What are the black stains on the floor of my liner and how do I get rid of them?

If you have black or grey cloud-like stains on the floor of your in-ground vinyl liner, they are most likely caused by bacteria that is living in the ground under your pool.  Bacteria sometimes show up years after a pool has been installed.  We think the bacteria can be washed into your pool area by flooding rains or when a septic tank overflows.

There is little proven research on this topic but we understand the bacteria actually gets sunlight through the water, eats on some food source in the ground and then secretes a dye-like material that migrates through the vinyl and shows up as a stain on the floor of your pool. Often these spots appear grey, greyish green or light black in color. Once the spots appear, the damage to your liner is done and it’s irreversible.  Algaecides and other chemicals used in the pool will have no effect on these stains since they can’t get to the source of the problem which is the bacteria in the soil.

So you live with stains as long as you can and then, when it’s time to change your liner, it’s also time to try and get rid of the bacteria to avoid a repeat problem with staining. No one knows precisely how to solve this problem but there are four methods that we understand may be effective.  You may want to choose one or even try all four.

  1. The simplest way to attempt to kill the bacteria is to have your contractor spray the floor of the pool with liquid chlorine before installing your new liner. Chlorine bleach works fine and they will mist the floor of the pool using a garden sprayer three or four times.
  2. A second possible solution is to change the pH of the soil under and around the pool.  This is done with a chemical called Copperas Iron Sulfate (FeSO4) which is available at tree nurseries or agricultural supply houses. The chemical is sprinkled on the ground around the pool and on the floor of the pool and then the ground is saturated with water for two to three days. The idea is to get the powder deep into the ground so it can change the pH of the soil and kill the source of the bacteria.
  3.  Since bacteria need sunlight to grow, a third option is to eliminate the light source by putting a black sheet of plastic under the liner. This is not advisable if your yard has a high water table as rising water may float the liner and ball up the plastic underneath causing an even bigger problem than the stain.
  4. Finally, some companies are selling a roll-on epoxy-like stain barrier paint to cover the floor and walls of your pool.  It’s like a liquid plastic that sets up hard to form a membrane intended to block out the light and prevent stains from getting to your liner. It is the most expensive of the options but some people claim it really works.

Discuss these options with your local pool professional and depend on them to suggest which method they have tried and found to be most effective.

Moldy Pool

Can I buy an in-ground liner for my above-ground pool?

Can I buy an in-ground liner for my above-ground pool? This question comes up throughout the season. The answer is yes you could, but we strongly do not recommend this for several reasons.

The main reason is that an above-ground pool wall is not designed to handle the weight of an in-ground liner. In-ground liners are thicker and heavier than above-ground liners and put extra strain on the walls. This, ultimately, can cause the walls to crimp and buckle. To install an in-ground liner, you need to have a vacumm running — this can also cause the walls to buckle under the strain of the liner stretching into place.

The other reason is money. In-ground liners are about three times the cost of an above-ground liner. For the difference in price as well as running the risk of destroying your pool, buying an above-ground liner for your above-ground pool is the correct choice. The patterns are also equally attractive.

The "Bonhill" above-ground liner pattern

The "Bonhill" above-ground liner pattern

Can I order a solid color liner without a tile border or a print floor?

Can I buy a solid color liner? This question comes up regularly throughout the season. You can buy a solid color, but we would strongly recommend you do not. From a cosmetic standpoint, a solid color liner will show every spec of dirt or debris that a print liner will not. Solid color liners also look very bad after a few years due to uneven fading and aging.

For our print liners, we take a solid base film, spray on ink and then add a protective top-coating. If you order just the solid base film, there’s no ink and therefore there’s no topcoat to protect the vinyl. Scum rings will form and the material fades and dry rots quicker.

If you were hoping to acheive a gunite pool look, a floor print overall would be a better choice as a solid color liner has more the look of an above-ground pool liner.

Our best recommendation is to buy an overall print. A good example is our “Malcolm” pattern that is almost solid blue.

MALCOLM FLOOR OVERALL

MALCOLM FLOOR OVERALL

Are there any new patterns for this season?

We are excited to share our new patterns for 2012. For 2012, we have 5 new patterns. “Hawthorne” is a dark blue version of our “Morrison” pattern. “Hunter” combines earth tones and blue tones on a water reflections floor. “Abbott” and “Collier” each have a slate tile pattern, one in blue and one in tan. “Forsythe” has a dynamic border and a new floor pattern. Please see your local pool dealer to enjoy the actual vinyl samples.

2New for 2012

Can a safety cover be designed for my vinyl-liner pool with custom features?

Can a safety cover be designed for my vinyl-liner pool with custom features? The answer is yes – our safety covers can be designed to fit almost any pool, regardless of shape or size. We can also design the cover to accommodate custom features such as raised walls and rock formations as well as cutting around obstructions such as diving board stands or non-removable rails for slides and ladders. For pools with raised walls, we cut the cover flush with the face of the wall and have several different methods to attach the cover to the wall. 

These techniques not only provide the best look but also guarantee the safety aspect of our covers. 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. Click here for more information on our safety covers.

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How do I choose an in-ground liner pattern for my pool?

How do I choose an in-ground liner pattern for my pool? With our wide selection of styles and colors, we get this question often. By following these steps, you should be able to narrow down the choices to the one you like the best.

1- Consider color scheme.

Start with a color scheme you find pleasing. Choose from blue and gray; blue and green; blue and brown; earth tones; green or tan.. It’s what you find pleasing that counts.

2- Consider tone.

Narrow your focus by deciding whatever your color scheme looks better in lighter shades, medium shades or darker shades. There is a color and a shade for everyone.

3- Consider design elements.

Now you can narrow your focus by deciding whcih design elements you find to be most pleasing. Do you prefer large diamonds, mosaics, vines or perhaps a fun motif such as Elliot the fish?

4- Consider floor patterns.

Finally, choose a floor pattern. Do you prefer river pebbles, water reflections or granites?

Remember, all of our patterns are winning designs, so select the one you like the best. You can also see all of our in-ground liner patterns installed in actual pools.  Just go to our website and click on any pattern or hit the Pattern Viewer button.

MCDOUGALL1

Is the Fall a good time of year to change my in-ground liner?

Is the Fall a good time of year to change my in-ground liner? The answer is - yes, the Fall is a great time to change your liner!

If you choose to replace your liner in the Fall, the key is to pick your day very carefully. It has to be warm outside and the sun also has to be shining. It is the sun beating down on the vinyl on a warm day that loosens it up and allows the material to vacuum into place properly.

For 20 mil liners, we suggest instaling liners on a day no cooler than 60 degrees and for 27 mil liners, we suggest 70 degrees.

If you choose to change your liner in the Fall, your pool will be ready to go on the first day of spring. This prevents any waiting to get on your installer’s schedule or for the weather to break.

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What is most important when considering a new in-ground liner?

The fall season is the perfect time of year to replace your in-ground pool liner. With the swimming season winding down, you can replace your liner now and be ready for the first day of swimming next year.

What is the most important issue to consider when buying a new liner for your pool? Is it price? Is it the liner pattern or thickness? The length of warranty? Which pool liner brand to choose?

In reality, it is none of these. Instead, the most important decision 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. Every other decision can just be a distraction. If you hire someone who misses one measurement, you may spend the next seven years looking at wrinkles. If you let someone who is inexperienced install your pool liner, you may have wrinkles or a pool liner that will fail early on. If you buy from someone out of town or who is not around in a few years, you will have no advocate to make sure your warranty claim is treated fairly in case there is a problem. It is your local swimming pool industry professional who lives and works in your community that will guarantee your satisfaction. Choose that contractor wisely. Nothing else is more important.

 

MCALLISTER1

Is it ok to put chlorine tablets in my skimmer instead of using a chlorine feeder?

The answer is yes, many people do just that, but you can get in trouble if you don’t run your pump runs 24 hours a day.  We would not recommend putting tablets in your skimmer if you operate your pool on a timer and you can also get in trouble if the power goes off.

The chlorine tablets are concentrated and they have a very low ph.  When your pump is running, the water going through your skimmer is constantly eroding the tablet, adding chlorine to the water which quickly makes its way through your filter system and into your pool.

If the pump goes off, now that tablet is sitting in just a few gallons of water and the chlorine level rises and ph drops. Now you have a skimmer full of highly chlorinated/acidic water and when it sloshes out of the skimmer and back into the pool with the regular movement of the water in your pool, that caustic water runs right down the face of the wall and can burn your liner as shown in the photos below.  This will damage and permanently discolor your liner.

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What will that liner pattern look like in my pool?

We often get asked the question “What will that liner pattern look like in my pool?” Well, now you can see all of our in-ground liner patterns installed in actual pools.  Just go to our website and click on any pattern or hit the Pattern Viewer button.

Morrison pattern installed

Morrison pattern installed