alpha omega pools

An Introduction to Pool Liners

Pool liners are much like a tailored suit: they are a fabricated product, precisely "made to order", custom fitted to your pool's unique "shape".  Just like a custom made suit of clothes, accurate and knowledgeable measurements are critical for a good fit.  Good communication of those dimensions to the fabricator is also essential, and often refined over years of building a good working relationship with the manufacturer. 

Once the correct measurements are passed to the manufacturer, liners are then cut like fabric from rolls of vinyl sheeting, and seamed together by a process of 'heat welding' to accomplish a mirror image of your own pool's contours.  Generally, the liner's dimensions are very slightly undersized so as to fit snugly in your pool without wrinkles.

While each manufacturer has their own set of patterns they offer, all raw liner materials come from just a few 'rolled goods producers', so the raw quality of the material is fairly consistent.  Liner patterns are as varied as one's imagination, and are constantly being refined to improve their appearance.  The materials themselves are also constantly being improved to better handle their three main 'enemies': punctures, sunlight and chemicals by making them chemically 'tougher' and utilizing additives such as UV inhibitors, anti-microbial agents, and fungicides.

Propoer care of your liner would include:

  1. Maintain proper water balance:
    • pH in the 7.2 to 7.6 range.
    • Total alkalinity at 80 to 100 ppm.
    • Calcium hardness: 200 ppm minimum.
  2. Maintain free chlorine residual between 1.5 and 2.5 ppm. If free chlorine drifts below 1.5 ppm, algae and bacterial growth can take hold more easily and may cause staining of the vinyl liner.
  3. A low pH of less than 7.0 should be especially avoided, since it can cause liner to form wrinkles and with a greater probability if the water is not stabilized with cyanuric acid and chlorine is maintained at or above superchlorination levels for extended periods. For this reason it is recommended that all vinyl lined swimming pools be routinely stabilized with cyanuric acid and that a minimum of 50 ppm be maintained.
  4. Pre-dissolve calcium hypochlorite and other slow dissolving sanitizers in a bucket of pool water and add the solution to the pool by filtering through a sieve to prevent undissolved particles from settling on the bottom, otherwise spot bleaching of the liner could occur. Always read and follow manufacturer's instructions given on product labels and containers.
  5. Test for the presence of dissolved metals in pool water. Dissolved metals may cause use of staining of the vinyl liner directly or may combine with calcium hardness and form discoloured deposits on vinyl liner. Follow manufacturer's recommendation concerning the chelating materials to inactivate dissolved metals.
  6. Chemicals should never be mixed together and added to the pool water at the same time. Certain combinations of the chemicals that individually will have no effect can cause bleaching of the liner if concentration is allowed to remain high in the vicinity of the liner. Always allow a chemical to disperse throughout the pool by means of water recirculation, before adding a second chemical.
  7. Do not drain the pool completely for any reason without consulting a pool professional for advice. The older the liner, the higher the risk that the liner will shrink and not stretch back into it's original shape without ripping. Sites with a high water table may also carry the additional risk of structural damage.
  8. Never close a pool without circulating the pool water for several hours after the final addition of chemicals. Even liquid chlorine can concentrate in the deep end and cause liner bleaching, if not sufficiently blended with the rest of the pool water.
  9. Use a well fitting winter pool cover that is tightly sealed around the entire perimeter of the pool to prevent accumulation of debris such as leaves, worms, etc. during the winter period. Organic matter has the potential to cause staining and/or bleaching of the vinyl liner.
  10. Avoid the use of any abrasive cleaning agents or cleaning aids (e.g. such as steel wool, sharp bristled brushes, scouring pads, etc.).
  11. Use only manufacturer's recommended vinyl liner cleaner for removing accumulated soil at water line or other soiled areas.

Another resource to help in caring for your liner is the brochure entitled " Proper Care Ensures Long Life for Vinyl Pool Liners" and can be found at that link for download.

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