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How to Patch a Vinyl Pool Liner

Save on pool repairs by doing it yourself! Sometimes you’ll have to bite the bullet and bring in a professional to repair your pool, but you might be surprised how much you can do yourself (and how much money you can save) with a few tools, some inexpensive supplies, and the right tips.

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Vinyl Pool Liners

Vinyl pool liners are one of the more affordable pool options, which is why they are so popular. Unfortunately, low quality vinyl liners are susceptible to rips, tears, and gaps. This means that even though you’ll save money in the short term, without proper maintenance and upkeep your vinyl liner might end up costing more than you bargained for.

Why Repair Your Vinyl Liner?

It might be tempting to ignore a small tear in your pool lining, but the fact is that even a small tear can turn into a big problem if you don’t act quickly to repair it. Over the short term a tear will allow water to leak out of your pool, increasing your water usage and inflating your water bill. If your pool is heated then a small leak means that as warm water escapes more water needs to be added and then heated, increasing your water and gas or electric bill.

Another consideration is that water leaking out of your pool can cause serious damage to your pool wall, further damage to your liners, and even result in soil erosion in the surrounding area.

A typical vinyl pool liner can last up to 15 years, and replacing an entire vinyl pool liner can cost several thousands of dollars. With regular maintenance you will be able to extend the life of your pool liner, and save some serious cash. A small leak won’t go away on its own, it will only turn from a minor annoyance into a full blown tear. Thankfully, repairing your vinyl liner yourself is very doable, and much cheaper than trying to reverse soil erosion or rebuild your pool wall!

Repair Your Vinyl Pool Liner in Seven Simple Steps

1. Inspect Your Pool Regularly

The most important step to repairing your pool vinyl is to regularly inspect your pool. The best time to do so is during routine cleaning. Catching a tear when it is still small makes repairs far easier, more affordable, and minimizes any potential damage. Pay extra attention to the corners of your pool, especially corners that are exposed to direct sunlight (many pools have certain areas that are more shaded than others).

If you suspect there is a leak, but can’t find it then consider investing in a leak test. If you can't find a leak test kit, then pour the dye into the pool and the natural current caused by the leak should pull the dye towards it over time. If the tear is larger than 6 inches, then you should call a professional —you may need a new liner.

2. Purchase a Vinyl Repair Kit and Collect Your Tools

Unfortunately, duct tape won’t cut it when it comes to repairing pool liners. Thankfully, vinyl repair kits are reasonably priced, particularly compared to the cost of letting a tear spread and having to replace your entire pool liner. Repair kits consist of a specialty glue and replacement liner that you will need to cut out yourself. Pool Supplies Canada offers Vinyl Pool Repair Kits with ½ Oz Adhesive and Boxer Underwater Patch Kits for a fraction of the cost you’ll pay at brand name stores like Canadian Tire. These patch kits are especially designed for underwater tears which can be tricky to fix.

In addition to your vinyl repair kit you will also need:

  • Scissors to cut your repair liner
  • Goggles for underwater repairs

3. Get Started

Once you have identified the tear, purchased your vinyl repair kit, and collected your goggles and scissors it is time to get started! First you need to clean the area around the tear. The adhesive will not stick to a liner that has debris on it. Next, measure the size of the tear (an approximation will do, no need to bring a ruler with you).

4. Cut Round Corners on the Patch

Cut your patch two to four inches larger than the tear itself. This extra material will prevent the tear from spreading, and will also cover any minor damage that you can’t see. Be sure to round the corners of your patch for the best results.

5. Apply Glue

Apply the adhesive to the inside of the patch. Make sure that you spread the glue evenly. You may want to fold the patch over on itself and manipulate it between your fingers to spread the glue across the entire surface. Unfold your patch. For underwater repairs, ensure that you are using a specialty underwater repair kit. Do not drain your pool as this could actually cause further liner damage. Follow the steps as above but do not unfold the patch, instead swim to the location of the tear. When you reach the damaged area underwater, unfold the patch and apply it immediately to the liner, squeezing out all water bubbles.

6. Patch the Tear

Place the patch over the tear and gently work your fingers over it from the inside moving out in order to force out any air bubbles which could weaken the repair. Then firmly hold the patch in place for a few minutes to ensure that it adheres.

7. Let it Dry

For dry repairs, allow for a minimum of 24 hours for the glue to take hold. During this time make sure that nothing disturbs the patch. For underwater repairs you should allow for even longer drying time. Do not disturb the patch for at least 48 hours and allow four to seven days for full cure.

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