Inground Pool Liner DIY Installation
INGROUND POOL LINER DIY INSTALLATION
A Better Liner, A Better Price
All of our inground pool liners are made from the finest 100% virgin vinyl and will stand up to years of sun, wear & weather. Plus, they're backed with a 20-Year or 25-Year Warranty.
- We specialize in inground liners, over 15,000 sold!
- All Liners Delivered FREE in contiguous US!
- Available in standard 20-mil & premium 28-mil construction. Some patterns also available in 28/20 blend.
- Manufactured in the U.S.A.
- 20-mil. liners include a 20-Year Warranty; 28-mil liners include a 25-Year Warranty
- Choose from a wide array of patterns
- Customer liners are our specialty - for any size, style or shape of pool!
Do-it-Yourself and Save!
At InTheSwim, our inground pool liner experts (each with years of REAL Installation experience!) can easily answer all your questions, and walk you through every step of purchasing & installing your new Vinyl Liner. We understand your concerns about doing the job yourself - the local pool store is scaring you - not only with their price, but also by telling you that you can't do the job yourself. Here's a little-known fact: most people replacing their pool Liner do a BETTER job than the local pool store! Because the pool store's priority is getting out of your backyard ASAP so they can move on to the next job. Inground pool owners measure better, and make sure the liner is fitted perfectly before the pool is filled. At SPP, we've sold over 15,000 inground liners to satisfied customers across the country. If you're the type of person who likes to do your own household projects, you absolutely can install your own liner!
Installing your New Inground Vinyl Pool Liner
The information on this page provides basic tips and general instructions for installing a new vinyl Liner on your Inground Pool. Please read these instructions in their entirety before you begin your Liner installation project.
BASIC INSTALLATION TIPS
1. Most problems occur in the shallow end, around steps and with Roman ends. Paying attention to securing the base seal in the shallow end (especially around the steps and Roman ends), will help you avoid most problems. To secure the base seal we strongly recommend the use of sand bags in (1) each of the shallow end corners, (2) at each side of the break where the shallow end goes to the slope on both sides, and (3) in front of the steps.
2. Do not overly stretch the Liner material! The normal field dimension of the walls is forty (40) inches. We use thirty nine (39) inch wall material, which allows for one inch of stretch. If you took a 39 inch piece of material and tried to stretch it five to ten inches, you can see how much strain is put on the base seal. If a Liner comes apart next to a seal, it is usually due to an excessive amount of strain on the seal because there is more resistance to stretch at a seal than at any other part of the Liner.
3. Before installing your Liner, skimmer gaskets and inlet gaskets should be mounted. If you have a main drain, the first gasket should be glued before the Liner is installed. Be sure to check all coping joints for sharp edges. Cover any existing sharp areas with duct tape so as not to tear your new Liner during installation.
4. Vinyl Liners are best installed in warm weather because the material will be more pliable, it can be handled better and packing wrinkles will disappear more quickly. If the Liner is to be installed in cool weather, it should be stored in a heated room for a day or two before installation.
5. Check your pool bottom for stones, twigs or sharp objects and remove them. Wipe walls clean.
There are 2 types of pool coping on an inground pool, which will determine the process you follow to install your new Liner. First, we will review installation instructions for concrete receptor coping (where the Liner clips in). Then, we will talk about installing overlap Liners (where the Liner goes under the coping; requiring the coping to be removed and then put back in).
Drain the pool and remove your old Liner. If the pool walls do not have foam padding, take a razor / sharp utility knife and trim a few inches below the coping or liner lock all the way around the pool, and let the Liner flap into the pool. Then go inside the pool and slice the Liner into pieces small enough to be folded and easily removed. Trying to remove an old Liner in one piece will create a mess and a lot of repair work to the pool bottom. Now what's left under the coping can be easily lifted up & pulled out.
If your pool walls do have foam padding on them, you don't want to cut under the coping; instead cut at the bottom of the wall so as not to cut into the foam, and then follow the instructions above.
If your pool walls do not have foam padding, you should think seriously about installing it first, before you put in your new Liner (wall foam padding is not recommended for the pool floor of inground pools). Wall foam padding is a very good idea because it protects against corrosion, which can damage the new Liner. Wall Foam is also an excellent insulator, and will hold in heat (keeping your pool water warmer, without heating). One roll of Wall Foam measures 1/8" x 42" x 125', which is enough for a 20' x 40' pool. We also suggest wall foam spray adhesive, which is specifically designed for this purpose and will not bleed through the foam to the Liner. You'll need two cans for a 16' x 32' pool; 3 cans for 18' x 36' and 20' x 40' pools. When the wall foam padding is installed, make sure not to leave any ripples in the foam, as they will show through under the Liner. Also, trim around all returns, skimmers, lights etc. at least 1" on all sides, so that when the faceplates are installed they will not be on the wall foam padding (which will cause your pool to lose water, as the faceplates will not be able to make a good seal).
Replacing Gaskets, Faceplates, Screws, Etc.
Now we'll talk about gaskets. Regardless of whether you are putting in a new Liner for aesthetics, or because you are losing water - don't be "penny wise & pound foolish". Change all the faceplate gaskets and faceplate screws before you move on to installing the Liner. The reason for this is that you don't want to go through the entire process of changing your Liner, only to find out that a gasket has a tear or a faceplate a hairline crack and you're still losing water even with the new Liner! Also, pool water discolors faceplate and makes them brittle, so replace them now. And if you have fiberglass or polymer steps, change the step gasket also, using our pool step gasket kit. In most cases, the step face will have to be reused, so be careful while you remove it.
Here is a listing of some of the most common gaskets & faceplates for the following skimmers, returns, pool lights and main drains. To order any of these items, simply give us a call at 1-800-288-7946. Or enter the Item# in the search box on our website for easy online ordering:
Now it's time to inspect the pool bottom. Some pool bottoms are called "hard bottom", vermiculite, or pool base. If you have any divots or depressions, now is the time to take care of that. If you can't find the same material, you can get pre-mixed hydraulic cement to fill any holes. You will also want to sweep the entire bottom of the pool, as any small granule of vermiculite will be felt on top of the Liner when you're in your pool... so spend a little time now and sweep it out good. If your pool bottom is sand or stone dust, you can just scrape a little from surrounding areas around the depression to fill the hole, and smooth it out with a trowel.
If you have an overlap Liner (where the Liner goes under the coping and then the coping has to be removed and put back in), instead of removing your coping, what we suggest is that you cut out your Liner and then get front-mount Liner extrusions. These come in 8 ft sections and can be screwed in under your existing coping, where the Liner would hang in the track. It makes for a much easier installation gives you more flexibility with Liner patterns - instead of having to get an all-blue Liner or an all-over pattern, now you can choose any beaded Liner with a tile boarder (which would not be possible to use with an overlap type Liner).
Installing the Liner. Now that you have wall foam on your pool, new faceplates and the pool bottom is smooth and swept out clean, you're ready to get started. Unfold the Liner inside the pool and drag the corners to the deep end and clip them in place. Now come back down the long sides of the pool. Pull up the Liner from outside the pool and clip it in the coping about every 5 ft or so, pulling towards the shallow end as you go. When you get to the shallow end, put in the shallow end corners. Then you can go back and put the Liner in all around. If the Liner seems a little tight, it's a good idea to put some sand bags in the shallow end corners to hold the Liner in place.
If you have steps that are polymer or fiberglass (with no Liner on them) take a 2x4 or any piece of wood long enough to go across the step on top of the deck with at least a ft of overlap. Now pull your Liner up onto the board and duct tape it to the board. Take a large piece of your old Liner and cover the step with it onto your deck and overlapping the board and the new Liner. Put a few buckets of water or blocks to hold the old Liner on the deck - this is done to create a good seal for the suction vac. Now put sand bags in front of the steps.
If you have steps that the Liner goes into, the installation process is done in reverse - the steps will have to be done 1st. Set each step and sand bag them individually in each corner. Sometimes the steps will have step rods in them. If so, order the Liner with step loops and order another set of after-market step rods. Then, starting with the bottom step and working your way up, slide the step rod (a flexible, fiberglass rod) into the step loops, leaving equal amounts sticking out on each end. You will see areas from the rear where the rod is visible - that's where you will attach the new rod to the old/existing rod that's already in place. Get some plastic wire ties (used to bundle wires), loop them around the new to the old rods, snip off the excess and then duct tape over it to protect the Liner from the sharp, cut edges.
SUCTIONING THE LINER
Now you can put a liner suction vacuum or a standard Shop Vac into use. Going about 1/2 way down the long wall (usually where the pool bottom starts to slope), put the suction hose between the wall (or wall foam if you've installed that) and the Liner. If you have wall foam, make sure it is secured very well at the bottom of the wall, so as not to allow the blower to suck up the foam! The vac hose should be 3" from the bottom of the wall, to give it the best suction. Make sure you have as few air leaks as possible, e.g. lines back at filter, hole in the skimmer cover etc. Although it doesn't seem like much, anywhere it can suck air, it will - so you want everything as airtight as possible. After about 5 minutes the Liner should be sucked into place or at least as much is it will go into place. At this point make sure the Liner looks good and doesn't need shifting one way or the other. Also check that there are no wrinkles. All of this should be taken care of now before you start filling the pool.
FILLING THE POOL
Start filling the pool. If you have a main drain, you'll want to put in only 2" or 3" of water and then stop. Next, take the box that the Liner came in, as a good way to bring all supplies down into the pool with you. Make sure there are no staples in the box and put all the tools, screws, gasket and faceplates you will need for the main drain. Sliding the box slowly down the slope of the pool with you is a much safer way than holding these items as you get into the pool because if they are dropped or if you slip and fall, you can risk damaging the new Liner before it's even installed! Once you (& your tools) are in the pool at the main drain, find 2 screw holes opposite each other - they should be very easily seen, as the weight of the water will make them show clearly. Pop the 2 holes with an awl or a small Phillips-head screwdriver. Put on your gasket (you should already have one underneath), put on your faceplate & tighten it up. Now all the other screw holes will line up. Put all the screws in and then trim out the inside Liner and put on your cover.
Next, let the water continue to fill up. Do not cut out any other fittings, lights, skimmers, returns, etc. until the water is a few inches below each of them. Then, follow the same exact procedure as you did for the main drain. If you have steps that the Liner needs to be cut out for, let the water get a few inches below the bottom step. Then remove the sand bags, board and old Liner you draped over it, and have someone stand on the step holding up one corner so the tile boarder is good and straight. Then, find your top hole (gasket in place behind Liner, none in front) and put on the side face strip. Get the next one below it and then skip down 5 or 6 holes and get in another; then do the bottom side one, now all the sides will line up. Go back and do them, then do the same thing to the other side. Now do the bottom, making sure the Liner is on the bottom of the pool. If not, step it down and hold it in place while you're getting the bottom strip installed. Start with one end, then the other - skip 5 or 6, get the middle, then go back and do them all. After all the screws are in and snug, trim out the inside of the Liner and you're all set. If you have the other type of step (that has the Liner on it), let the water get to the first step, work out the wrinkles, go to the next and the next as the water rises. After you have a few inches of water in the shallow end, slowly remove the vac hose and pop the Liner in the track.
After the Liner is completely installed and the pool is filled with water, you should put in Liner Lock to hold the Liner in the coping and prevent it from popping out, as can sometimes happen.
You've successfully installed your new pool Liner and also saved a bunch of money!