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.
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