Replacing Your Pool Liner: The Best Time to Do It and Tips to Prolong Its Life

When is the best time to replace pool liner? How do you know when the liner is contaminated or worn out? How do you prolong the life of the pool liner? Here are tips and info to help you prolong the life of your liner.

Replacing a pool liner can be pretty expensive. As a result, many pool owners are reluctant to get a new one. This can cause more damage to the pool over time, leading to leaky liners and further damage.

Today, we bring you guides on when is the best time to be replacing your pool liner and a few tips to help you extend the longevity of your new pool liner.

Signs That You Need When Replacing Your Pool Liner

Cracks and Rips

Empty In ground pool with crack and rips

When a pool liner begins to crack and peel, it is one of the most obvious signals that it is time to replace the entire thing. Vinyl pool liners disintegrate over time because of ultraviolet light from the Sun and pool chemicals that assist in maintaining the water safe to swim in. As a result, the vinyl may grow brittle over time. When swimming pool liners become brittle, they are more likely to break and rip than usual, resulting in a leaky pool liner.

These sorts of cracks often grow at or near the water’s surface, where UV damage is most prevalent. If you find that your pool liner is beginning to crack or rip at the waterline, the likelihood is that you will need to replace it soon.

However, just because your pool liner has a minor leak does not always indicate that it is time for a replacement.  An occasional leak is quite common in old liners, and it may be readily remedied with a basic liner patch kit. It is necessary to be replacing your pool liner as soon as possible if you see multiple cracks emerging in one area or if rips are surfacing all over the pool.

Water Loss 

Most cracks and rips can be challenging to spot, mainly if they are located below the water’s surface. As a result, it is good to keep track of the amount of water escaping from your pool, especially if the liner is more than ten years old.

If you suspect that your pool water is losing water because of liner leaks, there’s a quick test you can do to know for sure. Place a bucket on the steps leading up to your pool and fill it with water until it’s at least as high as the water level in the pool. The water in the bucket will evaporate at the same pace as the water in your pool.

After a few days, compare the water level in the bucket to the level of water in your swimming pool. Your liner may have a leak if the amount of water in your pool is lower than the level in the bucket; if not, the water you’re losing is entirely due to evaporation, and you won’t have to be replacing your pool liner any time soon.

Fading or Staining

Inground pool drained to clean stain

When a pool liner has been in use for over a decade, it can begin to show signs of wear and tear. As a result, the color of your pool liner may start to fade or even begin to stain near the water’s surface. This is a sign that your pool liner cannot perform its primary function anymore, which is maintaining the safety of the pool water for swimming. 

In addition to fading and staining, a pool liner over a decade old may also start to smell mildew or other unpleasant odors. This is because the liners cannot properly shield the pool from contaminants, encouraging the growth of mold and other contaminants.

As a result, it is time to be replacing your pool liner if it is more than ten years old. If you don’t, you run the risk of these contaminants entering your pool water and causing further damage.

Stretching and Wrinkles

When your liner becomes loose and wrinkled in some areas, it is a sign that you will have to be replacing your pool liner soon. The pool liner has stopped performing its function in ensuring the structural integrity of the swimming pool, and you can expect bigger problems in the future unless you get a new one.

These wrinkles and stretches often occur on the seams of the pool liner when they are subjected to constant stress or when they are not properly maintained. As such, this is one of the best reasons for replacing your pool liner right away.

When Is the Excellent Time for Replacing Your Pool Liner?

Empty in-ground pool for replacing your pool liner

How Long Does Pool Liner Naturally Last?

Nowadays, the majority of in-ground pool liners have a lifespan of 10-15 years. However, several things might either raise or shorten that longevity. These include the following:

  • Water Balance. A pool liner’s lifespan might be significantly reduced if the water is not balanced correctly. Low pH or alkalinity can cause the liner to stretch and wrinkle, whereas low calcium hardness makes the liner hard and brittle.
  • Ground Water Problems. Water can leak beneath the liner in places with high groundwater levels, causing it to “float.” While the liner will ultimately settle back to its original position as the groundwater recedes, you run the danger of it expanding, wrinkling, or dislodging itself from the coping.

“Pool coping is an architectural element that caps off the edges of a pool. Specifically, it’s the protective crown or lip around the top of your pool wall.”

  • The fit of the liner. A liner will not last as long if it is not specifically manufactured to meet the precise measurements of your pool. Incorrectly sized liners must be stretched into position. This implies that a liner that was initially 30mil thick may now be as thin as 15-20mil after installation, resulting in weak areas in the liner and shorter longevity.

How to Choose The Best Inground Pool Liner

For years, the only option for pool owners was to go to the pool store and purchase an inground liner. But now, with so many choices available online, it’s hard to choose what is best for your pool. To help you decide which type of liner is best for you, the following are just a few of the terms that will help you make an educated decision when replacing your pool liner.

Virgin Vinyl

When referring to pool liners (or other vinyl-based goods), virgin vinyl refers to a substance that contains no additional polymers or recycled vinyl. It’s brand new, straight from the factory, which is a desirable feature to have.

Virgin vinyl expands and contracts more evenly than composite vinyl, which means there is more chance of developing early weak patches as a result of temperature changes or sun exposure.


Thickness is a massive factor in determining the durability of pool liners. The thickness of in-ground vinyl liners is measured in mil. Not to be misinterpreted as millimeters, this is a standard unit of measurement that corresponds to 1/1000 of an inch.

The majority of vinyl liners are between 20 and 35 mils. A 20-mil liner, on the other hand, is twenty-thousandths of an inch thick. To provide some context, a sheet of standard paper is 10 mil. A dime has a value of 49 mil.

Some inground liners have two mils, for example, 28/20. The first digit denotes the wall portion, while the second digit denotes the floor. The wall will always be the bigger number, thicker, due to its far greater expansion and contraction than the floor does. The two materials are both sealed where the wall and floor meet.

However, a thicker liner doesn’t always imply that it’s better. If you’re looking for excellent quality, aim for virgin vinyl. You do not need to spend thousands extra on ultra-thick vinyl to get 15 years out of your liner.


Gauge is a measurement of how thick and strong your pool liner is. A higher gauge means a thicker and stronger product. Thicker and stronger means less chance of rips and tears, which is always a good quality to have in your liner.

The higher the gauge number, the thicker the vinyl will be in both length and width. However, unless it’s an incredibly cheap one, this usually does not change the cost since all the vinyl manufacturers set their prices depending on its thickness (mil). If you’re looking for cheap pool liners, choose one with a high gauge number because it will be thinner than other products in the same price range and you will probably have to think about replacing your pool liner sooner.


The warranty given by the pool liner manufacturer is the determining factor when choosing your liner. This is because it reflects how long the product can last. It can be measured in years, months, weeks, or days depending on the manufacturer.

Longer warranties mean that your pool liner will last longer than other products that do not have this warranty. However, if there are no guarantees (such as limited time warranty), you might be spending more than you need to for this attribute.

Moreover, look at your swimming pool location and what impact the weather plays on it. For example, if you live in an area where hurricanes are standard, winter months will be shorter than summer ones (which could mean less likelihood of breakdowns). 

Interesting Pool-Related Articles: Best Inground Pool Liner, Pool Caulking, Best Pool Deck Paint

Bottom Line

While replacing your pool liner might be costly, not changing it poses a higher risk and can cause a worse situation. Due to the risk of causing harm to the pool’s structure, pool liners should be replaced before they start leaking. Think about replacing your pool liner as early as possible in the spring or autumn to take advantage of discounted prices while still enjoying an entire swimming season.

Bear in mind if you’re like most pool owners, you will be replacing your pool liner in the early spring. And to avoid waiting until summer to have your liner replaced, you should start buying in the autumn or early winter.

Read more pool articles here. Happy swimming!

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About the author

Brian Anderson

The rather dry pool world out there is in need of some passion to make it shine. With the help of my son Ruben and his wife Maria our mission is to help you create the favorite spot of your house - your pool.

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