Repair Skimmer Opening In Sidewall

by Darlene
(Newfield, NY, USA )

My pool wall is paper thin around the skimmer. It's an above ground pool. To use Aluminum for the repair do you need to rivet it in or can I just use DUCT TAPE. I hope to hear from you very soon. Darlene



Hi Darlene. My preferred way to deal with rusty skimmer openings is to tape a piece of metal over the existing hole and to cut a new one in a good section of wall.

If you use this method duct tape would work just fine. If you plan on cutting a new opening in the wall patch itself then I would use a heavier material and rivet it in place.

Either way can be done successfully. If you plan to re-use the same opening area I would avoid trying to attach the skimmer to a double layer of metal, this would be just asking for leaks. You could carefully trim the existing wall to just beyond where the skimmer needs to attach. This way the skimmer is fastened to just one layer of metal.

A neat way to cut metal or aluminum is by scoring it with a razor knife and bending it back and forth until it snaps. When I cut a skimmer opening I mark my two top corner holes and drill them out with a 1/4" drill bit. I then bolt the skimmer face plate to the outside of the pool. I use this as a guide while I drill the remaining holes. When the holes are done I mark the opening with a marker and remove the faceplate.

With a sharp razor knife I score the lines several times each. I then use about a 2" hole saw and cut a hole in the middle of the opining. Using tin snips I cut to each corner. I now have four small sections of wall that will easily bend back and forth until they snap, leaving a nice clean break. With the use of a hammer and a 2 x 4 all the rough edges can be flattened out and the new skimmer opening is finished.

replacement skimmer panel
Another option you have is to replace an entire section of wall with a stainless steel skimmer panel. These can be ordered from dealers selling above ground pools that use these panels. They can be spliced into your existing wall without a lot of difficulty. If you plan it correctly all the nuts and bolts can be hid behind uprights.

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Replace A Section Of Pool Wall

by Kathy
(Brockton, Ma)

Right where the skimmer is on my pool it bent in during the winter and there is now a break in the wall right where the skimmer is.

Would it be possible to replace just the section of the wall? And if so, what material could I use to do so?



Hi Kathy. There are a couple of good ways of fixing your problem. You would probably be just fine taping a large piece of flat stock metal to the inside of the pool wall. There is not a lot of water pressure against the walls in the upper half of your pool, so this type of repair would work just fine. I have seen these plates riveted into place, there is nothing wrong with that, but usually not necessary.

When you do this a new skimmer opening needs to be cut. You would do this in a good section of sidewall a panel or two over from the original location. I talk more about cutting a skimmer opening on this page.

Repair Skimmer Opening

Another way to fix this is to order a stainless steel skimmer panel from one of the pool companies that sell these as an option with their pools. They are about four feet in length and include a skimmer and return opening. You would cut out some of your pool wall and then overlap this section into place. You would need to drill holes at each end and bolt it into place.

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Skimmer Wall Repair

by Joseph Palmieri

I read your fix skimmer wall repair and understand it very well. There are only a few things I want to ask. The pool size is 10' x 15' x 48" oval pool.

1. Do you think 16 gauge galvanized sheet metal is thick enough to use?

2. Can I use a piece 24" x 24" for an opening 9" x 16" or should I get a piece 24" x 36"?

3. Can I put a new skimmer on a new sheet metal repair? Thank you for your website, really very helpful. Joseph



Hi Joseph and thanks, glad you have found the information useful. Probably the best way to do a skimmer opening repair is to take you 16 gauge metal, 24" x 24", and tape over your existing skimmer opening. Do this from the inside of the pool with duct tape. If you pull a couple of the pieces of tape up and over the top of the wall, this helps to keep the patch in place until the pool fills, and the water is up against it, holding it flat and in place.

I would then cut the new skimmer opening out of a good section of pool wall, maybe a couple feet from the original. It's always best to mount the skimmer on a section of good wall as opposed to a patched area. If it has to go back into the same place as it was, you will need to cut away the rusted area of wall so that you are not trying to mount to two surfaces. I would then go with a heavier gauge metal, in the larger size, and I would also rivet it into place.

above ground pool skimmer and return

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Bent Wall by Skimmer

by Sandy
(Garrison, NY)

Hi, when I uncovered my above ground pool this spring I found out that the pool bent a little by the skimmer box. Is there a way for me to fix it?

Please advice. Thx



Hi Sandy. This problem seems to have happened a lot this year with the cold winter most of the country had. The usual cause of wall damage around the skimmer is from water getting into the skimmer and freezing. The frozen water is still connected to the pool water and if the pool water gets lower it brings the skimmer down with it.

The best prevention is a skimmer guard that will keep all the water out. That way you can still keep your pool full but not have ice forming in the skimmer.

Pool Skimmer and Return
To fix the damage you would need to lower the water level down below the skimmer. With the water down you might be able to push the wall back into shape. The next step, if that does not work, is to remove the skimmer and a few of the top rails. You can pull the liner back and get in behind it. You could then use a hammer and a board to pound the wall flat.

In some cases, once the wall has been pounded flat and the pool put back together, the crease come right back. In that case flat metal would need to be taped to the inside of the wall for extra support.

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Pool Wall Torn By Skimmer

by Russ
(RI, USA)

The skimmer on my pool seems to have been ripped
down by the ice. It cut the wall on the pool on each side of the skimmer by about six inches.

Is this possible to fix?

Thanks, Russ



Hi Russ. I would buy some sheet metal, about the same thickness as the pool wall, and tape it over the skimmer opening on the inside of the pool. The metal should be several inches bigger than the skimmer opening and held in place with duck tape.

You will then need to cut a new opening for your skimmer. I start by holding the faceplate on the outside of the pool in the position I want the skimmer to be located. I then mark the two top corner holes. I use a 1/4" drill bit and drill these two holes.

You can then bolt the faceplate to the outside of the wall using two bolts. Now use the existing holes in the faceplate as guides and drill out all the screw holes. Before you remove the faceplate take a pencil and mark the opening outline onto the pool wall.

Using a very sharp razor knife score the pencil mark several times, as deeply as possible. Now take about a two inch hole saw and drill a hole in the middle of the skimmer area. Take tin snips and starting inside this circle cut out to each corner. You now have four small sections that can be wiggled back and forth until they snap on the scored lines.

I have also seen people rivet a new section of metal over the existing skimmer opening and reuse the opening. Either way works, I just prefer starting with a fresh opening cut from a section of strong sidewall.

Another option, especially if the rips are bad, is to replace the entire section of wall. A skimmer panel like this could be easily spliced into your wall giving you a new skimmer and return opening.

Comments for

Pool Wall Torn By Skimmer

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Aug 01, 2017
Skimmer faceplate
by: Debbie

Just discovered skimmer face plate on wall completely rotted out...18x33 pool. Your site is amazing! I thought I would have to replace entire pool! Thank you so much! Very happy to have found you!

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