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Why Does My Vinyl Liner Have Wrinkles?

We believe wrinkles are not only a fact of life, but show wisdom and beauty. After serving the Ogden area for 35 years we definitely flaunt a few of our own; however, one place wrinkles should never be -- your pool liner.


There are a few things that will create wrinkles seemingly overnight. Chemicals out of balance is a big one. Not only that but using low-quality chemicals can also wreak havoc on your liner--not to mention your pocketbook in the long run. Other common causes are water seepage under or around the pool area, collapsed pool walls, low-quality vinyl, or simply that the liner itself was measured incorrectly.





Checking your chemical levels at least once a week can save you a lot of money over time. A low pH and/or alkalinity level is the most common reason for smaller wrinkles throughout the pool. Customers sanitizing with bromine will find they may need to increase their pH level on a regular basis as bromine itself has a low pH level. Vice versa, customers using some types of chlorine or salt systems as a sanitizer will need to lower their pH more frequently. Once again, we recommend checking your levels weekly to ensure they are in the correct ranges.


Even high pH or alkalinity readings will cause a liner to wrinkle. “The liner wants to grow. The vinyl will literally increase in size and thereby wrinkle,” cautions John Brady President of Leisure Pool and Spa


“High oxidation rates, meaning the chlorine or bromine level is high, causes small wrinkles throughout the pool, especially if the customer is dumping powdered chlorine or tablets in one area. It also makes the liner harden and brittle like a potato chip,” warns John. This is because high sanitization levels take the elasticity out of the vinyl. Customers are advised to dilute all chemicals before adding them to the pool water. NEVER add chemicals straight into the pool.


“The addition of a single chemical can damage a pool liner if it is not allowed to circulate sufficiently. Chemicals, such as chlorine, can settle in the deep end of the pool and bleach the liner if they are not allowed to circulate for several hours before a pool is closed for the season,” advises Pool and Spa News. They also go on to note that “spot bleaching of vinyl liners can occur if undissolved particles of calcium hypochlorite or other slow-dissolving sanitizers are allowed to settle on the bottom of the pool. Using large, single doses of hydrochloric (muriatic) acid to adjust pH or total alkalinity levels can also damage vinyl liners. Because it is not sufficiently blended with pool water, the acid can chemically attack the liner’s printed pattern.”


Larger wrinkles are usually because the liner has “floated.” Groundwater from sprinkler systems, collapsed pool structure walls, improper drainage in landscaping, or a hole in the liner can cause this to happen. “The water finds a way out through a seam in the liner and the weight of the water forces the water out by wrinkling it,” says John. This is known as hydrostatic pressure. Properly built pools have a hydrostatic pressure relief valve that will prevent this from happening, it is typically located under the main drain grate. Be proactive and ensure your water level is never going down. Catching it early and repairing the hole will prevent the liner from wrinkling or at least from wrinkling further.


“When liners float, they will float longer or indefinitely. Quick fixes are necessary and, unfortunately, only temporary, such as placing pumps behind the liner. When the next rain comes the liner will float again,” writes Pool and Spa News.


Another cause of wrinkles-- cheap vinyl. Don’t fall victim to companies selling low-quality vinyl liners. According to Aqua Magazine offshore vinyl has a high percentage of calcium carbonate. These liners may be cheaper at first but will end up being a headache within the first year as “it can cause... types of wrinkling and puckering. The wrinkling issues are only exacerbated when the pool's water is out of balance,” writes Aqua Magazine. That is why we only carry the top of the line liners made with quality vinyl.


Have you read the word calcium enough times in this post? Good, we want it to stick with you. Remember that ingredient. Be a savvy consumer and check the ingredients listed in your pool chemicals. Sure that bottle found at Walmart may be cheaper, but there’s a reason. That reason: calcium! Calcium is a cheap filler that does nothing but cause problems for your vinyl pool as mentioned above. You also end up spending more money on chemicals, because the actual active ingredient you are purchasing the product for is scarce. Think of it this way: would you rather purchase a bleach for $3.99 with 10% chlorine or a bleach for $5.99 with 25% chlorine? Yes, the first is cheaper, but the real reason you are purchasing it (for the chlorine) is lower. The same goes for your pool chemicals.


“Having calcium in the pool so it is no longer balanced according to the saturation index (keep checking out our blog for more information on saturation index) will definitely cause wrinkling,” John forewarned.


McEwen Industries hammers in on the importance of hiring a skilled, knowledgeable swimming pool contractor. “If you hire someone who misses one measurement, you may spend the next seven years looking at wrinkles,” they state. We couldn’t agree more. The installation of the liner is equally important. If it is done incorrectly you will have wrinkling in the liner almost immediately. This is why we only send out qualified technicians as we know how important this investment is to you.


Now you know what causes wrinkles in your vinyl, but what do you do if you already have them? The liner itself may need to be replaced and repairs made to your pool structure and/or landscaping. Call us today for a quote on replacing your liner and visit our website to view the many, beautiful patterns we have available. Please note, we only replace liners on Leisure Pool and Spa built pools. Thank you for your understanding.

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