How to replace your above ground pool liner

img_0090.jpgI’ve had a few people email me about my pool liner replacement project. I decided to document it and post it here. It’s really long and unless you have an above ground pool it may bore you. I’ve not edited this, it’s a living document and I will change it as i think of things to add or better ways to describe what I mean.

Pool liner replacement is not as hard as it seems. I had thought it was a huge project and hired someone to come in to do it for me, but his helper was a no-show. So I decided to learn and help. Charlie (the installer) said he didn’t need my help, but would appreciate it.

Tools needed to do the job:

  • Powered screwdriver with good bits (Get a kit from Black & Decker with all the different bits) or a good #2 Philips screwdriver and a medium slotted screwdriver or whatever type of screw driver you need to remove the screws
  • Rubber mallet (for gentle persuasion when necessary)
  • Very sharp razor knife
  • Wet/Dry shop-vac setup for wet mode
  • Submersible pump with a long drain hose
  • Ladder to enter/exit pool.
  • Duct Tape
  • 2 foot level
  • Blacktop Sealant squeegee (about 2 feet across)
  • A push-broom (about 2 feet across)
  • A wide flat shovel (coal shovel works)
  • Small tube of vinyl safe 100% silicone caulk
  • New liner

First things first – drain the pool. Only do this if you know you are going to have 2 or 3 days of good weather. If not, wait until you do. If a storm or high winds (or even mild ones) comes up, you run the risk of having a pool collapse. I drained my pool the day before Charlie showed up. I put the pool vac head on the vacuum hose and centered it in the lowest part of the pool. (Every pool has a “deep” or low spot.) Usually it’s the spot where the most dirt settles before you vacuum. I set the pump to drain and proceeded to water my lawn with 9000 gallons of water. It only took about 5 hours to drain all but the last inch of water. I’ll address getting that last inch of water out later.

While the pool is draining you will need to remove all the “caps” from the top of each column around the pool. This will expose the screws that hold down the top rails going around the pool. Don’t remove the rails just yet. You will want to wait until the pool is drained down to the last inch or two to remove the rails. DON’T LOSE THE SCREWS TO THE CAPS OR RAILS!!! And keep them separate. I put mine in zip-top baggies and labeled them with a marker. The cap screws will be different from the rail screws so keep them separate. Once the pool is drained you can disconnect the pump from the skimmer and the inlet. You can also remove the skimmer and inlet jet from the pool wall as well.

Before you remove the liner you need to remove the rails. My pool used 4 screws to hold each of the top tails in place. You will need to remove them starting at the rail over the skimmer. I found it best to remove them and use a pencil to mark them 1 through whatever. Now is the time to get the kids or spouse involved. Have them wash and dry the caps and rails. Keep all the rail screws together. Don’t mix them with the cap screws. I just put mine in a zip-top baggie and worked around the pool.

Back to that last inch of water. It can be tough if you don’t know the tricks. It is very important to remove that last bit of water before trying to remove the old liner. There are a couple methods to do this, I will describe the one Charlie used. You will need to get into the pool. If you have steps or a pool ladder you can use them but remember they will have to come out at one point. Tip: It’s easier to take weighted pool stairs out before you drain the water. Hook up a submersible pump and put it in the lowest spot of the pool floor. Use the blacktop squeegee to move water to the low spot. If you don’t have a low spot make one by using your razor knife to cut an eighteen inch hole in the pool floor. Using your hands scoop out enough sand to drop the level about an inch or two. Place the piece of vinyl you cut back into the hole and put something like a pipe or broom handle across the loose peice of vinyl then put the pump on top of that. That pipe or handle will prevent the pump from “choking” on the loose vinyl. Go back to moving the water to this new low spot with the squeegee or your push broom (push broom worked best for me). Once you get all the water possible pumped out you can remove the pump and start removing the liner.

Removing the old liner is easy if you do it in small pieces. Where you have columns make a vertical slice from about 3 inches from the top of the pool to the bottom of the wall. Do not press very hard with the razor knife, just hard enough to cut the vinyl. If you press too hard you will scratch the pool wall and possibly leave burrs that will damage the new liner. Then cut the floor all the way around connecting the vertical cuts you just made. Then cut all the way around the top of the pool about 3 inches from the top. The old liner should fall away in pieces that are easy to fold up and remove from the pool. Next cut the bottom up into easily managed pieces, fold them up and remove from the pool. Now you should be left with just the 3 inch strip of old liner around the top. Carefully remove the plastic retaining clips that are holding the liner to the wall. If you break it crack it you will need to replace it. Small cracks and chips are expected but breaks and major cracks can be avoided if you work slowly and carefully. Remove the last of the liner. Leave the wall cap (looks like a slotted round bead of metal fitted to the top of the pool wall underneath the liner) in place. This is necessary to maintain a stable pool wall. Inspect the pool wall for scratches or rough spots and treat as necessary. Remove any old duct tape from seams and replace with new duct tape.

Now it’s time to work on the floor and the cove. Get the blacktop squeegee and rake it across the sand and slowly knock down any high spots. While doing this step remove any debris that would cause an uneven surface, things like pebbles or roots. Be sure to remove ALL sharp items. Anything you leave behind will stick up under the liner and could poke through. Using the squeegee move the loose sand to low spots. Then, starting in the center of the pool, work outwards in a spiral motion to the pool walls moving the loose sand to the cove. If you have lost sand due to a leak near a cove use the coal shovel to knock down the high spots and toss the sand to the cove first then use the squeegee to check for high spots and do the spiral thing. The cove is not that big of a deal. Easiest way to get the perfect cove (in my opinion) is to take the coal shovel and lay the mouth of the shovel on the sand and one of the rounded sides against the pool wall. Keeping the mouth of the shovel flat on the ground walk backwards around the pool slowly applying even pressure as you walk. This will give you a gradual 2 – 3 inch radius (depending on your shovel). Last step is to take the broom and start in the middle again and walk backwards in a spiral from the center out to the edge pulling the broom behind you. This step will remove any footprints you left behind. When you get to the outside edge be careful not to disturb the cove you made around the walls. While doing this step remove any debris that would cause an uneven surface, things like pebbles or roots that you missed the first time. A smooth surface is a must!!

Hand out all your tools!!! Hand out the ladder or steps. Take off your shoes and leave your socks on. If you are barefoot have someone hand you a pair of socks and put them on. I did the sand part barefoot. You can feel anything sharp or hard as you walk in the sand. Have your helper hand you the new liner. Set it down in the center of the pool. Unfold the liner moving towards the pool wall. Depending how your new liner was folded at the factory you want to unfold in sections without walking on the liner. The goal is to open up thecrunchwrap.jpg liner leaving the bottom flat and the sides folded back toward the center .. kind of like a Taco Bell Crunchwrap. Then carefully walk onto the liner. Go to the center and pick up the cut finished edge of the liner. Pick it up and put your butt towards the pool wall, bend over and pick up the liner in your other hand. Lift up as much of the liner as you can and while holding the liner tight across your back shuffle backwards slowly. When you get to the wall overlap the liner according to the mfg directions (in my case the overlap was 4 inches and I had a tile pattern across the top as a guide) and put a piece of the plastic clip over the new liner to hold it in place. You can also use duct tape on the outside of the wall to hold the liner as well. I used the plastic clip. Walk back to the middle and do the same thing all the way to the opposite side of the pool. Then do the same thing dividing the halves in half. Then the quarters in half and so on. You may find you have one section that is not wanting to overlap the wall. Here’s where you have to use some muscle and “stretch” the liner. Go to the pool wall opposite the side that won’t overlap and and “walk the liner” tight by un-clipping the liner and pulling the liner along the wall in the direction of the tight spot. You might get just an inch or two but it does add up. Go back to the section across from the tight spot and “walk the liner” in the other direction. You will get exactly what you need to fit the pool. While stretching the liner be careful not to disturb the cove. Once you get the liner stretched put the plastic retaining clips over the liner and the pool to secure the liner. Go back to the center and get down on your hands and knees. Using your hands work out as many of wrinkles as you can working toward the pool wall. Here’s where the shop-vac comes in. Using duct tape seal up the opening for the skimmer basket. Carefully have your helper insert the shop-vac hose into the inlet hole and feed it down between the new liner and the pool wall as far as the hose will reach or to within 4 inches of the bottom of the wall. Turn the shop-vac on. This will pull a vacuum on the liner and help properly seat it. At this point go back to the center of the pool and work out ALL the wrinkles. If you don’t do it now, forget about doing it after the liner has water in it. You should notice the liner being sucked to the wall and the sand floor. This is important. It will give you an idea of how the liner will look once you add the water. If you have all the wrinkles worked out replace the plactic retaining clips. This is where you will want to use the rubber mallet to seat the clips. Be gentle. You dont want to crack the clips. With the clips in place you can start filling with water. Stay in the pool until you get about 2 inches of water. This is the only chance you have to fix any liner issues. After 2 inches you are stuck with how it looks unless you drain the water and start over. A typical garden hose attached to your outdoor faucet will add about 4 inches of water an hour at the most. Once you hit 4 inches you can turn off the shop-vac and remove it from the inlet. Replace the pool rails one by one starting with the rail above the skimmer and inlet. Have your helper check to make sure the columns are level vertically using a level. If they aren’t you could end up with wall stability issues. Do not cut the holes for the skimmer or inlet at this time. Wait until you have 18 to 24 inches of water BEFORE cutting those openings. If you cut these opening too soon you will have “smileys” underneath the opening where the liner is stretched. I waited until I had 30 inches of water in my pool. Keep in mind the water coming from your hose is about 55 degrees. It will be cold. Once you get the 4 inches of water you can set your steps or ladder back into the pool. Be sure to put the rubber protection mat down first. You want to protect that new pool liner.

After you get 2 1/2 to 3 feet of water in the pool you need to replace the skimmer and inlet. Have your helper put a bead of silicone on the gasket of the skimmer and have them ready to hold the skimmer on the outside of the pool. From the inside push a screw through the liner and the screw hole in the pool wall. Have your helper line that up to the matching hole on the skimmer and hold it in place. Remove the screw. Put a small bead of the silicone on the inside skimmer gasket and press it into place. Push the screw through the frame of the skimmer and line that up with the hole you made earlier. Tighten these screws hand tight. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN THESE SCREWS. YOU CAN CRACK THE FRAME OR THE SKIMMER. Then use your razor knife and cut the square for the skimmer on the inside of the opening. To cut the hole for the inlet place a piece of heavy cardboard on the inside of the liner covering the inlet hole. From the outside have your helper slowly and carefully cut out the inlet hole. Put a small bead of silicone onto the gaskets on the inside and the outside of the pool and hand tighten the inlet.

Total time for this project was 5 hours from removing column caps to replacing the caps. I still had about an hour of work to do once the pool water was high enough to cut the skimmer and inlet opening. This hour included reconnecting the pump to the skimmer and the inlet.

If you have questions email me!



Filed under How To

256 responses to “How to replace your above ground pool liner

  1. Kathy

    Great info. We have a gasket that is one piece but is split. We have installed it with the gasket on first and split so there is gasket on both the inside and outside of the wall. Would you put the silicone on both sides of this? We didn’t use silicone and the skimmer is leaking.

  2. Yes, both sides. Especially if you are using a cork gasket. The rubber gaskets seal better and usually don’t require the silicone. I have the rubber gaskets and I used silicone.

  3. Ive

    Finally !!! I finally find instructions on how to remove and install an above ground pool liner !!! thank you kindly !!!

    I want to be self reliant but also practical. Can you honestly tell me that I can replace the liner by myself or with the help of my son and husband if I have not done it before ? Or should I go ahead and pay someone experienced to do it?

    Houston, TX

  4. Yes it can be done by just you and your husband. Your son can be helpful too. The big thing is do not rush the process. It will show. The instructions I gave are for an overlap liner. The beaded liners are a bit easier. If you have a beaded liner replace with a beaded. If you have an overlap liner replace with an overlap.

    Honestly, it’s not that hard, just time consuming. Make sure you get all the water out. Or as much as you can. You should not have to do too much work to the sand unless you had it wash out under the wall. I bought a 50lb bag of playground sand to have on hand just in case. I never used it and returned it to Lowes. I read through the instructions again and they are the process I used. I was just checking for things I missed. However, if you feel uncertain ask your pool supply store for recommended installers. Right now is a slow season for them. You might be able to negotiate a better price. Keep in mind if you hire someone expect to spend up to 2x the cost of the liner. Good luck and feel free to email me if you have other questions.

  5. Ive, the other thing that might give you issues is the “stretching” of the liner to fit. Take your time. Unclip and pull the liner in the direction you need the space. It will fit. And it will be tight. It has to be to prevent wrinkles on the walls.

  6. Lyle

    Great info. We just had an above ground pool put in and then had 7 inches of rain which washed out the sand and lime from under the back side of the pool (27′). The liner now drops down almost 4 inches for a couple feet around the back side. We’re probably lucky it’s still standing. I went ahead and closed it for the Winter hoping not to have to deal with it till the Spring but am now wondering if waiting is a good idea. Any thoughts?

  7. To be honest, if your liner is still intact it’s still warm enough to fix it now. Come spring time when you are opening you will probably have to deal with the same things I deal with when opening. Rain, bugs, cold days, warm days, more rain and kids ready to jump in no matter the temp. I would fix it out now if it were me. Imagine the mess 18,000 gallons of water will make if you have more rain and it washes more sand away and the liner gives out! On top of that, if the liner does give way, you’d have to replace that as well. A 27′ round pool liner that is 25 gauge will cost between $300 and $500 to replace. they are not cheap! When you loose all the water in the pool there is nothing holding up the pool walls. You would then run the risk of having the walls collapse. Then you have to replace the walls as well. I don’t want to be an alarmist, but are you a gambling man? 🙂 I’m not. I’ve learned the hard way that if you take care of a problem when it first comes up it will cost less to fix it up front instead of fixing it later.

    I’ll be honest, the job seems really big and hard, but with time, patience and an extra set of hands it can be done. Something that might make the job easier are the new above ground pool cove kits. You still have to have the sand base underneath the foam, but you don’t have to have to form the cove around the pool wall. They also help to prevent the “washout” problems. I had to replace a liner and didn’t have the extra $$$ to put into the foam cove kit. Maybe next time I have to replace the liner. 🙂

    Good luck and if you need any tips stop back by or email me!

  8. Gerry Poisson

    Great work! A question if i may: If you need to install a pool inlet on a liner seam, is this a big problem? Just wondering. Thanks again.

  9. Gerry,
    It would be ideal to have the seam be somewhere other than a skimmer opening or inlet, but if you have to do it that way there should not be a problem. That seam is welded at the factory and depending on the liner warranty, that seam should be covered for the duration of the lifetime regardless where you put the inlet. The important thing to remember is to use a very sharp razor knife and make the cut as smooth as possible. Be sure to use silicon on both the inside and outside gaskets of the inlet. If you aren’t comfortable with that move the seam. If it were me, I’d move it. But like I said, if you have to have it there you should not have a problem.

    Good luck!!

  10. Susan

    What would you suggest the outside temperature be for installing a liner? I know it needs to be warm and that helps the liner stretch better as you install it.

  11. Susan,
    Any temperature above 70 should be fine and working in the sunshine is a big plus (it’ll be warm but easier). You don’t need to stretch the liner much. The key is to take your time and work the liner in sections. If you have help it goes quicker.

  12. Janet S

    I find this very helpful. We are about to attempt to replace our liner. The difference is, ours has a center bottom drain too. Any suggestions would be helpful.

  13. Janet, Glad the guide was helpful. I’m not too familiar with pools that have drains in the bottoms. I am certain the process is pretty much the same. I imagine that when you cut the hole for the drain you will want to wait until you have a few inches of water in the pool to make sure the liner seated properly and doesn’t shift on you when you cut the hole. I would also think that it would be best to cut the hole a little smaller than the opening and trim what you need. I’ve asked a friend who has a pool with a drain and when he replies I’ll post it here. Good luck!

  14. Janet S.

    Sir Lerxst,
    We have discovered a new problem. There is an area on our pool wall that has been attacked by rust. The rust is covering about a 3 foot area. The area still seems very sound. What is your suggestion? Thanks again for your fast response.

  15. Janet, I’m basing my answer on the assumption you are referring to rust on the inside of the pool wall. Provided the walls are still sound and not severly pitted the fix is easy. Get some sandpaper and sand the rusted area. Once sanded wipe the area clean. It should feel smooth. If not keep sanding until it is. The important thing to remember is the rust should be gone and the wall should be smooth when done. Any imperfections will show through and possibly damage the liner. Once you have a smooth surface take a clean rag with rubbing alcohol and wipe the sanded area down to clean up any residue. Put liner in. No you don’t need to treat it, provided you are working on a dry day. The liner will prevent exposure to water and air … any rusting that takes place would be minimal after the new liner is in. If you are still concerned you can take a clean cloth and rub a little vegetable oil on the area. A very very light coating would work. Anything other than that will attack the new liner and shorten it’s life.

    If the surface is pitted and you cannot obtain a smooth surface after sanding all the rust off, your only other option is to buy a foam liner that gets sandwiched between the liner and the pool wall. Some folks will say this actually helps the pool retain heat … I disagree. It’s too thin to offer any real insulating value. It will however give the walls a smooth and “soft” feel.

  16. Janet S.

    Thank you very much. It is not looking so bleak. We are in SC and will be working on it this weekend. Any plans? We would love to have you! Thanks again, Janet

  17. Janet S.

    PS.. Bring your tools! Have a great weekend!

  18. Janet, Glad it’s not as bad as you thought. Plans for the weeknd? I’ll be finishing the opening of my pool. Everything is done. I just need to was the stairs and set them back into place. Well I need to work on the deck around the pool too. It’s in need of some TLC. I’ll be around the house, so email or post a comment and I’ll reply.

    I know it seems daunting at first, but once you finish you’ll be surprised how easy it was. On top of that you will have saved yourselves at least $250. That’s the normal fee for local installers in the area. Good luck!!

  19. Replacing a liner is one thing. Replaceing the metal pool walls which punctured my liner is different. No one I have asked on line even knows where to purchase replacement walls. Any help here?

  20. Michael, Replacing the walls is the same as putting up a new pool. or are two of the best online stores. You could probably call and ask them if they sell replacement walls. But to be honest they will probably take an above ground kit and sell off the parts. You might be better off replacing the whole thing.

    What caused the puncture? A rough surface? If so get out some sandpaper and sand down the rough spots. If it’s really bad you can get a wire brush attachment in your drill and smooth out the surface. If the walls are too bad you can get a foam pad liner to put on the wall for under $75.

    Without more info that’s the best answer I can give. Hope it helps!

  21. Liz K.

    I just had the liner on my 24″x15″ above ground pool replaced 6 weeks ago. Along one side of the long walls has developed what looks like a line about ten feet long (a few inches up from the bottom of the pool) with periodic rust spots growing under the liner. One place looks like it is about to puncture the new liner. Shouldn’t the professional pool company that replaced the liner have adressed the rust before replaceing the liner?

  22. Ahh .. the “professional installers” .. to be honest and blunt about it, the professional installers are most likely guys who have put liners in and do it on the side for extra cash.

    To answer the question depends on who and how you paid to have the liner installed. If you bought the liner from a pool store and paid the pool store for both the liner and the installation then the answer is maybe. If you paid with a credit card that’s even a stronger maybe. You can always dispute the charges and let the credit card company deal with them depending on your credit card company. You may only have 30 days to file a dispute …. If you paid the pool store for the liner and then paid an installer separately chances are they took a check or preferred cash and you will have little recourse.

    If the installers were truly professional, when they saw rust on the pool walls you should have been notified about it before the new liner went in because that’s when it needs to be fixed. And at that point they would have told you there is an extra fee to repair the rust damage. If you were told there is some rust and you didn’t want them to do anything about it then shame on you.

    What it boils down to is this .. did you have a contract? My guess is no. If yes there may be a clause that clearly defines your rights. If you did have a contract you may want to read it to make sure that when you signed off on the completed job you may have removed all responsibility from the installer and the pool company.

  23. Jess

    Hi, you’re site was very helpful, and your liner is gorgeous. What is the design of the liner called? And wear can i get a similar one for my own pool. Thanks.

  24. Hi Jess! Thanks! Cheapest place I’ve found online is Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies.

  25. Jess

    Thanks for your quick response, You’re Great! By any chance do you know the name of your liner pattern? Thanks 🙂

  26. Jess, You’re welcome. If you in or near Dayton, Ohio you can find the exact liner at Knickerbocker Pools. Unfortunately I don’t recall the name or pattern of the liner.

  27. cindy

    My husband & I just replaced the liner on our 24′ above ground pool.
    We removed the old liner, installed wall foam, then added new sand. Barefooted on my hands & knees I meticulously smoothed the sand.
    We then unfolded & carefully placed the liner but where I stepped, left foot prints.
    We filled the pool with water. I’m sure that was a mistake but is there anything at this point I can do to smooth out the footprints to make vacuuming easier?

  28. once you add water things are pretty set. if it is just a small amount of water (an inch or two) you could get in and use your feet to smooth out those areas. don’t feel bad. my pool as a couple foot prints as well, but i’ll never tell.

  29. nick

    i just bught a new beaded liner to replace my old one which is also a beaded…but after installing it it doesn’t seem to fit right..seems like it is to big because there is a lot of excess material left..and yes it is the same size as my old one which is 15×52….i’ve tried and tried to smmoth out the excess material but it just seems there is to much..any ideas of what might be wrong…my pool is an above ground round 15×52…could i install the beaded liner as an overlap liner…

  30. Nick,
    By excess material do you mean it is taller than the pool walls? A beaded liner is actually supposed to fit “just right” or even a little short because the water is supposed to pull it taught. If your excess material is overlapping the wall I believe you could convert to an overlap liner provided you can remove the channel your beaded liner is supposed to fit in. Anything that could snag or tear the liner needs to be removed. You would need to pick up enough liner coping strips to circle your entire pool. And then follow the instructions here.

    But before you get into that I would check with the place you ordered from and see if they shipped the wrong item. I know it sounds silly but measure your pool walls as well. Sometimes what looks like 52 is really 48 … not saying you made a mistake but I’m a firm believer in measure twice and cut once.

  31. I was wondering if you can install a new above ground pool liner without taking the old liner out. I know you would still have to take the water out. The bottom is fine and I thought it would keep the sand and everything in place. What do you think?

  32. Dave, Good question. Simple answer is no. There are a dozen reasons. Your logic kinda makes sense but not really. To be honest once you pull out the old liner the sand really doesn’t shift. You have had thousands of gallons of water pressing down on the sand and it is fairly compacted. You won’t disturb the sand .. trust me!

  33. Jodi

    I just bough a pool that we had to take down. It is the kind with the catwalk around it and white panel fencing around it. The liner we pulled out was beaded. Does that mean we have to put a beaded liner back into it? Or can I go cheaper with a overlap liner? Thanks

  34. Jodi,
    Good news (kinda) .. you can go with the cheaper overlap liner provided the J-Channel isn’t part of the pool wall. Most J-Channels slip over the top of the pool wall. If this is you case you can remove the J-Channel and buy an overlap liner AND the coping that holds it in place. Good Luck!! And happy swimming!

  35. Jodi

    The J-Channel is on the decking itself. Not the wall. When we took the pool down, we had to pull the liner off of the decking first, then take the wall down, then take the decking down. Im just hoping the decking is not going to stop us from putting a overlap liner on it. Thanks for the info. Your great. By chance, do you know what the brand name for this pool is?? I cant find it anywhere and would like to find a manual for it. Here is a link to a picture of it.

  36. No idea on the brand name. If the J channel is on the deck then you should be fine to do an overlap. Carefully prep the edge of the pool wall. Sand it if it’s rough. If it is still rough after sanding get some duct-tape and cover the edges. You will need to buy new vinyl liner coping strips. These plastic, non-corrosive clips hold your overlap pool liner in place on the pool wall before re-installing the top rail.

  37. Glen

    Can someone give me advice on removing a beaded liner.
    I am moveing this pool from one house to another so I cant cut the liner off.
    How do you “unsnap” the beaded liner from the wall.
    I know it hsould pull up, but seems to bee locked.
    I owuld appreciatre any help today and would lovee it emailed to me at



  38. Jodi

    Will a Hayward Perflex Extended Cycle DE Filter that was used for a built in pool work for an above ground pool?? Thanks

  39. Glen, how old is the liner? If it’s more than 5 years old chances are it is going to be brittle and could crack. I would recommend replacement. If it is newer than 5 yrs the liner should just lift out of the channel provided you have all the water out and have broken the seal the liner has to the wall (usually removing the skimmer will do the trick). Start at the section the skimmer is on and work your way around the pool.

    Jodi, the simple answer is no. But if you have a handyman who can rework the plumbing you might be able to make it work. Why are you asking? Are you replacing an older pump/filter?

  40. Robin

    We are in the process of installing our 1st above ground pool. Every step so far has been trial and error. We are now at the point where we are installing the liner. It is an overlap liner and according to the instruction we are supposed to overlap a 3″ collar (which we did). All seemed to going smooth untill we got to about 3/4 around and it is almost impossible to stretch the liner over it and if we force it, it will pull the wall down. help!!!!

    we also seem to me making a mess of the sand that was coved and leveled as we stomp on it while trying to put in the liner.

  41. Robin, After starting the overlap of the liner according to the mfg directions (in my case the overlap was 4 inches and I had a tile pattern across the top as a guide) put a piece of the plastic clip over the new liner to hold it in place. You can also use duct tape on the outside of the wall to hold the liner as well. I used my plastic clip. Walk back to the middle and do the same thing all the way to the opposite side of the pool. Then do the same thing dividing the halves in half. Then the quarters in half and so on. You may find you have one section that is not wanting to overlap the wall. Here’s where you have to use some muscle and “stretch” the liner. Go to the pool wall opposite the side that won’t overlap and and “walk the liner” tight by un-clipping the liner and pulling the liner along the wall in the direction of the tight spot. You might get just an inch or two but it does add up. Go back to the section across from the tight spot and “walk the liner” in the other direction. You will get exactly what you need to fit the pool. As for disturbing the sand … walk gently, in socks inside the liner, not on the sand. Hope that helps!

  42. Nichole

    Wow, thank you for taking the time to write all this out. Your information is so helpful. I am going to be replacing my beaded liner this weekend and this is just what I needed to read! 🙂 I was wondering if I could find out your thoughts on this…….One part of our wall section is maybe and inch or two higher than the rest of the pool. (told my husband this when we installed it, he insisted i was seeing things…haha) When I replace the liner and get it emptied out, do you think it would be a bad idea to try and even out the walls?? I hate to mess with it and wreck everything. I’d say two of the concrete blocks holding up the wall columns would need to be lowered. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


  43. Nichole,

    If you would take the time to even things out I think you will be happier with install and the way the liner sits if the walls were leveled out. HOWEVER, it’s been higher all this time and it does not appear to be an issue with the old liner. If it were me doing the replacement I would take the time and do it right. BUT if it really isn’t all that noticeable and the liner seated properly the first time around I wouldn’t mess with it unless you are comfortable with making the changes.

    Good luck!

  44. Dee

    We are installing our liner this weekend, and I have found your site to be very helpful. I have a question about how high the cove should be, and how deep. What should the angle of the cove be.

  45. Dee,
    Good questions! The cove should come up high enough to cover the bottom retaining ring for the wall at a minimum. The highest you can go without any problems is about 3 inches. The angle should be about 30 degrees. Is this a new install or are you replacing an old liner? If it’s an old liner you should be able to reuse the sand in place. If this is a new install your sand should be about 2 inches deep all around. If you have the extra money I would recommend the foam cove strips. You can pick them up at any local pool shop. They make the install really easy. But to be honest the sand works just as well.

    Good luck this weekend! You picked a great weekend to do it (at least the weather will be nice here)!

  46. Randy Williams

    We just got done trying to install a beaded replacement liner for our 15 x 30 oval above ground pool. No matter what we do, there seems to be about a foot worth of extra liner that can’t be tucked in. I was told that this will change as the pool is being filled up because it expands and needs the extra material as it stretches and the excess liner will “stretch” itself to fit.
    I am afraid to fill it up only to find out the liner is too big.

  47. Randy, I’m not sure I follow … is the liner too big around? Or is it too tall? Beaded liners are different than overlap liners. you have to get the exact size. Overlap liners are a little more forgiving since you overlap the wall. But a beaded liner has to snap into the channel. If it’s not an exact fit it won’t work right. The stretching of a liner only happens when your material is slightly smaller than the pool. In your case you would need the liner to shrink. And that is not possible.

  48. Randy Williams

    Thanks. I thought so.
    The liner is too big. The packaging indicated the right size but in actuality it’s a foot too big and won’t snap into the channel all the way. The vendor won’t replace. Great!

  49. Beth

    We will be replacing the liner in our 24′ pool this week. I have also ordered wall foam, a bottom liner, and preformed cove. When we installed the pool, we used the proformed cove, but had to add quite a bit of sand on top of that in order to make the liner fit. If we smooth that sand out, and use just the preformed cove, should the liner fit? What order would you install the wall foam, bottom liner and preformed cove? Thank you in advance for your help!

  50. Beth,
    Not sure what you mean by it didn’t fit until you added more sand. The purpose of the sand is to give the pool a softer bottom and to protect the liner. It’s not supposed to be used to elevate the floor.

    With the new foam wall, cove and flooring you are changing dimensions by at the most 1/2 an inch. Your Liner will still need to be stretched to fit. You should still pull a vacuum on the liner as well. That’s the only way to get the wrinkles out BEFORE the water goes in.

    Good luck on the install!

  51. Peter

    Does the sand have to be dry before you install a new liner?

  52. Peter,
    No it doesn’t. It’s easier to move the drier it is … if it’s damp it will stay in place better.

  53. Jim DeYoung

    I have an above ground, 24′ round with an expandable liner to 6’6″. I buried this pool into the ground a little over half way, so that it didn’t stick up so high. By the way, I tarred the sides and added 8 mill black plastic to it several times to prevent any rust. It worked! It’s been in for 20 years and the liner finally needs replacing. I put in a floor drain as well. Anyway, on to my question……. with the 6’6″ center, I bought an expandable liner. I had planned to raise the liner off the sand floor and begin to fill with water. I thought this to be my best chance at having the liner smooth out to the pool floor in the dug out middle. I planned on using the vaccuum for the sides. Am I wrong? Thanks in advance! Jim De Young

  54. Jim,
    I have found that the best way to put down a floor is to center it up and work out all the wrinkles BEFORE adding water. I’ve never tried to raise the floor and fill. I think it would work provided you were very very close in lining up the liner. Once you put water in it will be hard to move around. I can’t stress enough the importance of protecting your wall and it sounds like you did on on the original install. I’d say go for it but be very careful shifting the liner once you start adding water. Good luck!

    By the way .. cool email address. 🙂

  55. Justin

    Thank you so much for all the tips! I had been searching the whole internet for help on getting my liner squared away, and finally, this seems to be the right place!

    My situation is a little bit different. Over the winter our beaded pool liner came off. As we were taking the pool cover off to begin the process of opening the pool for the season, more and more of the liner came out. So we drained the whole pool, and snapped it back in…or so we thought. I began filling the pool back up, and the liner popped off again, and the water that was already in the pool started flowing over it, and took almost half the liner off! Also, when this happend, a lot of the sand underneath washed out too! But the liner itself looks to be in pretty good shape, so I don’t think we’ll need to replace it.

    But I do have a few questions, and you seem like the guy to ask:

    1) What’s the best sand to use? Can I use playground sand?

    2) Is it ok if the “cove” around the base isn’t too high? We inherited this pool from the previous homeowners, and it doesn’t look like they had much of one.

    3) Should I take the whole liner off (even where it’s still hooked in), or can I just replace the sand where it’s needed, and hook the rest back in?

    Thanks for all your help! When the liner started coming off I began to panic, but after reading this, I’m not so worried anymore!


  56. Justin,

    Beaded liners are tricky once they “pop” loose.

    You may not know it, but there are a couple things that happen to vinyl liners as they get old … they shrink and become brittle. I am wondering how old this liner is. For it to keep popping off i have concerns that the vinyl is being stretched too much or it has started to shrink. I would start off by putting more sand in and re-forming cove. I would not use playground sand (it’s too coarse), instead use masonry sand and build up the cove all the way around. Yes, all the way around. You are better off doing it right once instead of doing it wrong 2 or 3 times. Since the liner is not torn, cracked or punctured it may just be stretched too much (or shrunk a bit). By adding sand you will bring the liner up a little and it might keep it in place. I would also inspect the j-channel the liner snaps into to make sure it isn’t bent or damaged.

    Hope that helps!

  57. Alex

    I have a new overlapped line installed. Can I cut the portion of the line which is on the outside wall? If yes, how high can I cut it and when. Liner was replaced yesterday.


  58. Alex, If the pool is full and the liner is in place you can trim off anything that overlaps by more than 4 inches. You need to keep that 4 inch overlap just in case you need to take it down and do other work. If do have to do work and you have to remove the liner, when you go to re-install it you won’t have enough to overlap the wall and you will be buying a new liner.

  59. Alex

    Thanks for the quick response. I don’t think I’ll ever need to remove the liner to do any work besides replacing it again in the future. How high is it safe to cut it in this case. It looks really ugly with the blue strip on the outside wall which is light brown. I should have gone with beaded liner and I have those J-channels. I just wasn’t sure of the condition of those (old liner was overlap too) and I heard some beaded liner don’t fit nicely into channels on EW pools and can snap out.

    Appreciate your feedback.

  60. Alex, you can safely go as little as 2 inches. But what I would do if it were is is leave 4 inches. That liner will settle out a bit this first season after that it is set until you remove it. BUT what you can do is leave 4 inches and then fold the liner up on the outside of the wall. It takes a little time and an extra set of hands. But it looks nice and you don’t risk scoring the wall on the outside of the pool.

  61. Alex

    Folding it is a very good option and that’s what I’m gonna do. just roll it up and tuck it under top rail. It will just be a little harder to roll it behind the columns. I have these support columns around the pool wall.

    Thanks again.

  62. Judy

    Did you have to remove the decking boards from your deck before replacing your liner?

  63. Judy,
    Nope … I did have to crawl underneath it to remove the screws from the top rails ….

  64. Jim

    I have an above ground that measures 18 feet x 34 feet , that is including the 6inch rail, i also have a dep end it goes to 8 feet half the pool, how do i order a liner, what do i ask for ,

  65. Jim, I’d give the folks at a call .. they can help you order the right size liner.

  66. Thanks for theinfo on the liner install. Question, What have you found to be effective in keeping grass from encroaching under the pool area and coming up through the liner?

  67. Connie,
    I have never had grass grow up through a liner in 12 years experience. If a pool is properly installed on a bed of sand the weight alone should keep any plants from growing up through a liner. I have see a root poke through but only on a pool that was installed near trees and the roots were not cleared from under the pool. You can try spraying around the outside edge of the pool with Roundup and it will kill anything. If you are putting a new liner in and that is a concern you could go with the foam floor pad and foam coves.

  68. April

    We just had a 24 ft round installed. At one point, the installers ran out of sand and went to a nearby farm to get sand. The owner of the pool company came by after the guys had put the sand in the pool, and said that it had lime in it, and he would have to sift out the lime because it would eat the liner of the pool. The next day, the crew came out while I was gone, and just put a thin layer of mason sand on top. I asked them about the lime, and he said the owner changed his mind and told them to just put the mason sand as a protector. I was very concerned about this since installation is only warranted for a year, and the mfg wouldn’t honor something like that if it happened after that time. I questioned the owner, and he said he talked to some people and they said it wouldn’t matter. I found this site by googling “lime and pool liners”, and found posting #7 above that mentioned he also had lime in his sand. Maybe I am worried about nothing? Thanks!

  69. April, relax. I did some checking and could not find any information about liners being damaged by lime. Lime will however damage concrete and steel (there should be concrete blocks under each pillar and of course the channel and walls are steel as well). BUT it would take YEARS do do any damage. By years I’m talking 15 to 20 .. perhaps longer? Chances are you will replace your liner before then. And when you do you can inspect everything. If you are still worried call the company that manufactured your liner and ask if lime in the sand will damage the liner. Remember the purpose of the sand is to provide a smooth, soft surface for the liner to rest on. I would check the bottom of the pool after it’s filled and make sure you don’t have any sharp points sticking up. They will eventually wear through the liner. Enjoy your new pool!

  70. April

    Thank you very much!!!! You have made me feel much better.


  71. jay

    I’m doing a new install of a 24′ round above pool, can i go 12″ deeper in center, (tapered from side 0-12″) using a fold over side liner? My pool hight is 48″. The liner I bought is good to 52″ but not expandable. Using warm water for the first 1 – 2 inches.

  72. Jay, is your liner a “variable depth” liner? If not you may have problems, keep in mind that as vinyl ages it tends to get stiff, brittle and shrinks. I would think if you used warm enough water it might work. I would check with the manufacturer of the liner to see if that application would void your warranty. My biggest concern would be the extra strain on the walls.

  73. Jodi

    I put an overlap liner in my pool. Then we realized that the water is going to constantly going out of the pool because we dont have the normal top rails that the other pools have. We have the pool with the catwalk deck around it causing a 1-2 inch gap between the pool wall and the deck. Is there something we can buy to push the overlap liner into the Jchannel on the deck so that water cant go out of the pool??
    Also, we used pond water to fill our pool since we didnt want to spend $650 to have a water company fill it. All the chemicals test ok but we cant seem to get the water to clear up after many bags of shock and algecide. Any ideas?
    Thanks. Your site is very helpful.

  74. Jodi … overlap liners will not work in a j-channel. Period. As for clearing up the water I have just the thing. Natural Chemistry’s “Pool First Aid”. Then follow up using Pool Perfect + Phos Free as a part of their Natural Enzyme Program. I use this on my own pool and any pool I open. The best thing about it is it lowers the amount of chlorine needed to clean the water. Of course regularly back flushing the filter helps as well! Check out for their products. You can buy all you need from a GOOD local store (they should carry it if they are worth anything) or buy from the folks at

  75. francis

    Hi. I sprung a leak on the bottom of my liner, and I don’t have the money to replace it any time soon. I tried patching a couple of times and it works for a month or so then begins leaking again. If I drained the pool to keep my lawn dry, is there anything I can do to keep the walls from collapsing until I can replace the liner next year? Is there anything you recommend I could do outside of replacing the liner this year? Thanks

  76. Jimmy

    We had a new liner installed last Monday and by Thursday we noticed it had sprung a leak and now it sits almost drained with the pool company not responding to our concerns. Not sure if it was poorly installed or a defect in the liner. Does anyone have any advice on how to proceed since they seem so unwilling to correct the situation? Could I do a charge back on my credit card or file a claim with the BBB? We are at the point with this company that we want them to take their liner back and give us our money back.

  77. Francis, Most patch kits work real well if properly applied. Get a scotch-brite pad and scrub the area you need to patch .. it’ll rough up the liner and help the adhesive bond. Spend the money and buy a “good” patch kit. Go to your local pool supply store (not some mega-mart). Tell them this needs to be a long-lasting patch and you don’t want to have to redo it. Cut the patch material about 2 inches wider than the hole you are patching. Round off the corners. Apply a very liberal amount of adhesive to the patch. Cover the whole thing. Count to 30 then dive under the water and apply the patch. Smooth it out then stand on it for 2 minutes.

  78. Jimmy, patch it for now. Follow the instructions I gave Francis above. Then call the installer. Tell them if they do no respond in 24 hours you are going to call your credit card company and request a charge back unless they respond to your request to make it right. I would also tell them that you are planning to call the manufacturer of the liner and register a complaint with them about the faulty install.

    OK .. now I have a silly question .. are you sure you didn’t puncture/cut the liner? Can you find the leak? Does it look like a puncture or slit? I have helped install liners and have people say they sprung a leak and they blamed me. After researching it turns out the owners had their kids jump in with shoes on or the brush they were using had a sharp edge that sliced the liner or someone had glass drinking glasses break and “fall” into the pool … long story short is this – make sure you are not at fault first. Not saying you are, but make sure someone didn’t help it spring the leak.

  79. Jimmy

    Thank you for the advice.

    I think I have found the general area where the leak is because the area outside of the pool was wet/damp. There was no way that we had caused this as it was installed on a Monday and the leak was noticeable by Thursday and no one had gone in or near the pool besides me and I only turned on the pump.

    We had tried to call the company on Thursday and Friday but they are not even answering their phones. I guess I will have to make another trip there tomorrow and give them the 24 hours to repsond.

    In regards to the leak, any advice on locating the leak? It is definitely near the base of the pool as it has almost totally drained out but I couldn’t find it with a visual inspection.

    Thanks again.

  80. Hi there,
    I am getting ready to install a new liner and I was told we needed to soak the liner in a kiddie pool or bathtub before installing it. I notice you don’t mention this. Is it a necessary step? Even after reading your instructions I’m totally intimidated!
    oh, ps: our pool is older and deeper than most. i was told that thy don’t make them as deep as mine any more and that I need to get an expandable liner. it;s 17 feet 9 inches around so I was going to order an 18 inch overlap expandable. Let me know if anything about that sounds incorrect to you.

  81. Hallie,
    There is no need to soak the liner. I can’t imagine why you would, unless you live in the arctic circle and you were soaking it in hot water to soften it. 🙂

    Don’t be intimidated. Have extra hands available to help. Have you already ordered a liner? If not measure your pool (widest part) and measure the depth and then take a photo of the pool, go to a local pool supply shop, take all your info with you. Discuss it with them and see what they recommend. If you have already ordered it then start with step one .. gather your family/friends and all the tools you will need … good luck! It’s won’t be as hard as you think.

  82. Okay,

    I am here to testify to how great the information on your website is. My husband is 66 and I am 53 and with the help of a neighbors 17 year old son, we successfully installed the liner this weekend on an 18′ round. We have had problems with nutgrass, and took your advice from a couple of weeks ago and went with the pad and cove liners. Worked like a charm!!

    Our only problem was… we did not put the silicone caulk on the skimmer gasket, thinking the rubber one would be okay. It leaked….so we siphoned the water down to below the skimmer yesterday afternoon to let everything dry out. We will be using the silicone caulk today and refilling late tomorrow.

    For all of you considering taking on this task. We paid the neighbor’s son $100 for his time and effort. The “professionals” had quoted $350. Do the math.

    Thanks again.

  83. Way to go Connie! That was the goal of this entry, to help someone out. As I said before and I’ll say it again, take your time, do things right and that extra set of hands really helps! Glad you were able to save some money .. now you can afford to buy a few tanks of gasoline! 🙂

  84. Jimmy

    Hi again, I have noticed that the liner is off-centre and still can’t contact the store. I am concerned about just patching it as it is not installed correctly and it seems that the ground will need re-levelling. I think we may have to remove and redo the whole installation.

    I have not heard from the store after numerous messages so I will start the process to try and recover some of the money that we spent.

  85. Jimmy, Does the store have an answering machine? I would call and leave a message. As soon as possible I would write them a letter and explain the situation, send it via registered mail so you get a receipt with a signature. Explain that you are going to give them 3 days to correct the problem after that you will file a claim and ask for a charge back with your credit card company. As soon as you drop that in the mail, call your credit card company. Explain to them the situation and that you have sent the company a registered letter offering them one last chance to resolve the problem. You want this information on file with the CC company as soon as possible. Once you receive the signature back from your letter (should be within 2 days if the company is local) expect a call. If you don’t get one call the CC company back and initiate the charge back. You will need to forward them the dates and times you tried to call the pool store, a copy of the letter and the signature receipt along with the receipt from the original purchases. Let them deal with it.

    Now as for the pool matter. I have a feeling you are going to be left high and dry by the pool company. That means you either need to spend some cash and have it redone or do the job right by yourself.

    If you are going to do it yourself lets look at a few things first, is the pool level? Get a 3 or 4 foot level and put it on top rails of the pool … go all the way around. Is it level? If not then you are right, you may need to start over. I’m betting your pool is level and the sand under the liner might need to be reworked. If that’s the case only remove the liner where the ground is uneven and use mason sand or playground sand to level it up. Replace the liner and center it up. Patch the liner. You may have to get on your hands and knees and inspect every inch of it to find the hole. Patch it. Follow the instructions here for pulling a vacuum on the liner and start filling.

  86. Jimmy

    Thanks for the advice, I just finished speaking with my CC company and they advised faxing a letter to them with the details of the situation and they would investigate. They suggested having another pool business inspect the liner and install and including that in the letter (but of course that will cost us more money as I don’t expect another business to do this for free).

    I’m tired of the energy I’m putting into this and just want a resolution.

    Thanks again

  87. Jimmy

    Another issue that would cause problems is that if the skimmer and jet holes are cut out then you can center the liner. I guess it would be a matter of trying to of working with it where the holes lie? and if that’s the case it would be improper installation.

  88. Bobby

    Hey there.
    We had our pool replaced a few years back and until now everything has been fine. One of my neighbors drilled a hole in the wall of our pool about 3 inches from the the ground (yes I am being totally serious). It didn’t seem to puncture the liner at the time so we let it go for the time being. However, it did end up leaking so we put a patch over it and it seemed to do the trick. Well it it leaking again and I noticed rust on the outside wall and I assume the inside wall is the same or worse. My father was talking about just taking the pool down because we can’t afford to have someone fix it (300-400 for a liner and 600-800 to install it) but we have a very nice deck coming from our house and wrapped around the pool halfway and I think it’s foolish to do such a thing when we could fix it ourselves for a much lower cost. I am sure we could replace the liner ourselves but what are your thoughts on patching the hole on the wall? Its a very small one.

    Thank you

  89. Bobby .. can you prove your neighbor did it? Did he do it to be malicious? If so take him to small claims court and make him pay for it to be fixed or replaced. If you have no proof or he was helping you do something and he did it by accident then I would fix it. Drain the pool. Remove the liner just enough to fix the pool wall. To fix the pool wall I would just sand the rust off and then get some of the aluminum foil-tape and carefully apply it to the wall covering the hole. Then I would apply a patch on the outside of the liner and on the inside. Replace the liner and refill. You should be able to enjoy the liner for several more years … take your time and get all the air bubbles out of the foil-tape and the patches. You can find the foil tape in just about any mega home improvement center. It also works great to patch a leaky muffler on your car .. it kept me from having to replace mine for 7 months!

  90. Pingback: Why I blog … « … PullYourHeadOutOfYer …

  91. Pauline

    We just finished our liner replacement this weekend. I read every word on your website. So let me tell you what we faced:
    There was several rusted out spots about 2″ circular in the pool sidewalls (under the deck so it does not show on the outside) and by the skimmer and outlet there was even bigger problems. There was a 2 1/2 foot by 3 foot whole completely rusted thru by the outlet. The pool company that we bought and paid for installation of the pool from 10 years ago sold us one that was made in China. They advertised it as a 24′ American made, but actually it measures 23′ 9″. So when I went to buy the liner she said we had to buy it from her or it would not fit. I hate felling like I am being held over a barrel, so I bought a 24′ beautiful liner from an on line store. The liner less than ½ the price she wanted for a plain blue one. She suggested we buy another “American made” pool due to the rust for “only just over $6,000.00” (hahaha).
    That did it! I bought a 4X12 foot of 20″ gauge sheet of metal for $60.00 from a local metal shop. We put the sheet of metal on the inside of the pool. My husband (82 years old) and I (50 years old) used a pop ribit gun to attach the new sheet metal to the pool wall and then I duck taped the edges to smooth the edges to avoid any wear on our beautiful new liner. We used a 2″ whole saw to cut a new outlet whole and a power cutter to cut a new skimmer square whole.

    She said the liner would be too big, and it was by 3 inches. It is a beaded liner so you know you can not overlap the beading. Funny thing about pool liners they are stretched to fit the 24 feet. So, I put my liner in a little room and turned up the air to keep it as cold as possible until we took it outside. I used your instructions and it went up very quickly. Because the liner was cold I was afraid of wrinkles, but your tip on the shop vac worked perfectly.

    Our liner is up – For only 60.00 the walls are like brand new. Because of the shop vac there are no wrinkles, it is much prettier and cost ½ what she wanted. But most of all we did it without being taken advantage of because of the information you gave on your website – thank you

  92. Pauline, That’s awesome!! This is what I try to encourage, people should not be afraid to try things on their own. You saved yourself a ton of money! I hope you get at least another 10 years our of your pool! Enjoy it!!!

  93. Erika


    This summer, we decided to drain the pool (it’s a 25 foot round…above ground) and leave it empty since we were coping with some major family issues that kept us away from home. We did keep a cover on the pool, but now noticed that much of the liner has drooped into the pool-off the track.

    I was told by a pool store employee that the liner had shrunk, and that I’ll need to replace it for $400.00! Is that true? Isn’t there any way the old liner can be reattached?

    Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks

  94. Erika,
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I have a feeling you will have to replace the liner. You can try to reattach the liner but old vinyl does not stretch, it becomes brittle. Draining the pool was an ok thing, but leaving it empty is a no-no. you should have put at least 2 feet of water in it to keep the liner in place and to keep the pool walls stable. You are lucky to only be replacing your liner. And I’ll share why …

    A guy down the street stopped by to ask about his pool. It developed a leak last fall. He decided to close it down and not worry about it until spring when it was empty and he could get to it. Well storm season came early this year and in March the winds kicked up and collapsed his pool wall. Which in turn cut the liner. The bad part of this is when the wall collapsed it kinked. That destroyed the structural integrity of the wall. New walls and a new liner = new pool.

    You can find the liner online a little cheaper. Leslie’s pool supply is a great place to order from. Good luck!

  95. Erika

    Thanks for the information ! Please indulge me with a little more advice…I don’t want to waste more water than I already have! Unfortunately, before I was able to access your response to my earlier question, I followed advice of a pool store ‘manager’, who suggested I try to reattach the old liner. Once it was reattached to the track, it seemed that it might still be flexible enough to use, yet, as I started adding water, the liner pulled the rim downward and inward so that it made a crease of around 45 degrees in the corrugated wall, about 12″ from the top. When I saw that it was bending I drained the water again, and the wall went back to its original shape – no creasing or bowing. I took photos of it when it was still bent, and brought them to a different pool store, and explained it all to a guy who seemed to be very knowledgeable. After viewing the photos, he sounded certain that the structural integrity of the wall was not compromised, and that I should be able to (as you suggested) simply install a new liner. He told me I’d likely have a dimple in the wall, but it should not cause any larger problems since the water pushes outward and there would not be downward tension with a new liner.
    At this point, I’m just looking for a second opinion, because if it is likely that the wall damage is irreparable, I will likely take it all down rather than fixing it. Is there a way I can e-mail you a photo of the wall when it was bent? I appreciate your help ! Thanks again !

  96. Erika, Sorry for the delay. If, after removing the water and the old liner, the pool wall does not have a crease in it you should be fine.

  97. Rebecca

    I have a quick question. We purchased an above ground pool 3 years ago, April. This winter was a normal Wisconsin winter however, we noticed that our pool was gradually draining when we had the standard warm up. That being said, the pool had much less water in it than we normally leave for winter closing. Coupled with that, we experienced an extended period of below zero days and noticed that the liner was stressing and actually sucking the walls in because of the lack of water. My husband went out on day 2, touched the liner and it literally shattered. Having given you some background, my question is this: what is the best way to protect the foundation. It is possible for us to “tape” the remaining liner to the sides so that all the thawing and Spring rains don’t wash away our foundation, but all of this is quite concerning to us as we don’t know the best approach. We have had the “pool guy” out already, but we are looking for some additional advice as we really don’t want the suprise in Spring of what we could have done. Sorry we are used to inground pools and this is somewhat new to us. Also, in purchasing a replacement liner, are all beaded liners the same as it relates to size or does it vary by manufacturer? What gauge do you suggest in this type of climate? Given that the liner was only 3 years old and of course not warrantied against weather, we want to make sure to purchase the right mil. Our pool man suggested nothing stronger than 20 however, we are uncertain if that is because a stronger mil is harder to work with. Basically, we don’t want to replace every 3 years. I thank you so much for your time and anticipate your response.


  98. Rebecca,
    Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. First things first – no matter what you do now you will have work to do in the spring. You can try taping the liner up but it might be like herding cats. I would recommend using Gorilla tape (yes it is a brand name and it will stick to anything!) and tape up the liner the best you can. I’m not so concerned about the foundation as I am about the pool walls. The weight of the water in the liner is what keeps the walls upright and in place. With no water weight you run the risk of the pool walls collapsing. So tape up what you can.

    Start shopping now for a new liner. There are tons of places online to buy and save. As for the mils … 25 would be perfect. Thinner materials get very brittle in the cold. That’s why yours “shattered”. Leslie’s Pool (google it) has great deals. As for the size, you need to know the depth and the width of the pool. Call and talk to them on the phone and they can help you get the right one.

    Once things thaw out you will have some work to do. Remove the water and old liner. Clean the pool walls (remove adhesive from tape) and sand any rough spots smooth. Once you get that done you will need to assess the condition of the foundation. Put a level on the top of the pool walls to make sure it’s level. If it’s not you will have to work to raise the lowered section or lower the raised section. Whichever is easier. You will most likely need to rake out the sand under the old liner to smooth it out and reform the cove along the inside of the pool walls. If you have the money I would get the foam liner for the ground and the foam coves. It will give the bottom a smoother appearance and protect it from roots and rocks.

    All of this is work you and your husband can do. The liner installation is the same as in my article with the exception to placing the liner bead into the J-channel. You will have to work to stretch the liner just like an overlap liner. And if you do it on a sunny day it will make the liner softer and easier to work with. Until you are ready to install the liner keep it in it’s box and in a warm place. It will make things easier to work with a warm liner.

    Hope that helps!

  99. Shari

    Do you recommend using salt systems in above ground pools?

  100. rada

    All that wonderful info. Cannot thank you enough.
    Just like you, hired a professional, they gave 5 different stories on what is to be done and what liner we need to buy and what the prices are – the prices kept going up every time we talked to them;
    so we decided to do it by ourselves.

    Will do it as soon as the weather gets warmer.

    Thanks for the info!!!!!!!!!!!

  101. Shari,
    Never used salt systems. I’ve seen them used in inground pools in warmer regions and one system here in Ohio. Is there a reason you are thinking of using it instead of a chlorine?

  102. Russ

    First off, thanks for maintaining this useful blog.

    I have the same rusting problem as Pauline from August 11, 2008 above in that there is significant rusting on the outside of the pool around the skimmer. I was considering getting a 4yr old used 18′ round replacement pool that is in excellent condition for $400, but now I’m wondering if I should attempt the sheet metal patch and just buy a new liner to save myself a lot of time and energy?

    I was wondering if the liner was still good on the newer pool, would I have to replace it anyway due to disassembly or would it depend on the type of liner connection?

  103. nicole

    i wanted to know if i could replace my old liner by just putting a new one over the old one? i have a 24′ round over lap….just wondering……..thanks

  104. Russ, If you are handy with doing sheet metal work go for it! It’s an easy and inexpensive fix. Some places even sell stainless steel. I would recommend that. The most important thing to remember is to use a heavy gauge sheet metal. Pop rivets are OK but if you could drill holes and use short stainless steel bolts with a round smooth head (inside the pool) and lock washers and nuts on the outside I think you will be better off.

  105. Nicole,
    You “could” but why would you? I would never recommend it. You will not get the results you want and will be disappointed. If you follow the instructions here you can do the job right the first time and not have to deal with it again in a few years.

  106. Mickey

    Followed your advice and installed a liner in a 15 year old above ground pool this past weekend. No rust on the walls, used foam flooring and cove. Everything went great. Thanks for such great help for the do it yourselfer.

  107. Pete

    Hi lerxst,

    I am building an 18×33 above gound oval pool, I have never done this before and I am having terrible trouble with the fitting the liner and I would appreciate some help.
    It is an Equinox pool with an overlap liner. I have managed to get the liner over the walls by working around the wall twice to get the slack required. But the liner is tight and pulling away from the walls but there is slack and creases on the floor. In places it looks perfect but in others it looks as if the top of the wall has been pulled further round the pool than the floor. I have been playing around with it for days and I just can’t seem to get it right. What do you suggest I do?


  108. Chad

    Your “how to” on pool liner replacement is great. Thanks for the detail and easy to understand instructions. I have a unique situation, and I hope you can help. My wife and I have taken our old liner out, but the sand underneath is really, really wet. Our back yard is really wet this time of year, and we’ve let it stand for a week now (praying our walls don’t fall in) to let the sand dry. It’s still pretty “mushy” though. If we go ahead and try to put the liner in, do you think we’ll be able to smooth out all the indentations we will make in the “mushy” sand?

  109. Kim

    Couple of questions, we have a liner on the way in a couple of weeks, how soon can we drain the pool completely before installing the new liner? We have a beaded liner, should we take all of the top rails off to make the job a little easier? And the water, we are on a well, would it be advisable to order water instead of draining our well? We also have a rust spot on the OUTSIDE of the wall below the hose fitting where a gasket was not replaced and water dripped down, should we sand that down and do you recommend spraying a paint of sorts over to protect it in the future? And I read about using silicon around the skimmer, do you use it between the liner and wall, or between the liner and skimmer? Your website has offerred a ton of advise and we are hopeful the instal will go smoothly! Thank you…

  110. Sorry everyone, I’ve been away on vacation … here are my replies to the last few questions:

    Mickey: Glad it went well! AND you saved yourself a bundle!

    Pete: Did you hook up a shop-vac as describe in my notes? The shop-vac will help pull the liner into place and allow you to smooth out the floor and get it placed properly.

    Chad: Get a couple 50lb bags of playground sand, dump them in the pool before putting the liner in. Rake that out and then smooth it out, let the sun bake it for a day then set the liner. Any depressions in the sand will be magnified once you fill with water. Try to get it as smooth as possible.

    Kim: Take the top rails off. It will make the job easier. Drain the pool when you have the liner and will have at least 2 nice days to get the liner set. If you drain the pool and have a windy day you run the risk of having the walls collapse. As for the rusty area, sand it and paint it with a rust blocking spaypaint (insert major brand names here). As for the silicon you only need to do it between the gaskest and liner on the inside of the pool. If you feel inclined you can do it on the outside of the pool as well between the gasket and the wall. New gaskets are cheap. If yours are worn I would replace them.

  111. Elaine

    Hi Lerxst
    we are about to replace our liner for our above ground pool in our holiday home in France I have read your extremely helpful article and all the other comments on how to install the liner. We have purchased coving and liner from a retailer in the Uk. He also recommends using ‘jablite’ which is a 3/4 inch polystyrene insulating board in place of sand. Would you recommend us using this or are we wasting time and money. Thanks again for your article.

  112. tito dp

    I’m grateful for all the great tips and instructions here. We’ve got a problem that is making us really anxious. We closed our 6 year old, 15′ x 24′ above ground pool last winter to only have one end of the liner fall in two days ago and all the water except about 4″ drain out. We’ve never had a problem with this pool. We were planning on opening it this weekend and now we’re really upset.

    The end of the pool that fell in washed out a lot of the sand there. I went to the pool company we got the pool from and they just said to get a load of masonary sand and pull back the liner to reveal the sand, replace it, and then rehang the overlapping liner. Does this make sense to you? They didn’t mention anything about a shop vac or draining it (which I figured we have to do.)

    Please help us with any ideas or suggestions! We’re desperate and summer’s quickly approaching.

    Thanks in advance.

  113. Sorry folks it’s been a busy time for me ..

    Elaine – Sand works perfectly. The foam is nice and really gives a smooth surface, but you can accomplish the same smooth surface with a little effort on your part and save the money. I would recommend the foam however if you have tree roots or rocky soil or really mushy sand … hope that helps.

    Tito – your local pool company is right, using masonry sand is the way to go. you will have to drain out the remaining water and pull the liner back just far enough to reveal undisturbed sand. back-fill the washed out sand, rake it smooth and reform the cove where the wall meets the sand. the shop vac trick is only necessary to help seat the new liner, since this liner is still in place and only needs to be re-hung you should be okay. you didn’t mention if your liner is an overlap or beaded liner. if it’s an overlap i would be concerned as to why it came undone .. if it’s a beaded liner you may have a channel issue .. more info would be helpful.

  114. tito dp


    Thanks for the speedy response.

    Our liner is a beaded one and I’m looking into getting Liner Lock or some other method of keeping the liner in the channel. Do you have any suggestions? Last year I remember a small 12 inch section of the liner coming loose and out, I just pushed it back into the channel. Do you think this is something to be expected yearly and I’ll need to reseat in the channel frequently?

    Thanks again.

  115. Tito,
    Spend the $$. I’ve seen different types. This one works really well.

    Using a liner lock will help to secure the liner.

  116. tito dp

    Hi Lerxst,

    I am writing to give you an update on our situation. We followed your advice and spent last Sunday draining the pool, pulling back the liner, replacing the sand, and rebuilding the cove. Once that was done we rehung the liner in the J channel. I also placed an order for the liner lock you recommended. It was a long day of work.

    We still had some wrinkles showing on the floor but couldn’t figure out how to get rid of them. We then used a garden hose to start filling the water and everything seemed OK (except for the floor wrinkles). We had a truck load of water come today to fill the pool, figuring it would probably take two loads to fill it completely. When the pool got about two feet deep the liner started to come out of the channel and become undone around the rails.

    I forgot to mention that there appeared to be air behind the liner on the walls and although I could push the liner up against the wall it didn’t pull out from the channel. Only when the truck water went in then it was a big problem. We actually had to stop filling the pool because we were afraid we’d lose the liner sides again and cause the pool to drain.
    We hadn’t used the shop vac during the rehanging, or the liner lock as it hadn’t arrived yet.
    Do you have any suggestions?? The liner isn’t brittle or leaking. It appears fine, just dirty. Do you think it’s still usable or should we be considering calling our pool company and ordering a new liner and having them install it. I’m already out a few hundred bucks for the water truck – even though we didn’t use much of it- we still had to pay for the whole load.

    The family is depressed, kids are upset, and I’m feeling like this is our new money pit.

    Thanks for any help you can give us,

  117. Tito, sorry to hear you are having problems. I would not have tried to fill the pool without the liner-lock. Air trapt between the liner and the wall has to escape somewhere. That’s one of the main reasons I use the shop-vac.

    To work out the wrinkles you should put about an inch or two of water in the pool and get in the pool and work them out by placing your hands on either side of the wrinkle and stretching it out. The water will weigh down the liner and prevent other wrinkles from forming.

    If you are not comfortable with the doing the work by all means hire it out. As for the liner .. how old it is? If it’s 10 years or older I would replace it.

    I would also recommend checking the j-channel for damage. it may just be the channel has been bent down slightly and the liner keeps popping out. the liner lock should take are of that. unless you are on a well i would say fill the pool with your garden hose. it’s slow and takes time but you can stop and work as needed without paying $$ for a truckload of water. most cities will allow you to fill the pool without a charge for sewer. when i drain and fill my pool i just call and tell them we used 10K gallons of water filling the pool. and they cancel the sewer charges for that amount of water.

  118. tito dp


    I just wanted to let you know how things things have concluded. We spent this past Saturday taking our 6 year old liner back out, leveling and adding new sand and then replacing the liner with the liner lock added. Then we used the shop vac while adding water to keep things tight.

    Everything went really well. We had initial problems with the liner lock until we decided to add a bead of silicone to help grease it into place. It helped with the tight fit and made the job much easier.

    The liner is now holding firm and everything looks great. We had two loads of water brought in because we’re on a well. The truck driver mentioned that he had witnessed 6 liner failures last week and said that if the owners had used some type of bead lock none of them would have had the problem.

    Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your advice and ideas during this rough time.

    Have a great summer!


  119. Way to go! That’s what i like to hear! Yes it was frustrating, and time consuming, but … in the end YOU did it. And you saved a bunch of money! Yes you lost out on a truck load of water .. and if you had the liner lock you would not have. I’m glad it worked out for you!

  120. Jeff

    So I just read your pool liner guide and it sounds great!

    I “just” replaced my liner 2 years ago. and when I opened it this spring I found a nice surprise, a nice 12 inch long rip/cut whatever 😦

    The best guess is ice from the winter slit it.

    Well.. now I called a few pool liner companies and estimates of 1400,1200 and 1000 later I got the sticker shock why I decided to replace it myself last time.

    however, that being said I nearly pulled my hair out doing it last time 😦

    I felt I did a pretty good job with the cove and edges , etc ,but when it came to the stretching I was ready for a nerves break down.

    I wound up that the pool liner snapped back a good 6 inches on each end where I could not pull or stretch any more. I had a good 12 inches of water in and simply gave up and “added” extra pieces of liner 😦 it worked ,but looked awful.

    so now I am back at it again 😦

    so do you have any suggestions on how to avoid the liner from coming loose.

    Also with the rail removal instructions, as you pointed out once you remove the rail everything becomes unstable. Can you provide more details as to the steps to getting the liner over the edge of the pool and putting the rails back in place?

    do you leave a few rails in place to provide support and do you put the rails back after you put the liner in? any detailed steps would be great.

    I dont know ,but I remember the first day was nice and warm and the liner seemed to stretch ,but the next day was alot colder and maybe thats when the liner would not stretch as much and started pulling out.

    again how do you keep it from pulling out ?

    thanks for any help in advance.


  121. Richard

    Hey just want to say “thank you”. My wife and I read through your instructions and decided to challenge changing the liner ourselves. Your instructions were perfect. We followed step-by-step and within about 5-6 hours we had the job completed. The trick with the shop back, amazing! The instant we turned it on the liner pulled to the wall and all wrinkles disappeared. It is sites like this that offer great help that make the internet so worth while. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us.

    Best Regards

  122. Richard, That’s awesome! Glad I was able to help! The shopvac trick is key to keeping things in place!

  123. HELP...

    Okay, I’ve read many sites to replace an overlap liner. I’m confused on which one to follow. Two said to leave the top rails on and use clips to allow it to fill and lower making adjustments (basically) and then remove 3 rails and then replace, making way around pool (not using the vacuum). Then two others said to use the vacuum method as you’ve mentioned.

    Well, we tried to replace ours this past weekend. (taking a variety of ways and putting them together). However, we did not use the vacuum nor have enough strong clips to hold the overlapping liner. So we’ve got a couple of sections that the liner has very little to no overlapping (not sunny next day to get the liner to stretch back over). This also has made the design not at all even around the pool. I know that we need to empty the foot of water in the bottom, but I’m unsure of which way to fill it again. I currently have all the top rails off. I did get the wrinkles out of the floor of the liner as it was filling, so wrinkles aren’t a problem.

    Do you suggest to empty it and start again or wait for the sun to come out and try to stretch the liner back over? I’m getting impatient. I tried to drain it today and had no luck. I’ve got to get a sump pump to drain it.


  124. HELP..

    Take the rails off. You need them all off to properly install the new liner. Drain out the foot of water. It would be best to have ALL the water out. You should not have added water until you had the liner positioned where you wanted it. Then as my instructions say use duct tape to hold the liner in place and by all means use the shop-vac trick.

  125. Jeff


    I had a similar problem with not enough liner over lapping the edge of the pool and I tried to pull enough over ,but once the pool started filling the liner slipped.

    I have a few questions

    1. what type of “clips” do you use?

    2. how do you keep the walls of the pool “up” as you take off all the rails and stretch the liner on?


  126. Heath

    Hey bud,

    I’m in the process of replacing my liner in a 18×33 oval above ground pool….The issue I’m running into is I keep reading about these plastic clips. I don’t know if my pool is old or what but I have metal bars running from post to post that are on top of a rubber runner that goes all the way around the pool, I’m afraid that once I take off the rubber and metal bars that the wall will collapse. Any info is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  127. Heath,
    Is it an overlap liner or beaded liner? I’m going to guess overlap. On 99% of the above ground pools the walls are set into a channel on the ground. There is a matching rounded bead that slips over the top of the wall .. both will provide the stability to keep the walls up. If you re-read my instructions you will understand what I’m talking about.

    If you go back and re-read my instructions you will see that i mention using duct-tape to hold the liner until you can put the plastic retaining clips back over the liner and upper bead.

  128. Jeff


    Yes its an overlapping type, I do have the metal bead that fits over the top. I will go ahead and re-read the ducktape idea.

    I am just concerned about the “stretching” part as at each end of the pool the liner pulled apart from the “ends” of the pool.

    Is possible was cool off to quick and didn’t stretch. I guess that relates to the walls wanting to buckle and keeping the liner in place.

    so I need to double check your instructions on

    1. stretching/securing the liner to the top during filling.
    2. when to take off the top rails, all at once or parts at a time.
    3. a good base prep plan.



    p.s. its June 15th and my new liner should be here in a week an half or so. so I want to try and get as much into my head as possible about the install 🙂

  129. TJ

    We were in the process of replacing the liner on our 24 ft. round pool. An unexpected storm came through and collapsed part of our pool wall as we were trying to fill with water. Should we try to reset this pool or is the pool wall strength now compromised? Thanks so much for your help.

  130. TJ,
    Depends on whether or not the pool wall was creased or not. If there is no crease you should be fine. If there is a crease it depends on the angle and how deeply it was creased …. photos would be nice

  131. Marsha

    We’ve installed a new liner and it looked like everything was going well until we starting putting the top rails on. When we tried to install them we found that they did not line up with the holes on the top brackets. Now, we have everything lined up except for the last two brackets and rails have about an inch to go to match.

  132. Tom

    Good info! I am getting ready to replace an overlap liner in our 27 foot above ground pool so your notes will help me. I do have a question for you on securing the liner to the wall once I install it. Your notes say to clip or tape the liner to hold it in place before adding water. How did you clip it if you had the upper stabilizer ring inplace to keep the wall up? Or am I making a bad assumption about the stabilizer ring? Thanks again for your input.

    • Jeff

      Hi Tom,

      I have been going back and forth with that step as well…

      In my surfing the net for info, this is the “missing” piece of information that needs more detail 😦

      the best idea I have is you DONT take the top rails off at all.

      and simply stretch the liner over the top and that tention should be enough to allow you to start adding water and then you can slowly release the tension as more water gets added.

      Once the water is “filled” in the bottom I read some place else you can take few rails off at a time and tuck the liner under. this would make sense to keep the walls from falling.

      Maybe you could “duct tape” the over lapped liner to try and hold it while your waiting for the liner to stretch.

      I am waiting for my 24×16 overlap liner to come ups, this week would have been a perfect week. its in the 90’s and the liner should stretch nicely in this warm weather.


  133. Marsha, That’s why I recommend number them and putting them back in the same sequence. The posts/columns that you secure the top rails to should slide enough for you to get them in the correct position to secure the top rails.

    Tom, the stabilizer ring stays on and you overlap it with the liner. the plastic clips go over the liner which goes over the stabilizer ring. I’ve learned that some companies call these Liner Coping Strips. The clips look like a tube with 1/3 of it cut out. Check out for a picture of what I’m talking about.

    • Jeff

      I have the same question about the stabilizer rings, so are you saying take off the top rails ,but leave the caps and stabilizer bars on?

      I guess my question would be trying to stretch the liner over that would be asking for a ripe? am I missing something?


    • Tom

      Following is the sequence when I took out my old liner. I removed the caps, removed the metal stabilizer ring, removed the plastic coping strips, and then the liner was removed. Going in reverse order for the install of the new liner, the stabilizer ring fits on top of the coping strips. This is what is throwing me off when you mention to use the plastic strips to hold the liner in place.?

      • Jeff

        HI Tom,

        My question and the million dollar question is do you take off ALL the caps, stabilizer rings and coping strips or…..

        1. leave all rails, stabilizer rings etc in place.
        2. Cut out old liner leaving liner under coping/metal strips there.
        3. prepare bottom fixing sand etc.
        4. warm up liner in sun.
        5. lay liner in pool over hanging/over lapping top rails/etc
        6. start filling and let the water weight down the liner and let is stretch into place using releasing tenion as the water fills, in addition using a vac to suck some of the wrinkles.

        7. when the bottom has at least 1 to 2 inches of water start taking a few rails off at a time and tucking the liner under the rails/caps etc ?

        what do you think

        will that work?


  134. Tom


    The pool I inherited is a few years old so once I got the top caps off I found that some of the stabilizer rings were rusted through and the coping strips were brittle and some were broken. I have since replaced all of the rings and clips and my plan is to leave them all place when I install the new liner. I have some spring clamps that I am going to use to hold the liner at the top of the pool. Once I get a couple inches of water in the bottom I can then release the clamps and start tucking the liner in place under the coping strips and stabilizer ring. That’s my plan for now unless I get some better ideas. (Hint Hint)

    • Jeff


      Ok, I think were on the page 🙂

      I sadly replaced my liner 2 years ago in my 16×24 overlapping deep end pool. When I took the cover off I found a nice long tear which I was sorta expecting as a peek under the cover in Feb/March showed the water level not anywhere near where I left it.

      when I did it last time I took everything off and tried to lay it in the pool over the edges.

      well.. that was a hair pulling exercise as there was not enough liner to over lap at each end. The walls were buckling. The metal was razor sharp, ready to slice the liner. I wound up short at each end, I actaully patched pieces and it worked for 2 years 😦

      hopefully with just stretching the liner over the top of everything and then doing it that way I will have enough to go over everything and have a better fit with less wrinkles.

      You know if the dang liner installers wouldn’t charge so much they could get more business. My estimates were 800,1100 and 1400. The 800 guy would only install a 900 dollar liner 😦

      A friend of mine says that if you can do it twice and still come out ahead then do it yourself, I have always been a dyi’er.

      keeping posting and we can share are install experiences and help others…..

  135. The instructions I wrote out are for a standard above ground round pool. In my case the walls sit in a track on level ground. I have a stainless steel panel that has the cut-outs for the inlet and the skimmer. It is bolted to the wall. I have posts that sit on blocks buried under the track containing the wall. On the top of the wall is a retaining ring that keeps the wall round. I have 3 inches of sand inside the pool. The liner over-laps the wall and the retaining ring. The liner is held in place over the wall AND retaining ring by the liner coping strips or as I called them in my details above retaining clips. My rails are screwed to the posts. The rails and posts are covered by a plastic cap.

    Some pools are different. In 99% of the cases the liner installation is the reverse of the removal.

    Hope that helps.

    • Jeff

      Yah…. from what I have read about round pools with flat bottoms look easier.

      My oval pool with a deep end uses the expandable liners which are pretty much designed to stretch in , over just lie line.

      so my “guess” this time is to try and the steps I have above and then hope I can get the bottom “set” and then slowly take a few rails off at a time and put them back.

      I read that approach on another website that they the very same setup with 16×24 oval deep end overlapping…


  136. Rhonda

    we installed our liner on Sat.
    Round pool 24 x 52. We followed your instructions to the T & it was simple as per your instructions.

    Thank you so much for the very detailed instructions. They are priceless, saved myself the $500 install price. & by the end of the day although I was exhausted I felt a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
    BTW the shop vac trick ROCKS!!


  137. Rhonda, That’s why it’s here! I try to help when I can. The instructions I gave are generic enough to apply to just about any round pool … and ovals. Just take your time and think things through. I’m glad you were able to get it done on your own. There is something empowering about tackling something big & never done by yourself. I’m glad you were able to save the $$$ as well!

  138. Marcie

    I am so happy to find your site! My liner ripped this winter in late April we pumped the pool empty and took out the liner as you instructed to get ready to replace it. But it has not stopped raining since. No really! I am in Maine and our season is short and the weather is not looking warm enough to swim for the next 2 weeks either.
    Question: Can I leave a 27ft round pool empty with no liner for the winter or will it collapse?

    2) If we go ahead and replace it ourselves is it best to get a tile boarder liner to help line it up in placement? (it is an overlap liner)

    3) Would you reccomend one of those bottom pads/liners? (rhino or elephant Pads) they seem pricey do they really make it easier to install your liner or help keep the water warmer as the ads states?

    We need the help and confidence we can get! Because it is either replace it ourselves or to craigslist it goes!



  139. Marcie,
    Do it yourself. The tile top liner is a nice feature. It does help to make things straighter, but it’s not necessary. The “straightness” is more or less an appearance issue. It’s not a functional issue.

    As for letting it set of the winter .. I would NOT do it. I would get the liner in and at least fill it. Without the liner and water the walls are not really held in place by anything except the bead and rail tops. A strong wind will collapse the walls. And when that happens you can sell it for scrap.

    The pads underneath are nice. They give a softer, smoother floor. I cannot really speak to the insulating factors. You might be able to keep and extra degree or two at the most.

    The replacement is easy if you follow my instructions. Keep in mind my pool may be different than yours, but the process is the same. You might have to “think” through the process a little, but as long as you reverse the process of removal the installation is very straight forward.

    Go for it! Good Luck and let me know how it goes!

  140. Tom

    It’s been a while since I posted but I got my new liner installed and just wanted to say thanks a lot for the information. I’m glad I found your site and did the install myself. As others have said, if you take your time and follow your instructions it’s definately worth the time and effort. I would be lying if I said I didn’t gain a few more gray hairs out of it all, but now that the weather here in Michigan is a balmy 82 degrees it’s nice to jump in and cool off. Thanks again and have a great rest of the summer.

  141. john

    I install above ground pools as a side job and when we do liners they should take about an hour if everything goes well. you don’t have to wait until you have that much water in the pool to put in the skimmer. we do it as soon as we take out the vac. you also dont have to take off your shoes to take out the liner. clothes pins work the best for the over the wall liners too

    good luck to anyone that does this, im off to go install 3 pools and do 2 liners

  142. Tamara

    So glad to find this page! I hope you can help me. We have been meticulously installing a 48″x 21′ above ground used pool. We bought a new unibead liner, plus the required coping strips, wall foam, and foam cove. We installed the liner yesterday and filled to 1″ with the shop vac running. We brushed out the wrinkles (beautiful!) and went to bed. This a.m. I turned the hoses back on to fill the pool. I made it up to about 6″ and the walls started buckling! What did we do wrong, and more importantly, what do we do now? I have turned off the water and am desperately waiting for some information!


    • Tamara,
      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Buckling walls are not a common occurrence. My thoughts are the support columns are not properly anchored or spaced properly.

  143. Bob & Barb

    Just the info we were looking for. Thanks for being so thorough. We have a 16 x 24 above ground doughboy. Do we need to purchase a doughboy liner? Will all the instructions you gave be the same for the doughboy pool? Once I hear from you I will order the liner and hopefully tackle the replacement this weekend.

    • Bob and Barb,
      Doughboy has a speacial “E-Z Clip Liner System”. I would recommend using the liner they make. It will make your installation that much E-Zer. (Pun intended. The process is the same for installation. Just take your time. You can do it.

  144. Cerise

    We have a 33′ round above ground pool. This is the 5th season. Last month I discovered 2 small rips in the liner. They were about 1″-2″ in lenghth and about 18″ apart. This last year the pattern on the bottom of our liner has gradually been bleached away. I patched the rips and we haven’t had any water loss. I haven’t closed the pool for winter yet, but need to soon. My question is this. Do we close the pool as we usually do with the winter chemicals and winter cover or do we just cover it without the chemicals? We are planning to replace the liner in the spring. It is just too cool to do it now, unless we get an unexpected heat wave. Does the cover even need replacing at this point? Do the rips mean it is in need of being replaces? It should last longer than 5 years, right? We live near Kansas City, MO. Help!

  145. Bob & Barb

    YEA! New liner is in. Followed your instructions to the letter. Only our liner was folded like a parachute. That was the hardest part of the whole process. (Opening the liner and spreading it out.) We to have a few foot prints. No big deal. We have bragging rights that we did it ourselves!
    I can’t thank you enough for all your words of wisdom. You save us over $850. of install costs. We do have one more question. Can we wait to cut the return and skimmer openings until spring? We are looking at a new skimmer and maybe want to wait to purchase it. Also some new rubber rings would be nice. Again, we can’t thank you enough.

    • Yeah! Congrats! Now you can take that savings and do something with it for yourself!! When it comes to the skimmer you can wait, but I would recommend cutting the liner and putting it in now. It won’t take long to do.

  146. cwooten

    Ooooh i am nervous about this. I am a single mom of two teens and I’m pretty sure I need to replace the liner in my above ground pool (overlap liner). Over the last couple of summers I have lost quite a bit of water and have to “water” the pool daily in the heat of the summer. Since I was planning on replacing the pool this spring I didn’t put a cover or anything on the pool and the stupid thing hasn’t lost ANY water all winter . The liner was put in on 2004, so I feel it is probably time to replace it, but I’m just not sure. Also I think your article would be oh so helpful if I knew what all you were talking about. Is this really something I can handle or do I need to just suck it up and hire someone?

    • Cwooten,
      This is a job for someone who has a little bit of knowledge when it comes to using tools. The process described has helped people save several hundreds of dollars, but I will say that if you do not have the confidence or the willing helping hands you are better off hiring it out. In my experience this can be done with 2 people and it will take a day to do.

      Now the question I have is this, do you use a solar cover during the summer? Or is the pool always uncovered. Do you live in a dry or hot climate? If you didn’t lose any water over the winter it makes me think that you are just loosing water to evaporation or perhaps a faulty hose. If you have not lost water over the winter it leads me to believe the liner is ok. If you are not leaking water why waste the money on something you don’t need?

  147. John

    we have a 24ft round pool that was installed 4 yrs ago. One side of it settled and seems to be a couple of inches off level. we want to replace the liner & level it. we spoke to an installer who said we would have to take the entire pool down & do a new install. is it possible that we just level a couple of blocks on the side where it is unlevel? thank you, i look forward to your response.

    • Hey John!
      Sounds like you have an installer wanting to make more money. You can drain the pool and remove the liner. Once you get the liner out you will need to work carefully and if you have extra hands it’ll help. I’ve used additional blocks under the columns that settle. You may also need to add blocks under the lower track the wall sets in as well. Be careful to not have the blocks protrude on the inside of the wall. Make sure the wall is level and then you will need to re-rake the sand base and redo the cove. With the settling and adding the blocks I would recommend adding more sand to the base (a 50lb bag should be enough). In addition to the sand I would suggest using the foam cove strips and a foam pad under the liner. It will provide a smoother finish and offer a little more protection for the liner.

  148. sharon

    my question is this: we started to replace our liner and started to fill with about 3-4 inches of water. now the liner has pulled out of the clips???? Help!!!!

    • Sharon,
      I’m wondering, is your liner the right size? I am assuming it is an overlap liner and not a beaded or j-channel liner .. so my question is how much overlap is there? If you have the right size liner you should have a 3 or 4″ overlap. Are you pulling a vacuum on the liner? If so get some Gorilla Tape, tape the liner in place and then put the clips on. Then begin to fill.

    • Jeff

      I replaced my liner and I found that you need to do it on a HOT day, that way the liner will “stretch” and yes you need to make sure there is plenty of liner over the edge so you can release it slowly and clip it.


  149. David

    As I am about to replace my liner this year, your website has some very helpful material…Thank you!
    Several questions before I proceed. My pool is 18 x 36 x 52 oval with a beaded liner. Does the shop vac trick work for this and what procedure would you use.
    Does the shop vac remove all of the air spaces on the entire perimeter of the pool from that one point of entry or do I move it around?
    My previous liner had a hole cut in to the liner and the wall of the pool for a light. I am no longer going to use this light and would like to remove it. Do you have any ideas of what I should use to cover this hole without compromising the new liner?
    Thank you,

    • David,
      Shop vac trick works regardless the liner type to remove all the air without moving it from place to place. As for the hole where the light was – you will need to get a piece of heavy gauge aluminum or galvanized steel cut round and about 4 inches larger than the light hole. you will need to sand smooth the edges of that piece. You will need to secure it on the inside of the pool wall with pop riviets .. 3 should hold it in place. Then use heavy duct tape to cover the edge of the “patch” on the inside of the pool wall.

  150. julia williams

    can you tell me how to remove the light /return from the pool we have tried to unscrew it but it will not come apart any help would be great and love your advice and have a blessed day

    • Most light/return combos are held in place with a threaded fitting on the outside of the pool wall. If you have backed that off and it looks like it should push back through the wall into the pool chances are it’s held in place with a bead of silicone.

  151. john heaphy

    I asked you a question on March 26th,1st off thank you for your quick response..I have a follow up question i told you i have a 24 foot round pool and it settled on 1 side and is a few inches off level’ i was wondering if i drained the pool and only took one side of the top rails apart and peeled the liner back to expose one side and leveled it and put the foam cove on that one side if that would work..will the liner be ok and line back up ok(it is a beaded liner)or will i run into problems doing it this way..The reason i’m asking is because i built a deck around the other side which will have to be moved if i take the whole pool apart..Also will the liner dry out and get brittle when it is drained or will it be ok..And my skimmer is on the side i would have to take apart,would that also be a problem..Thanks for your help John..

    • John, that should work. If you aren’t going to do the whole liner I would just recommend using sand. I would be careful to drain all the water out BEFORE you start. Any water in the liner will cause problems with getting the liner back on the wall. You may need extra people to support the wall or liner as you work. And don’t worry about the liner, it won’t dry out unless you are planning to leave it drained for an extended period.

  152. Leonard

    Hi, Out liner is almost 10 yrs old but not leaking & in good shape but reguardless we are replecing ti before we have an incident. My question is, I noticed while reading the Q & A’s . someone askied about leaving the old liner intact & installing the new liner over the old one, I was planning on doing this but you mentioned a dozen reaons not to do this. I really thought it would be a good thing, but keep in mind I don’t know. Would you please give me the pros & cons for this, Thanks a bunch

    • Leonard, Two things. If the liner is in good shape and you have not had any leaks why replace it? Second, leaving the old liner in place is “ok”, but to be honest if you are going to go through the effort to drain the pool and clean out all debris why not pull the old liner out, remove roots that have grown under the old liner, rake out the sand, and reform the coves? To install the new liner over the old one you need to get everything out of the pool. Any dirt or debris will leave you with anything but a smooth floor.

  153. Cerise Edwards

    Our pool 33′ round began leaking about a month after we closed it in OCT. Had to put water in it till it froze in Dec. Have a new liner, planning to replace in about 2 weeks as the weather should be warm enough, right now trying to drain water off winter cover and remove debris. My question is this. How do I get the water out? The water level is about 8″ below inlet, I don’t plan on filling it to operating level so that I can prime the pump and use my vacuum hose with my pump to drain it, this would be a waste. Should I rent a submersible pump or try hooking my vacuum hose directly to my pump and risk sucking debris into pump?

    • Cerise,
      I would go to the local tool rental place and tell them you need to drain your pool and want to rent a pump. It will take about 4 hours to pump out your pool using a good pump. You will have about 23,000 to 27,000 gallons of water to pump. Ask the tool rental how many gallons per hour the pump will handle. Rent accordingly if they have different sizes. Getting the last few inches out will have to be done using something smaller. I used a smaller submersible as described above to get the last of it drained.

  154. Eileen

    my question is . We had a dog Great Dane knock the liner off one side of pool.Liner is 5 years old.Its an above ground pool.27 foot . Anyway we cannot afford a new liner and we put this pool up my husband and myself 5 years ago.we have the coving up and everything.Problem is the liner does not seem to fit anymore. It lines up like it use to with skimmer and return but cant seem to get it back on where it isnt so taught pulls out.Any suggestions.

    • when did the dog knock it loose? i’m guessing last season? if that’s the case you may have a problem getting the liner to stretch. the problem is vinyl dries out when exposed to chlorine and then air for an extended time. the best thing would have been to re-stretch the liner right away. if this just happened i would recommend waiting until a really warm sunny day .. it will soften the vinyl liner up enough to re-stretch it. if it happened last year i would first wait until a warm sunny day and try re-hanging it.

  155. Scott

    So is there a standard time when a liner should be replaced? Like the other person said, we have nto had problems with th eliner. It is at least 10 years old and the one problem I had last spring is during the winter something happened where part of the liner came off of the pool wall on the inside. I had to remove the pool capse and stretch back inot place best I could. I assumed that was a sign that the liner is getting weaker and if I did not change it then I might have an unexpected accident. What do you think? Thank you for the blog. I bought a liner and was looking for an installer and just did not feel comfortable with the person I talked with. I found this blog and it is giving me the confidence that I can save $700+ and do it with a little help from a couple of friends.. at least that is what I hope 🙂

    • Scott,
      It really depends on the quality of the liner, the chemicals you use to balance the water, the hardness of the water and the kind of activity your pool receives.

      Knowing that …. Most pool stores will sell a “basic” liner that is good for 5 to 7 years. They will try to up-sell a deluxe liner that, with care, will last 7 to 12 years. I recommend the up-sell. Typically the liner is thicker and will hold up better.

      With the help of a few friends you should be able to knock out the installation in one afternoon provided you drain the pool the day before. If you do this I recommend waiting until you know you are going to have 2 or 3 days of good weather (remember .. sunny windy days are bad weather). With the right tools, a little bit of muscle (or a lot depending on pool size and liner type), extra hands, patience and a beer or two to relax with when done you should be able to complete this in one day AND save a bundle of cash!

  156. Wes

    I am planning to replace my the liner on my 21′ above ground pool this weekend. I have already drained the pool, and it appears that the sand that was under the pool originally is very damp and very hard. Will this cause any problems. The surface is smooth just very hard. Should I add a light layer of sand on top of the old? Any thoughts would be helpful.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Wes,
      nope it wont hurt a thing. In my instructions I mention using a broom, squeegee or rake to smooth things out. you can add a little but of sand if you want, but it’s not necessary. check the cove and if it’s in good shape just go with what is there.

  157. Jess

    Thank you so much for your helpful information. It has been very useful, but do to circumstances, I didn’t follow the directions properly and may have a huge problem. I have the pool over half full and am attempting to put the rails back on, but they are not fitting properly. There is too much space between each upright and I think it may be due to the pressure of the water on the sides of the pool. Is there anything I can do? Do I need to drain the water back out? Thank you so much.

    • yes .. you should put the rails back on with only a couple inches of water. you wont be able to line up the rails with the water in the pool.

  158. Justin

    Hi There,
    I started to replace my pool liner this weekend (24′ round above ground overlap, up to 52″, our walls are 48″). Everything seemed to be going well, however, while the pool was filling (about 2′ of water) the liner was pulled into the pool. (What a mess!) The center of our pool is dug out quite a bit, could this be what caused the liner to fall? Perhaps it is not fitting properly due to the deep center? What do you think?

  159. tom m.

    How well do liners reinstall when moved from one location to another, and sat for a year

    • It depends on the age of the liner and how it was stored. If it is only a year or two you will be ok provided it was rinsed and dried before storing. If it is several years old buy a new one .. Liners start to dry out and become brittle when exposed to chlorine and sunlight as well as oxygen.

  160. Robert Haywood

    The above-ground pool liner retaining clips are rusting and falling apart. Can I replace these clips after removing the top rail without emptying the pool?

  161. Mark

    My pool has a rust hole in the side about the size of a quarter from a hit on the outside. The liner is showing at this point and I want to put something between the liner and the wall. I was thinking of a heavy weight plastic like a table place mat that we have. Yes I know the wall will continue to rust but if I can get like 2 or 3 years I’m ok with that. So the rust hole is 18 inches above the ground, how far do I need to drain the pool down without having the wall blow out after removing the top rail? I only want to remove as much rail as needed to get the plastic between the liner and wall. Ideas?


  162. Elaine

    When installing a replacement liner in an above ground 16 x 32 pool with a deep end but a two foot ledge around the pool, how do I do the liner for the deep end of the pool. Is their something special I have to do to keep the liner down. (lots of water or just a little at a time.)

  163. Kimberly

    My sister and her friend were swimming and the pool liner ripped. Im a 17 year old and i can crawl through the tear if i wanted to. We have attempted to patch the hole and my mom is out buying sand and drt to replace the washed out section. Do you think this will hold? And what else do we need to do before filling it back up?

  164. Melany

    We are needing to replace our pool liner after a couple of years of patching up holes. We measured our pool (several times) and it was about 29 feet, 3 inches. When I called a local pool store they told me just to buy a 30 foot liner, it would be wrinkly but it would work. I finally located the store where our pool was originally purchased by the previous homeowner and they told us it was a 30 foot pool. We were about to purchase one online but stopped by the store today. They told us that it has to be special ordered, and custom cut for our pool. It is an Aqua Leader and was based on the metric system back in 2004 and now they no longer make them. It is twice the price of a 30 foot liner and will take 2-4 weeks to get here. Do you think we can get by with a 30 foot liner? They said it could be a pain when trying to put on the coping strip. Right now its a j hook liner but they said we definitely couldn’t go that route anymore. Do you have any suggestions? (Thanks so much for your help here, I’ve already learned a lot!)

    • There are several online websites you can order liners from. I find it hard to believe that it is a metric pool as they are rare in the states. Take your time and search online. You may need to order from a Canadian company. The key to enjoying your pool is knowing you have done it the right way the first time. If it were me I would not go with a 30ft liner. I’d spend the extra (if that’s the only way to get a liner) and get the correct size.

  165. Sandi

    we just replaced our pool liner, it looked okay at first but there are now several loose areas around the top rail, it is 3/4 full of water, can we remove one rail at a time and try to tighten the liner?

  166. Lisa

    We just had an expandable liner installed in our 24 round pool by a couple of guys. With the exception of wrinkles on the bottom, they cut the liner right to the edge of where it hangs over. Will this shrink and pull down into the pool over time? It is by no means perfect, but will have to do.

  167. btchu

    Three holes were made when we tried to clean it with the pool broomstick. However, we pushed too hard and made three scratches near where the bottom part and wall part are joined. The largest of those would be around 10cm long. We went to buy patches, but they don’t stick that well. Do you think we should change the whole liner or just patched up with a new piece of liner? If a new liner is required, we might as well sell the pool since it’s not that much used anyways.
    Thank you for your time!

    • That’s what led to me replacing my liner. You can try patching with a piece of liner and a good adhesive. You need to go to a pool store and get the adhesive. There are adhesives that “cure” under water. You will need to coat the patch completely .. don’t go cheap on it. Best method is to get 2 people .. one with goggles who can swim down to the cut and put the patch over the slice, the second person will need to stand on the patch to press out water and hold the patch in place. If that doesn’t hold you will need to replace the liner.

  168. Tim

    When replacing my old liner is it ok to leave the old bottom inplace as not to disturb the sand ? Thanks in advanced

  169. Curtis

    We are putting up a new pool 18′ round with overlap liner. Started filling it & I have I have 2 spots on opposite sides that have slack and 2 other spots on opposite spots that are tight. The top 14″ of the whole liner is very tight even bubbled out it does suck down with the vacum. I didnt know if to give it slack in the tight spots and take up slack in the loose spot. I didnt know if I got a bad liner. How tight should liner be.

  170. Very useful post! Thanks a lot!. Keep on posting relevant ideas.

  171. Jay

    Why not leave the old liner in for extra strength?

  172. bowhunterz

    ten years ago we had a hole that we patched in the center of the pool….. now we have a leak and cannot find any holes and we now think maybe that patch needs replaced….. now do we patch right over top of the old patch or do we try to remove the old one then repatch it? if removal is the answer what what be the best way to remove it? thanks danny

    • if the previous patch held for 10 years chances are most of the patch is still bonded. if it were me i would patch over the existing patch. removing the old patch could make things worse.

  173. Lisa

    Well my story is not a good one…although I don’t know the total outcome. I was to have a pool liner installed on Tues. and the company sold my pool liner in their store by mistake. Well we had already drained the pool like they told us to 2 days before. They still came out on Tues and took the old liner out. I was afraid it would collapse with no water and no liner and the manager informed me that unless there was a hurricane (in Ohio) that it would not collapse. I didn’t believe that but what could I do at this point. Now the pool had been sitting for 4 days with no water and 4 days with no liner and guess what it collapsed! I am pretty upset. The company says they will take care of it but we will see. I hope it doesn’t end up being a legal issue!

    • Lisa,
      As you found out, it doesnt take a hurricane to collapse the walls .. a mild breeze will do it. Now a word of warning – if there are ANY creases dents or dings in the wall DEMAND that they replace it. Don’t settle for them “straightening” the wall. They are responsible and should have to make it right. Any crease or dent destroys the integrity of the wall.

  174. Chris

    Great Column. I have a 33′ round 52″ J channel liner. About 8′ came loose and was sagging for a month before I closed the pool.
    Opened it this year and drained it completly. This was my mistake I think. I reattached the liner and even put copping strips on for good measure. Got about 2′ of water in and about 20′ ofthe liner pulled loose. Redrained and did it all again and it now is buckiloong the walls in the spot where the liner keeps coming loose after about 10″ of water. im afraid it is still to tight in this spot and will colape the pool wall with the weight.
    Is it possible the liner shrankand will not go back into position properly.
    If I need to replace the liner can I go with an overlap this time.They are much more affordable.
    Thanks Chris

    • Chris,
      Over time vinyl tends to become brittle with exposure to oxygen, the sun and chlorine. You may have to wait until you get a really hot day to re-stretch the liner. Were you using the shop-vac tip to hold things in place? You may also have to build up the bottom of the pool with sand .. that may be enough to make up the difference and prevent the liner from coming out of the channel. If you cannot wait for a really hot sunny day then I would recommend replacing the liner instead of risking damage to the wall. If you damage the wall you are going to have to buy a whole new pool.

      I would encourage anyone who has a line come loose to fix it as soon as possible. Thinking it can wait until next season is a mistake that may cost more than just a liner replacement.

  175. Kevin

    Hi I have an above ground pool 21′ with a centre drain in the middle of the pool are there any special instructions on how to install my new liner?

    • I’ve never dealt with a center drain on a pool. My “guess” .. and it’s only a guess at best .. the process would be the same. With the extra step of cutting out the opening in the floor for the drain.

  176. dd

    Um ok how you get the walls of the pool not to fall with no water I replace my liner Before need 8 people to hold side up no water no support.

  177. Hi I have a 15 x 30 above ground oval pool, I asked a pool store and they said oval large liners are hard to install and to get a professional. I mean I saw the professionals do it a few years back and my dad is really handy so I don’t know if I want to shell out $600 to have some one do it when the liner was pretty pricey already. Do you have any tips? I need to replace due to a leak somewhere, Probably happened last summer when my cousin replaced the water causing the liner to slightly shrink.

      • 1) Other than the shape being oval vs. round the process is the same.
        2) 15×30′ is big. But not overwhelmingly so … just takes more time, more patience and more muscle.
        3) Replace the liner on a hot sunny day .. it makes the vinyl more pliable and should be easy to set.
        4) Get friends/family to help. This size pool will require 3 or 4 people.

        I cannot tell you to do this. It’s your call. Are comfortable doing the work? Is the cost of the liner more or less than the cost of installation? If you mess up the install and ruin the liner can you afford to buy another? Did you try to patch the pool? Did you ask you local pool company to help locate the hole and patch? The $60 – $90 they might charge is WAY cheaper than a new liner and installation.

        Look .. this is here to help those willing to help themselves. In no way does this blog, the instructions you find here, my opinion and suggestions warrant your success … people who are willing to do the work do so at their own risk. If you are not comfortable or unsure of your ability to do the work in the slightest pay someone to do it for you. It’s that simple.

  178. also I couldn’t find the video you mentioned i would love to see that as it seems like a great visual and can’t find anything similar anywhere

  179. wendy

    Can I hire you?? No but seriously we have a 24ft round with a 5 ft deep middle so we have to install an expandable liner. I am thinking it will work the same way or can you think of issues that may arise being expandable.

    • LOL! Wendy I am not for hire … but I am here to help! 🙂
      The process is the same. The key with bigger pools is start early in the day. Prep everything you can the night before. Use the shop-vac to pull the liner tight to the walls and to the sand floor. And with it being 24′ you and 2 or 3 friends can get it done in a day … might take a while to fill though! Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

  180. scott hall

    Hi, I installed my 24′ above ground pool and as the water came up it pushed out and sealed the liner against the wall and did good enough to my standards ( couple of wrinkles here and there ). When the water got about half way up the skimmer I turned it off, but it sealed the liner against the wall where the water is but I have quite a few loose creases along the top 6″ or so of the pool above the water level. I can take it and can tell that pulling up on them will pull them out, I am just scared that if I take off one of the metal rings on the top of the pool to get to the coping strip that it will either make the pool collapse or not be able to put back on. I thought you would know. If I do have to drain the water, How low do you think I would have to drain it to be safe? Thanks so much for your time, Scott Hall

  181. Jim Stewart

    Started to replace our pool liner and it started to rain real hard and it got alittle bit of water back in.Can i still put the new liner in with alittle bit of water under the new pool liner?

  182. Connie

    Pool has been here for 25+ years. We prepped ground well at initial liner and replacement liner. Bead track is broken in a few places, ready to do 2nd replacement. Looks like there are some tree roots under pool bottom. My spouse did the previous installations, but he isn’t here now. I have someone scheduled to install new liner. I’m thinking I need to drain the pool, work on getting the roots out first. Is there a chemical I can use to discourage roots again? I heard copper is a root deterrent–is there a ground cover that would help? Should I add a pad under the pool liner? How much time do I need to do all this before he comes to put in new liner?

    • Hi Connie. Sounds like you have a few questions. I’ll try to hit each one. Bead track needs to be replaced. That’s what holds the liner. Once the pool is drained and the old liner is removed it’s a quick easy job. Roots .. hate those suckers .. there is not much you can do to deter tree roots other than remove the tree. Those roots are searching out cool moist soil. In the case of roots my rule is this – if I can pull them up and out I will, I never try cutting them as you are leaving a sharp edge to deal with later (holes in the liner). Once you have all the fine roots up and out rake all the sand to one side you will need to get a piece of visqueen (plastic sheeting between 4 * 10 mils thick) to lay over the roots. Spread the sand back over the plastic. You may need to add more sand. Local hardware stores should carry the mason’s sand. Adding a pad under a liner .. with the visqueen down and the sand in place you should be ok, but a pool pad does offer an extra layer of protection and provide a smoother surface. The visqueen should provide a barrier for you and the thicker the plastic sheet the better. As for how much time? Draining the pool could take a day or two unless you have a hi-flo submersible pump to drain it. The liner removal is a couple hours tops. The bead removal and replacement is a couple hours. Root cleanup and removal, plastic sheeting and sand work could take a day depending on how big the pool is and how many roots there are. I would plan to spend 3 to 4 days counting the draining.

  183. C

    Thank you for the info. I did it, it took a long time but it was worth it. I saved $800.00 by doing it myself and besides the sunburn and a day of my time it was worth it. It was a little trickier because my pool is oval but once I got the axis in the right place I as good to go.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this.

  184. Andy Atkinson

    I did not put silicone on skimmer gasket and have a leak. Is it possible now to remove skimmer gasket and apply silicone or have I ruined the install?

    • Install isn’t ruined. To get the silicone to seal properly you will need to drain the pool low enough to get the wall dry before applying the silicone.

      • Andy Atkinson

        Thanks! I will apply silicone and refill. Thanks again and may God bless, Andy

  185. Andy Atkinson

    Worked perfectly-thanks and may God bless! Andy

  186. Misty

    Hi I need a little assistance advice please got a new liner and cut the old one into 2 pieces- the one piece is cut into a circle as I cut it as close to walls as possible. I would like to put that circular piece down and then put the new liner over it. Would that be okay? Thought please.
    Thanks so much for your time,

    • Misty,
      You “can” do anything you want .. but may I ask why? With leaving the old liner in place you run the risk of having the edges of the old liner rub against the new and cause premature wear ….

  187. Misty

    They reason is for an extra layer of protection we have an awful problem with roots and stems that actually look like hair we cleaned it out but because that the reason we had to replace the liner in the first place we thought it would help on the bottom due to the weight of the water psi and when we walk across the bottom also??? We only need this liner to last us 7 summers and we were hoping this would help….?😊

  188. Question??!! We have finally got our 18ft circular pool up with the overlap liner. Thing is we just saw half of the liner fall in! There is about 8in of water at this point. I am not sure what we did wrong? We had the 6in over hang around the hole thing and everything was going ok until this. We left it filling with the plastic coping on. thinking we have put it all together before filling??? There is no slack left on half of the pool! Advise please 🙂

  189. Evelyn

    We have a second hand pool, it’s a doughboy. We are currently shopping for liners. Can we use any beaded pool line or do we have to order a doughboy liner. We have a beaded receiver around the pool but apparently doughboy makes an ez clip liner for this. There liners are much more expensive than other pool places. Thank you!

  190. Dominique

    I screwed up and installed the liner without removing the return and just used silicone where I cut the new liner and now my pool is leaking.

  191. Patty

    Hi! I’ve been reading the comments but have not seen one like my problem. We moved an took our pool that was a year old. Watched setup directions, read what i could before setup. The liner is tight on one side. We loosened the other side an brought the liner down. We started at filter and went clockwise. Can u please advice. Thanks

  192. Amie

    We cut the hole for the round cap where the water returns to the pool before we put water in it, now the liner has sunk down as it has filled and the holes are not aligned, is there anything I can do?

  193. Richard jones

    I loved your article, my name is richard …. i plan on replacing my liner next weekend right before memorial day ….
    My question involves the vacume used to help get the wrinkles out of the pool bottom … after wrinkles have been removed you added 2-4 inches of water then removed the vack …. do you think that instead of removing the vack … rasing the height of the hose till about only 4″ of hose is in the liner turning the vac on again to work wrinkles out of the wall before filling 25-30″ more of water?

    • Richard, the purpose of the shop vac is to simulate having water in the liner BEFORE adding water. Once you get above the 4″ of water any wrinkles left will remain. You need to be in the pool working out the wrinkles as the water is added. The vac can be turned off at the 4″ mark. Please remember to wait to cut the holes for the return, skimmer and lights until your water levels are close to the holes you need to cut, otherwise the liner will be ruined.

  194. Willow

    I read your article hoping to find the answer, but I didn’t seem to spot it.
    How long does it take for the pool to be ready after fixing the liner?

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