How to Install a Beaded Pool Liner for an Above Ground Pool

UPDATED: April 2023

Here are some basic guidelines for installing a beaded pool liner in your above ground swimming pool.

1. Measure your above ground pool.

The first thing you always want to do before installing your beaded pool liner and even ordering it, is to measure your above ground swimming pool. You want to ensure you have the correct-sized liner for your pool.

Measuring above ground pools

You will also want to measure the wall height for this pool when installing a beaded liner. They come in different wall height sizes, so you will want to ensure you are buying the correct one.

Measuring pool depth for pool liner

2. Drain the water out of the swimming pool completely.

When the water is out of the pool, the walls are wobbly. This means that the pool may cave in if strong winds come through or may cave in. So for your safety, please think about these conditions when draining the swimming pool.

3. Cut the current liner out of the pool.

Leave a small strip of the liner around the top circumference of the pool. Remove the strip from the bead receiver next.

4. When the swimming pool liner is removed. concentrate on the pool floor.

Remove any items, like rocks, roots, or any other sharp or hard objects, that will harm the pool liner. Add some more sand if need be to flatten it out. If you are using pool liner padding at the bottom, make sure that nothing will puncture that padding when walked on. 

Sometimes the ground shifts and rocks become threats, so you would want to remove these by cutting them out from under the pad and then duct-taping that hole in the pad. (Make as small of an incision as possible. The duct tape will protect the padding from tearing any further.)

5. Make sure the cutouts in the wall for the skimmer and returns are in good condition.

If there is rust, use a rust preventive spray to protect the wall, and paint it if you want. Make sure to sand the rust away. Also, be sure that there is no residue in the pool where the liner is going to sit.

6. Take the pool liner out of the box

Make sure not to puncture it while opening it if you are using a knife. Try to unfold it in your yard so you can inspect it, meaning make sure there aren’t any defects, like holes in the liner or seam or pattern problems. 

Also, check to ensure that the liner is the right size, usually stated on the box.

7. Place the liner in your swimming pool.

Carefully place the beaded pool liner in the pool by lifting it over the wall and gently placing it on the pool floor.

8. While you are in the pool installing the liner, take off your shoes.

You’ll want to do this so that you are in there with just socks on your feet or you are barefoot. This will protect the liner from tears during installation.

9. Unroll the beaded pool liner and place it into position.

The bottom seam should follow the bottom corners of the pool. Keep this an equal distance as much as possible. 

Some pools are not completely round for oval, so try to make it as even as possible. Once you have done this, smooth out the bottom as much as possible.

10. Now, starting with the wall seam, install the beaded edge into the beaded receiver at the top of the pool wall.

The top rails will still be on the pool wall, so be careful not to puncture the liner with the rails. After installing that first section, skip the next few sections and install a new point. 

Repeat this until the whole liner is in the track. Make sure that the liner is evenly distributed throughout the pool wall and that the bead is tightly installed into the receiver.

11. Gently remove all the wrinkles that you can from the beaded pool liner.

Wrinkles in your pool’s vinyl liner may look unsightly, but the real danger lies beyond its aesthetic — if left unchecked, those very wrinkles can easily lead to tears and holes.

12. Start to add some water into the pool.

As water comes in from your hose, you can still smoothen out the remaining wrinkles. Do this in a straight line starting at the center and going out to the edges. 

When you first add the water, you want to do this slowly. This is to help remove wrinkles easier because the liner will not be too stiff.

13. When the water level reaches 6 inches, check the bead at the receiver.

You’ll want to do this to ensure it is still securely in place. 

If you see any wrinkles on the walls, this is the last time you can try to work them out. If you choose not to, then they will be in the liner for the rest of its life.

14. Have the water fill the pool until it reaches a couple of inches below any section where you need to cut the liner.

You may have to cut the liner around the skimmer, the return, or any lights you may have in your pool.

15. Now you will install the skimmer and return, and/or lights, onto the pool wall.

You do not want to cut these holes in the liner until these are bolted into the pool. This will make the job better and will give the liner a longer life. 

It is usually suggested to replace the skimmer and return gaskets every time you replace the liner before you install the respecting parts.

16. When these are in place, then you can carefully cut the liner following the inside of the faceplate.

You may need to cut the hole for the return before installing the return. If you need to, then cut the hole carefully using a sharp razor-like tool. 

If any of these cutouts are too big, the gasket will not be able to cover them, and the pool will leak. There is no way to fix this, so be extremely cautious otherwise, you will need to install a new liner!

17. Continue to fill the pool.

Check for any leaks. If need be, tighten the skimmer and return, or any lights, if you see any leaks.

18. In some cases, people like to install a tool called a bead lock onto the liner.

The bead lock gets wedged onto the beaded part of the liner and into the receiver. This will help the liner stay in the receiver, preventing it from popping out. This does not always work, but it is a good precautionary tool.

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