Vinyl liners for in-ground pools tend to last 8 to 12 years, on average, although some might require replacement after just 5 years and others will make it to 15 or 20. For above-ground pools, which are more exposed, plan on 6 to 10 years.
Why such variation in lifespan? Well, there are many factors that affect how long a liner will last, including the quality of the liner, sun exposure, how often the pool is used, how well it has been maintained and where you live. Maintenance is among the most important.
How to Maintain a Swimming Pool Liner
People who buy a high-quality liner and are meticulous about maintenance might get 20 years or more out of a pool liner. That’s rare, but it does happen. Here are some tips to maximize the liner’s lifespan:
- Maintain proper chemical balance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and consult a pool professional if you’re unsure how to do it. You’ll pay a little more upfront, but that investment will pay off in extended lifespan.
- Maintain a PH of 7 (neutral) or higher. Anything less than that is acidic and will damage the liner. Again, consult a professional if you’re not sure how to do this.
- Never toss granulated chlorine or chlorine tabs into the pool without first dissolving them in a separate bucket of water. The chlorine can degrade the pool liner. Also, run the pump for several hours after adding chlorine. Misuse of chlorine, particularly using high concentrations, is a major cause of vinyl deterioration.
- Keep your filtration system well maintained so that it can properly remove debris and other impurities.
- Use cleaning equipment such (i.e. vacuum attachments and brushes) that is designed for vinyl pools to prevent rips and tears. Vinyl pools are more easily damaged than concrete or fiberglass varieties. But do clean the pool regularly.
- Never completely drain a pool with a vinyl liner (unless unavoidable). That can shrink the vinyl liner and/or cause it to rip and tear.
What About the Warranty?
Most vinyl pool liners come with warranties, but it’s important to read the fine print. In many cases, the warranties are prorated after the first few years, meaning they lose value every year. Your 25-year warranty, for example, might only cover 10 percent of the replacement cost after the first 8 years. It might not cover installation costs at all, even in the early years.
When you’re shopping for a new vinyl later, pay attention to the terms of the warranty. Higher-quality liners cost more upfront, but they tend to come with better warranties.