrick, Handyman, Bath

12 guides

Above-ground pools, inground pools... Every pool has a liner (well, almost!) Choosing your liner - blue, white, reinforced PVC, felt, made to measure or hanging - is an integral part of pool ownership. From the what to the how to the why of swimming pool liners, let's get stuck in!

Important features

  • Colour
  • Thickness
  • Method of attachment
  • Materials
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What is a pool liner?

The aesthetics of your pool rely heavily on the pool liner you choose.
Material quality, colour and finish all have an impact on the overall look of your pool basin.Linersare made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), rendering the pool basin waterproof.On inground pools, they are shaped to fit the pool and are attached to the pool walls.
On above-ground pools, they usually take the form of a hanging bag.
Overall, plastic liners are the most common type of pool lining.
Apart from providing waterproofing, they're also visually attractive thanks to the varied range of colours and patterns available.

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How to install a swimming pool liner?

Although it might be impractical to change the liner yourself on an inground pool, it might be quite feasible on an above-ground pool.
Whatever type of pool you have, liners are typically made to measure. Ensure you take accurate measurements of your pool basin dimensions.
With above-ground pools, whether they're round, rectangular or octagonal, spare liners can be found easily for well-known brands and products. So there's not much to go wrong!
For a larger pool, if you go for a high-end liner, bear in mind that they come in rolls and are laid by heat-welding immediately on installation.

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Above-ground pool

What different types of pool liner are there?

There's an extensiverange of liners available.
The lifespan of a pool liner is between 5 and 20 years depending on the quality of the material, the installation and of course your habits of pool maintenance.
Given the cost of labour (if you hire a professional contractor) and the necessary downtime while the liner is changed, it may be wise to choose a good quality liner, even if it's a fair bit more expensive!
For inground pools, assuming equal levels of maintenance, a high-end liner will last up to three times longer than a cheaper alternative.

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Pool maintenance

What materials are pool liners made of?

Pool liners are composed primarily of plasticized PVC.
High-end liners may be reinforced with a polyester weave, making them very resistant, especially to tearing.
Liners can be treated to increase UV resistance or provide a non-slip surface.
Some liners, designed for spas and indoor pools, are treated to withstand high temperatures; this of course has an impact on the price.

What thicknesses of liner are available?

Liner thickness varies between 0.45 and 1.5mm, usually expressed in 100ths of a millimetre. You might see, for example, "45/100" for 0.45 mm or "150/100" for 1.5 mm.
Reinforced liners start at 85/100. These are recommended for high-use swimming pools, especially if used lots by children. Thinner liners can be vulnerable to damage from rowdy play.
In addition, thicker liners are better at withstanding pH imbalances, the risk of which increases with the number of bathers.
For small above-ground pools, a 50/100 liner is generally sufficient; 75/100 is the minimum recommended thickness for inground pools.
To make your liner more pleasant to the touch, a rot-proof felt can be placed under the plastic layer - especially on the steps and the pool floor. The felt works to even out surface irregularities in the surface of the basin.
As for colour, manufacturers offer an extensive pallette: you are sure to find the one for you!

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Any tips on choosing a colour for your pool liner?

Be aware that light colours age better, while darker ones are more likely to discolour. Even better, the water looks more transparent with a lighter-coloured liner!
Liner colour will above all influence the appearance of your pool water. And it's ultimately a matter of taste!
You might want to harmonize with the surroundings for example... If you want your pool to chime in with your lawn, then choose a green liner!
A white liner will make your water appear blue.
If you want to imagine yourself in the Caribbean, make it a sandy colour! A dark blue liner enhances the appearance of depth.

To brighten up a block-colour liner, why not add a frieze in one of a range of attractive patterns? These are often printed directly onto the liner, but you can also get separate adhesive ones. This can be a good solution to spruce things up if your liner is still in good condition overall but the waterline is showing wear.
You can even add decorative tiles along the waterline.

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White liner

What method of attachment is best for your pool liner?

If your liner is a replacement for a previous one, the method of attachment will already be decided. On the other hand, if you're starting from scratch, the choice is yours.
There are three methods:

  • Hung is the most common system for inground pools. The edge of the liner is fitted with beads that slide along rail positioned along the poolside under the edging;
  • Unibead is similar to the Hung system except that it is suitable for above-ground pools;
  • Overlap is suitable for both types of swimming pools. In this system, you fold down the liner over the pool edges and clip a rounded rod over it to keep it in place. This system makes allowance for imprecise pool measurements. The liner comes oversized and the excess is cut down.
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So, how to choose your pool liner?

Don't skimp on quality for the sake of the price, since saving on your initial investment basically means having to pay for a replacement sooner!
Adding a frieze is a good strategy against waterline stains; and don't forget, to keep your liner in good condition, maintain your water at a neutral pH level!

Learn more about swimming pool equipment...

To find out more about swimming pool equipment, follow our editors' advice and discover their other guides:

How to choose your pool liner?
How to choose your swimming pool liner?How to choose your pool cleaning products?
How to choose your pool maintenance products? How to choose your pool robot?
How to choose your pool cover? How to choose your pool filtration system?
How to choose your pool heat pump?
How to choose your pool heat exchanger?
How to choose your electric swimming pool heater? How to choose your pool alarm?
How to clean your pool?How to filter your pool?
How to cover your pool? How to heat your pool? How to secure your pool? How to choose your pool?

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Guide written by:

Patrick, Handyman, Bath, 12 guides

Patrick, Handyman, Bath

Professional maintenance and electronics training. I don’t ask to use my tools on the weekend. The car, the boat, the house with its electric appliances, the garden and its swimming pool, they all remind me that they need my attention. In the absence of an unlimited budget, I try to expand my areas of expertise. There’s nothing I like quite as much as being in the weekend workshop with my buddies. Everyone benefits from his experience which ends up being more-or-less successful, it must be said. But that’s part of the charm of DIY, helping each other and realizing a project in a pleasant way. So, if I can help you, it would be a pleasure.

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