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  • How to Replace an In-Ground Pool Liner

    photo by Nathan Bittinger via Flickr

    Over time, your in-ground pool liner will wear out and you'll need to replace it. When that day comes, we heartily recommend finding a qualified professional to do it for you. However, if you are determined to save money by doing it yourself, and you don't mind the hard work, it can be done yourself.

    Before proceeding, contact your pool supplier and get the template for the liner measurements. The contractor who built your pool should have them. Once the measurements are in hand, you can start!

    • Select a liner color and pattern. 
    • When your new liner arrives, drain your pool. Do not drain in advance unless you are certain dry weather is forecasted and you have a mortar-bottom pool. If you have a sand or vermiculite-bottom pool, wait until the last minute to drain.
    • Remove all accessories (ladders, slides, etc.). Remove all hardware (return gaskets, skimmer gasket, face plates, etc.)
    • Carefully inspect the walls of the pools for rust or damage. Where needed, grind and use galvanized steel to repair/limit rust.
    • Carefully inspect the pool floor for cracks or damage. If you find damage, contact a contractor or pool repairman about repairs before you proceed.
    • If all looks good, wash and sweep your pool from top to bottom. Vacuum the pool floor of any collected water.
    • Hang the liner according the manufacturer's instructions. You'll likely need an assistant or two.
    • Position a shop vac through the skimmer behind the liner. Turn on the vac and position the liner as the air is removed from behind it. Make sure the liner is wrinkle-free and smooth against the pool wall. If wrinkles form, shut off the vac and start again.
    • Begin adding water to the pool while the vac is running. When there is 12" of water in the pool, use a sharp razor to cut out the main drains.
    • Continue to fill the pool until there is 18" of water in the shallow end. Shut off the vac and remove.
    • Fill the pool up to the returns. Re-install return gaskets, skimmer gasket, and face plates. Use a sharp razor to cut away liner where necessary.
    • Fill the pool to the halfway point on the skimmer mouth. Start up your pool system.
    • Add your chemicals. Your pool is ready!


    • A very dark liner/pattern can heat a pool up to 7 degrees more than a light color/pattern.
    • Do not wear shoes or boots when walking on the new liner.


    • Always wear appropriate safety gear.
    • Be careful when using the shop vac and filling the pool--water and electricity are a fatal combination!
    • Take care not to make unnecessary cuts in the liner.

    Do you have an above-ground pool? We have a guide for installing above-ground pool liners here.

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