Gladon Hard Bottom vs. GLI Armor Shield
I'm replacing my 30' round pool liner and am in a quandary as to what protective liner to use. There are some good sized roots and rocks that have occurred since the installation with sand and vermiculite (14 yrs. ago).
I bought the replacement liner from the pool store I first purchased the pool from and they use the Gladon Hard Bottom which is substantially more expensive than the prices for the Armor Shield I have found online.
I will also have them spread a few bags of vermiculite as well. In your opinion, which product is better for the application I've described above? Thanks.
That is a very good question regarding a couple of new pool products. I'm so glad you brought them to my attention so that I could do some research.
It appears the Gladon Hard Bottom comes packaged with the preformed pool cove. Gladon has always made the best pool cove on the market, so I have no doubt this package is well worth the money. If you felt the need to replace your pool cove this would probably be a good way to go. You could remove your existing cove as well as any high spots in your current base. You could then smooth over a sugar coating of sand to fill in any low spots. I think I would prefer sand for this because it would pack better than vermiculite. To install the base pad and the cove you will need to be in the pool walking around so you need to be working on as solid of base as possible.
The pad is thin, and will have the same characteristics as the thin foam pad. This means that whatever is under the pad will show through under the weight of the water. The pad will protect you from rocks, roots and such,
but it will still show the contour of the ground underneath, including footprints.
The Armor Shield appears to be an improved version of the standard foam pool pad. It appears that it would offer the same cushion as the foam, just a tougher version. I love the feel of a foam pool pad under a vinyl liner, as long as the ground under the pad is smooth. If I had to buy one, without trying either, this is the one I would buy. Unless there was some reason I felt I needed to replace the pool cove, then it would be a toss up.
We would love to hear reports about either of these products. They are both new and perk my interest. The ideal pool base is an issue that has not yet been completely resolved, in my opinion, anyway. These products seem to be bringing us a step closer.
My biggest problem with pool pads has always been the footprints left under them. To fit a pad correctly into a pool, you need to be inside the pool working on it. While you are in the pool you are likely making footprints. These footprints show once water is in the pool.
My method of installing a liner is to smooth the sand, and get out of the pool. The liner gets installed from the outside, so no footprints. Like this one.
Expandable Liner Installation
After the ground underneath a liner has been packed by the weight of the water for years, footprints are usually not that big of a deal. That is, you can resurface the area, broom it smooth and it should stay that way. So the key to installing either one of these pool pads is to do as little as possible to your existing pool base. Knock off the high spots, fill in the low spots, do a little packing, and don't make anymore footprints while installing the pad.