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Above Ground Pool Liners: Overlap, Beaded, and J-Hook

It is that time of the year again - pool openings are just around the corner! Whether you have been putting it off for the last couple of years or just want a new look and feel to your pool; what better way to start off the pool season than with a new above ground pool liner?

There are several different types of above ground pool liners, so how do you know which type of pool liner is right for your pool? If you have your original pool manual it would tell you in there, but most of have lost/misplaced that years ago. There are some very easy ways to determine what kind of pool liner you will need for your pool.

Overlap Above Ground Liners


To determine if you have an overlap pool liner, look under the top rail to see if any of the liner is visible on the outside of the pool. This is the easiest way to determine if you have an overlap liner pool. If you’re not sure, you can remove two upright caps and a section of the top rail. A typical overlap pool uses plastic pool coping strips to hold the pool liner in place. Whenever the liner is hanging over the outside of the pool wall, it’s an overlap pool liner.

Overlap liners are made for flat bottomed pools with a wall height of 48” to 54”. You only need to know the size and shape of your pool. For example, if you have a round pool, you will need to know its diameter. If you have an oval pool you will need to measure the length and width. (Don´t guess at your pool measurements, please measure from wall to wall - to be sure.

Beaded Above Ground Liners


Beaded liners differ from overlap liners because this type of liner fits into a pre-existing track on the pool wall. There is no need to take off the top rail in most cases. The beaded liner inserts into the track and does not go over the wall, as does an overlap liner.

A standard bead measures a little over 1/8” on the top width and 5/16” on the hook and extends down to 1-1/8” to the bottom. When purchasing a beaded liner you need to order the exact wall height. If you end up with a liner that is too long, unsightly wrinkles are the result. Carefully measure the wall height from the flat floor to the track. Check in two or more locations to be sure of your measurement. If ordering by phone, be sure to let our representatives know your wall height - either 48”; 52”; or 54”.

Unibead Above Ground Liners


Also referred to also as a “J-hook", unibead pool liners look like a hook sliding over the pool wall. The J-hook hangs the liner over the wall, instead of using a track. The top measurement is 3/16” and the hook extends down to a little less than 3/4”. The long side of the hook measures 1-1/2”. J-Hook, or Unibead pool liners allow more pool liner style choices, and also allow you to do away with liner coping strips.

You will need to order the proper wall height, to use a Unibead liner. With overlap liners, you can always pull the liner over the wall further, to prevent wrinkles. J-Hook liners have a fixed wall height and are not adjustable in this manner. To avoid problems, measure your wall height precisely, in several locations, from the flat floor, to the top of the pool wall.

Converting From Overlap to Beaded

Now that you have an understanding of the two different liner types, what happens if you have an overlap pool, but prefer the selection of beaded liner patterns? A simple conversion using In the Swim liner conversion strips. They come in 4’ sections. Order enough liner strips to encircle the entire pool perimeter. If you have a beaded liner, you cannot change it to an overlap style, only the other way around.

Next time we´ll talk about how to replace your above ground pool liner. Enjoy your new above ground pool liner!

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.