What are Pool Liners?
Do I really need a liner for my pool? Yes, you do. Pool liners are very crucial for all pools regardless of whether they are in-ground or above ground swimming pools. These liners are supposed to protect your water and revamp the appearance of your pool. A pool liner will help in ensuring that no water is lost to the pool surface through absorption. They also protect your pool from algae growth keeping your pool safe and healthy. With the right pool liner, you will also be able to transform the color of your pool into a dynamic and super-attractive layer making every moment you spend in or around the pool magical. These liners come in different patterns and designs making it possible for every pool owner to find a liner that fits their taste.
Sadly, getting a pool liner is not as easy as it may sound. There are four types of pool liners to choose from, and each type has even more differing liners making it somewhat difficult to decide on one particular item. So, how do you know which liner will work best for your pool? To answer this question, you must first understand the types of liners available and how they are different from one another.
Types of Pool Liners
- Overlap Liners
Overlap liners are more suited to pool owners operating on a tight budget. These liners are usually inexpensive, and they come with a lot of material to cover the pool and leave still leave some material hanging over the walls of your swimming pool. This may come out looking ugly unless you get creative in covering the excess liner.
Installing overlap liners is also very easy. In most cases, these liners come with one solid color, and hence you won’t go through the headache of installing the liner in a particularly special way to disclose its beauty. This is why the liners are also considered ideal for oddly shaped swimming pools. However, if the liner has some patterns, you will have to be keen to put the liner in place without distorting the patterns.
- Uni-bead or J-Hook Liners
J-hook liners are designed just like any liner except at the top where the thick vinyl piece looks like an inverted J. You are supposed to use this piece to hook the liner onto the wall of the pool while the rest of the material is left covering the pool. Installing the line is, therefore, a matter of hooking the J pieces which is a lot easier compared to the other types of liners.
J-Hook liners are a favorite to many because users can choose from tile patterns to other forms of designing. These make your pool look pretty nice, and they also don’t leave too much material hanging over as is the case with overlap liners. J-hook liners also have a bigger margin for error, and this is why almost anywhere can install them.
- Beaded Liners
Beaded Liners do not have any piece flowing over the wall of the swimming pool. This is a good and bad thing all at the same time. The fact that no material overflows from the swimming pool makes these pool liners really neat. Unfortunately, since the liner is installed from the wall of the swimming pool, some water may sneak into the space between the liner and the pool’s wall. Over some time, this water may erode the swimming pool’s walls and may cause other complications. This is why these liners are not very ideal for above-ground pools.
Installing this liner involves putting a track or bead receiver around the walls. This provides the platform on which the beads will attach to as the rest of the liner is left to cover the pool. Another issue which may arise here is that the bead track may not hold the beads properly and this may make the entire liner loose necessitating the need to secure the liner once again. This is a prevalent issue especially when the liner is used for above-ground pools.
- Expendable Liners
Expandable liners are ideal for above-ground pools with a deep center. These pool liners can cover pools with a center that is up to 2 feet deep. The liner’s side is made of approximately 72” of vinyl which is a lot more than you get from overlap liners.
Pool Liners Buying Guide
Now that you know about the types of pool liners available let’s look at the finer details that you must consider when purchasing a liner:
First and most important is the measurements of your pool. You just cannot afford to get the wrong measurements when shopping for a liner. The wrong measurements can either lead to a loose liner or a tight one, and neither of the two is a good thing. Loose liners make swimming pools look miserable, and the pool liners won’t last for long at this state. A tight line may break immediately after installing the last hook wasting your money.
You also have to consider the thickness of the liner that you are choosing. Typically, pool liners have between 20 to 30 mil thickness, and each size comes with its own benefits. 20 mil liners are the most affordable, but they also have average durability compared to the thicker liners. 25-27 mil liners have more protection against UV rays and hence have a longer lifespan. 30 mil liners are the most durable with protection from both UV rays and sharp objects. Unfortunately, thick liners are the most difficult to install, but this is a small price to pay given the sort of durability and performance they provide.
Finally, you will have to make a personal choice on the design of the liner. Here you can choose between different color patterns and themes. Personally, I prefer dark-colored themes because other than providing a presentable appearance they also tend to hide stains better compared to light colored patterns or themes.
Top Three Pool Liners
The following are the best above ground pool liners of 2018:
- Smartline Waves of Poseidon 24-Foot Round Liner
The Smartline Waves of Poseidon Round Linear is an overlap liner made of virgin vinyl. The vinyl material offers excellent protection against chemicals and UV rays making this one of the most durable liners in the market. It is also why the liner comes with a 25-year warranty!
This liner also has a 20 mil thickness which isn’t as much as we would have loved, but it still gets the job done pretty well. Installing it is also super easy, and it is something you can do yourself.
To reduce creasing and wrinkling this Smartline product is folded manually. It will, therefore, arrive with fewer wrinkles that should disappear after some time to reveal its gorgeous appearance.
- Smartline 24-Foot Round Solid Blue Liner
Another incredible pool liner from Smartline that’s made of durable virgin vinyl. As the name suggests, this liner comes within a solid blue color making installation an easy task because you don’t have to worry about ruining any patterns or designs. Having a liner made of just a single color may sound boring on paper, but upon its installation and filling water, this liner will have quite an incredible impact. There are also several other designs to choose from in case you want something more exciting.
The liner is also designed to withstand extended exposure to chemicals and UV rays. This extends its durability significantly saving you lots of cash.
- In The Swim 24-ft Round Overlap Above Ground Pool Liner – 20 Gauge
This overlap pool liner has a beautiful design that will completely transform your above-ground pool. You can also choose a dark-colored pattern for a unique appearance. The liner is made of high-quality virgin vinyl offering protection against UV light and other chemicals. It is also equipped with a pad that prevents sand, rocks, and grass from entering your pool.
The In The Swim Round Overlap liner can also be used with above ground pools with a flat surface. It is, however, limited to pools whose sidewalls measure 48” by 52” only.
This overlap liner is very easy to install. You won’t even have to hire an expert to put up this liner. It also comes with a 15-year warranty.
Final Thoughts on Pool Liners
A pool liner does more than just separating your pool from the pool water. This pool liner is supposed to make your pool cleaner, safer and more interesting to look at. You, therefore, need to invest wisely when shopping for a liner. There is no need to buy a cheap item that will be damaged after two years or so forcing you to dig back to your pockets for a replacement. You are better off spending a little more to get great pool liners, like the ones mentioned above, which will serve you for decades.