Above Ground Pool Liners Don’t Last Forever
The actual life span of your above ground pool liner can depend on may factors and many of them have nothing to do with how well you care for your pool. Long sunny summers in Florida mean more swim time annually compared to places like Michigan. This equates to more exposure to the sun’s vinyl damaging UV rays which harden and fade your pool liner. Aside from pool liners, the sun can also harden and dry out plastic parts like liner coping, pool skimmer boxes and gaskets. Bad gaskets account for the majority of skimmer leaks and skimmer leaks are the main cause of pool wall rust out and failure.
Long summers also mean more pool activity which can lead to punctures from toys and pets. Of course punctures are the norm for vinyl liner pools and they can easily be patched if you know you have a leak and where to find it. If you have an above ground pool or are considering purchasing one, be sure to pick up a vinyl repair kit. They are about $20 at any local pool store and one kit will patch dozens of leaks if needed.
More Than Just Sun And Kids
Although sun and punctures make up a huge portion of above ground pool liner failures, there are other factors too. Reckless pool cleaning accounts for many liner slices and vinyl damage. This is caused by someone dragging the edge of the vacuum head, brush or bug skimmer along the liner or wall bolts and unintentionally slicing the liner material. Care and time must be taken when cleaning the pool and youngsters probably shouldn’t be doing this work unless well trained.
Time and unwanted guests like bugs also take their toll on the vinyl pool liner material. Over time the vinyl simply breaks down on it’s own and small pinholes can develop. If your pool liner is 5 years or older you likely have many small leaks you are unaware of. They are often nearly impossible to detect and patch. Bugs and critters are a common problem as they can burrow under a pool liner and chew holes in the vinyl too. Maintaining a clean area free from grass will help keep ants and mice from making your swimming pool their home.
Tips To A Long Happy Pool Life
My advise for anyone wanting to make the most of their pool and liner would be to buy a good heavy duty liner to start with and take some simple measures to aid in it’s longevity. Start by purchasing at least a 25ga liner with your new pool or as a replacement. 25ga heavy duty liners are thicker material and will last longer and be more resistant to punctures. If you want the best of the best purchase a Doughboy pool liner. The Doughboy liners are better yet and made of materials that usually last 3 times longer than other brands including the 25ga heavy duty ones. But be prepared to pay at least double for the Doughboy brand pool liners.
Keep your pool covered when not in regular use. A pool cover is cheap insurance against the sun’s damaging rays. I would much rather spend a little money every few years for a pool cover over premature liner replacements. $50-$100 for a cover is far better that $300 for the average pool liner and $400 to install it.
Maintain the pool and the area around it. I would also limit the types of toys that are allowed in it to reduce the chances of liner damage. If you suspect you have a leak you probably have at least one if not more. Spend some time searching for it and get it patched, leaking pool water is very corrosive and will cause pool rust very quickly.
Lastly, don’t be a cheap skate. Typical 25ga pool liners don’t last more than 5 years in Florida and cheaper 20ga. liners may only last 1-3 years. Don’t try to see how long you can avoid replacing the liner, by doing so you are allowing corrosive chlorinated water to leak against the metal pool parts including the pool wall. This leaking water is eating away the metal and shortening the life of your pool. Replacing the liner every 5 years will allow you to visually see the inside of the pool wall and address any issues. Be sure to replace skimmer gaskets and other questionable plastic pieces at the same time. By doing this your pool can live for 15-20 years in the tough Florida environment.