How To Choose Above Ground Pool Liners

If you are buying a new above ground pool, you will usually have a number of liner patterns to choose from based on the pool you purchase. Look at the different types of above ground pool liners available.

1. Economy grade above ground pools will typically be designed to use overlap liners. As the name implies, an overlap liner drapes over the pool wall; it is held in place by plastic clips called coping strips and then the top rail of the pool is placed over it. Some of the liner material will be visible on the outside of the pool and can be trimmed. Because the overhang of this liner type may not be perfectly even all the way around the pool, overlap liners will usually not have any kind of pattern or border around the top. Instead, they commonly come in a solid color or an overall pattern. Overlap liners will fit a 48- or 52-inch wall height.

2. If you have an overlap style and want to change it to a beaded liner, you can install a bead receiver in your pool. The bead receiver comes in four foot sections that slip over the top of the pool wall. This provides the track that is required to install a beaded liner. There will be no liner material overhanging the wall. See the next step for more details on beaded liners.

3. Beaded liners snap into a bead track that runs around the inside perimeter of above ground pools. Because the liner hangs inside the pool and does not overlap the wall, beaded liners offer patterns with borders at the top which tend to be more popular. Beaded liners must be ordered with the correct wall height since they do not have extra material like overlap liners do. Most wall heights are either 48- or 52-inch. Be sure to measure the height of your pool wall before selecting a beaded liner. If you need to replace a beaded liner, one thing to consider is the size of the bead on your current liner. The bead size can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and we have encountered customers who ordered replacement liners only to find the bead size did not match. It is a good idea to plan ahead and allow extra time to send a piece of the bead from your old liner to the retailer so it can be compared to the replacement liner bead.

4. J-hook or Uni-Bead liners have a hook that slips over the top of the pool wall. This style of pool liner was designed for retail stores and service companies so they could stock one liner that would work as either a J-hook or beaded. The Uni-bead liner comes out of the box with the J-hook that clips directly onto the wall of the pool. To use this it as a beaded liner instead, there is a perforation which allows you to tear off the J-hook section, resulting in a beaded liner which will clip into a bead receiver. The Uni-bead can be installed on above ground pools that use overlap liners. Owners of overlap style pools often like the J-hook option because it gives them more pattern choices and allows them to have a liner with a decorative border around the top. Like the beaded liners, the Uni-bead comes in sizes based on specific wall heights so you must measure your pool wall to ensure you select the correct liner.

5. Expandable liners are used for pools that have been dug out to have a deep end. This is common with Doughboy brand pools. Expandable liners have a bottom portion which expands up to 72”. Some wrinkles are normal with any pool liner installation but should be expected with expandable liners due to the extra material.

6. Kayak and Fanta Sea brand pools are rectangular on-ground pools which use a specific liner. If you have one of these pools, you will need to look for “on-ground replacement liners” which are often referred to as “Kayak replacement liners” since their name is so well known. There are manufacturers other than Kayak and Fanta Sea that make liners for these on-ground pools. If you are concerned about your pool warranty, it is a good idea to contact the original pool manufacturer before installing a generic replacement liner.

7. A custom-made above ground pool liner might be required if you have a pool that is an unusual size or shape. Over the years, many above ground pool manufacturers have gone out of business leaving their customers scrambling to find a replacement liner which will fit an uncommon size. Although somewhat more expensive, a custom liner is the best way to go in these cases to ensure the liner will properly fit the pool. It could very well cost more money in the end to try forcing the wrong size or shape liner into your pool.

8. When ordering any liner, it is very important to be aware that most companies cannot take back a liner that has been removed from its original packaging. This is due to the risk of pinholes in the liner caused by resting the liner against any rough surface. Even small particles of dirt rubbing against the liner can cause a tiny hole in the material. Once a liner has been taken out of its packaging, it is no longer resalable. So please be sure you have ordered the correct size, shape, style (overlap, beaded, etc.) and wall height. It is worth a few minutes of your time to measure your pool if you aren’t 100% sure of its dimensions. Once you receive your new liner, read the packing slip and the label on the box before opening it. If there is any discrepancy between the liner you ordered and what you received, leave it in the box and contact the retailer immediately.

If you have any other questions about pool and spa products please do let us know - we are here to help!

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