Will the seams be visible when my new vinyl pool liner is installed?

Four years ago, we wrote a post about being able to see liner seams and you can click here to see what we said back then.

Over the past four years, every supplier in the industry has worked to further minimize the appearance of their seams. Some have made adjustments to the traditional welding methods and others have adopted new techniques.

No matter which process is used, every liner has the same number of seams and every seam is visible to some degree. Even those being promoted as “invisible” become noticeable when the pool is illuminated at night or when debris accumulates against the seams.

Our best advice, don’t make your decision based on a welding technology. It’s just not that important. Instead, pick a pattern you love and a local contractor you can trust. Click here to read what’s really important when replacing your pool liner, everything else can just be a distraction.

Logan pattern

Logan pattern




Are there any new patterns for the 2014 season?

We are excited to share our new patterns for 2014. For 2014, we are introducing six new diverse and winning patterns. The six new patterns include three new tile borders and two floors. Four patterns are on the ever-popular water reflections floor. The new patterns are Fraser, Johnston, Alexander, Hamilton, Barclay, and Leslie.

Click here to see our new patterns as well as the complete 2014 in-ground liner collection.

How do I replace my bungee-style cover with a safety cover?

When a dealer replaces any existing safety cover, he wants to match as many anchors as possible. This will minimize the number of new holes he has to drill into the deck. Please check out our effortless anchor matching service at MatchMyAnchors.com.

It is, however, much more challenging to match your anchors when replacing a bungee-style cover. These non-safety covers were designed to drape down onto the pool’s water for support. For this reason, they are larger than a safety cover will be for the same pool.


Bungee-style cover


This means we cannot use the bungee cover as a template to make a replacement safety cover so your dealer is are going to have to measure anyway. The question is, how does he measure to hit as many anchors as possible? The answer is different for rectangle pools than it is for custom shape pools.


For Rectangles there are two possible solutions:

1- To match most of the existing anchors we can produce a custom cover on 4’ spacing. Your dealer just provides the pool size, the distance between the anchors and the distance from the pool to the anchor  line and we do the rest. The only negative is he has to measure the anchors and you will pay the price of a custom cover, which will cost you about 50% more than the same size stock cover.

2-  If you would like to save the  cost of a custom cover you can just order a stock cover and take your chances. The 8 corner straps are going to match anyway.  Your new stock cover only needs anchors every five feet or so and the existing bungee anchors are spaced every two feet anyway. This means you have lots of existing anchors to choose from.  We should be able to match at least half of the anchors on the remaining sides. Your dealer will have to drill new holes for new anchors in the remaining locations but you will enjoy a nice price savings.


For Custom Shapes the decision is a little easier:

The custom cover will cost the same whether we attempt to match the anchors or not so we might as well try. If A-B’s are being taken for the pool anyway, your dealer will A-B the anchor heads too and we will design the new safety cover to hit as many anchors as possible. We will not hit every anchor because the existing anchors were not designed on a grid where you have one anchor opposite every other anchor like you have on a safety cover. Instead, on the original bungee cover they just started at some point and sewed straps on every two feet around the perimeter. If there is an anchor in the deck opposite one on the other side, it’s just by chance, not by design. Drilling some new anchors will always be necessary.


McEwen Industries safety cover

McEwen Industries safety cover


What does 20 mil mean?

When it’s time to replace the liner in your pool, you will most likely hear the term mil as it relates to the thickness of a liner.

A mil is a unit of measurement that is equal to one thousandth of an inch. Therefore, a 20 mil liner is equal to 20 thousandths of an inch and a 27 mil liner is equal to 27 thousandths of an inch. If you have a one inch tall stack of liner samples, there would be 50 20 mil pieces. By the same token, there would only be 37 27 mil samples in an inch tall stack of samples.

A good frame of reference is five standard sheets of copy paper are as thick as a 20 mil liner. A mil, however, is not the same unit of measure as a millimeter.

Even though it’s thicker, a 27 mil liner will not last any longer than a 20 mil liner. For more information about the durability of a liner, please click here and here.

McDougall pattern


How many years before I will need to replace my liner?

The average life expectancy of an in-ground pool liner is about seven years. Proper maintanence and attention to pH and chlorine levels will help maximize the life of your liner. The addition of a safety cover during the off-season will also help.

Liners are just like the tires for your car or the shoes for your feet - over time they wear out and will need to be replaced. They all take a beating from the elements. The question is, how many years can you get out of your liner before it has to be replaced?

The quick answer is, if your liner is not leaking then don’t replace it. One morning you’ll come out and the water is down a foot and you’ll know it’s time.

The longer answer is that liners fail for two reasons – they either dry rot and split or they fade. If your liner is ripping due to dry rot, this typically shows up in one of the corners and above the waterline. It might not cause a leak, but it is unsightly. Fading is the overall bleaching of the liner due to exposure to sunlight and chemicals. This is just like what happens to the dashboard of your car after many years of exposure to the sun.

Sometimes, you simply want a new liner pattern in your pool. New patterns are introduced every year and technology continues to create increasingly more realistic liner patterns. A new liner will give both your swimming pool and your entire backyard a fresh, new look.



What is the best type of construction to use when building an in-ground pool?

So you are going to build a new pool. There are really are only three choices - fiberglass, gunite, or vinyl.

There are many reasons why we think a vinyl liner pool is your best option. First of all,  there is no limit to the size, shape and depth of a vinyl liner pool so you can design any pool you can imagine. The vinyl liner has a soft and smooth feel and is nonabrasive to the touch. There are many choices of colors and patterns available for a vinyl liner pool. You replace the liner every 7 years and it’s like getting a brand new pool every time. Vinyl liner pools are also  the least expensive option to build as well as less costly to maintain.

There is not a bad choice when it comes to choosing a pool for your backyard, we just think vinyl is the best.


McAllen pattern


What exactly is textured vinyl for steps?

There are two choices for using the same floor pattern to cover steps – textured vinyl or the floor material without the texture. The textured vinyl material for steps is new and matches the floor pattern of the pool. The textured vinyl has a raised, pebbly texture which allows for more of a grip-feel. This adds for an improved appearance and allows the vinyl for the step to match the liner of the pool while still providing the textured material. Not all patterns are currently available with this option so consult with your local pool dealer to see which ones are available.


I’m really tempted to buy my in-ground pool liner online — How much trouble can I get into?

There are lots of things that make sense to buy online, but an inground pool liner is not one of them. Our best advice is always to choose a local swimming pool contractor who you can hire to measure, install and stand behind the purchase of your new inground vinyl pool liner. If you choose to go with an internet retailer, you’re often just dealing with a website run from an office somewhere. When it comes to a custom-made in-ground pool liner, they have nothing to offer you but the liner itself. They can’t professionally measure your pool, they can’t install your liner, and when there’s a problem, there’s little they can do for that either. In fact, all they can do is send you a big box of vinyl that may, or may not, fit your pool.




What about those cheap prices? Many of the patterns shown online are closeouts that any local pool professional can also sell to you for a discount. No magic here.

What about measuring and installation? There are details specific to each pool that only a professional with experience will recognize during the measurement process. Also, there are many problems that can arise during the installation process that can prove challenging even for a seasoned professional. Issues can arise with the liner receiver, deteriorated pool panels, rough bottom surfaces, ground water, problems with pulling the light cord, vacuum stretching the liner to fit, among other things.




What happens when a problem comes up? Often these internet retailers will just give you an 800 number for a manufacturer, perhaps in another country, who will explain why it’s your mistake and why your problem is not covered by their warranty.

We strongly suggest that you work with a local pool professional. They are equipped with the proper tools and experience to take on the task of getting your liner replacement done properly. The most important decision of a new liner purchase is which local swimming pool contractor you are going to hire to measure, install, and stand behind the purchase of your new in-ground vinyl pool liner. Nothing else is more important.

Read more here.


hawthorne 1EDITED


Are there any new patterns for the 2013 season?

We are excited to share our new patterns for 2013. For 2013, we are introducing seven gorgeous, winning, and diverse new patterns. “Spence” is printed on gray vinyl with a gray bead. Carmichael is our first exclusive 27 mil tan pattern. We are also introducing a number of great looking earth tones. There are also four new floor patterns including two designed to showcase the natural beauty of exposed aggregate surfaces. Please see your local pool dealer to enjoy the actual vinyl samples.


Should I buy a safety cover for my pool?

As summer winds down and pools begin to close, we recommend installing a safety cover on your pool. By winterizing your pool with a safety cover, you keep your liner out of the sun and chlorine-free for many months which can greatly extend the life of your liner.

One important tip is to make sure the water level does not drop more than 18” below the coping. The water acts as a support system if there is a heavy snow load on the cover.

For more information on safety covers, please click here to see our previous blog posts. Please also visit our website for additional information.