Pool Liner Options and How they Effect Prices

/ / Swimming Pool Liners

Pool liner replacement can be an expensive endeavor if you don’t know what you are doing. This article is intended to provide you with information you need to know before making a purchasing decision. Pool liner replacement cost averaged around $3000 in 2011 for an 18 X 36 rectangle swimming pool. The three main factors associated with pool liner pricing are:
1. Liner Manufacturer.
2. Liner Material.
3. Liner Company.
Liner Manufacturer
Who made the liner? This is an important question for several reasons. First, many (if not most) manufacturers are now purchasing their vinyl roles from China. Chinese vinyl is not subject to the strict quality guidelines that the United States and Canada must follow. These roles of Chinese vinyl are then put together in the United States and are immediately advertised as being “American Made”. The problem is I have noticed over the years that the Chinese vinyl is breaking down in some cases within 4 years of installation. It simply shreds at the waterline. Stay away from Chinese vinyl and the manufacturers that use Chinese vinyl. This alone will save you huge amounts of money in liner longevity. One way to identify a pool liner that possibly originated in China is to look for “mil” ratings in thickness. Liners measured in mil have a much higher chance of originating from China in my opinion.
Another reason to take your time when choosing who made your new liner is the quality of the manufacturing process. Just like any other industry pool liners are made by companies who are good at what they do and they are made by companies that are great at what they do.
I am sure that there are several manufacturers out there that would meet my high standards of quality. However, the only one I use is Kafko brand pool liners. I have had the opportunity to inspect Kafko’s manufacturing processes as well as Kafko’s quality initiatives and they are the only manufacturer that has impressed me with how they make liners. I have not had experience with every pool liner manufacturer out there so I can only mention Kafko as a manufacturer with whom I have been impressed. I am sure there are plenty of others who meet or exceed Kafko’s quality.
Liner Material
Pool liner material is important because good material lasts longer and bad material
does not. I have already covered the horrible consequences pool owners will have to face if they purchase a liner with Chinese vinyl but there is one other material consideration regarding your new pool liner. Thickness of your new pool liner is important to its longevity. As mentioned above you will want to stay away from pool liners measured in “Mil”. Gauge is the American standard for pool liner thickness. Pool liners will usually be offered in 20 or 30 gauge thicknesses. Always choose 30 gauge even if the cost is a little bit higher. 30 gauge pool liners are 50% thicker than 20 gauge pool liners. The extra vinyl contained in the thick 30 gauge liner offers slightly better protection against penetration of the pool liner but the biggest benefit is that it takes longer for the negative effects of salt or chlorine systems to destroy the liner. You should get 2 or 3 years more out of a 30 gauge liner in comparison to a 20 gauge liner.
Pool Company
Which pool company you choose will have the biggest impact on pool liner cost. If you are looking for the absolute lowest price you can find then you will want to go with a company that installs Chinese liners. However, if you are looking for the lowest price you can find without sacrificing quality I would suggest looking for five things in a pool company.
1. Dealer of Kafko or equivalent quality liners.
2. Installs a minimum of 150 liners per year.
3. Insured (General Liability and Workers Comp).
4. At least 50 Five Star Ratings on kudzu.com.
5. Offers a way to prevent liner fading.
No matter where you are located there should be several pool companies that meet the five criteria above. Most pool companies install less than 5 liners per year. These are the companies that will charge an arm and a leg for a liner. The companies who install 150 liners or more have plenty of experience and bulk discounts to give you a great price.
Nothing is more frustrating to vinyl pool owners than a faded liner. As a result, many pool liner installers are now offering drinkable pool water systems as an upgrade at the time of purchase. These systems keep your pool water so clean that it is drinkable and they do it without using any chemicals (believe it or not). When the systems first came out in 1994 they were very expensive which greatly limited the market for the technology. In 2012, however, these systems are just a few hundred dollars more than a salt system. This is a small price to pay to prevent 95% of pool liner fading.
If you would like more information about pool liner replacement costs or the prevention pool liner fading please contact me, Chris Ward, via www.lazydaypools.com.