This is a topic both pool owners and liner installers are interested in learning more about. Pool owners are asking, “Do you offer a warranty on my liner wrinkling”? The answer is always, no we do not warranty our liners against wrinkling. In this article we will answer why pool liners wrinkle and give you some solutions how to prevent your pool liner from wrinkling.
Wrinkling pool liners is a reoccurring problem happening more & more in the vinyl liner industry. Wrinkles reportedly are developing in liners that have only been in service for just a few years. Where products made in the USA and Canada show little signs of wear.. Liners manufactured off-shore have been found to contain high levels of Calcium Carbonate in place of the required Plasticizers and Resins. New evidence in the area of Vinyl Liner Material is proving this is a likely culprit of premature wrinkling.
Vinyl liner samples tested by independent laboratories show off-shore vinyl expanded as much as 25% when placed in a low pH environment. On the other hand, samples of domestic material placed in the same solution expanded by less than 3%. That means, not only is the off-shore material more likely to wrinkle but the wrinkling will occur much sooner and will be far more severe. Some of the off-shore vinyl samples contained over 20% calcium carbonate and none of the off-shore samples contained less than 18%.
Vinyl liners are not the first product imported in to the US that was later found to have chemical formulation issues. Gypsum Sheetrock (Drywall) and more recently vinyl flooring have cost home builders millions in replacements and repairs.
Aggressive Water Chemistry
Pool liners will wrinkle because of aggressive water chemistry. This is a known fact! Consistently high chlorine levels or very low PH levels will cause pool liners to wrinkle prematurely . Never put chlorine tablets directly on a pool liner. This will cause localized fading and wrinkling that will spread outward quickly. Direct contact with chlorine will also cause bleaching of the vinyl. This type of wrinkling is irreversible.
High chlorine and low pH is very corrosive. The combination of the two literally sucks the plasticizers from the vinyl, causing the liner to contract and wrinkle. Low pH alone will cause a liner to wrinkle. When the pH is allowed to drop below 7PPM the pool water becomes acidic and the vinyl liner will absorb water and expand, causing wrinkles. The only solution to this problem is to replace the liner.
Rising water tables with no escape for the water pressure beneath the pool will easily push up a pool liner. It will appear as a giant air bubble or pillow. As the water recedes all the excess vinyl has no where to go. These wrinkles can be very unsightly and large. A common fix to this problem is to manage all the water run-off surrounding the pool. Direct gutter downspouts away from the pool. In some cases, you will need to make changes to the landscaping surrounding your pool. The goal is to keep all the ground water from running into the pool area.
Leaks in the liner
Water that leaks out and behind the liner will eventually cause localized wrinkles that will quickly spread further around the leak. Existing wrinkles in the liner will be a source for leaks from vacuum heads and brushes traveling over the wrinkles. If you are aware of holes in your pool liner.. patch them before the problem gets worse.
The biggest culprit of excessive heat build up is from automatic pool covers. Automatic Pool Covers that are left closed build up heat under the cover around the perimeter of the pool in the open air cove between the cover and the water. That heat travels down the pool walls causing the pool liner to expand. When the water cools the liner will wrinkle.
Pool heaters turned up to 86 degrees or higher can cause the vinyl liner to stretch or expand. When the water cools the excess vinyl has no where to go.
More Than Wrinkles
Wrinkling is the main topic of this article but there are other reasons for choosing North American Vinyl..
Testing of imported vinyl revealed the material did not meet the standards of North American Vinyl. Imported vinyl allowed significant scuff marks and fading. North American Vinyl performed far superior to imported vinyl in the same tests.
UV testing revealed North American Vinyl was far less susceptible to color loss than imported material. The evidence is clear, imported vinyl is not comparable to vinyl manufactured in North America.
- Brush your liner often: This will keep dirt and debris from laying on the liner for too long. Especially leaves. Brush any undissolved chemicals that settle on the liner.
- Maintain proper water chemistry: Purchase and use a proper test kit. I recommend the Taylor K2006C FAS kit. Yes, it may look overwhelming at first BUT.. The instructions are easy to follow, you do not need a chemistry degree to use the kit & the kit will give you accurate numbers for all necessary water tests. Proper water balance and water sanitation is the key. Aggressive water balance will have a negative effect on not only your pool liner but your pool pump, filter, heater, etc. CLICK HERE to check out my article on water testing. It is a very informative read.
- Never drain your vinyl liner pool: Pool liners will shrink if you completely empty the pool. If you need to drain your pool do not remove more than half or the pool water. Never drain the water out of the shallow end without the help of a pool professional. Liner vacs can be installed if it is necessary to drain more then half of the pool water. Always drain the water far away from the pool area to prevent the liner from floating due to excessive ground water. Be sure to follow all city ordinances when draining your pool to the streets. Never drain your pool in to the roadway when temps are below freezing. I don’t think I need to explain that one!
- Clean the waterline: Dirt, oils, tanning lotions, hair products, etc can build up on the waterline. Use a vinyl liner (Non Acidic) cleaning solution to keep the waterline clean.
- Sharp Toys: Pool toys are designed to be safe for the pool and will not puncture or tear a liner. Be sure that you only allow soft and safe pool toys in the pool.
- Never allow chemical or chlorine tablets to rest on the pool liner!!! This will for sure cause excessive wrinkling.
I recommend choosing a liner manufacturer that is committed to using only 100% North American Virgin Vinyl. We cannot recommend one brand over another but here are several In-Ground Vinyl Liner Manufacturers to choose from.. Work together with your pool service professional to choose the best liner and pattern that looks best.
Comment below.. I may be able to recommend a professional near you.
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My mother in law has a big pool in the back yard and it has a big pool liner on it, its a little wrinkled. I think that the biggest problem is the excessive heat we have here in Utah. What is a good way to save the covers.
Some people will never have this problem, depending on what kind of materials were used to build the pool. Those who have vinyl liners need to pay close attention because, as a couple of the sections explain, water leakage will cause worse problems if left unchecked. I appreciate the point that was made about automatic pool covers and how they can cause excessive heat. If you are unsure about how to minimize heat and repair water leaks, you should call a professional to take a look.
Lillian Schaeffer says
This is some great information. and I appreciate your point that leaks in the liner will cause wrinkles. I’ve noticed that the lining of my pool has grown extremely wrinkly, and I wasn’t sure what caused it. It must have had a leak somewhere, but it’s beyond repair at this point, so I’ll definitely look into having the liner replaced. Thanks for the great post!