Installing Skimmer and Gaskets

by Barry
(Pittsburgh, PA)

I am about to install my skimmer. I replaced my liner and have the water about 6 inches from the opening. I am using my old skimmer, but would like to know what gaskets to use and how they are placed. I can't seem to find anything online that shows me exactly how.

I to have a butterfly gasket that I put on my pool wall that goes between the outside wall and inside wall. I also have a cardboard-like gasket. Not sure where this goes.

Basically, I need to know which kind of gasket goes between the faceplate and the liner? Would the cardboard gasket be all I need? I was told this is all I needed at the pool store that I bought this from, but it just doesn't seem right. Could you help?

Hi Barry

I would use the butterfly gasket and nothing else. I put it directly over the wall and then attach the skimmer. Once the skimmer is completely installed and tight I cut the liner out.

Be very careful and make sure all the holes are lined up and that you have gasket showing below the bottom outside of the skimmer.

The few times I have had to go back and fix a leaky skimmer it has always been an alignment problem.

There was one manufacturer that always made them too small. It was nearly impossible to get all the holes to line up. They caused me the most problem, but over time I learned how to do them right the first time.

A one gasket system works, but not my preferred method. Using one gasket you would install it between the liner and the wall. The butterfly gasket protects the wall from rusting so I would always use this over just a single gasket.

A Hayward return comes with a cardboard gasket, along with a couple of rubber ones. This gasket is used just inside the large outside nut. It just prevents the nut from binding on the rubber gasket as you tighten it.

Comments for Installing Skimmer and Gaskets

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Apr 03, 2017
Advice with replacing skimmer
by: Anonymous

I have a leak on the outside of the pool wall looks like the gasket between the skimmer and pool wall. My skimmer is very old and top is cracked so I figured I might as well change it since it is leaking anyways. The water is just to the skimmer so I only need to drain a little out to replace. I installed my own liner a few years ago. It's a beaded 24 round so I know what to expect when I take it off. However when I called my local pool store to get a price for a new skimmer they told me not to take it off just to calk it as the liner will move and I won't be able to get it back right.

Now I am nervous about doing. I don't want to calk or use adhesive I just want to put a new skimmer up and I feel like I should be able to do this. I saw your advise to someone else that if the water level is below the skimmer you should be fine. I am looking for reassurance that this can be done. There are just about no videos on this subject. Thanks for any advice.


I would stand by my advice, you should be fine.

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Skimmer Replacement

by Raymond Cote
(Tewksbury MA)

I have an above ground pool and the skimmer has to be replaced. The pool is filled just below the skimmer. Is there a certain way of doing it?

Will I have to replace the liner to? The pool is 2years old. thanks Raymond Cote.

Hi Raymond

Having the water just below the skimmer is perfect, that way the liner should not move or shift and there will be no reason to replace it.

You simply remove all the screws holding the skimmer in place and remove it. The new one should go on as easy as the old one came off. I insert the two top corner screws into the faceplate and poke them through the wall and let it hang there by itself. I can then get the skimmer up and into place. I take a screwdriver in my right hand and set it on one of the screws. My left hand is holding the skimmer in place. I then get both the top screws started and do the same with the bottom two corners. With these four screws in place, and snugged up, you can then check and make sure the gaskets are perfectly aligned. With that done you can insert and tighten all the rest of the screws.

replacing skimmer in above ground pool

If you decide to use a power drill, be careful. I have installed hundreds of skimmers and can use one with confidence. Your biggest concern is to be sure the clutch setting on the drill is set correctly. It is very easy to crack face plates or strip the screw holes inside the skimmer. The drill should tighten the screws to just the right torque and then engage the clutch.

This page might help with your skimmer installation also.

Above Ground Pool Skimmer Installation

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Apr 01, 2023
Installing a skimmer on an above ground polls
by: JK Snyder

We bought a large round above ground pool two years ago. Our prior pool had a skimmer in the wall, but this pool, a Doughboy, doesn't even though there appear to be etchings along the inside that look like they could be where skimmers could have been installed. Is it possible to install a skimmer on our pool that attaches directly to the side. I have seen other type of skimmers, but they don't appear to be as effective as one directly attached to the wall of the pool. Thank you.

Hi A skimmer can be attached to the wall of the pool, you just need to carefully cut the opening. The small square Hayward skimmer is the easiest to cut a hole for.

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Second Skimmer For Above Ground Pool

We just installed a used 21' x 41' Doughboy pool and were wondering if we should install 2 skimmers, 2 pumps and 2 filters in order to keep the pool cleaner. We are going to backfill around the pool and then surround it with concrete. We plan on burying the plumbing as well and putting the filter and pump in our detached garage.

In addition what is your recommendation for heating a pool that size?


The ideal set up for that pool would be one filter system with two returns. I would cap off the unused skimmer opening but use the second return. You will need a pump that is designed for an in ground pool to draw the water to a location other than next to the pool.

Two smaller filters, one at each end of the pool would work but it sounds like you want to do it right. That would be one good filter with a 2-speed, in ground style pump, one skimmer and two returns.

In over forty years of installing pools I only remember two times where we installed two separate filter systems. One was on a 21' x 41' Doughboy and the other was a 16' x 32' Doughboy. I think in both cases the salesman was wrong for recommending this setup. The extra money could have been put towards one outstanding system, instead of two cheap ones.

Any of the heaters designed for in ground pools would work fine. If you go with the above ground type heater it should be the biggest available. Your pool is just about as big as an above ground pool gets.

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Cutting a Pool Liner

by Lyle
(Green Bay, WI)

I have to cut my liner to install the basket for the water to go to the pump and return line.

Any tricks or tips to do it with out ripping or tearing the liner.

Thanks, Lyle

Hi Lyle

I suggest you fill the pool to within a few inches of the skimmer opening. The return is easiest so you might as well start there.

I hold my hand on the inside of the pool to hold the liner against the side wall. I have my razor knife on the outside of the pool. I pierce the liner and then just follow the wall around cutting a perfect circle. The return then gets installed.

The skimmer area is a little different. I cut the liner only after the skimmer has been installed.

Start by punching holes through the liner at the top outside holes. If you have a butterfly gasket this gets installed next. Simply hook it over the wall from the outside of the pool.

I then hold the faceplate on the inside and insert a screw at each top corner. Push the screws through far enough so that the faceplate hangs on it's own.

I hold a screw driver in my right hand, and the skimmer in my left. I get the two top screws started. I then get the two bottom screws started.

Check the gasket, make sure it is aligned perfectly. Go ahead and start the rest of the screws and check the gasket again. If all looks good tighten all the screws.

I then cut the liner, very carefully, from the inside of the pool. Just follow the faceplate and move slowly. Any fast movements with that sharp blade in your hand could be dangerous to your pool liner.

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Skimmer Installation No Directions

by Randy
(Jaffrey, NH)

I recently bought an above ground 21' round pool. After quite a struggle, I've finally got the pool walls up and am ready to install the skimmer. What directions there are say to begin the installation of the skimmer prior to installing the liner. Then it says, at some point, I'll have to stop installing the skimmer and finish when the liner is in place and that the skimmer installation will tell me when that is.

Unfortunately, there are no directions further than that. So, I'm not sure how much of the skimmer is to be installed, the simmer doesn't talk. :)

Also, AM I going to have to cut a hole in the liner for the skimmer and hose hole or does the liner come pre-cut for those? If I do have to cut, what is the best way to do so?

Hi Randy

The skimmer should be installed after the liner has been installed. There are a few skimmers that may attach to the outside of the wall with a couple of small screws. This can be done at any time. I see no reason for doing this so my skimmers get installed after the liner is set.

This page talks more about installing a skimmer on an above ground pool.

Above Ground Pool Skimmer Installation

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