A vinyl pool liner is a big investment. If you want your liner to last and stay beautiful for years to come, you have to maintain it properly. With that in mind, we’ve put together some handy tips and tricks to help you protect your vinyl pool liner from tears, leaks, fading, and other common damage.
1. Use chemicals properly.
Overusing bleach, pool shocks, chlorine, and other chemicals can cause problems for pool owners. Stains, fading, wrinkles, corrosion, and a brittleness are all signs of an overuse of pool chemicals.
However, you don’t want to skimp on chemicals either. Not using enough chemicals to keep your water clean and balanced can cause algae growth, which can stain your liner or lead to fading, as well as other issues.
2. Test your water chemistry frequently.
You should test your water chemistry on a weekly basis. You may need to test it more often than that depending on how frequently you use your pool.
Balanced pool levels are as follows:
- Chlorine: 1.0-2.0 ppm
- pH: 7.2-7.8
- Calcium Hardness: 180-220 ppm
- Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
- Dissolved solids: below 5000 ppm
- Cyanuric Acid: 40-80 ppm
- Chloramine: Below 0.4 ppm
3. Follow directions when using any type of chemical in your pool.
Follow all directions and safety guidelines noted by both your pool liner manufacturer and the manufacturer of the chemicals themselves. Improper use of chemicals can cause dangerous chemical reactions, damage your liner, or cause the chemicals to be ineffective.
4. Avoid using a pool cover after adding chemicals.
You should wait at least 24 hours before covering your pool after you add chemicals. You want to avoid creating a closed environment where chemical concentrations can occur and damage your liner. Test the water again before putting your pool cover back on.
5. Cover your pool when not in use.
Other than the 24 hours following adding chemicals, you should cover your pool when you and your family aren’t using it. Pool covers help protect your liner against weathering, fading, debris, animals, and other damage.
6. Don’t use floating chlorinators.
Floating chlorinators can create uneven chlorine dispersion throughout your swimming pool. Fading or staining can occur on your liner if the chlorine gets too concentrated in one spot.
7. Only use cleaning tools intended for vinyl pool liners.
Abrasive scrubbers such as steel wool and scratcher pads that you might have on hand for cleaning around the house are too rough for your pool liner and can leave marks and scratches.
Another common issue is using vacuum heads meant for cement pools, not vinyl liners. These types of tools are generally too rough and cause holes and other damage.
Overall, make sure whatever cleaner or tool you’re using in your pool is meant for vinyl pool liners.
8. Clean your pool regularly.
Cleaning your pool consistently helps prevent staining and discoloration on your liner. If you’re properly maintaining your pool, you’re also more likely to notice damage, leaks, and other issues before they completely destroy your liner.
9. Pay special attention to the waterline and corners when cleaning
The waterline, hard-to-reach corners, and your pool ladder or stairs are common areas for debris, oil from your skin, and scum to build up and stain your liner. Don’t forget to rush over these areas when cleaning.
10. Never drain your above ground swimming pool
Gravity and water pressure hold your vinyl pool liner in place and prevent shrinking and other issues. Therefore, draining your pool can cause damage to your liner and cause structural damage to the pool itself. Most maintenance can be done without draining the pool.
Generally, you should only drain your pool if you’re replacing the liner or under the guidance of a swimming pool professional, like the team at AAA Liner Replacements here in the Chicagoland area. If you need help installing or repairing a liner, give us a call!
11. Keep sharp objects away from the pool.
Sharp objects (such as tools, stones, sticks, and glass) can easily cause rips and tears in your liner if they make their way into your pool.
With that in mind, use caution when using a sharp object anywhere near your pool. Store your grilling accessories, power tools, and other backyard necessities when you’re done using them.
You should also keep a close eye on youngsters. They’ve been known to throw sticks, rocks, and other foreign objects into the pool for fun.
12. Only allow pool toys in the pool.
Water-friendly pool toys, like dive sticks and pool floats are great for relaxing and having fun in the pool. Stick with the pool toys and leave Barbie dolls, Legos, robots, and other toys inside. These indoor toys can potentially poke holes and cause damage to your liner.
13. Use plastic or paper products rather than glass.
Broken glass is not only a hazard for the humans wandering barefoot around your patio area, but it can also scratch and damage your pool liner. If you’re having a backyard barbeque or picnic, opt for plastic and other pool-friendly reusable options to avoid accidental damage from broken glass.
14. Wear proper swimwear in the pool.
We’ve all thought about just jumping into the pool on one of those hot Illinois summer days. However, before you dive in, change into proper swimming attire. Buttons, zippers, and metal clasps found on your clothes can potentially damage your liner.
Random items, such as keys or pocket knives, left in your pocket can also puncture your liner if they accidentally find their way into your pool.
You should also remove your shoes and/or opt for water shoes while swimming so you don’t scuff up or scrape the liner.
15. Remove jewelry before entering the pool.
Sharp charms on bracelets, necklaces, and earrings have the potential to damage your liner. Plus, the chemicals used in your pool can potentially cause unwanted wear and tear on your jewelry and gems. Overall, your safest bet is to take off jewelry before swimming.
16. Avoid metal/plastic hair accessories.
If you plan to pull your hair back while swimming, we recommend soft ponytail holders and scrunchies or cloth/elastic headbands. Metal hair clips, bobby pins, and other plastic or metal hair accessories can potentially damage your liner if they accidentally fall out.
17. Beware of heat.
Candles, grills, tiki torches, and backyard campfires are fun. However, they can cause melting, burns, and scorch marks on your liner if they accidentally get too close to your pool.
Keep all heat sources a safe distance from the pool/liner. That includes, candles, sparklers, and other fireworks during Fourth of July and other birthday celebrations! Of course, make sure all campfires and grills are extinguished before leaving the area.
18. Follow instructions when installing your liner.
Damage often happens during the liner installation process. If you opt to install your pool liner yourself, make sure you’re following all instructions.
- Use caution when opening packaging to avoid accidentally slicing the liner with a knife.
- Clean the area around your pool before installing your new vinyl liner. Sticks and other debris could possibly puncture your liner.
- Make sure it’s warm enough. Your new liner should be installed when it’s 80 degrees and sunny or your liner may not work as well. Here in Illinois, we generally reach those temps around May or June.
19. Use a liner pad.
If you’re installing a new liner, consider using a liner pad. Liner pads are affordable and add an extra layer of cushioning and protection that helps reduce the risk of leaks, tears, and punctures.
20. Properly open and close your pool
Another common time for pool liner damage to occur is while you’re opening or closing your above ground pool for the season.
Properly opening and winterizing your pool is essential to prevent damage and extend the life of your liner. As noted above, follow all instructions from your manufacturer, make sure the area around your pool is free of debris before opening/closing, and add chemicals appropriately.
Of course, as a top pool service company in Chicago, we’re here to help you with closing your pool if need be. We’ll get your pool all closed up for the cold Midwest winter so it’s easy to open and enjoy come spring!
If you have any more questions about maintaining, installing, and caring for your vinyl pool liner, don’t hesitate to reach out. We serve Chicago and all the surrounding suburbs as well as Northwest Indiana.