9 Above Ground Vinyl Pool Liner Problems to Avoid
Last updated 7/10/2023
Vinyl swimming pool liners are designed to be durable and stand up to ongoing use, but that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. In fact, some pool owners are harder on their pool liners than they realize, resulting in early replacement costs or ongoing vinyl liner repairs.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a few common pool liner issues you should avoid and some tips to help you protect your investment.
1. Over-using or Under-using Chemicals
Bleach, frequent shocks, and chlorine levels can all help keep your pool water safe and sanitary. However, overusing chemicals can cause stains, fading, corrosion, and make the liner brittle.
Like overusing chemicals, not using enough to keep your water clean can also cause problems. Without chlorine and other chemicals, bacteria and algae can grow, which can also cause stains and fading.
Overall, it’s best to test your water chemistry frequently and make sure levels are appropriate. Ideal levels are:
- Chlorine: 1.0-2.0 ppm
- pH: 7.2-7.8
- Calcium Hardness: 180-220 ppm
- Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
- Dissolved Solids: below 5000 ppm
- Cyanuric Acid: 40-80 ppm
- Chloramine: Below 0.4 ppm
Be sure to follow all manufacturer directions and safety guidelines for your vinyl pool liner and various pool chemicals.
2. Draining Your Above Ground Pool
Gravity and water pressure are necessary to hold your vinyl pool liner in place and prevent rising, shrinking, and other issues. Fully draining your pool can cause irreversible damage to your liner.
You should only fully drain your above ground pool if you’re replacing the liner or under the guidance of a swimming pool professional. Most pool maintenance and repair tasks can be done without emptying the pool.
3. Not Fixing Leaks Quickly
Of course, if something does happen to your vinyl pool liner, you want to go through the repair or replacement process as soon as possible.
Leaks can be tricky to find or even notice, but the longer you let them go, the more likely it is that you won’t be able to patch the pool liner.
Leaks left too long also increase the chance of damage to your yard, pool pump, or other pool parts and accessories, especially during the winter.
4. Using Sharp Objects Around the Pool
Vinyl liner swimming pools are is actually pretty sensitive, so you want to be careful when using sharp objects around your above ground pool.
We’ve seen our fair share of sharp things that accidentally cause rips, tears, and other damage to pool liners. These objects include tools, stones, sticks, glass, toys, and other debris.
Here are a few good rules and pool safety tips for family members and gets to follow:
- Put tools away when not in use and keep kids and pets away from them while working in the backyard.
- Supervise kids when they’re in the backyard. Not only can that prevent accidental drowning, but you can also stop them from throwing sticks, rocks, or toys into the pool.
- Keep your landscaping trimmed and tidy. That way, it’s less likely that winds and storms will blow debris into your pool and cause damage.
- Use paper and plastic dishes around the pool to avoid potential broken glass or aluminum damaging your liner.
5. Using Candles, Fireworks, and Other Heat Sources Near Your Pool
While it may seem like a good idea to have water nearby when dealing with fire, you need to be cautious when there are open flames around your vinyl pool liner. The heat can cause melting, burns, and scorch marks if they accidentally get too close to your liner.
- Avoid smoking, grilling, candles, tiki torches, and campfires near the pool, especially if it’s windy outside. The wind can easily blow hot ash and sparks into the water and cause damage to the liner.
- Make sure all flames are fully out before leaving the pool/patio area.
- Keep sparklers and other fireworks away from the pool during celebrations like the Fourth of July.
Pool covers are crucial when it comes to protecting your vinyl pool liner. They serve as the first line of defense against weather, yard waste, and debris. Above ground pool covers also help block the sun’s UV rays that can eventually cause fading and damage your vinyl liner. It is always recommended that you cover your pool when it’s not in use.
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7. Not Protecting Your Pool From Animals
It is generally considered safe for dogs to swim in the pool, provided you clean your pool and your dog regularly and they’re able to get in and out (without scratching at the side).
Wild animals, on the other hand, are a different story.
Animals, like squirrels, deer, and bears, have been known to get trapped in pools and cause damage to the liner, especially when the homeowner lives in a more rural area.
- Don’t leave food and other debris out on your patio or deck area that may draw animals around your pool. This is your first line of defense.
- Keep the pool covered and remove ladders/stairs when not in use to prevent wild animals from entering the pool.
- If wild animals are a problem in your area, a safety fence is also a good option.
8. Wearing Improper Swimwear in the Pool
If you’re going in the pool, be sure to change into a bathing suit or swim trunks. It can be tempting to dive or wade in while wearing your shorts, a t-shirt, or other non-swimwear, but we advise against it.
Buttons, zippers, metal clasps, and miscellaneous objects in your pockets can damage the vinyl liner if you accidentally rub up against it.
- Avoid any clothing with metal that could damage the liner, as noted above.
- Remove your shoes before entering the pool or use water shoes if you want your feet covered.
- Remove jewelry before entering the pool to avoid damaging the liner or the jewelry metal and gems.
- Avoid hair clips, bobby pins, and other hair accessories other than soft ponytail holders and scrunchies.
9. Improper Installation
Most problems with vinyl liners start during the installation period. If you got a new liner, be sure you’re taking time to install it properly.
LinerWorld has a handy pool liner installation guide to get you started. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Ensure that the area is free from debris or sharp objects. Bumps, rough patches, or unleveled areas should be smoothed out to avoid causing tears wrinkles in the liner.
- Install on a warm day — 80 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer.
- Always use a ladder pad under your stairs and ladders
Wrapping It Up
Keep in mind that an above ground vinyl pool liner that’s well-maintained and taken care of can last years. Use these tips to help keep your liner in tip-top shape and ready for pool fun all summer long.
If you do have a mishap, repair and patch kits can sometimes work to fix the problem. Check out our vinyl patch kits and some helpful resources to get you started.