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How Long Will a Swimming Pool's Vinyl Liner Really Last?


The reality of vinyl liner pool warranties

Having installed inground and above ground vinyl liner pools over the last 8 years, I find one of the biggest misconceptions that vinyl liner pool owners have is a realistic idea as to how long their liner will last before it has to be replaced. Frankly, most pool owners are led to an unrealistic sense of their liner's longevity because of its warranty. So let me make one very clear statement:

Your typically pool liner warranty, be it 25 or 30 years, is a joke.

OK, so now that I've offended every liner manufacturer from here to China, let me explain. Let's assume that a pool's liner comes with a '25 year' warranty. If one reads the actual warranty they will see that liner warranties are extremely PRORATED. This means they lose value with every year. In most cases, 25 year liner warranties have a 2-5 year full warranty, and then the prorate kicks in[‘. Also, liner warranties do not cover the cost of filling the pool with water nor do they cover the cost of labor. To understand this further, look at the following example:

Your new vinyl liner inground pool has a 30 year warranty. After 7 years, your liner forms a separation in its seams and so therefore you hope to receive a large reimbursement for your replacement costs. The person that built your pool then comes out to take a look at things and lets you know that the cost for a new liner is normally $1700, and the prorated deductions that will be covered by the original manufacturer at this point are only 10%, which comes up to be about $170 off the price. The builder then informs you that you'll spend an additional $1200 on water plus another $2000 on labor. In other words, your replacement costs after 7 years will be more than $4000. Sounds like a good deal, doesn't it? As you can see, liner warranties are pretty ridiculous, which is why pool owners are often times so very disenchanted when they have to replace their liner before the 10 year mark.

So the question is-How long will pool liners generally last?

Inground Pool Liners:

The reality is that the average inground pool liner will last 5-12 years. I've seen many cases where inground pool liners have lasted less than 7 years and other cases where they've lasted almost 20 years. Although many pool builders argue that a properly installed liner will guarantee longevity, other factors such as water chemistry, chemicals used, and luck will also be a significant factor.

Above Ground Pool Liners:

Above ground pool liners will last 6-10 years in most cases. The factors that dictate their longevity are essentially the same as those of an inground liner.

Marcus Sheridan

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I purchased a 24 round pool had it professionally installed at the total of $3000. Well the outer wall corrided near the front causing a tear in liner. Call the pool company and they did not want to go good on warranty?Now I have to fight with the manufactuer,atty. general and Better Business Bureau. Why should it have to be this way. I have been a loyal customer and bought 3 pools from this company. Does anyone have a suggestion of what I can do to have someone do right by the warranty. I did have a profesional come down fix the liner tear and documented cause of liner tear. Is there a secret to how to win and have the consumer come out on the winning end. This is a $3000 investment that will be washed down the drain.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 08, 2009 11:36 PM by regina61
Sorry for your bad luck Regina. It's a tough situation you have because the issue here seems to be a manufacturer defect and therefore the negligence would be on them. I cannot speak for the pool company, but the fact that you've purchased 3 pools from them says quite a lot and I'd imagine that they'd be will to go above and beyond. Again, good luck with your difficult situation.
Posted @ Wednesday, September 09, 2009 9:56 PM by Marcus Edward Sheridan
I have a inground pool liner in my garage, unused for 8 years. Is it any good
Posted @ Friday, October 29, 2010 7:48 AM by Ken
Hi Ken. If the liner is in the box, then yes, it should be fine. Good luck!
Posted @ Friday, October 29, 2010 11:19 PM by Marcus Sheridan
I agree with you that In most cases, 25 year liner warranties have a 2-5 year full warranty
Posted @ Sunday, October 31, 2010 1:51 PM by inground pool liners
In 1983 I was asked if I could dive and repair a Vinyl Liner at first I thought it was a hoax call having just laid of 9 cmmercial divers. Well this call provided me with a good income that turned into a huge learning curve. 
The oldest vinyl liner I have repaired was 33 years the youngest 3 days over 100 holes because grandad gave them a small row boat what a mess. 
For 10 years I foun that ther was nothing wrong with a vinyl liner pool it was a installer and owner problem then of course the shops that switch them over to Salt water, Wow what a mess walls that rust out. Another observation I have noticed was that the Vinyl became a lot more brittle in Salt Water. 
Yes so the Vinyl Liners of yesterday can last up to 33 years if you are
Posted @ Monday, January 24, 2011 3:56 PM by Norman
7 year old 24' rectangular pool is starting to seperate on one of the walls at the seam. there is a good bit of overlap on the seam. do you think it will just give way or do you think if not leaking - go until she blows? 
Posted @ Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:20 AM by tom
We just completed having an inground pool installed and there is a very small tear in the liner. If we have the company patch the liner, how long could we expect the patch to last?
Posted @ Monday, July 04, 2011 7:46 PM by Vicki
We had our inground pool put in about 5 years ago. We were noticing each year that our liner was showing more and more white marks. not sure what's making them, but if this continues the whole bottom of the pool will end up being white. Do you think this is due to poor installation or poor quality?
Posted @ Saturday, July 16, 2011 1:40 PM by Christine
Christine It is more likely the liner itself is of poor quality. Also it could be your chemistry.
Posted @ Wednesday, October 19, 2011 5:26 PM by David
As an industry veteran for over 20 years, I would have to agree that you should expect to get between 8 to 10 years out of your liner. While a proper installation is of the utmost importance so is proper care and chemical balance on the consumers end. We are always very upfront with the customer letting them know the reality of their warranty and what it covers. With over 20 years experience installing vinyl liners, we have seen probably less than 15-20 defective liners.
Posted @ Friday, March 09, 2012 10:11 AM by Ray Maronpot
I have an above ground pool (15x24 oval) and the liner has pulled away from the side of the pool. The seam is still good, it is just that the rubber ring has pulled out of the trough on the side of the pool. I can put the ring back in the trough, is there a way to make it stay there? This is the second year in a row that I have had this problem.
Posted @ Thursday, May 24, 2012 4:20 PM by Terry
I have tear on the south side above the waterline near a corner. I have bought patch to repair. The pool is half filled. Since the t morning because of 100% heat the tear has double in size, can you suggest something urgent for me to not let the tear get bigger. Cannot afford a new liner as yet
Posted @ Thursday, June 21, 2012 2:02 PM by Ashwin Dhir
After company installed our above ground pool, we notice a hole in the liner our first time in the pool. We called and they came and patched it. Does the patch make the liner less durable? Can we expect the same life of the liner with the patch?
Posted @ Tuesday, July 03, 2012 7:01 PM by SOsborne
It's tough to say if your liner will or will not last as long. There is a very good chance you'll have to patch it again in that area. 
Good luck!
Posted @ Thursday, July 05, 2012 11:14 AM by Marcus Sheridan
Hi there, 
We had an inground pool installed and the liner wasn't quite right, it's stretched in one area. The company gave us a replacement liner in the box after a long battle with them. Should we keep the other one in until it basically lets go and save the new liner or go ahead and change it this summer? We have had it in the basement in its box for the past year. The other pool liner that is currently in use is going on it's 3rd summer. The stretched part isn't an issue we don't notice it but we are worried the other liner will go bad. Your thoughts?
Posted @ Tuesday, May 07, 2013 11:59 AM by Amanda Gonzalez
We had our 24ft above ground pool installed in 2010. This past winter, we lost over 50% of the water ?!?!?!? The only thing we can think is that there is a hole in the liner. Suggestions on how to proceed????
Posted @ Saturday, May 11, 2013 7:11 PM by Laura
We bought a house in NJ in 2011 with a pool that wasn't opened for atleast 2 years. Last year we had it cleaned up by draining the water which caused tears near coping. The tears in liner were patched and we used the pool last year. 
We do not want to open it again for next couple of years. We realize that we have to change the liner whenever we reopen the pool. Few questions: 
What should we do so that its less damaging to pool walls or floor when we reopen it next year or year after?  
How much it would cost to replace the liner for a pool size 16'x40' (lazy L) without any steps?  
We'er pool virgins. I there anything else you recommend that we may have missed?  
Posted @ Tuesday, May 14, 2013 10:36 AM by Manoj Jain
dont drain the pool. just treat the water. if you take care of your water and ballance/sanitize it correctly, you should have to drain it every time you open it.
Posted @ Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:57 AM by bob
edit: you SHOULDNT have to drain it every time you open it.
Posted @ Thursday, May 16, 2013 10:58 AM by bob
Will a 24x12 oval above ground pool liner, fit a 20x12 oval above ground pool?
Posted @ Saturday, June 08, 2013 11:12 PM by Michael Clarno
I have an above ground pool that needs the liner replaced. I have an unopened liner that is 10 years old. Is it ok to use? If so, why would the installer I called advise against it??
Posted @ Sunday, June 09, 2013 1:28 PM by Shawn
I am replacing my in ground pool there different grades of liners? I am getting quite different quotes
Posted @ Thursday, July 11, 2013 9:28 AM by Pat Bardon
I need a new liner for my 16'X 24' oval above ground pool. Wondering if all 16 X 24 ovals are the same shape or would I have to try and track down the original manufacturer to get a proper fit?
Posted @ Monday, August 12, 2013 5:24 PM by jack
Our above ground pool is 7 years old. We had to patch several holes on the bottom of the pool this summer. We are wondering how long we can expect them to hold? We were also wondering what type of liner to replace it with (we now have an over lap) and how we find someone to do the work.....we live in the Fox Valley area in Wisconsin.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 20, 2013 8:00 AM by Sue
I have a 3 year old pool 15X30 oval pool and lost 1/2 the water due to a slow leak. Had it patched by pool company and after 2 days of filling the pool noticed 2 days later 3 inches missing from pool again !!!! What can I do !!! please help the pool company is giving me the run around and I really don't think I should be responsible for this
Posted @ Wednesday, August 28, 2013 6:15 PM by Debby
Using swimming pool safety cover will be a great idea. or you can go through bathroom vanities, as well as framing styles.
Posted @ Friday, September 06, 2013 2:24 AM by pool safety cover
Hi, our in ground pool has black rubber seam? poking out of inner edge/seam. It's not on the very top of the pool but along edge of seam?. Some white build up like kettle scale around areas. Is there a way to repair black rubber, push it back in and press seam down? Any thoughts appreciated.
Posted @ Friday, September 27, 2013 7:29 PM by Mark
I bought a new vinyl liner from Diggers Pool Service which was an online purchase. After about 100 days of being kept in the box I was finally able to pay to have it installed. 4 days later the seam ripped 2 feet and the pool company has a $100 prorate fee after 90 days and wants $150 to replaced with shipping. I paid $139. Am I SOL on this warranty which I never saw until the day I called them? Their online advertisement said it had a 15 year warranty. My pool installer also says there is no way it is a 25 gauge as advertised. Can I prove this?
Posted @ Tuesday, February 04, 2014 7:34 PM by Maria
Thanks for the honest info in this original article. Many comments above are not related to your longevity topic but Great knowledge! The industry misleads individuals as to the real expected life of a pool liner. You couldn't have said it better!
Posted @ Thursday, February 13, 2014 11:21 AM by Joel
Awesome tips brother  
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Posted @ Monday, February 24, 2014 7:04 PM by Ma'arif
We lost our 2 year old above ground pool liner to ice and snow this year (thankfully the walls didn't collapse. Are warranties typically voided if ice is involved?
Posted @ Wednesday, February 26, 2014 1:10 PM by Melissa Horan
We are getting conflicting advice from websites and pool companies on the appropriate thickness for an inground replacement liner. Some say always go with a 20/30 mil for strength and others recommend a 20 mil for flexibility with less liklihood of wrinkles and tearing. 
We are also considering adding concrete steps and covering with the liner. Any thoughts, suggestions would be appreciated.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 08, 2014 2:52 PM by Anita Smith
I’m really impressed with this theme…. 
I really like this page so much, so better to keep on posting! Thanks. 
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Posted @ Tuesday, May 06, 2014 5:28 AM by sidsitik
I have a 36' x 18' inground pool. Had 
the liner replaced in 1993 and is 
still good. Never any holes but the 
printed design is long gone. Going 
on year 21.
Posted @ Monday, May 12, 2014 6:51 AM by ken w
Previous owner of our pool (we just bought the house) said he put the liner in year 1989. Still going. However we are going to change it because it is so white and faded and sagging now.
Posted @ Friday, May 30, 2014 9:06 PM by Kyle
Had an above ground pool installed Jan 2011 and started leaking May 2014, so just over 3 years old. Manufacturer won't even come out and look at it despite their 10 year warranty on liners and 20 year warranty on pool. Am taking case to Dept of fair trading.
Posted @ Thursday, June 05, 2014 8:24 PM by Lea
We replaced our FOX LINER after getting 22 years out of the original. I selected to purchase another FOX LINER 3 years ago and this season we have a leak. I think it has something to do with the installation of the liner.
Posted @ Saturday, July 19, 2014 3:02 PM by MiMi
my excretion is 30 yrs old and plastic how long can I expect it to last 20x40 pool
Posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 11:53 AM by lou mann
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