Correct Way to Install Liner

by Joan
(Olive Branch,Ms.)

We are installing a 30' round pool liner. We put the new liner even with the line marks left on the out side of the pool walls from the old liner, about a 5 inch lap over. Do we put on the top rails before putting in any water?

Hi Joan.

I see a couple of problems with the way you might be installing your liner. Not having much information to go on it's hard to say for sure.

The way the old liner fit is no indication of how the new liner is going to fit. I would not use these marks in any way during the installation of the new liner.

correct way to install above ground pool liner

I would also never have all the rails off the pool at the same time. Most of my liners are stretched into the pool, over top of the existing rails. The top rails are only removed a few at a time when it is time to tuck the liner. An above ground pool with all the top rails off is just asking for a little breeze to come along and blow it over.

These pages about installing vinyl liners and about pool installation might help finish your project.

Above Ground Swimming Pool Installation

Overlap Liners

Expandable Liner Installation

Above Ground Pool Liner Installation

Vinyl Liner Replacement

Vinyl Liner Overhang

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Installing a Used Pool Liner

by Casey

Can you reuse an above ground swimming pool liner after you move it? It is only three years old.

Hi Casey.

In my opinion it is more trouble than it is worth trying to install used liners. I've done it several hundred times so I know it's possible. I prefer liners that are in their first or second season. Beyond that they loose their elasticity and become impossible to work with.

The only real way to know if the liner will fit back into the pool is to try it. Once the pool wall is up and the pool base prepared you can toss the liner in. The first thing you need to do is find the skimmer location in the liner. This needs to be pinned up over the pool wall so that the skimmer hole in the liner matches the one in the wall. Someone will need to hold the wall to keep in from falling while you unfold the liner. Take the liner under the skimmer and put it to the cove. Now go directly across the pool and pull the liner over the wall.

If you can hold the liner into the cove area at both sides of the pool, and still have enough liner to go over the wall opposite the skimmer, chances are pretty good the liner can be installed again. The other thing to consider is the bottom portion of the liner. Is it crusty and unworkable or can it be easily smoothed out?

New liners will always be easier to install and look much nicer than used ones.

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Installing an Expandable Liner

by Vance Simmons
(Newberry FL USA)

What is the best method for installing an expandable liner to be as wrinkle free as possible?

Hi Vance.

Whenever possible I stretch the liners into place using the existing pool structure for support. The photos on the linked page below show you exactly how I do it.

Be sure you have all the sharp edges taped before doing this so you do not tear the liner. A warm sunny day is critical. Direct overhead sunlight can make the difference between a wrinkle free installation and a mess.

installing an expandable liner

Another thing that can make a difference is the brand of liner. A Doughboy expandable liner is my favorite. They can be stretched into a deep end wrinkle free most of the time. Other brands are sometimes impossible. If the liner says expandable this usually means it will expand into any size and shape hole you have for it.

A Doughboy expandable liner will fit a pool with the center dug out 6 inches or 2 foot and look good in both cases. They will also fit a dished center or a hole to one side equally as well.

Below is a page related to installing an expandable liner into an above ground pool, that might be helpful.

Expandable Liner Installation

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Replace Pool Liner in Bured Above Ground Pool

by Bulldog
(Wylie tx)

I have a 24' above ground pool and we have leaks in the liner. My wife wants to change to a new liner. The pool is buried 3' in the ground.How is the best way to replace it?

Im afraid the sides will collapse when I drain the water out. Do you have any suggestions????


You are right, the pool caving in should be a big concern. There are some things you can plan for in advance to limit the possibility.

If you have any type of rock landscaping around the pool pull the rocks back while the pool is still full of water. Rocks do not pack like dirt does and they love to start cave ins. Once the rocks start falling in behind the wall there is no way of getting them all out. It's best to just get them out of the way.

Timing is important also. You want the pool empty for as short of period of time as possible. You want to drain, replace liner and fill within a day or two. Plan this when there is no chance of rain. Rain and an empty pool spells disaster.

I like to stretch my liner into place. This works very well for pools in the ground. You just need 6 inches or so of wall above the ground to be able to stretch a liner. Check out Overlap Liner Installation.

There have been many times I have decided not to remove the top rails until the pool was almost full. When you stretch the liner in over the pool top rails you have that option. When the water is a few inches from the wall you can cloths pin the liner to the top rails and fill the pool to above the dirt level, or just below the skimmer opening.

Since I did not like making two trips just to install a liner I did not use this method as many times as I probably should have.

The process of removing top rails, and the rods and coping underneath them, move the wall just enough to start a cave in if the back fill is loose. You know this right off, you have a sense that this pool should not come apart until it has water in it.

Plan for a short stretch of sunny days, have your liner in hand, use a pump to drain the pool quickly, find some friends and get the new liner installed and the pool refilled ASAP.

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Liner Install

by Mishon
(Fergus Falls, MN)

Hi there! We have installed a 24 ft. round above ground pool in our yard. We installed the liner, and after putting about a foot of water in the pool, there are some wrinkles, and the more I look at it, it appears as if the liner is twisted somewhat, as on the wall it has a wrinkle, and the bottom seems to kind of follow it.

It has sat like this for a couple of days as my husband is out of town, and we have not finished filling the pool. I am wondering if it is OK to leave it this way, or if we should pump the water out, and try to fix whatever is going on and refill? If we should pump the water out, how long can the liner be without any water, as I have read once you remove a liner it needs to be kept moist? Thanks for any advice!


Hi Mishon.

Wrinkles in the liner will make it harder to clean and could eventually cause the liner to wear out sooner than it would without them. Many above ground pools do, however, have wrinkles. Sometimes they are just hard to avoid.

If it looks like something you can fix, and the pool is not yet full, I would do it. You can drain the water down to an inch or so, straighten the liner, and refill as soon as possible. Doing this will not hurt your liner. If you drain it completely and let it sit in the sun for days it will shrink. Just drain it when you are ready to work on it and then refill immediately.

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Above Ground Pool Liner Replacment

by Ashley
(Farmersbug, In)

I am trying to replace the liner in our above ground pool. I ordered a new liner, when it got here I realized it was a 48in in height and the pool measures 52in in height. ?can the liner stretch enough to make it work?

Hi Ashley

If the liner box is unopened I would send it back and get the right size. If it is opened it is worth trying on a warm sunny day. Stretch it in and it will probably fit. Given high sun I'm pretty sure I could make it work.

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