Rust on Pool Wall

by cindy kane
(island lake illinois)

Rust On Pool Wall

Rust On Pool Wall

I had a 24 foot round pool installed 4 years ago. We did back fill half the pool about 2 1/2 feet under ground. We got a leek in the bottom of the liner. The pool wall started caving in because we had little water. The pool wall then started coming out of the top of the pool.

We tried saving the pool wall by ripping more of the liner to relieve the pressure. When we did this we noticed large areas of rust on the inner wall. Would the inner wall rust have anything to do with backfilling the pool or improperly installing the pool? The rust was also located near a top cap that we had to keep getting replaced.

Hi Cindy

Rust like your photo is showing normally comes from moisture in between the wall and the liner. This can be caused by a small hole in the liner or leakage through the skimmer or return gaskets. It might be possible for moisture from the backfill to work its way up the inner wall but I have not known this to be the case.

Rust caused by backfill usually stays on the outside of the wall. If this is a problem coating the wall with roofing tar prevents it. On the inside, I would sand the area and repaint it. This should stop the rust that has started. It does not appear the wall has been damaged.

Any creases from dirt caving in or the wall pulling down can be easily knocked back into place. A wall is very easy to straighten once the dirt is removed from around the outside and the liner cut out from the inside of the pool.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.

Rusty Skimmer and Return Holes

by Peg

skimmer hole

skimmer hole

Hi, Just found this site while I was looking for an answer to my question about my pool dilemma.

We lost our liner this year and decided to take the liner out before we ordered a new one and had it professionally installed. I am so glad we did because when we removed the liner we found that the skimmer section was all rusted.

The hole for the return was also rusted but other than that the pool is in really good shape as you can see by my picture of the pool itself.

My question is can something like this be repaired or are we looking at purchasing a whole new pool rather than just a liner? I don't remember the name of the pool and I don't have the receipt handy. The pool is an 18' by 48" round.

If this has to be done professionally who would be able to do it? The pool store where it was purchased maybe?

Thanks in advance, Peg

Hi Peg

Yes, this can be fixed, I have done it many times over the years. You just need to tape some flat stock metal over the openings from the inside of the pool.

There is very little water pressure that high on the wall so the patches are perfectly save.

You would then go to a good section of wall and cut new openings. Any professional installer should be able to do it for a small charge.

If you are the one doing it you could search this site a little, I have explained the process many times.

Comments for Rusty Skimmer and Return Holes

Click here to add your own comments

May 20, 2015
Wall ripped
by: Anonymous

I have a 33 foot above ground pool (large) and the wall literally ripped in half due to rust. We saw the rust but didn't know it could literally tear. I cannot afford a new pool of this size so want to repair it. Can I cut this section out, buy another piece of steel/metal the same length/height, and attach there to fix? The only other things that need replacing are my top plates but everything else seems okay.


There are stainless steel service panels available, they would splice into your damaged area.

May 06, 2016
Rust Repair
by: Darius

I had the same problem and fabricated a stainless steel panel to repair the wall. I now manufacture these repair kits because it makes no sense to scrap a pool for a small area of rust. Please see

Thanks Darius

My old pool building partner has these made locally and carries them on his truck at all times. Rusted skimmer opening, not a problem. I checked your site, good product, good prices, I am more than happy to recommend.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.

Rust Around Skimmer

I have a 24' round pool that has very bad rusting around the skimmer. Is there anyway to repair it?



There are several ways to go about this. If the rust is not terrible, as in not through the wall, you could probably repair the area. To do this you would need to lower the water level to below the skimmer area and remove the skimmer. You could then remove a few top rails and pull the liner back. You could then sand and paint the rusted area. This should prevent further rust and extend the life of your sidewall.

If the rust is through the wall I would patch the opening and cut a new one in a good section of wall. Doing this would also require draining the water below the skimmer. A piece of flat metal, or aluminum, could be duct taped over the existing opening. You then need to move over a section of wall and cut a new skimmer opening.

If moving the skimmer location is not a good option you could rebuild the existing opening. To do this you would need to cut the rusted area back a couple of inches. You could then rivet a piece of flat metal over the opening and cut a new skimmer opening. You do not want to install the skimmer over two pieces of metal so be sure the original wall is cut back far enough so that it is not in the way.

rusted pool skimmer

I have seen all of these methods work with great success. They make a lot more sense than replacing the entire wall. If you keep in mind that most of the water pressure on the wall of an above ground pool is on the lower half, repairs on the upper half do not need to be nearly as strong. A patch taped to the wall works just fine.

This page tells you how to cut a new skimmer opening.

Repair Skimmer Opening In Sidewall

This page shows another option, the skimmer panel.

Replace a Section of Pool Wall

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.

Can I Repair My Aluminum Pool Wall

by Chris
(Lexington, KY, USA)

Aluminum Pool Wall

Aluminum Pool Wall

Hello. Excellent website.

I am in the process of moving a pool to my house, and in the removal process, some significant corrosion was discovered on the aluminum side wall (please see the photos). At least one hole at the bottom of the wall is 1-2" tall and 6-10" long. Some of the bottom channels were corroded beyond repair, but I located some plastic replacement channels.

I read your other posts on repairing small holes with flat metal. I found some 20"x50' rolls of aluminum at Home Depot, as well as some 24"x50' aluminum rolls at a gutter supply house and a 36"x100' "aluminum insulation roll jacketing cladding" material.

My questions are:

a.) Assuming I need to add another layer of aluminum to the entire perimeter of the pool, should I repair these holes at the bottom with rolls of aluminum and duct tape (will it be safe)?

b.) Is the jacketing cladding an okay product to use?

c.) Should I use pop rivets to connect the two layers?

Thank you.

Hi Chris

I would use one of the two aluminum rolls, either should be fine.

I would install the wall and just slip the aluminum roll into the bottom rail on the inside of the pool.

A couple layers of duct tape will hold it in place just fine.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.

Rust Spots On Sidewall

Rust On Doughboy Pool

Rust On Doughboy Pool

We are considering buying a Doughboy pool 16x32. The owner claims it is 9 years old. While inspecting the pool we took the liner out and found that there are 2 rust spots the size of quarters on one side of the pool near the bottom.

They appear right now to be just on the surface. What can we do to prevent these spots from eating thru the wall and any suggestions of what else to look for while buying a used pool?


The rust does not look too bad, the areas could be sanded and painted over to prevent further rusting.

This page discusses buying a used above ground swimming pool, it might be helpful.

Used Above Ground Pools

The other places you need to carefully inspect are the bottom rails, the bottom rail connectors and the bottom of the uprights. These are three places where to much rust can make moving and re-installing a pool difficult.

I have no idea what you are paying for the pool, but from the looks of it, you should be able to enjoy it for many years to come.

Be sure to use this method of installing the new liner once you ready for it. Doughboy pools are designed for stretching the liner into place. You can do this with either a uniform depth liner or the expandable liner.

Expandable Liner Installation

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.

Cracked Wall

by Frank
(Acushnet, Ma)

Cracked Pool Wall

Cracked Pool Wall

I have an aluminum Esther Williams pool that was recently taken down and moved. (I did not take it down) but am attempting to set it up. Noticed this split in the lower end of the pool that I believe happened when it was being taken down. Since it will be behind the coping, do you think it will it be an issue? If it is I was thinking on sandwiching 1/8 aluminum plates about 1 1/2” x 4” to prevent it from spreading. Let Me know your thoughts.


Hi Frank

Since the crack is at the bottom of the wall do your best to reinforce it. There is a lot of water pressure down there. It can be done, but needs to be a good solid patch.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask the Pool Pro.