We have posted articles talking about how vinyl liners fade. In this short video you can see exactly how a liner will start to fade. The water line is where you start to really see it go. Most liners will have a border pattern around the top. The water level in a pool will be right in the middle of that border. Because of this the bottom half of the border fades out, while the top half stays looking fairly good. The part of the liner that is under water will all fade the same, so it is sometimes hard to tell how bad that it is. Not so with the border.
Why do you guys talk about this issue so much? Glad you asked! We stress this issue with liners because the warranties can be confusing. All liners are only warrantied from the seams pulling apart. Their are no warranties for fading, tearing or shrinking. I have heard many times, “the other guys I talked to said their liners have a warranty of 20 years, you say yours will only last on average around 8 years. Why would I choose yours over the other guys.” Uh oh, somebody didn’t completely explain what the warranty was. Because we hear this more than we should, we like to talk and write about it.
There really can’t be that much difference in above ground pool liners, right? Well you are right. The main difference in them is the way that they hang on the pool wall. Other than that they are pretty much the same. There are differences in pattern styles you can choose from but you are talking cosmetics now and not function.
There are three different ways that above ground pool liners are made to hang on the wall.
This will be the most popular, and well known style of liner. These liners simply hang over the top of the wall. You use a plastic coping strip that pushes down over the wall and liner to hold it in place. This type of liner is the most economical way to go as far as cost goes. One complaint about this type is that you can see it on the outside of the pool wall. Yes you can and that is why I personally don’t care for them.
Beaded liners are an option that is fairly well known. Most pool companies will sell beaded liners as an upgrade with a pool kit. These liners come with border patterns around the top, and usually a print pattern on the sides and bottom. When a beaded liner is installed you use a bead receiver. This is a track that snaps on top of the wall. It has a channel in it that the bead at the top of the liner snaps into. The downfall to this is, as your liner ages and shrinks over time it will have a tendency to pull out of the track. It then slips down the inside of the pool and can be a problem. A big thing we hear with beaded liners is, you don’t have to take the top of the pool apart to change them. We have done hundreds of liner changes on above ground pools, and we take the top off to change a beaded liner. Most times you do not have enough room under the topseats to get the new liner snapped into the track without a struggle. Easier to just take the top of the pool apart.
J-Bead or J-Hook Liners
This style liner came on the market around 12 years ago. You have the same thing as a beaded liner except for how it hooks to the wall. Instead of using a bead receiver track, there is an upside down J on the top of the liner that hooks on the wall. The advantage to this over the beaded liner is you have no issues with the liner slipping out of the bead receiver. This style liner is what we install on 90 percent of above ground pools.
There you have the three different options for liners on above ground pools.
I recently received an email from a customer thanking us for the new equipment we installed on her pool and the advice I had given her. Here is what she said.
What type of problem are you experiencing? NONE!!! Nathan, I just wanted to let you know that this weekend we opened our pool to the kids in my family! The best advice you gave me a few months ago was to be patient. I did! And the pool looks beautiful! I never thought this would happen – esp. after seeing what looked like black tar coming out of our pool just a few months ago. I wish I could send you a picture! Thank you for your equipment and advice! Loretta
The reason I wanted to post her comment was because of the fact she mentioned being patient. One of the biggest problems I see in the pool business is everybody being in a hurry. I realize that we live in a world of instant gratification. I want it now and I want my problem fixed now. Some things though take time.
In the world of swimming pools if your water gets out of balance and your pool gets cloudy or the “dreaded” algae, it is not going to clean up in a few hours. You have to give the shock and algaecide you add time to work. Once the crud has settled to the bottom you can then vacuum it out. It will take time though.
In the above customers situation they had bought a house that set empty for a couple years. The pool had set for at least 2 years without being run. It was a sludge pit. We installed new pump and filter with a salt system and got everything up and running. From day one I told them they would need to be patient with it because it would take a lot of time for it to clean up. It took around six weeks with them vacuuming, checking chemical levels, and backwashing to get it cleaned up. It was that bad. If they would have tried to get the pool sparkling clean in a week or even two they would have been very frustrated. It wasn’t going to happen. With being patient, taking their time, and letting the pool equipment do its job, they went from a tar pit to a clean sparkling pool that they are now enjoying.
If your pool is out of balance chemically, or you can’t get it to clean up, be patient. I know it is a hard thing to do but if you realize that it will take some time you can save yourself some frustration.
Happy swimming and good luck on that being patient thing!