Proper Care and Maintenance of a New Swimming Pool Liner

/ / Vinyl Swimming Pool Renovations

PROPER CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF A NEW SWIMMING POOL LINER

  • MAINTAIN PROPER WATER CHEMISTRY.
    • While it is important to maintain all of your water chemistry metrics at proper levels the most important factor regarding the longevity of your pool liner is free chlorine. Chlorine will obviously bleach the liner over time so it stands to reason that your pool liner will fade less if you continually monitor the water to make sure that your free chlorine levels are not too high.  High levels of free chlorine in your pool water will accelerate the bleaching process of the vinyl.  Keep in mind that salt systems generate chlorine which will result in liner fading over time.  One great benefit of a salt system is the ability to set a specific chlorine output digitally from the control panel.  We suggest using this feature to keep the pool water properly chlorinated for sanitation without over chlorinating.
  • NO SHARP OBJECTS.
    • Knives should obviously be kept away from your pool at all times. Other things that can potentially penetrate your vinyl liner are glass bottles, chairs, bikes, falling tree limbs and dogs.  Please keep sharp objects away from your pool liner because punctures are not covered by your manufacturer’s warranty regardless of which manufacturer you chose.
  • COVER POOL IF WINTERIZED.
    • Ultraviolet rays are yet another force of nature that damage your pool liner over time. Liner damage caused by the sun’s rays usually occurs in the three or four inches of liner above the water line in the form of tears or “shredding”.  Corners and straight walls that receive the most direct sunlight throughout the day are the most susceptible to this type of damage. If you winterize your pool each year it helps reduce the damaging effects of the sun significantly if you cover your pool to shade the liner.  Safety covers are best but tarp covers will work as well.
  • OPEN POOL EARLY IN THE YEAR.
    • Pool owners will often wait until the weather gets really warm to uncover and open their pool. The result is that the pool is almost always green with algae which means that the pool must be super chlorinated to kill the algae and sanitize the pool water.  See above for the effects of high chlorine levels on a pool liner.  You can usually prevent the need for excessive amounts of chlorine to kill algae if you open your pool before the first warm front of spring.  In the Atlanta market we suggest opening your pool sometime between March 1st and April 15th
  • DO NOT DRAIN YOUR POOL.
    • Draining a vinyl lined swimming pool will almost always result in damage to the pool liner. Do not drain your pool unless a pool professional has told you to do so!

WHAT TO EXPECT THE FIRST YEAR AFTER INSTALLATION

  • YEAR ONE (POTENTIAL ISSUES / SOLUTIONS)
    • Liner Coming Out of Track: During the first year after installation your new pool liner may come out of the track at the top of the liner.  It is important to understand that this is very common (especially with pools that are 15 years old or older) and it is usually easy to fix. A “liner tuck“ is the process by which the pool owner or the pool pro will tuck the liner back into the liner track.  As a courtesy to our customers Lazy Day will provide liner tuck services for free during the first year after installation.  Lazy Day does this because we know that about 50% of new pool liners will come out of the track during the first year.  After the first year the incidents of liner tucks needed drops dramatically but they may still occur.  After the first year Lazy Day charges a $75.00 liner tuck fee.  See below for details about this policy.
    • Warranty Claims: As a courtesy to our customers Lazy Day will administer warranty claims to the manufacturer for seam separations which may occur during the first year after installation.  After year one the customer is required to submit all warranty claims to the manufacturer directly.  Contact information for your manufacturer is on your warranty card provided at the time of installation.  Seam separations are the only thing that is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
    • Potholes: The term “Pothole” is used to describe an indention in the pool bottom which looks like a pothole you might see in the roadway. Potholes are the result of the pool bottom collapsing in on a preexisting void or air pocket underneath the hard surface of the pool bottom.  It is not possible to see these voids or air pockets during the pool liner installation process.  Approximately 5% of the pool liners we install experience potholes which usually become visible within a few days after the installation of the new liner.  As a courtesy to our customers Lazy Day will provide free labor to repair potholes but Lazy Day does not accept responsibility for water loss due to potholes.
    • Leaks within one week: In the event that the pool is leaking after Lazy Day has installed a pool liner the leak must be reported to Lazy Day within one week of the completion date.  After reporting the leak to Lazy Day the customer must call a leak detection company of their choice to identify the specific location of the leak.  Lazy Day suggests Aquarius Leak Detection at 770-605-1088.  However, the customer is free to choose whichever leak detection company they prefer.  If the leak detection company finds the leak to be in the liner then Lazy Day will pay for the leak detection service and repair the leak free of charge if the leak is reported within one week of the installation date.  If the leak detection company finds the leak to be something other than the liner such as plumbing, light niche, equipment, etc. then the customer will be responsible for paying for the leak detection service and the leak repair.

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER ONE YEAR PAST INSTALLATION

  • AFTER YEAR ONE (POTENTIAL ISSUES / SOLUTIONS)

The following potential issues and related solutions can occur during the first year but they are included in this section because they are more likely to occur after year one.  Ground water damage can occur at any time!

  • Wrinkles Appearing after Installation: Over the years we have observed thousands of liner installations.  We have identified only three ways that wrinkles can appear on a pool liner after the pool liner has been installed and tons of water have been placed on top of the liner.
    1. A Ground Water Event.

Ground water exists in the earth’s crust.  When the water table rises due to rain or when an underground stream or river shifts course the result can be ground water rushing in under your pool liner through the soil.  Ground water can cause the pool liner to “float” off of the pool bottom because the water pressure under the liner equalizes the water pressure on top of the liner.  When the event that caused the ground water to get under the liner stops (i.e. rain) the ground water moves back into the soil and the pool liner settles back onto the pool bottom as the water pressure on top of the liner overpowers the water pressure under the liner.  Usually the pool liner does not settle back into perfect position which results in wrinkles.  Ground water is an act of nature and is not covered under any warranty under any circumstances.  In extreme circumstances ground water can cause a “liner blowout” which is when the liner floats so badly that the liner comes out of the track at the top of the liner in large areas.

Hydrostatic lift refers to the process by which the earth’s soil ejects objects such as pebbles and stones.  Spot patching the pool bottom is included in every Lazy Day liner installation.  However, spot patching cannot prevent pebbles from pushing up through the soil and underneath the new pool liner due to hydrostatic lift.  The only way that Lazy Day can warrant against pebbles under the liner after installation is if a new poolkrete pool bottom is installed prior to installing the new liner.  Our experience tells us that approximately 10% of the pool liners we install without new pool bottoms will at some point experience pebbles or stones under the liner due to hydrostatic lift.  Lazy Day only warrants against pebbles and stones under the liner if a new pool bottom has been installed at the time of the liner installation.  Lazy Day is not responsible for movement / shifting or damages to pool liners caused by ground water or hydrostatic lift.

Solutions for Ground Water Damage

If your pool liner is less than 4 years old Lazy Day may be able to drain the pool and ”reset” the liner.  This is basically a process of re-installing the liner to fit properly again.  If Lazy Day attempts to reset a pool liner there are inherent risks of damage to the liner itself which Lazy Day cannot take responsibility for.

If the pool liner is over 4 years old Lazy Day cannot attempt to reset the liner.

Wrinkles appearing after the day of installation are caused by outside events which are not controlled by Lazy Day Pools.  Wrinkles appearing after the day of installation are not warranted by Lazy Day Pools and we are not currently aware of any pool company that provides a warranty against wrinkles appearing after installation.

  1. Pebbles / Stones Under the Liner.

See above under Hydrostatic Lift Section for how Pebbles / Stones can occur.

Pebbles / Stones can be removed by draining the pool and removing the pebbles / stones by hand and then resetting the pool liner.

Solutions for Pebbles / Stones under the Liner

As a courtesy for our customers Lazy Day will remove stones at no additional fee but Lazy Day does not accept responsibility for water loss and it is important for the customer to keep in mind that more pebbles / stones may appear in the future unless an entirely new poolkrete pool bottom is installed.

  1. Excessive Chemical Usage.

Wrinkles caused by excessive chemical use are usually bleached white from continuous exposure to high levels of chlorine.  This often occurs on pool liners at the spot where the pool owner has repeatedly treated the pool with chlorine or shock.  This is why it is so important to vary your treatment area by diluting the chemicals in a five gallon bucket and then slowly pouring the diluted chemicals into the pool as you walk around the pool’s perimeter.  Broadcasting granular shock across the pool while standing in the same place on the pool deck each week will eventually damage the liner because the pool shock is settling on the pool bottom in the same area over and over again.

Solutions for Chemical Damage to Pool Liner

Prevention is the only solution.  Dilute chemicals prior to placing them in the pool or hire Lazy Day or some other qualified pool pro to provide weekly service on your pool.

  1. Draining of Swimming Pool.

Never drain your vinyl lined swimming pool unless you intend to replace the pool liner completely.  When the water pressure is removed from the shallow end of the pool the liner will pull away from the walls of the pool and will be very difficult if not impossible to reset.  Even if it is possible to reset your liner the process of resetting the liner carries a high risk of damage to the liner.

Solutions for Draining the Pool

Don’t drain the pool to begin with!  If you drain your pool to clean it or for any other reason you run a very high risk of having to purchase a new pool liner.

  • Liner Coming out of the Track: Your new pool liner may come out of the track at the top of the pool liner at some point during its useful life.  We see a dramatic drop in the amount of liner tucks needed after year one but remember if a liner tuck is required it is usually easy to fix.  After the first year Lazy Day charges a $75.00 liner tuck fee.  However, because tucking a liner back into the liner track is so easy many of our customers choose to do the liner tuck themselves.  Please see the video titled “How to tuck a pool liner back into the liner track” posted on youtube.com.  As an indication to you of how common liner tucks are the video has already been viewed over 52,000 times at the time of writing this letter.

If you found this article useful please consider joining our mailing list for pool owners.  Our goal is educate and inform pool owners as well as give pool owners a platform to leverage their power in the marketplace.  We do this through our quarterly email events.  We promise to not send you more than four emails per year and we promise that each email will be uniquely useful for swimming pool owners nationwide.