It has rained all season long, your backyard oasis has turned into a pile of mush, and the rain has caused the one thing pool owners don’t want to see – liner wrinkles.
There are two issues here: how to get rid of the wrinkles, and how to keep this from happening again.
Wrinkles can be caused by ground water, but if the liner looks “pruned,” the wrinkles are most likely due to water absorption. The debate is why did the vinyl absorb water? Is it improper chemical balance or is the material in your particular liner less resistant to absorption than it should be? With a pruned liner, you should always make a warranty claim and see if the manufacturer knows of a any material issue around the time your liner was made, We will talk more about water absorption in another post…
During periods of heavy rain, if the water level in the ground becomes higher than the water level in the pool, the liner will float. When the ground water recedes, the liner comes back down. If there is no vacuum on, the liner will stretch back into place unevenly, creating wrinkles in some areas and a tight stretch in others. Usually the wrinkles are in the shallow end.
The solution is to drain the water about one foot back down the slope to the deep end, below the floor in the shallow end. Pull the material back up into place in the shallow end, turn on a vacuum blower (just like during the initial installation) and refill the pool.
There are all kinds of ways to get in trouble here, so this is definitely a job for your pool professional. If the ground is still saturated with water, the pool walls may collapse under the extra weight. You may need to wait for drier conditions before attempting to re-seat the liner. If the liner is more than a few years old, it may be brittle and may rip when you try to get it back in place. The liner could also tear away from the face plates around the steps and skimmers.
The bottom line: It is probably a simple and inexpensive fix. Your contractor just drains some water, re-seats the liner and fills it back up. Be aware that the liner may fail during the process, but if the liner is more than seven years old, it is about time to replace it anyway.
The second question is how to keep the liner from floating again when you have the next big rain. You may need to install drains to carry water away from the pool area, or you may want to install a well point and pump to take care of the underground water. Or you may just decide that this is a once every 10 year event that you can live with.
We have provided several pictures of liners that floated as a result of excess rain water. You can see the liner wrinkles caused by the floating.