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How Long Do Vinyl Pool Liners Last? Here’s the Answer

Vinyl liners are built to last for several years before they have to be replaced. A high-quality swimming pool liner is resistant to UV rays, mild chemicals, and long-term usage.

However, they have to be maintained and cleaned to reach their peak. Your liner will last longer if you circulate the pump frequently.

So, with proper maintenance, how long does a vinyl pool liner last?

Vinyl pool liners last between 10 to 20 years, depending on the chemicals you use, natural wear and tear, and how often the pool is used. Sharp objects and harsh chemicals can drastically reduce the liner’s longevity. You know it’s time to replace the liner when it’s dry and cracked.

In this article, you’ll discover how often you should replace your pool’s vinyl liner, several signs to keep an eye out for, and whether or not you have to remove the old liner before you install the new one. Let’s get started!

How Often Do You Have to Replace a Vinyl Pool Liner?

You have to replace a vinyl pool liner an average of once per 15 years. Swimming pool liners can last much longer if they’re cleaned and maintained. Corrosive algae, harsh shock, and rough usage can cut the vinyl liner down to 10 years or less. However, good cleaning routines will help it last up to two decades.

Most people should expect to get about 10 to 15 years out of their vinyl liners. However, you can stretch its longevity by a few extra years if you follow a routine cleaning schedule.

Here are a few tips to keep your pool liner in good shape:

  • Use a soft pool brush to remove algae buildup along the edges of your vinyl pool. We suggest brushing the liner once per week, even if you can’t see the algae. Most algae blooms start before you can see them, which means you can prevent them from getting too overwhelming if brushing is a part of your weekly routine.
  • Never use calcium hypochlorite with a strength of 60% or higher. Calcium hypochlorite, also known as pool shock, is one of the strongest chemicals you can use in your swimming pool. Weekly shock treatments can drastically reduce the chances of getting corrosive algae blooms, but they can’t be too concentrated for the liner.
  • Don’t let your swimming pool be more than half empty for longer than 24 hours. The vinyl needs to be full around the clock unless you’re emptying and refilling the water for chemical imbalances. If it’s more than half empty for too long, the vinyl will dry and crack, which can’t be repaired.

How Do I Know if My Pool Liner Needs to Be Replaced?

To know if your pool liner needs to be replaced, look for dryness, cracks, dull discoloration, creases, and leaks.

An old vinyl liner will crack and fold under the pressure of dirty water. It’ll also discolor because the chlorine, algae, and sunshine take their toll on the vinyl.

You should replace the liner after 20 years, regardless of its appearance.

Keep an eye out for these signs to know if it’s time to replace your pool liner:

  • Check for irremovable stains and discoloration on the vinyl liner. These could be signs of chlorine patches or acidic corrosion caused by chemical imbalances. Make sure you use the correct chemicals for above-ground pools to prevent these unwanted issues. Using the wrong chemicals can destroy the vinyl material.
  • The vinyl liner needs to be replaced if it’s ripped or torn. Small holes can be patched, but tears longer than a foot typically call for a full or partial liner replacement. Use the Boxer Adhesives Vinyl Repair Patch to fix small holes in the liner. Each pack includes five 3’ vinyl repair patches to fix your swimming pool.
  • Wrinkled, creased vinyl liners should be replaced. These signs often indicate the liner is slipping in the water. This process is caused by loose clips, stretched vinyl, and worn adhesives. Failure to replace a creased or wrinkled liner will result in massive, irreparable tears along the folds.
  • Numerous leaks in the vinyl liner could spell the end of it. You should get a new liner if you notice several leaks along the outer edge. Much like the aforementioned creases and wrinkles, edge leaks often mean the vinyl is stretching from the constant weight of the water pulling the liner downward.
  • A vinyl liner with dry cracks (similar to the cracked tread of a rubber tire) needs to be replaced. These cracks are caused by the chlorine and sunlight baking onto the liner. While vinyl pool liners are built to withstand these factors, they start to weaken after ten to twenty years.

Vinyl liners have to be replaced more often than gunite. While you might have to resurface a gunite or fiberglass pool every decade or so, it’s not nearly as much of a hassle as replacing a full vinyl liner. Read the following section before you get tempted to cut corners during the installation process.

Can I Install a New Pool Liner Over the Old One?

You can’t install a new pool liner over the old one because of the friction because the two liners will rip them both.

Furthermore, the new liner needs the clips and depth of the old one. If it doesn’t have enough space to grab the edges, the new liner will rip or fall into the water.

According to Liner World, you shouldn’t double your pool liners because it can ruin both of them. Stacking the liners doesn’t leave enough space to mount either of them properly.

Additionally, the old liner can leak and form massive water bubbles under the new liner.

The new liner will stretch and flake apart, sending bits of vinyl into the pump. These small pieces will eventually make it so your pump can’t pull water.

The ripple effect will ruin all of your pool equipment. It’s best to remove the older liner completely before adding the new vinyl liner to your swimming pool.