Installing an above ground oval pool liner may seem overwhelming but when you break it down step by step, you’ll see that it’s definitely something you can accomplish if you have some DIY experience and are willing to put in the time. In the entirety of this step by step instructions, you’ll be able to learn how to install above ground oval pool liner in detail.
1. Installing the Cove
The pool liner itself is not built to withstand the pressure of the water inside the pool, just to keep it from leaking. It’s actually what’s under the swimming pool liner that takes the weight of all those gallons of water. This is the cove, a wedge of sand or foam that supports the weight of the water against the pool and prevents the liner from sliding under the sides, protecting it from damage by acting as a buffer between the liner and the frame.
It’s important to get the cove right. If it’s too low, the weight of the pool puts too much strain on both the liner and walls which can lead to leaks, tears, or total collapse. A proper cove has no air space between it and the liner so there must be no air pockets during the above-ground pool liner installation.
There are a few ways to properly set up a cove. This is the most time-consuming part of the process and has to be carefully thought out.
For this setup, use sand to lay a thick three-inch base across the base of the pool from wall-to-wall. To build the cove, create a four-inch angle of sand on top of the base and against the bottom of the pool wall. This gives you seven inches of support where the liner meets the wall.
Mason sand or play sand is the best option for this. You need something that’s fine without any rocks or sharp points that could damage the swimming pool liner. Something to keep in mind about using sand for both the base and cove is that you’ll need quite a bit of it – tons, in some cases. To cut down on the expense and the manual labor, it might be best to choose another option.
Sand and Foam
For this approach, you again need a three-inch bed of sand across the bottom of the pool. Then, instead of building up sand to form the cove, just remove the backing from the foam and stick it to the wall of the pool, making sure it sits against the sand base.
Foam coves are affordable and easy to install. Plus, they cut down drastically on the amount of sand you’ll need. If you’re looking for the best foam coves out there, here are a few to consider:
Sand, Foam, and Floor Pad
Another option is to use a floor pad to add a bit of extra support and protection. Floor pads come cut to the exact dimension of your above-ground pool so this extra step isn’t really all that much more difficult.
Again, use fine sand to lay a wall-to-wall base that’s three inches thick. Then, place the floor pad and attach the foam cove using the adhesive backing.
Some great floor pads that are available are:
Sand, Foam, Floor Pad, and Wall Liner
This is the most secure method that offers the most protection and involves the extra step of adding a wall foam liner. Lay the sand base, foam cover, and floor pad as before. To attach the wall liner, use a spray adhesive or duct tape to attach it to the inner side of the pool wall. It’s easier to start at the top of the pool wall to be sure that there’s enough room at the bottom for the foam cove.
Here are some great wall liners to choose from:
All in One
To save time and money, there are also some all-in-one products available in various sizes, including:
2. Inspect the Liner
It’s important that the pool liner be free from tears and holes and inspecting it before installation is essential. Pay very close attention when opening the box and unrolling the liner. Spread the new liner out on the ground, being sure that there are no rocks or twigs that could puncture it. Visually inspect for holes and tears and make sure the seams are all sealed properly. A lot of people might be tempted to skip this step but it’s important to catch any issues before the pool is filled with water. This is much more difficult to deal with.
3. Prep the Liner
Once you’ve determined that your liner is intact, allow it to sit in the sun for a while. As the liner warms up, it becomes more malleable and easier to work with. Read the instructions that come with your pool so you remove the material from the skimmer and return holes the right way.
4. Hang the Liner
There are multiple ways to do this so check the manufacturer’s instruction to be sure. Some liners use an overlap style while others are beaded or use J-hooks. Remember, the above ground pool liner has to be completely supported before you can fill it with water so make sure everything is in place before moving onto the next step.
5. Eliminate Wrinkles
The less air between the liner and the wall of the pool, the better. While it’s not always possible to eliminate every wrinkle, you should do what you can to avoid them. Try inserting a vacuum hose between the skimmer hole and the wall of the pool and sealing the opening. When you turn the vacuum on, you can gently adjust the wrinkles as the vacuum removes the air.
6. Fill ‘Er Up
Once you’re satisfied that you’ve done all you can to eliminate air between the liner and the wall and cove, it’s time to fill up the pool. Keep checking on progress periodically. If an area of the pool appears unlevel, it’s much easier to correct when there isn’t a lot of water in the pool.
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