Replace or Fix Liner

by Ken
(Birch Run, MI)

I have a 28' above ground pool with a 6.5' deep end.

This winter, perhaps I didn't winterize it proper this time, but the liner developed a giant rip in the shallow end and the water all leaked out (deep end water still there).
Should I replace the liner or try and repair it?

It's a gash about 3" long. Looks like perhaps the ice shifted in there and ripped it. The liner is 13 years old. I'm afraid if I fix it, and there'll be 5 other small gashes or holes.

Thanks for any guidance!

Hi Ken. There are a few things you can consider while making your decision. The most important would be how much shrinkage the liner has had. Normally with a deep end pool, anytime you drain the water all the way to the deep area, the shallow end shrinks.

You should check the shallow end and see if you can still push the liner to the cove area of the wall. If the liner will still stretch to the base of the wall you should be OK.

You could then visually inspect the remainder of the liner. If you do not see anymore holes or tears, the liner is probably fine.

Use a good brand of glue like Boxer and let it dry completely before filling the pool. If the liner needs to do some stretching, the patch might pull off, but that's still not a problem. Go ahead and fill the pool to just below the hole and patch it again. Once the water is holding the liner tight against the wall the patch will have a better chance of holding.

Comments for Replace or Fix Liner

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May 22, 2011
by: Ken

Thanks shade builder for all the info you've provided here!

I originally posted about replacing or fixing my liner after this past winter, based on what I first saw, it was one slit crack, and you (and I agreed at the time) recommended just fixing it. After I got in there when it was warmer, there were 3 or 4 slits in different places, and the second you touched the bottom of the liner with anything smaller than a quarter sized object it would splinter crack and break thru. So, fine, time for a new liner. It was 13 years old, so, I guess I can't complain. The trouble was, I've never put a pool liner in before, especially a 6.5-7' deep end type. Not a round out center, this had a deep end 3-4' deeper than the other half, and I have 48" walls. Anyway, after reading all the advice you've posted here about expandable liners, I gave it a whirl.

I bought a Findlay liner for $650, because the doughboy liner (that you like so much), the cheapest I could find it was $1150, I don't like to skimp on things, but that's a massive price difference. I could have had a china brand expandable liner for $300, but I was able to talk to the Findlay sales rep (not just the dealer sales rep, a rep from the source company) and he said I wouldn't have an issue stretching her in, but, just like you said, it's gonna need stretched in, don't be a wimp he said, suspend that thing and start filling, let the water take it in.

More or less, that's how I took all your advice too, and all that coupled together, I gave it try.

Well, it turned out pretty good. I guess I can't complain, I only have 3 small little wrinkles from 6" to 3' long or so. FAR better than the originally installed doughboy liner that was in there installed by pro's. At first I thought I screwed up, I realized, after starting to fill, that I left the same amount of material around the whole diameter of the pool, and I thought while it was filling that the deep end, I wouldn't have enough material to feed in as it was filling. Well, it's very amazing how 85 degree sun will make that material stretch seemingly infinitely. That thing stretched right in and I have 6-8" still over the edge and the water is up to the walls now, just getting ready to take it apart and set it for good.

I just wanted to say thanks for posting all that you do. Because of your instruction on this site I got to know how a standard flat bottom liner was installed, vs. an expandable, and what to watch for and how to do it.

I'm a little bummed there's a couple wrinkles, but, hey for a first timer with a big deep, I think it came out ok, better than the original anyway.


And thank you Ken, very nice words. You are so very right, a couple of small wrinkles, and better than the pros, you did real good. I am so glad the information was useful to you.

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