Holes in Above Ground Pool Sidewall

by Tina
(Farmington NY)

Should I drain the pool, pull the liner back, and repair the pea holes in the wall of my pool or leave it for the summer? Or should I put the new used pool up?

Putting the new pool up means purchasing a new liner and paying for the installation, can't really afford that just yet.

When I put the new used pool up should I add more sand? I was thinking of using those preformed pool coves. Should I relevel the blocks? I will probably have to add a few more, I think the new pool may have the posts in different areas.

Hi Tina

I am sending you an email in hopes of getting a few pictures of the pool. That would help a lot.

If you are trying to put off the expense of switching pools for a while, you might be OK in doing that. You would need to drain the pool down to a point below the holes. Try to leave at least a foot of water in the pool when you do this. By leaving water in the pool you will be able to refill it without damaging the liner. If the liner shrinks, and you can't refill it, you may be doing the pool swap anyway.

When the water is low enough, pull off a few top rails and look in behind the liner. Wall repairs can be made with aluminum flashing and duck tape, that is discussed in the link below. What you want to be careful of is the wall integrity. If the holes are caused by massive rust that has eaten away at your sidewall it may not be safe to use. You can pick at the holes with a screw driver and see if the wall crumbles, and the hole gets bigger, or if the wall is sound. If the wall is sound you should be just fine patching and refilling.

While the pool is full is a good time to look closely at the level to see what will have to be done before the new pool is installed. Take a tape measure and measure from the top rail to the water level in many spots around the pool. That will tell you if a major relevel is needed.

Adding more sand is always advisable when changing pools, how much will depend on the amount and condition of what is existing. I don't like using the preformed pool cove with a sand base, but that is just my opinion. It works out best when the pool is on concrete and you are using some type of foam or carpet pad base.

Pool Wall Repair

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Holes in Doughboy Sidewall

by Sharon Hock
(Newville, PA)

Someone recently gave us a really nice Doughboy pool. We came to their house and took it down. My husband along with my son-in-law started working on putting it up. However, because they were doing it themselves, it was taking a while.

They had the pool wall almost completely up but needing to stop. It gets very windy at our place and before they could finish it, the wind put some holes in the pool wall. We were wondering it there is anyway to patch the holes so we can still use the wall without having to go out and purchase a new wall or new pool.


Hi Sharon

Here is a page related to repairs that can be made to above ground pool sidewalls.

Pool Wall Repair

Aluminum or metal flashing material can be taped over the holes using duct tape, and in most cases this makes a very adequate patch. The water pressure is greater the farther down the wall you get, so the size and strength of the patches should increase also. With a small tear near the top of the wall simply using a few layers of duct tape is fine. In the bottom half of the wall I would use a two foot square patch securely taped in place to cover the same size hole.

Patching a wall is effective as long as the integrity of the wall is otherwise sound. If the wall has major rust issues I would not do this, as it would be more likely to burst open when it was full of water.

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Pool Wall Split

by Tanya
(St. John's, NL, Canada)

I have an 18ft round pool. We had a lot of ice build up this year and the metal wall of the pool has buckled on one half. There is also a 6 inch vertical split from the bottom up in one section. Can this be repaired and can the buckled pool wall be fixed so that it is reusable? I really hope we can fix this ourselves.

Also, the pool is less than half full now and this is solid ice with some snow on top. Should we add water to the ice to top it up or will this put further pressure on the sides. Is it best to leave as is until the ice melts? I am afraid with it being less than half full that the walls are in danger from any winde, etc....

Please provide advice...

Thanks so much!!!

Hi Tanya

Yes, it can be fixed, but be very careful. The crease at the top is not a problem. A rubber mallet on one side and a 2 x 4 piece of lumber on the other will let you pound that back into shape.

pool wall badly split

Your problem is the tear at the bottom. The farther down the wall you go the more the water pressure against the wall increases. Repairs done low on the wall need to be done carefully. Simply taping a piece of flat stock over the tear, like you could do at the top of the wall, won't work. A bad repair will result in something like this photo.

One way to repair it is with a section of old pool wall. An eight foot piece or so could be placed inside the existing wall and bolted into place at both ends. The nuts and bolts could be hid behind a couple of uprights so the repair would not be visible from the outside.

Another way of fixing it would be to rivet a 24" x 24" piece of flat metal to the inside of the pool. This could be inserted into the bottom track, inside you existing wall, and then riveted many times. The edges should then be covered with a couple layers of duck tape.

There are probably more ways to repair a wall, just make sure the repair is strong. Otherwise you are better off replacing the wall, or possibly the whole pool, since walls alone can be very expensive.

You might be able to find a used pool in your area for an incredible price, sometimes free just for getting it out of a backyard.

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Johnny Weissmuller Wall and Liner Repair

I shot a rock through my aluminum wall Johnny Weissmuller pool yesterday. It tore through the aluminum and the pool liner.

1/2 the people I talk to say buy a new pool as a patch of the wall won't last, 1/2 say I can patch the wall of this one and replace liner.

Need an expert opinion as to whether or not this can be patched and if so how and how long will it last?


If it were my pool I would patch the wall and the liner. If these repairs were properly done they would not affect the life of the pool in any way.

Vinyl liners will shrink when completely emptied so I would let the water out to just below the hole. If you can keep at least six inches of water in the pool there is no reason you couldn't patch the liner and refill it.

With the pool drained down to just below the hole I would pull the liner back just enough so that I could get behind it to work on the wall. I would flatten the wall with a hammer and piece of lumber. I would then duct tape a large piece of flat aluminum over the hole. The larger the patch the better but normally an eighteen inch square would be fine. Use plenty of tape so that it is secure to the wall and any sharp edges are well covered. If the hole is near the bottom of the pool it is also helpful to pull the liner back far enough so that you can insert the patch into the bottom rail of the pool. This may not be possible, but if it is it's a good thing to do.

The liner should be patched from the backside with a Boxer patch kit. By patching the backside the patch will be between the liner and the sidewall. When the pool fills up and the water pushes against the liner the patch is firmly held in place and will never come loose. It becomes very permanent. It is also possible, but not usually necessary, to put a patch on the inside of the pool also. This would amount to a double patch job for added protection. It also covers the jagged edges of the liner tear.

When patching vinyl I prefer to use actual liner, as opposed to the vinyl that comes in patch kits. Some pool stores sell small sections of vinyl liner and I recently heard there was a place on Ebay selling them.

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Pool Wall Repair Using Aluminum Tape

by Amy
(Beloit, WI)

I have an 18' pool that we bought used. It wasn't until we were dismantling the pool that we realized the pool wall, uprights and bottom plates were somewhat rusted. My question is regarding the pool wall.

Approximately the bottom 6" of at least 5ft of the pool wall is rusted, and a couple areas have some small holes rusted thru. I know you recommend using metal to fix the areas. While looking thru my local Menards the other day, I came across some Aluminum Tape. It seems very strong, and it lists metal repairs as a use for it.

Would it work to use this tape to fix my pool wall? It seems like it might be more flexible and easier to work with as far as using it at the very bottom, and I could actually wrap it under/around the bottom edge that sits in the track. Does this seem like it might work?

Thank you for your help.

Hi Amy

I have used aluminum tape before to repair very small holes in pool walls and it worked just fine. It's actually pretty neat stuff.

If the pool wall is pretty thin from the rust I would still go with the flat stock aluminum or steel in a 12" or 16" width. With the pool wall installed the flashing material can be inserted into the bottom rail on the inside of the pool and run all the way around the pool if needed. Just the top edge needs a couple layers of duck tape to cover any sharp edges. This type of wall repair gives a the best protection from a wall bursting open, it spreads out the pressure from the outward force of the water.

Be sure to sand and repaint the wall before any repairs are made. This will greatly increase the length of time the wall will last.

Comments for Pool Wall Repair Using Aluminum Tape

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Jun 04, 2017
by: Alissa


We just put in a beautiful 24x52 above ground pool: today, we had someone grading our yard and they accidentally bumped into our pool with a bob cat fork causing a hole in the wall but fortunately not the liner! My husbands quick thinking self got his pliers and inverted the metal out as not to puncture the liner and then placed a hard plastic piece between liner and hole to keep the pressure of the liner off the hole. My question is; how can this be repaired as it is all the way on the bottom of the pool? Is there a way to fix this without emptying the entire pool? What would you do?


I would drain the pool. Not enough to allow the liner to shrink, just enough to allow a proper repair. A 2' by 2' piece of flat stock could be Duck taped to the inside of the wall, or riveted, and you should be good to go. The risk of leaving a hole that low in the wall is it could rip up the wall at anytime, there is a lot of water pressure near the bottom of the pool.

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