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Vinyl Pool Liner Problems

Proper care helps assure better appearance and longer life.
 
The Pool and Spa Informational Website
askalanaquestion.com

Common Problems and Solutions.
 

 
 

Scroll down to browse through some archived SWIMMING POOL questions and answers.  Please click the Pool Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Pool Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Pool Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Pool Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for pools and spas, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

 
Applying Pool Adhesive Borders. BoprderLines Adhesive Pools, for Vinyl and Fibgerglass Pools. BorderLines adhesive borders for creating a new waterline.
Super Great-Escape pool ramp. Stain Reversall Kit.
Fix A Leak for pools and spas. Vinyl Pool can last 10-20 years, based on the liner quality, and with proper care.  Avoid direct contact with chlorine products:  a salt chlorine generator is a better option.  Waterlines can fade over time, but you can create a new one, with Adhesive Pool Borders.  Create a pool makeover. Pool Art Graphic Mosaic Mat.

Click any image for more product and ordering information.

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How the care for a vinyl pool liner and fix some common problems? Vinyl liners are used in virtually all of the above-ground pools and most of the non-masonry, inground pools. Liners, depending upon their gauge and quality, can last for 10-20 years, if proper care is taken. Chlorine and other oxidizers should not be allowed to remain in prolonged contact with vinyl liners or bleaching of the color may result. Liners come in a variety of colors and patterns. If a vinyl liner pool is being emptied out, because of some necessity, care should be taken to keep the liner wet, so as to avoid possible shrinkage. Sharp or abrasive objects should be avoided. If problems arise, refer to the Pool Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

Click here to browse through some BorderLines feedback.

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

Drainage Problem?

Alan, I am contemplating putting an in-ground liner pool in my backyard. My backyard is relatively level at the rear and then slopes down toward the back of my house and levels out again. I want to install the pool in the lower level but I am worried about drainage from the higher ground. Do you have any suggestions?

Leslie D., 2/20/2014


Your question is really out of my area of expertise, but I can relate some things to look into. I lived on Long Island for many years and the Specialty Pool and Spa Chemical Manufacturing company that I co-founded was based there, as well. I knew many of the local builders and got to hear stories about the "tough" jobs. It was not uncommon to actually put a vinyl-lined, inground pool into the water table: this was especially true on the south shore. Appropriately enough, they called this type of pool a "water job" and not every company had the expertise to build, under these circumstances. It did require some pool construction know-how and the right materials. You should discuss this problem with some of the local builders. You don't want water running across the lawn and into the pool. Some swales (ground contours) can be used to divert the water around the pool. I am sure that your problem is not unique. It is a matter of having the right builder and the right pool construction. You need to do your homework on this one!

If this website was helpful, in solving your problem, please consider joining our E-Letter Mailing List.  You'll receive 1-2 E-Letters a month, with helpful information, new product updates, suggestions and sale announcements. Good luck. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/20/2014


Dark Liners Keep Water Warm?

I am going to have to replace my inground pool liner next season. I have looked at some patterns and have narrowed down the choices. I am leaning towards a dark blue-black patterned liner. Is there an advantage in the dark color in helping to keep the pool water warm, as compared to the lighter blue colors. My thinking is that dark colors are better at heat absorption. Is this the case?

J. H., 9/23/2013


Good question. I had a tie-dyed black liner in a pool. There didn't seem to be an obvious difference in heat retention between this liner and my previous blue liner pool. In any case, these were different pools, at different times, at different locations and it would have been difficult to measure or quantify any warming effect. However, logic tells me that there should be some positive difference. My advice is that you choose the vinyl liner on its looks and let any warming effect be a bonus. Good luck with your choice.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/23/2013


Reinstalling A Liner?

Hello, My name is Daniel F. and I am an American currently residing in Lyon France. When we came over here, we bought an out of ground pool that we put in the container. We installed it (this was six years ago), and everything was fine. We moved though, and are now trying to re-install it. Our ordered liner has not yet arrived and we were trying to put he old one (which was in pretty good shape) back into the pool. We got the two holes lined up (skimmer and water jet thing), and that went fine. But we were unable to fit the rest of the liner on (very frustrating), so, I was wondering if there is some reason that you can't install previously used liners? Are there any tricks of way to put it on? It seems that the whole liner shrunk! I would be VERY grateful for any advice you can give me! Sincerely.

Daniel F., Lyon, France, 4/22/2012


Just yesterday I discussed something very similar with vinyl liner manufacturer. The problem is that the vinyl liner was stretched to some extent, when it was first installed. After removal from the pool, the liner may have shrunk and the cutouts for the skimmers and returns may not line up properly or may result in severe wrinkling. I doubt that there is anything that you can do about this problem. Reinstalling a used liner, even in the same pool, is difficult at best and most likely not doable. That was the subject of the question, I asked yesterday. I hope that I explained the mystery. Bon jour.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/22/2012


Well Water Caused Staining And Discoloration?

We had a 18' x 36' vinyl inground pool installed. We had the water tested and had a list of chemicals to add. I probably should have told the store that I used well water, but I did not realize it was that important. Now I know better. The water turned into a tea colored solution, after I added some pH booster and chlorine. There may be some brown stains, the deep end. What should I do to make this right.

Mike K., 6/5/2011


It seems apparent that the water contained iron and other metals. Dealers don't always run these tests and metals don't always show up. Pools that turn amber to rusty, brown or blackish, after addition of chlorine or pH raising chemicals, usually have iron and other heavy metals present. This is especially true, when well water is used. If you had filtered the well water, used to fill the pool, through a
Stain Reversall Kit. METALTRAP Filter, the heavy metals would have been permanently removed. When the pool needed to be topped off, all the new well water could have been passed through the METALTRAP Filter, to prevent new additions of metals. Removing metals, as the pool fills is the best insurance against future problems.  There are chemicals means to treat metal problems and/or remove the stains they cause. Not all of these chemicals are equally effective, some are ineffective at higher pH levels and others contain phosphates, which can lead to other problems. I suggest adding Liquid METALTRAP: it is phosphate free and works over the full pool pH range and beyond. Adding this chemical can help avoid more staining and/or discoloration. If staining has occurred, it can be removed with METALTRAP Stain Remover. This  concentrated product helps to reduce and solubilize heavy metals, so that Liquid METALTRAP can keep them in solution in a chelated state, which is less colored and more stable. Following up with a recirculating treatment, using the METALTRAP Filter can permanently eliminate the metals. All you need is a garden hose and a small pump to do the recirculation. Once you get the water looking right, make sure that you run all new water through the METALTRAP FILTER. Good luck and I hope that I've been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/5/2011


Floating Vinyl Pool Liner?

My liner on the deep end has floated out some and the liner is pulled out a small amount from the coping. I can definitely see water behind it. We have had a lot of rain this year! The rest of the pool looks just fine. Any solutions on repairing this and suctioning the liner back?

Nancy W., 3/29/2013


The recent heavy rains raised the water table to uncommon heights. Fill the pool to the proper height, as this will equalize the hydrostatic pressure. Use a pump to remove the water from behind the walls. The liner should be able to be re-attached, by tugging it back into the track. As the water in the surrounding area recedes the liner should stop floating. Improving drainage in the immediate pool area might help prevent future problems. Good luck and I hope that this information proves useful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/29/2013


Covered Over The Main Drain?

Hi Alan. We recently purchased a home with an inground pool. We know nothing about it, the size, make or even if it is working properly. The home was foreclosed on by the previous owners and was bought by a construction co. The whole inside of the home has been completely remodeled. Unfortunately, the pool area is a mess. The construction company put in a new liner but it looks like they covered over the main drain in the bottom of the pool. I'm foreseeing major problems with this. Why would they do that? We asked them to close the pool, before we bought the home, and they lowered the level of the water and covered it. We don't know if they even blew out the lines. Hopefully, if there is a problem it will be the responsibility of the construction company We live in the western New York area and it's gets very cold up here. Thanks for your time.

Denise F., New York, 3/5/2011


I had a vinyl pool on Long Island and it lost all of the water. The information provided seemed to point to the leak being in the main drain or main drain line. I opted to have a new liner installed (the original was over 10 years old) and had the main drain filled in. This was done, rather than tearing up the hard bottom trying to find the leak. A main drain helps improve circulation across the bottom and helps maintain uniform pool water conditions. In order to maintain proper pool water conditions, I utilized a robotic pool cleaner, at least several times a week. This acted as a moving main drain and kept the pool interior clean. The point is that you can live without a main drain, provided that you make the necessary allowances. Installing The Circulator is every return fitting can dramatically improve circulation, by creating a spiraling return flow. There's not much you can do, at this point, about how the pool was winterized. In the spring, make sure that the main drain line has been capped off at the multi-port valve. In addition, check to see if any governmental codes and/or regulations require that inground pools have main drains. Are you certain that the pool did, in fact, have a main drain? Once the pool pump and filter are re-connected, you will be able to access the possibility of damage and determine responsibility. Good luck and I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/5/2011

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Water And Stones A Behind Vinyl Liner?

My pool company had to remove, the shallow end, my liner of my inground pool, because there was a small sharp rock. After the liner was picked up, water started seeping in by the steps. After they pumped out the water, we noticed water seeping by the bottom step. They put the liner up and after filling the pool with about 3-4 inches of water, we noticed water in between liner and floor and more sharp rocks appeared on the same spot, low end of the shallow part. The floor is not even. Again they drained the pool and removed rocks, now after they again are filling the pool now, I noticed a big water bubble in the shallow end between the liner and floor, also water on edges of pool in between liner and wall. I also notice more sharp rocks coming between the liner and floor. They came early this morning removed the air pumps, finished closing up the pool with the water bubble and the sharp rocks. My pool is filling up now. What damage can be done to the pool and should they have closed the pool with the water in between the floor and liner. Who is responsible? I just had the pool installed in the fall of 2011 - not even a year. Should I stop filling the pool or wait to see what happens. I am in NE Pa and we got lots of rain and floods. I am in Scranton, Pa and did not get flooded. Who is responsible for fixing this?

Rose P., Scranton, PA, 9/15/2011


It is hard to assign blame, if stones appear under a liner. Possibly, the builder did not use a good quality, screened sand, vermiculite or pool base and a stone or stones were present, but this is unprofessional and unlikely, especially with an experienced builder. I, too, have read the reports of the severe weather events, of this pool season. The ground is water logged, based on your description. Anytime the ground water level is higher than the pool water level, water will flow in towards the sides and/or bottom of the pool. The temporary creation of a stream, below the liner, could have washed sand away or carried in stones and debris. Being a relatively new pool, it seems obvious that the present water table is far higher that it was, when the pool was built.  If water is puddling, under the liner, you should raise the water height to the maximum. The hydrostatic pressure could push the water out. Use a squeegee to push the water towards the sides. Unless the pool is kept full, there is a risk of collapse. Perhaps, by next spring the water table will have dropped and a proper repair can be made. Tropical storms, hurricanes and extreme amounts of rainfall can create problems. Read your warranty and try to work with the builder.  Check with your home owner's insurance. Hopefully, this will be solved.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 9/15/2011


A Stone Under The Vinyl Liner?

I discovered a pointed stone under the shallow end on my vinyl inground pool, which is just a few months old. The builder is coming back to remedy the problem. Why did this happen?

Martin B., Charlotte, NC, 7/11/2011


It is hard to pinpoint the cause, if a stone appears under a liner. Possibly, the builder did not use a good quality, screened sand, vermiculite or pool base and a stone or stones were present. Or one could have fallen in from the excavated debris. Or the base was not deep enough. These could be attributed to the builder, but an experienced builder should not make these mistakes. However, a recent heavy rainfall could have created an underground stream of water, beneath the liner, and that washed the sand away, exposing a stone or more. It would be hard to fault the builder, for this cause. If ground water problems were a consideration, a hard bottom might have solved the problem. In this case, dry cement would have been mixed in with the sand, prior to forming the hopper and for floor. A light misting with water, would have caused the base to harden and be less likely to be eroded, by ground water. Still, ground water erosion can overwhelm even this approach, when dealing with extreme weather events. I hope that this information will prove useful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/11/2011


Chlorine Bleached A Spot?

I am not exactly sure how it happened, but a 3" trichlor chlorine tablet ended up in the middle of the shallow end of the pool. It was there for at least several hours and bleached the color out, in the immediate area. The liner is fairly new and I hate to look at this eyesore. Can it be re-colored? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Howard B., Wilmington, NC, 3/23/2010
Pool Mosaic Decals, for all types of pools.

So far as I know, there is no way to color it over and it would never be a match. What you can do is use an underwater Pool Decal or
Graphic Mosaic Mat and position it over the bleached area. These products can be used underwater, so draining will be unnecessary. There are lots of choices, in terms of size and depiction. It would be an easy and attractive solution. It will even help strengthen the affected area, in case any damage was done. I hope the suggestion is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/23/2010


Adding A Mosaic?

I would like to add some color and interest to the bottom of my vinyl pool. It a solid blue color. Any suggestions? I am afraid that gluing something in place might damage the liner.
Pool Art Graphic Mosaic Mat.
Jerry S., Panama City Florida, 1/10/2011


You can do just what you want with Pool Art Graphic Mosaics. This Pool Art is simply positioned where you want it. No adhesive is
required. Its own weight keeps it in place. There are lots of aquatic graphic option and even some college logos, to choose from. I hope this create the look you want.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster. 1/11/2011


Needing A New Waterline?

I have a pool that is 10 years old. The top portion of the liner is starting to discolor and deteriorate. My question is as follows: Is there a company that sell pool vinyl in rolls? My plan is to install a continuous patch the entire perimeter of the pool. The material needs to be at least 12" wide and 140 feet long. Do you know of a supplier or have you ever heard of anyone successfully running this type of patch. I understand that surface preparation is the key to having a patch work properly and that the corners will be a pain to work out. Please advise. Thank you.

Lester P., Sumter, SC, 7/13/2006


I don't know of anyone that sells vinyl in rolls. What you are looking for already exists. These Adhesive Pool Borders are an adhesive replacement border that can create a new water line. I hope that this information will prove helpful.
Borderlines - half way finished.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/14/2006

Thanks for the information about Adhesive Pool Borders. I purchased two sets (20 feet) to try, it worked great! I ordered an additional 9
sets today to complete the job. If you want some before and after pictures of the pool border, let me know. Thanks again.

Lester P., Sumter, SC, 7/23/2006


Pictures would be nice. Glad to hear that Adhesive Pool Borders worked out for you. Good luck and thanks for the order.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/24/2008


Refinishing The Water Line Area?

My inground pool has some water line staining and fading. Otherwise the liner is in good condition. Are there any products with adhesive backing that could be used?
BorderLines adhesive borders for creating a new waterline.
Fred W., 5/6/2004


There is a system, by which a new border can be applied to a faded or discolored water line
area. The Adhesive Pool Borders are easy to apply and can create a whole new look. Click here to read some Feedback and see some images. I hope that the information will prove useful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/6/2004


Liner Popped Out Of The Track?

Dear Alan, I have followed your site ever since we got our pool a few years ago and had the problems with biguanide and water mold pink slime etc. I decided to order the LaMotte ColorQ PRO 7 from your site. The only problem was no order confirmation page came up,, but, no worries. Two days later, a ring of the door bell and there was the test kit. Now, if only the jerks who sold me the 50,000 gallon pool had service like you I'd be a happy camper. I opened the pool and low and behold the vinyl liner, a whole 4 years old, has separated from the bead area in about 3 places of about 5 feet in length, but only in the deep area. Since I have no red "S" on my light blue shirt I cannot for the life of me pull the liner up enough to stick the bead back in.. Too make matters worse what was a perfectly smooth bottom is now wrinkled to heck in the shallow end. The pool company keeps saying they will be out. Still waiting and waiting. Can there be any lasting damage if this goes on for much longer. If they ever do show up and if they do get it in and smoothed out again, is there anyway to prevent this from happening again? I know winter is rough on vinyl pools. Thanks.

Tom, 5/8/2009


You should be able to tug the liner back into the track. You might need to warm the liner with some hot water or use a hair dryer. Be careful and use a GFI protected outlet - no one should be in the pool! To prevent a recurrence, there is a product called bead lock, that you can use to help secure the liner in place. Otherwise use window screen spline (the rubber material that holds the screening in place). This is a fairly common problem. So far as the wrinkles, you might use a toilet plunger and tug them a bit. Sometimes ground water and drainage issues cause the wrinkles. Hopefully, it will all work out. Thanks for ordering the tester.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/8/2009

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Repairing Tears Near The Waterline?

I have a 16' x 36' pool with a vinyl liner with 3 tears in it (all this spring) - see pictures. What do you recommend that I use to patch the liner and should I drain it before starting. I have a water well so that is not a problem. Thanks.

Denver C., NC, 6/22/2009

Applying Pool Adhesive Borders.
These tear can expand and should be repaired. I suggest using a single piece of vinyl, for each repair. and patching the liner, without try
to stretch the two sides together. It would be difficult to make a repair, while forcing the sides together.  I would not drain the pool, as that might cause the liner to shrink and lead to more tearing, upon refilling. Just lower the water level, as needed. After the repairs are done, you can use Adhesive Pool Borders to create a new water line and a complete pool makeover. Inasmuch as the repair is near the waterline, this should work out quite well and help protect the remaining liner. The cause of the tears could be UV degradation and BorderLines will shield and strengthen, all of the liner exposed above the water level. I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/22/2009


Repair Above The Waterline?

I have a horizontal tear in my vinyl liner about 10 inches long. It's above the water line, close to the bead. I need something heavy duty to repair it, not just a patch kit. Can you suggest something?

Barry, 11/1/2007
Boxer Adhesives pool and Vinyl Repair Products.
Sounds like the area was subjected to stretching. I would glue a vinyl strip over the length of the tear. It will be
more durable than a patch and should relieve the stretching pressure. Boxer Adhesives has the adhesives and materials you need. If you end up with a repair strip that appears unsightly, you might want to use Adhesive Pool Border Tiles to apply a new border to the whole pool. It is 6" inches wide and should cover the repair. It will last 2-3 seasons and the pool will have a whole new look.  Good luck and I hope that this suggestion is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/1/2007


What A Difference?

Hi Alan, I have a place in Cyprus with a pool 7 meters X 3.5 meters. My trouble started the season before last when I had friends stay with young children. The liner quickly went dark then dark brown at the water line. I believe it was the high factor 50 plus sun block that had been used. No amount of cleaning would remove it and the Sun then started to affect the liner pattern.

Before the borders. Half Way Finished.
Really Ugly Looking Better

I came across your site and decided that with nothing to lose, I would purchase the Adhesive Pool Borders product. What a transformation, the pool went from a poor looking specimen to something that was a pleasure to sit by again. Thanks for this product. I have included a before and after picture for you. Use them if you wish. Regards

Ged D., Cyprus, 3/24/2008


You are far from the first one, that I have sold to a pool owner in Cyprus. I will add it to the feedback. There is already a feedback letter posted from Cyprus. Glad to hear and see how well Adhesive Pool Borders worked out.
 
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/24/2008


Nut Grass?

I couldn't believe it when I saw shoots coming through the bottom of my vinyl liner, inground pool. The dealer said it is nut grass and that there was not much to be done. Have you ever heard about this problem? I need help. Please.

Kevin E., Fire Island, NY, 6/2/2004


Yes, I have heard about it before. Fortunately, it is not very common. You cannot add a weed killer to the water! If you pull it out, you will have a hole. If you don't get all of the roots, it could come back. However, the hole can be patched. Suggest this to the dealer and see what he thinks. Pull out the nut grass, one at a time. Use a turkey baster to inject some weed killer through the hole and then patch the spot. It might work, but it could sprout elsewhere. I suppose it comes down to how many shoots there are? If the vinyl liner is replaced, you should remove the old sand base and replace with new material. I would follow this with an application of a long-lasting weed killer before dropping in the new liner. There is such a thing as a hard bottom vinyl pool. It may not be a total solution, but is worth looking into. Basically, the bottom is the same as a conventional inground, vinyl pool, with the exception that some dry cement powder is added to the sand base. A gentle misting of water starts the cement and the bottom hardening, as the liner is dropped in. I had a hard bottom in two vinyl pools, without any problems. Good luck. I hope that I was helpful.

Sincerely, Alan Schuster, 6/2/2004

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Bugged?

Hi Alan. We purchased a 27' Round pool about 2 years ago. Last year in the middle of winter, we noticed we had no water in the pool. Well because it was still under warranty. The pool company replaced the liner in the spring. Well, we just lost all the water in our pool and couldn't figure out where the leak was. The pool company came to inspect the liner and told us that we have a bug problem. They seem to think there are bugs eating the liner since there were many small holes. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Would these bugs be termites? Ants?

Denise G. in Massachusetts, 8/29/2009


I checked into this and was told that such instances are highly remote, but are possible. Short of saying that it can't happen, it is very rare and may depend on the existence of drought conditions. Insects do not eat vinyl. Possibly, under extreme conditions, they can chew through the liner, in search for water. Unless you have some concrete visible evidence of such insect activity, it is far more likely that the holes are the result of a poor quality pool base. The base under the pool should be free of pointed or sharp objects and the ground must be level and topped off with a layer of vermiculite pool base or fine sand. In those rare instances, where there is insect involvement, the area under and around the pool should be treated by an exterminator and the area covered with a resistant plastic barrier and pool base. I hope that I have been of help.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/29/2009

Editors note: I checked with a expert and the conclusion is that it is very, very rare. Unfortunately, that is little consolation. Here are a few suggestions. If you want to use an insecticide, one that is not solvent based or is a dry material would be preferred. Insects or termites do not eat vermiculite. It has been reported that DE can act as a deterrent against insects. It would be worthwhile mixing DE in with the vermiculite or clean sand. Adding a dry insecticide would be another plus. Once the pool has been refilled, you might want to treat the pool perimeter (the ground around the pool - not the water) with an insecticide. This could be repeated periodically. Vinyl liners are petro-chemical products and contain no cellulose or other materials normally associated with termites or insects.


Vinyl Liner Repair?

I have a small hole in the liner near the water line. Can a vinyl repair patch work underwater? Thanx.

Barry H., Easton, PA, 6/13/2006


Boxer Adhesives makes a complete line of repair kits, patches and adhesives. The patches can even be used underwater, on the walls or bottoms of above ground or inground pools. There are several different types available. Pick one and follow the directions. The sooner you repair the hole - the less likely it is that the vinyl liner will tear. Good luck and I hope that I was helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/13/2006

How to help preserve a vinyl liner's appearance.

Use a salt Chlorine Generator for better control and reduced fading.
Add a second layer of back-up sanitation, to reduce required chlorine level.
Improve circulation and eliminate dead zones, that increase the need to add shock.
Better chemistry helps promote sanitizer effectiveness and help preserve vinyl.
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The Circulator eliminates dead zones and improves sanitizer effectiveness. ColorQ All-Digital Testers are easy to use, to help optimize water conditions.
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Tablets In The Skimmer?

We had an 18X36 vinyl inground pool installed this season. I have been using the "hockey puck" tablets in the skimmer. I was familiar with the method because of how my parents maintained their pool. A friend mentioned that this is not a good method and suggested that I get a chlorinator. Is that the case? Thank you.

Billy, 6/12/2007


It does sound like a case of like father like son! There are a host of reasons that you should not be following this practice.  Some filter
Solar-powered salt chlorine generator and mineralizer, for all types of pools. manufacturers will frown on this chlorination method. If you have a heater, it can lead to heater damage. At the very least you are exposing your vinyl liner to fading. Picture this: after the pump shuts off the chlorine tablets continue their slow dissolution and raise the chlorine level in the skimmer. Convection and currents can carry this higher chlorine content water out of the skimmer and into contact with the liner. Given enough time, there can be a degree of liner fading, especially in the areas surrounding the skimmer containing the chlorine tablets. If you add an automatic chlorinator, I'm sure that you will find that your use of chlorine will decrease because it is not being consumed in your filter and that you will have more control over the chlorine level. And of course your liner's appearance may be saved. An even better choice would be a salt chlorine generator.  No product to contact a vinyl surface and more control. I hope that I have been helpful and convincing.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/12/2007


Fungus On The Reverse Side Of Liner?

My pool has some grayish stains in the hopper. I have tried everything; shocking, rubbing with a chlorine tablet and ascorbic acid and nothing has helped. It seems to start in the spring and spread and darken as time passes. The dealer says that it a fungus growing on the reverse side of the liner and I'll have to live with it. Is there any suggestion that might help? Thank you.

Mike T., 6/11/2009


Information on this topic is very sketchy. The only person I had a conversion with, in depth, does not want to have his name made public. He is not in the liner business and, therefore, does not want to handle the inquiries. It is not a common problem. But if you have the problem that is no consolation.

Some types of bacteria and/or fungi, found in the soil, can actually appear to penetrate a vinyl liner and cause stains to appear on the liner. Usually they will start off as spots or cloud-like formations on the liner. Chemicals used to elimination algae and other microorganisms have little or no effect, on these types of stains, since it doesn't get to the source of the microorganisms in the soil.

If a pool is thought to have a problem with microorganisms, mold or fungus staining reverse-side of the liner, the ground underneath the liner should be replaced with fresh sand, vermiculite or pool base. Afterwards, treat with a solution of one-part liquid pool chlorine and three-parts tap water. Apply with a garden sprayer several times. Wait a few hours, before prior dropping the liner into place. If it is not a new liner, please bear in mind that the liner could shrink and become useless, if allowed to dry out completely. An alternative to the chlorine/water spray would be use a non-solvent based herbicide on fresh sand, vermiculite or pool base.

If the liner has been recently replaced, one method which has been discovered that may provide a solution.  The application of Ferrous Sulfate (FeSO4), to the perimeter around the outside of the pool can change the pH and the soil chemistry. This chemical is a reducing agent and exhibits acidic properties. This technique seems be effective in retarding and/or killing the troublesome bacteria, mold or fungus. This stems from a method used to protect the vinyl liners used under some landfills. This may not a guaranteed cure, but has been met with some success.  It can be tried without having to drain the pool and replace the liner. For an typical inground pool, you might require twelve to fifteen pounds of this chemical. Sprinkle it on the ground, around the outside pool perimeter, near the pool patio or deck, on as much of the pool perimeter, as possible. Afterwards, turn a lawn sprinkler on the area, for two or three days: long enough to get the ground around the pool thoroughly saturated with water. The intent is to get the ferrous sulfate to soak deep into the ground. Hopefully, it will change the pH and soil chemistry enough and kill off or retard the growth of these troublesome microorganisms. Results may not be seen for a few weeks, depending upon the nature of the soil's chemistry and drainage properties. Direct application of chemicals can damage some plants or grasses, so abundant watering and drainage is important. Ferrous sulfate is used with plants such as: Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Blueberries, Mountain Laurel, Holly and Blue Hydrangea, that thrive best in acidic soil. Do not allow this chemical to get into the pool, as it will cause water discoloration and staining of underwater surfaces. An alternative to the surface distribution would be the digging of a series small holes around the pool perimeter and burying some of the ferrous sulfate, in each one. Follow with a thorough watering down of the area, for the next few days.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/11/2009


Vinyl Liner Wrinkles?

When my vinyl liner was installed a few years ago, it nice and smooth. Today, I see some wrinkles in one area. What's the cause?

Barry D., Cincinnati, OH, 7/9/2004


Two things come to mind. It is possible that the bottom has undergone some shifting and/or settling over the past few years and this has led to some wrinkling. Another possibility is that corrosive, acidic water conditions have caused the vinyl liner to increase water absorption and this has led to a stretching of the liner and the wrinkles. Is it possible that you have been keeping the pH too low? It is important to maintain the pH in the 7.2-7.6 range for bather comfort, sanitizer efficiency and to help protect the pool equipment! Low pH can be quite common with the use of trichlor tablets in an automatic chlorinator because the product is acidic and requires regular pH monitoring. Because the water looks good, many people tend to neglect the pH. The practice of "dumping" in chemicals and allowing them to remain on the bottom, for prolonged periods, is not recommended. Acidic chemicals such as pH decreaser, muriatic acid or cyanuric acid can create the acidic conditions that can contribute to this problem. Always take care to broadcast or distribute all chemicals, so as to avoid local high concentrations and lessen the likelihood of problems. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/10/2004


Vinyl Liner Expansion?

I have been building vinyl pools for some time, but in recent years have been finding problems with the vinyl "growing" under water - sometimes as much as 2" to 3" - causing a "flap" or crease to appear. Asking around, it seems that a low pH or "pH bounce" caused by low TA and Hardness could be the reason, so I have been recommending the following values for my customers with vinyl liner pools:
1.         pH                                7.6 - 7.8
2.         TA                                120 to 160 (no higher than 160)
3.         Cl                                 1.0 to 2.0 ppm
4.         Calcium Hard. 200 to 400 ppm

Would you care to comment? TIA.

Larry O., New Zealand, 4/27/2011


From what I have learned, it is low pH that is responsible for the growth (expansion) of the liner.  The low pH causes water to be absorbed into the vinyl.  The parameters that you are using are close to the point of scale formation.  In this situation, the pH is the very important.  Keep it at 7.2-7.6.  Higher readings will decrease the efficiency of chlorine!  In order to help maintain the pH in this range, it is important to keep the total alkalinity at 80-120 PPM. Higher TA readings are OK, so long as the water remains clear and there is no sign of scaling.  High TA makes pH adjustment more difficult.  But, high TA is not a problem and can be a benefit, if the pH is within the proper range.  Calcium hardness should never be raised above 200 PPM. Higher readings will prevent you from maintaining a high TA reading: such as 200 PPM.  The higher TA reading will make low pH much less likely.  In essence, your choice is higher TA or higher calcium and I would opt for the higher TA.  The chlorine reading is reasonable. One of the major causes of low pH conditions is the neglectful use of trichlor in a feeder. Because the water looks great, people tend to pay less attention to the water chemistry.  These tablets are quite acidic and will drop the pH of the pool, into decidedly acidic and corrosive ranges, if regular additions of pH increaser are not made.  The net result is a pool with a very low pH.  I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/26/2011

Thanks, I will take your advice seriously. Regards.

Larry O., New Zealand, 4/27/2011



Doesn't Look Right?

Dear Alan, thanks for this nice personal feature on your web-site. We purchased an older home several months ago, that has an in-ground pool with a vinyl liner.  Before the purchase we had a pool inspection and everything was satisfactory. The previous home owners stopped by this week for a visit, and commented that the pool liner "didn't look right" and he said it appeared to have suffered damage from the cold. We had a very cold winter (negative degree temperatures) this year. He looked at it closely & said 2 liners ago they had to replace the liner for the same reasons. Having never owned a pool before, my knowledge is VERY limited on pools. Before I approach my insurance company I want to know: Have you ever heard of this? To be honest, we have been adding water frequently, and I didn't think evaporation would cause this much water loss. The pool has not been used for swimming yet, because of busy careers with many overtime hours, so water loss is not caused from splashing. Due to the summertime approaching we were about to call a pool contractor to get it ready to open, but wanted an unbiased opinion. Your prompt answer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Kay B., 5/22/2007


Pool liners can easily last 10-20 years. The same liners are used in Maine as in Georgia. I can't possibly tell what is wron
Fix A Leak leak sealer for pools and spas.g from your letter. It could be that things "don't look right" because of erosion due to heavy rainfall, ground shifting, structural changes or chemical effects on the liner. If the pool is losing more than about 1/4" per day, it could be the sign of a leak and that can lead to erosion behind the liner. Leaks can be found and liners repaired. I suggest that you call in an experienced vinyl liner specialist for a definitive determination of the problem, if, in fact, there is a problem! Many common types of leaks can be solved, simply by adding Fix A Leak, the leak sealant that has been sealing pool and spa leaks for over 30 years. Good luck and I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/22/2007


Water Right Up To The Coping?

I have read through most of the questions on vinyl liner pools regarding liner "float" and found them to be extremely helpful. Thanks! While, I can understand water table surrounding the pool can float the liner if it is higher than the pool water level, what I could not find was the effects of heavy rains raising the water above the liner to the coping, and whether this causes "float" or not. I live in Dallas, TX, where we sometimes see heavy rains that can drop 3-5 inches of rain in a matter of a few hours. A lot of times during these heavy rains, the water level in my pool will rise up to and above  the coping and I always thought that was what caused "float". Will the water rising up to and above the coping cause the liner to float? If so, are you aware of any pool products today that would help prevent this? I hate to lower the water level of the pool every time there is a threat of rain or flash flooding, but am getting tired of dealing with wrinkles every spring. Thanks.

Larry B., Dallas, TX 4/2/2008
Pool auto-leveler.

The higher the water level, in the pool, the less likely the liner will float. In fact, the rising pool water might even help prevent liner
floating. I always disliked pumping water out, as I had a salt chlorine generator and would have to replenish the salt. The answer is yes, there is a way to maintain a proper water level. There are various auto-levelers that can be installed to remove excess water, once the level reaches a predetermined point. Sounds like what you are looking for. Enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/2/2008


Chlorine Floats?

I have an in ground vinyl pool, 16 by 32 with a 6' deep end. I see all sorts of fancy devices for sanitizing. I use 1" trichlor tablets in floating feeder and shock the pool weekly. It all seems to work for me. What am I missing?

Michael N., Penfield, NY, 4/14/2010


I suspect that you are someone that is taking the time to do all the maintenance. Obviously you are doing a good job. Unfortunately there are lots of pool owners that don't spend the time to test the water, add the chemicals, vacuum the bottom and clean the filter. Basically,
you aModel SR salt chlorine generator, for all types of pools.re satisfying the pools requirement for chlorine. However, there are a few limitations. The floater gives your less control over the rate of chlorine additions and probably makes monitoring more frequent. But, these are things that you can work to control. However, there is something that you cannot correct and that is the floater itself. The floater remains in the water at all times and can be carried by currents or winds to positions behind pool ladders or into corners. Here it can remain in prolonged contact with the vinyl liner's surface and this can result in a bleaching of the vinyl. Using a floating chlorinator in a vinyl pool can entail a risk of liner bleaching and can be avoided by using an inline chlorinator. The inline chlorinator makes chlorine additions simpler, more controllable, helps avoid liner damage and takes the chlorine floater out of the pool and away from the bathers and that is a good thing! However, the continued use of stabilized chlorine will cause the cyanuric acid level to rise to a point, where partial water replacements will become necessary. Adding a salt chlorine generator would be an even more convenient way to chlorinate, without creating any build-up problems. I hope that I have been helpful. Enjoy the summer.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/14/2010


Baptismal Pool Liner?

We are in need of a new liner for our Baptistery. We are having difficulty in locating a company which can supply this product. We would appreciate any help you could give.
 
Becky, 2/3/2005


I must admit that this is a new question. I am not familiar with the your specific application. However, I would hazard a guess that what you are seeking is a custom-sized vinyl pool liner I suggest that you contact a local vinyl pool builder. They must deal with a manufacturer of custom-sized liners for pools, hot tubs and other applications. Baptismal Pool Liners are one of those "other applications."  I sure that they will be able to help with your needs. I hope that I have been of assistance.

Sincerely, Alan Schuster, 2/3/2005


Not Really A Bleached Liner?

Read thru all your vinyl stain question and answers, but donít think my issue has been covered. I have a 20 x 45 35,000 gallon vinyl in ground. We close for cold winters and use a mesh safety pool cover with tie downs onto the concrete deck. For the past 5 years or so as I opened up in spring I found bleach marks in the shallow end only, some the size of baseballs, some in the shape of the worms that weíd scoop out in the spring vacuuming. This year those blotchy bleach marks are more prevalent, again shallow end only. I use liquid chlorine and maintain a good eye on my water chemistry; however my pool water testing company does not test for metals. That said, as the problem is bleaching I assume I donít have a metals problem UNLESS, and this seems farfetched to me, the whole pool bottom is stained. All except the ďbleachedĒ areas which arenít bleached at all, but rather the original, though perhaps faded colour of the vinyl. Your advice will be most appreciated. Thank you.

Steve, Ontario, Canada, 5/5/2006


Nothing in the letter suggests that you added the type of chemicals that would bleach spots. Try this for starters -- place 6-12 vitamin C tablets on a "bleached area" and another group on a normal looking area. Shut off the filter and give it 15-30 minutes. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/5/2006

Bingo! Within minutes the area under and around the Vitamin C tablets was white, the same colour as what I thought were ďbleachedĒ spots. In fact it would appear that the dominant colour of the liner bottom is now ďstain dirtyĒ  and I hadnít realized it. Iíve just taken two samples of water; one from the pool and the other from my garden hose that tops off the pool as needed. In fact itís running right now. Iíll take for testing and ask that it be tested for metals and minerals as well. From reading your other Q and Aís it would appear that my problem is dissolved metals and minerals staining the vinyl. Please comment and advise how I should proceed to clean the bottom. It doesnít brush clean, Iíve tried that.

Steve, Ontario, Canada, 5/6/2006

Stain Reversall Kit.
Not so far fetched after all?  Put 1/2 pound of METALTRAP Stain Remover in a white sock and drop onto a stain. Slowly move around with
a vacuum pole. Repeat elsewhere, as necessary. Have the pool and source water tested for iron and copper. Add a dose of a phosphate-free, Liquid METALTRAP, for every 0.5 PPM of metals. At the very least add two doses. If the stained area is too broad to be treated with the "sock", you may have to lower the pH of the pool to 6.0, discharge all of the chlorine and add a few pounds of the oxalic or ascorbic acids. Thereafter add a dose of Liquid METALTRAP monthly or prior to adding new water, in order to avoid minimize the possibility of a recurrence. Hope the information solves the problem.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/6/2006


Fading Away?

I started to use gas chlorine last year. Now it seems that my vinyl liner has faded. Are these related? Thank you.

Don B., 8/2/2008


It is quite likely, in my opinion, there is correlation between the fading and the gas chlorine. Some fading is normal, but is should be very
Solar-powered salt chlorine generator and mineralizer, for all types of pools. slight and not highly apparent. Using gas chlorine, especially if it is added weekly, will spike the chlorine level up much higher than the recommended 1-3 PPM. Levels of 10-15 PPM are probably quite common. At this high chlorine level, there will be an accelerated fading of the vinyl liner. Such high levels are not ideal for bather comfort. If, in addition, to the high chlorine level, there are low pH conditions, the aggressiveness of the chlorine increases and that can raises the probability of problems. If you confirm that the chlorine levels are indeed being spiked too high, you can help stabilize the current appearance of the liner by maintaining a 1-3 PPM, with the use of an alternative form of chlorine maintenance, such as a salt chlorine generator. High levels, over time, of any form of chlorine or direct application of chlorine to a liner surface can result in a fading of the liner. Please browse through the archives for more on these topics. I hope that I have been of some assistance.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/2/2008


Unplanned Draining?

Dear Alan, I live in Pennsylvania and have an in ground pool that is approx. 50 years old. It has 6 inch concrete sides and a sand bottom and a vinyl liner. It is 16x32 with a 7.5 ft deep end and 3 ft shallow. It is December and it developed a leak and drained except for about 3-4 inches in the shallow end. I will be replacing the liner in April of next year but am concerned with leaving the pool empty for 3 months. I keep reading that draining it is a bad idea but am not sure if that is only if I am going to try to use the same liner next year. The walls, as I said are 6 inches of concrete. This liner is only 7 years old but a couple of years ago developed a blackish discoloration and seems to have weakened it. We tried everything to clean it but it appears to have bled through from the other sides. I've been told that it is caused by an organism. What can you suggest to prevent it from recurring with the new liner? So, 2 questions. Can I leave it empty and have you heard of this blackish discoloration? Thanks.

Malinda H., Pennsylvania, 12/29/2006


One of the main reasons that is not recommended that liner pools be drained and left empty is that the water helps to support the walls. Your pool may have 6" concrete walls, but it is 50 years old and there is no way to be absolutely certain that damage will not result. It is possible that the pool will not suffer a collapse, but that is not for me to say. At the very least have the pool inspected by a knowledgeable pool builder. The discoloration could have been caused by a fungus. Have the inside of the pool thoroughly cleaned out and replaced with fresh sand and or pool base. Make sure that drainage in the pool area is adequate. Good luck and best wishes for the new year.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/29/2006


Eliminating The Deep End?

Can the deep end of a pool be filled in and a new drain and liner be placed into the existing space ? We would like to make our pool all one depth to play more games in it.

Nameless, 5/4/2007


Positively, with just one reservation! It is possible to fill up the hopper and install a new main drain. Having a liner custom-made is no problem. The only problem relates to the construction of the walls and their condition. The walls are partially held in place by the water. Removing the water could result in an inward movement of the walls or some shifting. Some pools are so constructed that emptying them is less uncertain. I suggest that you discuss this matter with the builder or a qualified contractor. No one would know better than him, the feasibility of the project. Good luck. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/4/2007


When To Drain?

Alan, I have to replace the liner in my inground pool. The water is about 2 feet low. Can I go ahead and drain the pool? I don't know how long it will be until I can get a new liner. How long could I wait to get a liner if I drain the pool now? Thanks.

Judy, 3/21/2004


The longer a vinyl lined pool remains empty, the greater the chance for structural damage and/or ground shifting. Do not drain the pool, until recommended by the vinyl liner installer. Good luck and enjoy the new look.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/21/2004


Getting A Vinyl Liner Installed?

We live in So. California, 45 minutes north of L.A. We know the pool we want to put in, but cannot find anyone to install it. We are not stuck on any particular brand, but we are totally stuck on getting it installed. Can you help us on anyone who installs inground liner pools? Thanks.

Pricilla T., California, 3/11/2004


I am not personally familiar with vinyl liner pool installers, in your area. However, if you go to the local Yellow Pages, you should be able to get the name of vinyl pool builders, in your area. Try and Google it. Good luck with the pool. Glad to be of help.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/11/2004


Lightened Up The Bottom?

Alan. What a great website! I have a 20,000 gal in ground pool, and had a new vinyl liner installed a year ago. It looked great! When it was opened this spring I noticed that the liner was considerably lighter in the bottom, where the fellow closing the pool had throw poorly mixed pool shock last fall. I was going to say something at the time he was closing it,  but I figured he is the expert, right? I always mix the shock with warm water to be sure it dissolves. Anyway, I am kind of sick about this. He tells me it happens all the time and that it could be something coming up from the bottom. All this sounds fishy to me. Question is, how could this be fixed? Could a cosmetic patch be put over the existing liner? It covers most of the well at the bottom, probably a 10'X12' semicircle. Would the pool have to be drained to do this? Would water pressure ruin the liner if it were drained? Can it be patched underwater with an adhesive (again, only cosmetic)? Or do I just have to get used to it?

Tom J., 4/27/2004


I am going to post your letter and my reply. I don't usually make a point of mentioning this and, although the subject is already covered, I
Model SR salt chlorine generator, for all types of pools. want to make sure that the message gets through. You pretty much answered your own question. Something fishy? Nothing is coming up from the bottom! Too much chlorine was allowed to remain in prolonged contact with the liner and it lightened the color in the subject area. Arguing anything else is deflection.  Draining a vinyl liner pool is never a good idea, if avoidable. An aesthetic patch sounds good, but adhering it without wrinkles, without weakening the liner by use of an inappropriate adhesive and without providing a semi-circle of nooks and crannies for algae to take hold in, is something that is probably not doable. At least so far as I know. I'll pass the letter on to someone else, in case there is something that I am missing. Otherwise, care should be taken to avoid chlorine products from remaining in prolonged contact with the vinyl pool liner. Quick dissolving products or liquid chlorine and avoiding ultra-high chlorine levels could help avoid such problems. A salt chlorine generator would have been a much better sanitizing option and would have minimized the fading. I think in the final analysis it is something that you'll have to get used to. Sorry that I didn't have a solution.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/27/2004


Proper Liner Care?

I'm putting a new vinyl inground liner in a week or two. Besides age, the "old" liner has faded out rather badly. I know that sunlight (UV) plays an unavoidable part in this. At the same time, I know that some of the fading is due to the chlorine I've been using. I've heard of bromine and biguanide, but don't know how switching to one of these methods would help with the fading. Any thoughts. for when I start up with the new liner? Thanks in advance.

No Name, 6/16/2005


A really good question! I'm sending a copy to a vinyl liner company and I'll follow up, if there is additional
information. It is true that high levels of chlorine can lighten the color of a vinyl liner, over time. I would expect a similar, but less significant effect to occur with bromine use, over time. Biguanide, on the other hand, will not alter the liner color. But, biguanide is used with hydrogen peroxide, on occasion, and that might have an effect. I really believe that badly faded liners are the result of overly aggressive chlorine treatment or are caused by allowing chlorine products to remain in direct contact. A salt chlorinator system or an inline chlorinator allows the use of chlorine, but helps avoid high concentrations and direct contact. Adding a UV sanitizer can cut the chlorine requirement by as much as 70% and that helps to preserve the liner's appearance. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/16/2005

Manufacturer's Note:  Alan, you are right on the money. Non-chlorine methods of sanitizing pool water are a good way to cut down on bleaching of liners. I've never heard of a bromine or biguanide pool getting bleached out like a chlorine pool. We think the best way to cut back on bleaching, while still using chlorine is try keep chlorine levels < 2 ppm, using only non-chlorine shock or adding an alternative sanitizer to reduce additions of chlorine.

R. K., 6/17/2005


Improving Fade Resistance?

My name is Glen. I live in Mobile, Alabama. I have an inground pool and I am ready for my third vinyl liner. My first liner was from a company called in Ohio. My second liner was from a company in Alabama. While each liner was functional for 8-10 years, each liner faded after about 4 years. 1) Do you know of any company that makes a fade resistant pool liner, substantially better? 2) Would going to a non-chlorine sanitation system lengthen the Good Appearance Life of my liner? Thanks.

Glen N., Mobile, Alabama, 1/25/2005


Liners can fade, if they are frequently exposed to high chlorine levels or direct contact. Combined with low pH, the fading effect can
Solar-powered salt chlorine generator and mineralizer, for all types of pools. worsen. Utilizing a non-chlorine sanitizing system, such as ozone, ionization, mineral sanitizers or biguanide can reduce fading and prolong the best appearance of the liner. Biguanide usually turns out to be impractical over the haul, due to the development of resistant microorganisms. Ozonators require backup sanitizing: ionization or a Solar-Powered Dual-Ion Mineralizer can be used. Mineral sanitizers and ionizers require that an oxidizing product be added on a regular basis: chlorine or non-chlorine shock are usually used for these purposes. The harsh conditions that can sometimes be associated with chlorine are due maintaining high chlorine levels, spikes in the concentration and from allowing product to contact the liner. A salt chlorine generator can provide consistent chlorination, avoiding high levels and eliminating the possibility of chlorine contacting the liner. Adding an ultra-violet sanitizer won't eliminate the need for chlorine, but it will greatly reduce the amount needed, as much as 70%. The bottom line is that you can choose the sanitizer system and can help preserve the liner's appearance. I hope that this information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/25/2005


Vinyl Liner And Gas Chlorine?

Does chlorine gas (professionally done weekly) used for pool cleaning reduce the life of the vinyl liner? Thanking you.

Raj M., 4/13/2008

Gas chlorine certainly can be effective and does not contribute byproducts, but there is a major downside, in my opinion. The chlorine level spikes upward, because of how it is added, and that can compromise bather comfort and bleach bathing suits. In the case of vinyl pools, the color of the vinyl liner could fade at an accelerated rate. Any method that allows a week's worth of chorine to be added all at once or permits undissolved chlorine products to contact the liner, is not the best method to use in a vinyl lined pool. I am a believer in the type of prolonged or slower-release chlorination that can be obtained by using an automatic chlorinator or a salt chlorinating system. These methods are better at keeping the Chlorine level within the 1-3 PPM range, that is so important for comfortable and worry-free enjoyment of the pool. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/14/2008


Found The Pool Leak?

I was losing about an inch of water daily and was convinced that I had a leak. The pool is a 18 x 36 vinyl inground that is about 3 years old. After checking all the fitting, I decided to try a dye solution and see if that could help locate the leak. To my great surprise, I located the leak. It was in the shallow end about 2 feet in front of the steps. I assumed that someone stepped on a sharp pointed pebble or something. I have several questions. Can I use a piece of the original vinyl, which I have, as a patch. Is there anyway to do this without draining the shallow end, as I don't want to risk damage to the pool or liner. I appreciate the opportunity to ask these questions.

Bill M., Freehold, NJ, 7/24/2007
Boxer Adhesives vinyl repair products.

Yes, you can use the original liner material as a patch. Lucky, that you have a piece. Boxer Adhesives manufactures a complete line of
vinyl plastic repair products and adhesives that can even be used underwater. Just use it as directed and make sure that you trim the corners off the patch, in order to help prevent them from lifting.  Locating the source of the leak was the hard part. The repair will be the easy part. Good luck and enjoy the season.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/24/2007


Water Behind The Liner?

I cannot find anyone in my area to remove standing water from behind my liner. Do you have any suggestions or am I up a stream?

RODNEY W., 4/1/2005


Recent rains might have raised the water table to above normal levels. Fill the pool to the proper height, as this will equalize the hydrostatic pressure. Use a pump to remove the water from behind the liner or walls. If the liner is out of the track, it should be able to be re-attached by tugging it back into the track. Hopefully as the water in the surrounding area recedes the liner will stop floating. Improving drainage in the immediate pool area might help prevent future problems. There is only so much that I can tell from a letter. Good luck and I hope that this information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/1/2005


Vinyl Liners And Liquid Chlorine?

Hi Alan! I noticed that you seem to have no problem recommending liquid chlorine use in vinyl lined pools. After many years in the above ground pool business I must tell you that I sell many replacement liners to customers who use liquid chlorine and/or liquid acid on a regular basis due to the liner literally tearing at the water line. It seems to happen after only 3 years or so of usage. I cannot recall ever selling a replacement liner for the same problem to customers who stick with using granular shock, tri-chlor tablets, and granular acid. There are too many cases I can think of to write this off as coincidental. What do you think is the cause? Sincerely.

Joann C., 8/24/2010


Too much of a good thing is still too much. Liquid chlorine is never my first choice. People try and avoid adding chemicals daily or even frequently. Pool services add liquid chlorine once a week. By adding a week's worth of liquid chlorine, all at once, it can create harsh
Solar-powered salt chlorine generator and mineralizer, for all types of pools. conditions for vinyl liners It would be better for the liner and the bathers to spread this same amount over a week. This would avoid the chlorine levels spiking upward, but it would require more time. If liquid chlorine is added slowly, with the filter operating, and in incremental amounts, it should be as safe as any other form of chlorine. It is certainly better than having cal hypo granules sitting on the bottom. Dichlor is very soluble and pH neutral, but continued use will lead to stabilizer problems. Lithium costs more, but is very soluble. Both products are popular in vinyl pools. No matter which product is used the chlorine released will act the same, based on the other water chemistry factors. The bottom line is that with liquid chlorine it is just too easy to add too much. Better for the liner would be the use of trichlor in a feeder, as the release is slow and controllable and chlorine levels do not spike upward. Even better would be bromine, biguanide or other alternative sanitizers: ozone, ionization, mineral purifiers. The use of a salt chlorine generator is an excellent way to add chlorine to a pool in a safe and effective manner. I hope that this explanation will help.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/24/2010


New Water Line Area?

My inground pool has several small holes at or above the water surface and is seriously faded at the top after 10 years use. Is it possible to buy a strip of vinyl (say 2 feet wide) with a pattern and adhesive backing which could be applied to the top of the liner to cover the bad parts and make the liner look good again?
BorderLines adhesive borders for creating a new waterline.
Wayne F., 5/6/2004


Given the fact that the liner is ten years old, you don't want to use a solvent-based adhesive to adhere a vinyl strip to the liner, as it
might weaken or cause the liner to become brittle. You might be able to apply an adhesive pool border over the existing waterline area. Click here to read some product feedback. Good luck and I hope that the information proves helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/6/2004


Happy Ending?

Hi there. What a great site! I have a problem with a yellow/brown stain all around the waterline of my pool. It has a pale blue vinyl liner. I have tried scrubbing with the waterline cleaning product but it doesn't get the stain off. It's worse on the side of the pool that's permanently in the Sun. I don't want to destroy the liner, but I do want to try to get it out using something else. I tried household bleach but that didn't work. Is there anything else you can recommend? I live in France, so branded products won't probably be available here. Anything you could suggest would be greatly appreciated. Best Regards.

Penelope D., Serignac France, 6/2/2005


I get a surprising amount of mail from France that is written by English speaking people: American or British. A recent one was on this very same topic. I doubt that the stains can be removed. Most likely it is the result of the Sun's UV rays acting on the chemical residues, body oils, skin care products, etc., that accumulate at the water line. You might try using an acidic cleaner or an enzyme cleaner, but I wouldn't hold out much hope. If the liner is in otherwise good condition, you might consider adding an adhesive pool border. A product is available that has been specifically designed for this purpose. It is easy to apply and should last about 3 years. The BorderLines product can be ordered right on this website. Sorry that there isn't a simpler solution.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/2/2005

Hi Alan. I installed the border and it looks wonderful. I really can't thank you enough. The package took 8 days to arrive. The border took me a whole day to install, as the pool is kidney shaped. I think it might have been easier with 2 people. I am sending you a photo of the work in progress, I'll take another one and send you when I've finished filling the pool. What happens when the border degrades after a few years? Is there a solvent that will remove it? Best Regards.

Penelope D., Serignac, France, 6/20/2005


Glad to hear that it worked out so well. The picture really shows the difference the product can make. When it is time to remove the product, after about 3 seasons, it should peal off in one piece. No solvents should be used or needed. Thank you for the order and enjoy the new look.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/20/2005


Just In Case?

Hello. I just had my liner replaced with a new Liner. The liner is beautiful. I was wondering if you can use spare pieces of the liner as patches. Can you use regular patch glue and glue a spare piece on the original liner? I do not need to patch anything now but you never know. If so, I was wondering what I would have to do to get a small piece of the two different patterns on my liner. Thanks.

Larry M., 2/10/2006


There's nothing like being prepared. The vinyl patch kits usually contain a piece of a blue vinyl and some glue. There is no reason that a piece of the original liner pattern could not be used as a patch. However, it is extremely unlikely that you will ever need it, but you will have to request it from the manufacturer. I suspect that they will be accommodating. Enjoy the new look.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/10/2006


Bubbles Under Liner?

I seem to have formed what appears to be several air bubble under the liner. Any suggestions of what to do? Thank you for the assistance. Best regards.

Paul P., Cyprus, 12/21/2009


Gases, from decaying organic matter, may be coming from below the pool. Using a wide rubber squeegee, try and push the bubbles to the side of the pool. Hopefully, from there it will be able to vent upwards. I hope that this information will solve the problem.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster


Effect Of pH On Vinyl Liners?

How does pH affect the vinyl liner of a pool?

Sean H., 11/1/2010


Apart from corrosion and bather irritation, low pH in a vinyl pool can cause the liner to absorb excessive amounts of water and lead to wrinkle formation. In addition, low pH readings will make the chlorine more aggressive and this, in turn, could accelerate the bleaching of the color. High pH readings are less likely to affect vinyl liners, but are more apt to lead to scaling conditions, cloudy water, loss of chlorine effectiveness and possible bather irritation. The recommended range for pH, under most conditions is 7.2-7.6. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/1/2010


Pool Tar?

Thanks for your response. I have been advised that the tar is called pool tar AKA pool goo and is not black algae. After reading the responses on your web site, most report seeing black spots on the pool bottom, which I see none. Although, pool goo may just be a nice way of saying I have black algae. The black spots left on the sides of the pool from my kids feet kicking off the wall scrub off fairly easy. The bottom of the pool does feel sticky when walking on it. I went in the pool today for the first time this year just to give it a good vacuuming and cleaning as advised. I have taken your advice and was given the same advice as you gave me, except to heat my pool with a heater or solar cover which I have both. However, it seems counter productive in that the heat would promote more algae. If you have any advice on pool goo which I was told is a reaction from plasticity of the new liner I installed? Let me know if this sounds logical. Thanks for you advice.

Scott, Detroit, MI, 6/26/2004

 
I did some research on this one and here is what I came up with. While it is still possible that you have black algae, there is another very likely explanation. A new vinyl liner (as is the case in your situation) can, sometimes, exude plasticizer from the liner, over the course of the winter. While this plasticizer material is clear, it can act as a means for dirt and debris to become attached and accumulate. As the water warms up (hence the reference to a heater) the plasticizer will reabsorb, eliminating the problem. It is reported that, if it happens, it only occurs once during the first years and never again. You do not need a new liner. I hope that this information will prove helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/28/2004


Border Or No Border?

We are in the process of selecting a new vinyl liner for a 20 x 40 pool. I am leaning toward one with no border. Is there an advantage of having a liner with a border in respect to a fade line? Thanks for your help.

Liz P., Allenwood, NJ. 2/21/2007

Borderless pool liners used to be the norm. However, a border helps hide the effect of time, oily residues, chemical effects and the aging difference, above and below the water line. Vinyl liner pools with borders should look better and for longer periods of time. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/22/2007


Seeing Vinyl Liner Seams?

Iím noticing a lot of seams in my brand new liner and was wondering if the liner should have been ordered in one piece that would have fit the entire pool. The inground pool is approx. 20 X 44. We had a dark vinyl liner installed early fall of last year and this year Iím noticing a lot of seams on the bottom of the pool.  Iíve been searching the web and all I can find is liners in one piece. This pool company also put up foam walls and Iím noticing dents in some areas.  Please let me know if these things are normal. I spent an awful lot of money and am worried that this job was not done properly. Thank you.

Sue D., 7/6/2005


Liners are made with seams. That is how it has to be done. The current trends of vinyl liner colors are becoming darker and darker with time. The darker the liner, the more noticeable the seams. All material used in production of the floor portion of the vinyl liners is 72" material. No matter which company is producing the liners. The walls are produced from 39" material.  Many people now are ordering these new darker colors and for the first time noticing the seams. A surface defect can simply be due to an impression in the foam. This is a big surface and it is not totally unexpected to see some variations. Consider how liners are installed? There is nothing to indicate that the job was not done properly. Enjoy the pool.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/6/2005


Wayward Liner?

We have a 12 x 20 pool that is over 16 years old. We have changed the liner once before with no problems. Last summer our umbrella stand was blown in the pool by heavy winds and cut a sizable hole in the bottom. We decided to replace the liner. Problem is that the liner keeps coming out of the track. Do you have any suggestions - we are at our wits end! Thank you.

T & J, 5/18/2004

Assuming that the track is not broken, there is something that you can try. Many dealers carry a product called Bead Lock, that can be forced into the track, behind the bead, to secure the liner in place. It is used in much the same manner as window screen spline which holds window screening in the frame. I hope the problem is solved.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/18/2004


Vinyl Liner Color Choice?

Alan, I am now choosing the liner for my new pool. I would like one that made the water sparkle like the Caribbean, but won't fade too fast. What might you suggest? Thanks so much.

Lisa F., 11/24/2011

Solar Pur Pool Mineralizer
Liner choice is a matter of individual preference. I don't really have the experience to ma
ke the choice for you. I'm a chemist and not, necessarily, a vinyl liner expert. Liner fading is something that results from overly high levels of chlorine or other oxidizers or the improper application of oxidizing chemicals to the pool. If you want to use chlorine, it is important to avoid very high levels or allowing the product to contact the liner. The addition of a salt chlorinator will help keep chlorine levels more uniform and avoid spikes in concentration. Other possibilities include: ultraviolet sanitizers, bromine, Solar-Powered Dual-Ion Mineralizers, ionizers and biguanide. I hope that I have been helpful. Enjoy the holidays.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 11/24/2011


Premature Vinyl Liner Wrinkles?

My wife totally drained our vinyl pool, as suggested by our local pool supply business. Now we have wrinkles up to three inches. I just read on your website that this was a big mistake; she should have left some water in the pool to prevent this problem. My question is what should we do now? The pool has been filled for weeks and the weight has not pushed out the wrinkles. I tried unsuccessfully to manually flatten them. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Steve, Daphne, Alabama, 4/21/2005


Completely draining a vinyl liner pool is never a good idea and is rarely recommended and only as a last resort. Most likely the vinyl has stretched and shifted and there is probably little that can be done to eliminate the wrinkles. You could try using a toilet plunger to move the liner a bit. Perhaps, that will help with some of the wrinkles. Sorry there isn't anything more that I can add. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/21/2005


Vinyl Liner In A Concrete Pool?

I HAVE AN OLDER CONCRETE POOL, IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET A LINER FOR IT?

Cathy H., 2/26/2009


I don't see why not. It is not as simple as dropping in a new liner of the proper size. The walls will probably have to be covered with a foam material and something will have to done with the bottom. The coping will probably need modification. I am really not an expert on this subject and I suggest that you speak with a company involved in vinyl liner installations. Good luck and you'll love the new look.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 2/27/2009


Hanging A Beaded Liner?

I am replacing a beaded liner. My question is How do I replace it? Do I need to take off the top rail to do this? Or is there a way to just slide it out. Thanks.

Jackie H., 5/6/2004


The bead is shaped like an upside down "J" and should slip into the mounting bracket. The weight of the water stretches the liner, securing it in place. I'm sure that the liner dealer will be able to give you some pointers. Have fun and enjoy the new look.
 
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/6/2004


Floating Liner?

Hello Alan - HELP! I have an inground swimming pool approx. 2 years old - when we removed the cover this  month the liner has 'floated' away from the walls - this is especially bad in the deep end - and the water level in the pool has dropped quite a bit. Any idea what caused this and what can be done to correct the problem. Any preventative measures we can take to keep this from happening again? Any insight will be most appreciated.

Patti S., Lewisberry, PA. 4/7/2005


It is likely that you have a warranty on a 2 year old pool. Use that as the starting point. The water level dropped because there is a leak somewhere in the liner or the main drain. If the leak is due to a tear in the liner, the water level would be a the point of the damage. If the main drain has a leak, the water was in the process of completely draining out. You need to locate the leak. See if your warranty cover this type of problem! There are companies that specialize in leak detection and repair. Allowing your pool to drain to could risk structural damage and liner shrinkage and should be avoided. Once the leak has been repaired and the pool is refilled, it is probable that the water will push the vinyl liner back into place. Good luck and I hope that I have been of help.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/7/2005


Water Behind The Liner?

Alan, I have a 20x40 inground swimming pool. The problem I am having is that with all the rain we have been getting I am getting water under the liner. The water lifts the liner and shift it around. After a few dry days the water dries up and leaves the liner out of place. I did French drain around the pool with no positive outcome.  I live in an area where there are lots of springs and have not had any problem like this in 15 years. What can I do?

Christopher, 1/8/2005


This sort of thing can only happen if the water table is higher than the water level in the pool. A French drain is intended to help the situation. Other things that you can do would be to try and improve drainage around the pool area by creating swales to direct the flow after from the area and keeping the pool water level as high as possible. In the past 15 years, there could have been major changes in the springs and water table. After the water table recedes, you might use a toilet plunger to try and tug the liner back in place. Good luck and maybe the rain will go elsewhere?

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/8/2005


Paint In Place Of A Liner?

We bought a house with an inground pool with a vinyl liner that is torn and needs replacing. There is some kind of concrete like stuff behind the liner, can we just paint this as one would do to a plaster pool--instead of putting in another vinyl liner?

Cindi M., Youngstown, OH. 3/27/2004

If the pool was built as a vinyl lined pool, it can't be done. The pool structure consists of walls that are not water tight and a bottom and hopper area that are contoured sand. The purpose of the vinyl liner is to make everything water tight. Short of completely rebuilding the pool, you will need to replace the liner. Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/28/2004


Fiberglassing A Vinyl Pool?

A friend of mine removed his liner and fiber coated it and he said it is beautiful, this is what I wand to do. My pool is 20' wide X 45' long and 3' on the shallow end going down to 10' deep. What do I need and how many gallons? I want fiber glass instead of a liner. Also, the upper walls are steel, all the way around, and they are four foot high, the bottom and hopper end and hopper walls. Thank you.

L. H., 10/26/2007


I am sorry that I took so long in responding, but I was looking into the question. So far as I know vinyl pools are not meant to be finished in this manner. While it has been done, it will most likely void the warranty of the walls. Depending upon the actual wall construction, the fiber glass construction may suffer during harsh conditions of weather, in various parts of the country. Unless you are presented with actual engineering data and time studies, I would opt to replace the liner with a new one. Good luck, 

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/29/2007


Not Touching?

Alan, I have a concern. As the pool is being refilling I stepped down onto the first step and noticed the liner does not touch the wall or bottom of the pool under the step. I thought this morning I would check to see if the water would push the liner against the wall as it rises above the step. The water level is just at the edge of the first step. On both sides of the pool under the steps I put my hand in the water and pushed the liner down. The liner still is not against the wall of the pool. Should there be a distance between the liner and the pool walls or floor?

Jeff H., Columbus, GA 3/6/2005


This is really out of my area of expertise.  I don't know if you are describing it incorrectly or if I am misunderstanding you.  Vinyl liners must always be supported by a wall or the sandy bottom.  The air trapped behind the liner has to be removed - this is normally done with vacuum pumps, as the water is being added.  It sounds like air is being trapped behind the liner and that this is keeping it away from the wall.  Perhaps, as the pool is filled higher the air will be forced up and out from behind the liner.  I don't know what else to tell you.  I am a chemist - not a pool builder and my knowledge is limited to my own observations with 2 pool installations.  If things are not to your liking, after the water is to the proper level, you might want a second opinion.  Hopefully, the air will leave and it will all be academic.  Good luck.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/6/2005

Thanks for the information. The pool completed filling and it appears that the water level has pressed the liner under the step. I will look closer after work today.

Jeff, 3/7/2005


It looks like I hit the nail on the head. I'm glad everything is turning out alright. Enjoy the pool.
 
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/7/2005


Trendy Liner?

Can you please tell me what the latest trends are in vinyl pool liners? Are solids in? What color? Dark blue, light blue? What is the most practical? Is the stone-look border pattern popular? I would very much appreciate your response, as I have to replace mine this year. My deck is grey-beige flagstone. Thanks so much.

Anne, 3/30/2010


Trendy liners? Thirty years ago most liners were solid colors or a mosaic. Today most liners are made to look like a tiled plaster pool. And they certainly look great! You should have no problem finding a liner that goes with the surroundings and is a pleaser. Ask 10 people and you'll get 14 different opinions. Yours is the one that counts. Go with the one that will give you the most enjoyment. Enjoy the new look.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3./30/2010


Problem With Tree Roots?

I have tree roots growing underneath the vinyl lining. Would it be wise to cut them out when replacing the liner or remove the tree completely? Will these roots eventually puncture the liner?

M & D, California, 1/12/2005


Just cutting the roots may not end the problem. The remaining roots may continue to grow, in all directions, and you will end up with the problem once again. You are much better off removing the tree. Check with a horticulturalist for the best way to make sure that new sprouting does not occur! I understand that some trees, such as live oaks, can prove troublesome. Good luck with the project.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/12/2005


Protecting The Vinyl Liner?

A friend of mine had a beautiful looking above ground pool, just a few years ago. Now the liner looks all bleached out. He adds a granular chlorine to the pool and just dumps it into the water. I'm not sure, but I think the chlorine is the problem. Can that be? I am doing some research now because I plan on getting a pool next spring and I would like to maintain the appearance. Thanks.

Jason A., Worcester, MA, 6/21/2011


It is normal for a vinyl liner to lose some of the color over a long period of time. Ideally, it happens on an even, overall basis and not in
Model SR salt chlorine generator, for all types of pools. blotches. Vinyl liners can last for 10-20 years, depending upon vinyl quality and conditions, before needing a replacement. The practice of "dumping" chlorine into the pool is not helping to preserve the liner's appearance. Granular chlorine should be broadcast across the surface, to allow for a more gentle addition to the water. This will avoid clumping on the bottom, which could result in some bleaching. Chemicals should be added with the filter operating. If there is an automatic pool cleaner, it can help avoid products remaining on the bottom, by improving circulation across the depths of the pool. Typically, lithium hypochlorite and sodium dichlor are added to the pool by broadcasting. Calcium hypochlorite is usually added by forming a slurry and decanting the clear liquid into the pool: away from the walls and in front of a return flow. Always use all chlorine products in full accordance with the label instructions! Built-in chlorinators, that use solid forms of Trichlor and Salt Chlorine Generators are very popular and help avoid liner fading, by applying a more uniform concentration of chlorine over a period of time. Good luck with the pool. I hope that I have been helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/21/2011

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