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Monthly Archives: April 2014

  • How to Replace an Above-Ground Pool Liner

    replacing an above ground pool liner Our Bermuda above ground pool is pretty great.

    The lifespan of your pool depends on the condition of its liner. This is why it's important to inspect the liner every year. Eventually, you will need to replace it. Don't be daunted! It's really not so bad.

    Our overall advice: hire a professional to replace the liner. It will cost you a little, but if you shop around you'll find that the cost isn't so bad. Just make sure you get someone who has the licenses and qualifications to perform the job. Always look for reviews and recommendations!

    But if you really, really want to do it yourself ... it's not so bad. Set aside a big block of time, get together the materials, enlist someone to help you, and follow our guide:

    Replacing an Above-Ground Pool Liner

    Before proceeding, measure and then re-measure the pool, then order the new liner. Try to avoid buying cheaper liners--the short-term savings may be attractive, but they may end up costing you more down the road. The thicker the liner the more durable it tends to be. Also consider investing in a liner guard to protect the liner from punctures or tears.

    • Drain all the water from the pool.
    • Remove all hung ladders and any other equipment that obstructs the liner area. Also remove all face plates, gaskets, lights, and etc. from the interior of the pool. Use this opportunity to inspect this hardware for cracks or wear that may indicate it needs replacement.
    • Remove hardware on the top end of the pool: seat clamps, ledges, top plates, the top rail, and etc.
    • Now for the fun stuff: remove the old liner. You may need to use a razor knife to cut the liner into smaller pieces.
    • Inspect the pool base and cove. Repair any unevenness or wash outs with masonry sand.
    • Remove duct tape from the wall bolt seam and re-tape it with fresh tape.
    • Sweep the inside of the pool thoroughly to ensure there are no pebbles or debris. Check for any sharp edges that might tear the new liner and either remove, file down, or tape over them.
    • Unroll the new liner in a clear, sunny area. The warmth helps the liner stretch during installation. Be sure to follow any instructions that came with the liner.
    • Seal the skimmer area with cardboard using duct tape on the outside of the pool wall. Also seal the water return and lighting holes with duct tape on the outside of the pool wall. Then insert 2 feet of a shop vacuum hose through the cardboard that covering the skimmer area. Duct tape it on until well sealed. Reinspect all the duct tape seals--they need to be really good seals!
    • Re-inspect the pool bottom and remove all debris--even the tiniest pebble can cause damage to your new liner!
    • Clip two wooden clothes pins to each upright.
    • Get some help with this next part to ensure you don't damage the new liner: Fold the new liner in half and place it in the pool. Unfold it carefully--you should be able to do this from outside the pool.
    • Pull the liner up over the wall about 6 inches and attach to the pool wall with the clothes pins. Now you want to evenly and carefully pull the liner further over the wall, removing and reclipping the pins as needed, until about 15 inches of the liner folds over the pool wall.
    • With a light touch, brush and tap the liner toward the walls. Inspect and adjust the liner as needed. Double check that the bottom seam is even all around the perimeter of the pool.
    • Attach a shop vac to the hose you previously attached to the cardboard in the skimmer area. Turn it on. It will suck the air out of the liner area. You want to release the liner as evenly as possible as it tightens by releasing and re-attaching the clothes pins as needed. Continue to gently brush and tap the liner toward the wall around the entire pool to remove wrinkles. Proceed in this fashion until the liner is seated and even with no wrinkles. If there are persistent wrinkles, shut off the vacuum and start over by reclipping the liner to the wall. Don't cheat!
    • Once the liner is set and wrinkle-free, begin filling the pool with water WITHOUT shutting off the vacuum. Fill until there is about 1 foot of water in the pool. Now you can shut off the vac.
    • Re-install all face plates and gaskets. Use your fingers to find the holes they used to go into and use a sharp awl to carefully puncture that area. With a sharp razor knife, carefully cut out the liner from the skimmer and light areas and remove all of your duct tape seals.
    • Finish filling the pool with water. Hook up the filtration system and pool accessories. Add your pool chemicals and you're done!


    It is super important that there be no wrinkles because wrinkles trap debris, make vacuuming the pool difficult, and they will eventually cause tears in the lining, greatly diminishing the lifespan of the liner and the pool itself.

    To clean the liner, you don't need to empty the pool. In fact, doing so can cause the liner to shrink or crack.


    This guide is for above ground overlap vinyl liners without deep ends. If your pool has a variation in depth, please seek a professional's help in replacing your liner.

    Above Ground Pool Installation Videos

    Have an in-ground pool? Check out our guide on in-ground pool liners here.

  • How to Determine Swimming Pool Volume

    The most important thing to know about your pool is how many gallons it holds. Don't guess! Having the right number is crucial to knowing how much it's going to cost you to fill the pool, what size pump/filter/chemical feeder/heater you need, and the amount of chemicals needed to maintain pool hygiene. Calculate this number incorrectly and it could cost you a pretty penny in equipment repairs/replacements, and could be a real health hazard if you incorrectly add chemicals.

    Pool Volume Calculators

    There are lots of calculators available to help you determine how many gallons your pool holds. Pick one that you like best:

    Pentair Pool Volume Calculator -- Allows for four different pool shapes: rectangular, oblong, circular, and triangular. You will need to know the pool depth at the shallowest end and the deepest end, and the length/width or radius (depending on pool shape).

    Pool1 Pool Gallon Calculator -- Has one calculator for above-ground pools, one for in-ground rectangular pools, and one for in-ground oval pools. For above-ground pools, you will need to know the pool's depth, width, and length. For the in-ground pools, you'll need to know the shallow and deep end depths, the length, and the width.

    Kurtz Water Volume Calculator -- Has two calculators: one for square/rectangular pools and one for round pools. For square/rectangular pools, you will need to know the pool's length, width, and shallow/deep depths. For round pools, you will need to know the deep/shallow depths and the diameter.

    WikiHow Volume in Gallons -- This is not a calculator, but rather walks you through the math you need to do to determine the number of gallons in your pool. For folks who like to do their own math!

    What Other Info Does a Pool Owner Need to Know?

    Glad you asked! Owning a pool requires a fair amount of knowledge in order to maintain it properly and safely. Here's a pretty good list of the things you should know to keep things in good working order (note: it's a PDF).

  • Protecting Your Pool From Wildlife

    It's coming--the time for getting back into the pool is just around the corner! But humans aren't the only ones that end up in the water when the pool covers come off. Wildlife often end up in the pool as well. From ducks to alligators to the neighbor's dog, your pool can easily become a local watering hole for critters in your area. Unless your dream is to discover a new species of frog, you probably want to keep animals out of the pool.

    The Dangers of Animals in Swimming Pools

    The primary reason why wildlife and pools are a bad combo is simply because the animals could drown. Squirrels and possums are famous for falling into the water and perishing when they can't escape. Not only is this a sad loss of life, the organic matter introduced into the chlorinated water can produce a toxic gas, introduce nasty bacteria into the water, and pollute the pool's filtration system.

    And if the animal doesn't perish, then you have a really angry possum in the water. Not really great for swimming with the kids.

    Also remember that if these animals can get into the pool, there's a very good chance small children can get in as well. A pool secured from wildlife is safer for children, too.

    Keep Wildlife Out of Your Pool

    Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep critters out. In general, it's easier to keep them out of above-ground pools, but you'll still want to take measures to secure the pool.

    Build a Fence -- In many places, there are regulations requiring pools to be fenced and gated, but even if you aren't required to have them they are a good idea. They'll keep bigger animals and kids from falling in.

    Have an Access Ladder/Gate -- For above-ground pools, install a ladder with a lockable gate to prevent little furry things from using the steps to access the pool. We carry an attractive one here.

    keep wildlife out of pools


    Invest in an Escape Ramp -- Sometimes all these wayward critters need is a little help out of the pool. Providing an escape ramp could be a lifesaver. There are lots of models available out there, and they are quite affordable. We like this one, perfect for smaller animals like lizards and squirrels:

    swimming pool escape ramp


    And Now Some Cute Animal Videos

    We certainly don't recommend having animals in your pool, but sometimes it can be funny to watch wildlife enjoy the luxury of a dip in the pool. Here are some cute videos of animals enjoying human swimming pools. Enjoy!

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