We Are Inground Vinyl Liner Swimming Pool Specialist: Please Call To Schedule A Free Estimate (978) 710-8667
Call Now To Get In On Early Bird / Spring 2015 Pricing
We are a full service pool repair company, and pool liner installation specialists. We would appreciate the opportunity to provide you with a free liner replacement estimate. We offer this service for free if your an existing Massachusetts homeowners. Please call now to set up an appointment with us today.
After reading this short piece, you will feel 100% more confident in contracting someone to replace your pool liner. We debunk a lot of sales talk, and explain what’s really important. This article is packed with trade secrets and information, to help you compare apples to apples, and get the best price.
There are only a couple elements to replacing your liner. The new liner, and the installation. We will discuss each of these, and conclude with things you could tell your installer to help with the estimate.
Are All Inground Pool Liners The Same?
There is no easy answer to this question, but you will find the next few paragraphs very informative. The short answer is no, but in most respects the answer is yes. Confused? Don’t worry, we will explain it so you understand, and so your eyes don’t glaze over.
Local Inground Pool Liner Manufacturers
Here in Massachusetts you want your liner to come from: KafKo /Lathem, Imperial /Vinyl Works, VynAll, or even Loop Loc. As long as your installer is buying a liner from one of these manufacturers, you’re in good shape, and you can otherwise consider the actual vinyl a commodity.
In all fairness, there is also a difference in the way some manufacturers assemble liners, but we would give all these companies an A+ if we were also grading on assembly.
We would say that KafKo/Laythem have a better product as they have developed a swimming pool liner with invisible floor seams (Ultra Seam).
Liner Installer Sales Talk
A lot of installers talk about plasticizers, bio-guards, UV protection, “Virgin Vinyl”, and cold-crack-point. Because all the good liner manufacturers mentioned above purchase the same material, from the same vinyl suppliers, all this industry jargon is a non-issue.
Please ask your perspective liner replacement company, which manufacturer they purchase their liners from.
Pool Liner Thickness
Thickness matters, and when discussing the thickness of a liner, you only want to talk in mil’s. A few installers will use the term gauge, as if it were interchangeable with mil, but it is not! All future discussion in this article about thickness will be discussed in mils.
The standard liner thickness usually quoted in most estimates is 27/20. That means the wall is 27 mil and the floor is 20 mil. This is a good liner and it will serve you well. I would not go any thinner. Thicker is better though, especially here in Massachusetts with our nasty winters, and if your budget allows, a 27/27 is more durable, and will definitely last longer.
You want to ask all inground liner installers: what’s the thickness of the liner in your estimate? And as previously mentioned, they should tell you this in mil’s.
Does It Really Matter Who Installs My Liner? Isn’t One Installer As Good As Another?
There is quite a difference from one installer to another. We have had many an employee that thought they could open their own business after only a couple years working on one of our teams.
Of course nobody wants the first tattoo, or the first hair cut. Experience is the key in most industries, but even with 3000 liners under our belts, we sometimes run into sticky situations.
Measuring For Fit
Measuring your pool to order a liner, is best left to the most experienced. It’s not like measuring a pant leg or a waist. The liner has to be a little shorter than the pool, so you don’t get wrinkles. You want it to stretch into the pool a bit. But, over stretch it, and you will have weak points.
Vinyl will be more pliable /stretchy at higher temps too. So if you’re doing an install in the early spring, you will want to compensate when measuring, to get a proper fit.
Each manufacture have their own formula for interpreting our written measurements, so we are happy with the fit. So it is only with experience ordering from them, that an installer can become familiar with their tendencies.
There should be some discussion of the type of pool bottom you have. The best type is going to be Vermiculite. This is a porous type of cement that allows water trapped behind the liner to escape, and is solid to prevent wash out, which is common with sand.
If you have a sand or stone dust bottom, it would really benefit you to have you liner installer do a coat of vermiculite. Stone dust over the years has a way of pushing small sharp stones to the surface. And sand is apt to shift and wash out.
Having worked in this area for so long, we know the tendencies of the local pool builders. So if you know who built your pool, we will know what kind of bottom you most likely have.
There are workarounds if you do not have a vermiculite pool bottom, nor the budget to install one. You might think pouring in, and trouling a cement /vermiculite pool bottom is very expensive, but your average pool cost just about twelve hundred dollars.
Another concern when replacing your liner is groundwater. We can not install the liner if the hopper is filling up with water. Some builders installed ground water lines to deal with this issue. If you have such a line, it’s a non-issue, if one needs to be installed, it will bump up the cost of any job. Groundwater simply causes delays, and more man hours to deal with the issue.
Ask your prospective inground liner installers if they foresee groundwater becoming an issue, and what costs may be associated with it. We may not even bring it up if we see an obvious ground waterline, or are familiar with your neighborhood. We look for telltale signs on the way to the estimate. Things we are looking for include:
- Sump Pump Lines Coming From Neighborhood Basements
- Types Of Trees In The Area
- Obvious Bodies Of Water Close By
Pool Stairs Covered By Vinyl
Pools with stairs that are covered with vinyl are more challenging than drop in, or plastic insert stair types. In the picture below, you can see our most experienced inground liner installer (Dave) working to install the stair section first.
This liner came with rod pockets to hold the liner properly in place over the steps. Getting the stairs prepared and then installing the liner in the section can take several hours more than dealing with other stair types.
When replacing your liner, you might consider adding in a new set of steps or a bench. Is it easy for everyone who uses the pool to get in and out? Liner manufacturers are also offering stair treads with texture, helping to prevent slipping.
Summary & Getting Estimate
When you call to get a price, your prospective installation company will want to know a few things.
- Size & Shape Of Pool?
- Does Your Liner Cover The Stairs?
- Do You know What Kind Of Pool Bottom You Have?
- Do You Know Who Built Your Pool?
- Do You Have Any Pictures That Were Taken During Construction, Or During The Last Liner Replacement?
It is not that important that you know any of these things, but it will certainly help you to get a FAST accurate estimate with no surprises during the job. Many of our installations come off without a hitch, because we are prepared. This is not to say we operate in a perfect world where nothing ever goes wrong.
We have covered the important aspects of an inground pool liner installation as we see it. The only things we did not get into is the actual cost of replacing your liner, or condition of your pool walls. I hope I have lived up to my promise of making you feel more confident about hiring an installer. If you have any questions, please use the comments section below, or just give us a call (978) 710-8667.
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