Pool Liner Installation

Pool liner installation can be difficult for the average pool owner and will take some time, a lot of patience and some good help.  If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself we recommend hiring a professional to ensure proper installation.  If you like challenges and consider yourself handy we can help!

pool liner installation

Replacing a worn out or damaged vinyl liner is something that pool owners will have to face at one time or another.  A quality liner should last 10 years or more with proper installation and proper maintenance.  If you are considering replacing yours because you have a tear, bulge or sagging edges read our pool liner repair page first to see if you can avoid replacing your liner and avoiding costly replacement and labour. 

We want to emphasize that installing a pool liner is not for everyone.  It's one of the most important steps in constructing or repairing a pool and if it's not carried out correctly you could end up with costly or at the very least time consuming repairs down the road.  You should consult a professional if you feel that the skills required are above what you are comfortable with.  A professional installer will have years of knowledge and be able to offer advice and most importantly a guarantee. 

If you want to tackle installation or just want more information on the process continue reading below for some helpful advice and step by step instructions. 

salt water pool maintenance guide

Pool Liner Installation Step by Step

Read through the following instructions until you have a thorough understanding of the process. This will ensure a smooth and hassle free pool liner installation once you get started.

1 - Accurate Measurement

Ensure that you have measured your pool for the new liner as exact as possible. Be sure to include size, depth, slope and any other unique features like stairs or benches.

2 - Empty Pool Water

Once you have your new liner ready, empty your pool water using a pool cover pump or sump pumpMake sure the water is drained into a proper drainage system like a ditch or sewage drain. If you don’t divert water to a proper drain the water can leak into basement structures or cause other damage.

3 - Remove Fittings

Remove all fittings that are holding the liner down such as skimmer, drain cover, or return line. Make sure you keep all fastening screws for easy replacement. Inspect all hardware and replace if necessary. This step can be done after the cover is removed but you will have to cut the cover around every fitting first.

4 - Remove Old Liner

Cut the liner about 6 – 8” below the track around the perimeter of your pool and remove. Depending on the type of track your liner is secure to, you will have to carefully remove the locking strip or by pulling up on the liner to remove from the track.

5 - Inspect Track

After the liner is completely removed and discarded, inspect the track and clean thoroughly with a vacuum. Ensure that no debris is in the track by using a small tool to scrape any debris out. I

6 - Inspect and Prepare Pool Base

Have a good look at the underbelly of your pool. Ensure that there are no protruding edges and everything is as smooth as possible. If there are any deviations to this you can use different methods to create a smooth surface. Industrial tape or sealant can be used to fill holes and cracks but use your judgment. This part of pool liner installation needs some careful attention.

7 - Set Liner in Pool Base

This is the most difficult step during pool liner installation and may require help from friends or family. Place the liner or box at the shallow end of your pool. If there are arrows indicating direction to remove from box, face them towards your pool. Slowly unroll the cover and pull from the front towards the deep end of the pool.

It’s a good idea to have a few people on each side of the pool as its pulled to prevent the liner from dragging on the bottom and damaging the liner or pool base.

With the liner in rough position its time to align the corners first. There should be markings on the liner where the corners should be aligned. Start at the deep end and once the corners are in place, attach the liner bead every couple of feet along the deep end wall track.

Don’t attach the entire length of the track incase you have to adjust the liner slightly.

After setting the deep end corners, work your way to the shallow end corners and align them using the markings on the liner. Once again, set the liner in the track every couple of feet only.

After all corners are in place and lined up, its time to insert the liner completely in the track around the entire perimeter of the pool. The liner may move slightly during this step so it’s a good idea to double check that the corners are still lined up properly.

8 - Vacuum Fitting

This is maybe the most important step during pool liner installation. Setting the liner properly and checking with a vacuum seal will indicate problems with the liner before you fill it with water.

Using a shop vacuum or similar, run the hose through the skimmer and about 2ft below the level of the pool deck. You will have to create a seal around the hose and the skimmer line. You can use towels or similar for this step, the better the seal the faster you will create your vacuum fitting. 

The goal is to create enough of a vacuum to visually see that the liner sets completely to the base of your pool. Any air pockets or folds need to be worked out by readjusting your liner. A broom or similar can be used to reach areas of concern and used to adjust the liner. You might need to pull from one side but you should see that no air pockets are visible and that its wrinkle free. You're almost finished your pool liner installation - one more step!

9 - Fill Pool 

With the vacuum still running, the first step is to attach the main drain if it’s equipped. This should be done after you have about a 1 or 2’ of water in the deep end. You will need to very carefully walk to the deep end. Make sure that you don’t have anything sharp on your person incase you fall. This is best achieved by having someone hold a pole to help you walk down the slope.

Attach the faceplate and gasket securely and then cut the hole out in the middle.

Continue to fill the pool and once the water level is high enough to hold the liner snug all around the pool, you can turn the vacuum off. This is generally about ½ to ¾ up the pool wall.

Install the remaining faceplates when the water is about 6” below the level of the faceplates. Ensure that the faceplates are securely installed before cutting the holes, as this will prevent the liner from moving. Its also important to make sure that all the stretch is out of the liner otherwise you will end up with wrinkles around the faceplates. Installing a pool liner.

Fill until half way up the skimmer intake and you are finished.

Pool liner installation can be tricky and frustrating but hopefully this helps you get that perfect fit!

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