Wrinkles in the pool liner can cause tears, which eventually make you have to replace the vinyl.
Unfortunately, many pool owners don’t know that they’re supposed to remove these creases as soon as possible.
Treating your pool’s wrinkles can make it last much longer by preventing leaks, cracks, and vinyl displacement.
To get rid of wrinkles in your pool liner, follow these steps:
- Check the water levels
- Heat the pool
- Gather the supplies
- Wear rubber water shoes
- Stretch the vinyl with a clean plunger
- Use a shop vac if necessary
- Patch any holes in the liner
- Get a new liner if it’s worn or torn too much
Throughout this post, I’ll show you the whole process of fixing the wrinkles and creases in your pool liner.
I’ll also let you know when it’s time to replace the liner and how much life you should expect to get out of it. Let’s get started!
Make Sure There’s Enough Water in the Pool
Not having enough water in the pool can cause an array of issues.
For example, it can expose the edges of the vinyl to direct sunlight. The dried chlorine and harsh sunlight can stretch and crack the liner. They will also cause the bottom of the liner to wrinkle since the top of the vinyl stretches downward.
Another reason that not having enough water can cause wrinkles is that it can stretch and tear the liner.
The water gets under the pool and causes water bubbles beneath the liner. These bubbles are fragile and poppable. One pop will rip most of the liner, which means you’ll have to replace it.
Your pool should always have water above the highest inlet, which is almost always the skimmer.
Find the skimmer basket, remove it, and check if there’s enough water above the inlet. Make a few splashes to check if the water dips below the skimmer while it’s moving. If it does, fill the pool until the skimmer is completely submerged.
Heat the Swimming Pool
There are many ways to heat a swimming pool, including:
- Install a gas or electric heater to adjust the water’s temperature.
- Use a solar cover to absorb the sun’s UV rays and prevent the heat from leaving the water.
- Consider getting solar rings to cover the pool safely and effectively.
- Dump a liquid solar cover into the pool to create a thin layer on top of the water that prevents up to 50% of heat loss.
- Use a solar ball to automatically dispense a liquid solar blanket into the skimmer basket.
- Install solar heating panels that the pool water can flow through and heat up.
- Get a solar heater to warm the pool by using the sun’s heat and energy.
Heating the swimming pool will make the liner more elastic. You can move the stretchy vinyl to get rid of the wrinkles and creases if it’s warm enough.
Removing wrinkles from the liner during a cold day risks tearing the rigid vinyl. I suggest performing this whole process during the warmest part of the day.
Collect the Necessary Supplies
Before you get started, make sure you have the following tools ready to go:
- A pair of rubber water shoes. The Simari Water Shoes are a unisex pair of breathable shoes you can use in your pool, at a lake, or on the beach. These shoes have rubber bottoms to provide excellent grip, which is exactly what you need for the job.
- A clean (and unused) toilet plunger. It might sound silly, but a toilet plunger can quickly and easily get rid of vinyl wrinkles. They provide enough suction to remove the creases without ripping the liner.
- A shop vac (optional). If you have big, stubborn wrinkles in your vinyl pool, you can use a shop vac to suction and adjust the creases. You’ll have to drain the pool, but it’s more than worth it if you can prevent tears or liner replacements.
- Vinyl patches (optional). If your vinyl liner is torn, you’ll need a few vinyl patches to cover the hole. Make sure the patch is big enough to cover the largest hole in the liner.
Use Rubber Water Shoes to Walk Around the Edges
It’s very difficult to remove the wrinkles from the liner without rubber water shoes.
Not only do they provide excellent grip while pushing the liner around, but they also help you get good footing while using the plunger in the next part of the process.
Make sure the shoes are specifically designed for swimming pools. Some water shoes are made for hiking, and they contain sharp textures for optimal grip while walking on rocks and sticks. These water shoes can shift and rip the liner, worsening the wrinkles and leaks.
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Put on the water shoes and place one foot on both sides of a wrinkle.
- If possible, grab the edge of the pool for stability and control.
- Push your feet down and out, spreading the wrinkle.
- Repeat the process five to ten times per wrinkle).
If this method doesn’t work, keep your water shoes on and proceed to the next step.
Apply a Clean Plunger to Remove the Wrinkles
Toilet plungers provide the perfect amount of suction to remove vinyl liner wrinkles. Follow this method for the best results:
- Suction the plunger behind the wrinkle.
- Stand on the other side of the wrinkle with your rubber water shoes.
- Push the plunger away from you, pulling the wrinkle with it.
- If necessary, pull your feel backward while suctioning the plunger to the vinyl for extra wrinkle-removing force.
Pro-tip: Always choose a clean and unused plunger. Toilet plungers contain all sorts of bacteria that can encourage algae growth and make your pool unsuitable for swimming.
Make sure you wash the plunger with hose water after using it to remove the wrinkles. The chlorine can dry and crack the plunger, making it useless for removing future creases in the liner.
If you prefer a video tutorial, review this helpful YouTube guide:
Use a Shop Vac to Get Rid of Stubborn Creases
Shop vacs are quite powerful and should only be used as a last resort. However, they can be incredibly useful when it comes to removing wrinkles from the pool liner. Make sure the shop vac has a rubber or smooth plastic hose to prevent it from tearing the vinyl.
Here are some instructions on how to do this:
- Completely drain the swimming pool.
- Use the shop vac to push in the opposite direction of the wrinkle while wearing rubber water shoes, much like the plunger suggestion.
- Push the wrinkle in every direction to smooth it out.
- Spray the whole liner with hose water to remove the dried chlorine, then fill the pool the same day.
Pro-tip: Never leave a vinyl pool empty for longer than 24 hours. It will dry and crack from the sunlight and dried chemicals. You’ll have a much bigger problem on your hands since you might have to replace the whole liner.
Patch All Holes in the Liner
Patching the vinyl pool will make it last longer. Furthermore, it will prevent the tears and leaks from worsening. The creases and wrinkles in the liner create weak spots that are prone to ripping.
If you get rid of the wrinkles with the steps mentioned above and notice a hole, you have to patch it as quickly as you can.
The Boxer Adhesives Vinyl Pool Patch comes with several three-inch patches to cover any holes in the liner. Remember to round the edges of each vinyl strip to prevent them from loosening.
You can apply these patches underwater, so there’s no need to drain the pool to patch the holes. These patches are suitable for vinyl swimming pools, floats, and more.
Unfortunately, not all vinyl liners can (or should) be patched. Head to the next section to find out if you need to replace the liner due to wrinkles, creases, and holes.
Consider Getting a New Liner
Most above-ground pool liners can last up to 20 years (however, Intex pools don’t last as long). Below, we’ll cover all of the signs that it’s time to get a new liner instead of removing the wrinkles in the vinyl.
- It’s best to get a new vinyl liner if it has cracks or holes on long wrinkles (anything over a few feet).
- Your vinyl liner should be replaced if the wrinkles stretch the outer edges and rip the vinyl.
- If the vinyl is older than 15 years old and it’s filled with creases and wrinkles, it’s time to get a new one.
Professionally-installed vinyl pool liners should never have wrinkles right away. These creases are often signs of an incorrect installation.
Other causes of wrinkles in a liner include jumping from the edges, sand under the liner, loose dirt under the pool, and earthquakes.
All of these issues — aside from the unavoidable earthquakes — should be treated to prevent wrinkles from worsening.