Vinyl Pool Care
Proper Care Ensures Long Life for Vinyl
Homeowners with backyard swimming pools depend on vinyl
pool liners to keep their pools looking beautiful season after
season. Nearly 70 percent of the residential pools in the United
States rely on durable and easy-to-clean printed flexible vinyl to
protect the interior pool surface from environmental elements and
From sunlight and temperature fluctuation to chemicals and
careless cleaning, this surface is exposed to numerous hazards. The
most common causes of damage to vinyl pool liners are premature
pattern wear due to abrasive cleaning tools and bleaching due to
improper chemical balance. These two factors, exclusively or in
combination, can attack the vinyl liner and cause premature aging.
If you're one of the five million North American homeowners
fortunate enough to have a pool with a vinyl liner, follow these
simple tips to lengthen its years of service:
Prior to installation, read and follow the chemical manufacturers'
directions. Many liner problems are a result of misuse of chemicals.
When adding chemicals, add one chemical at a time, add each
dissolved chemical through the skimmer for best dispersion into the pool (through the filtration
system).Allow each chemical to circulate throughout the pool before adding a second chemical.
Certain combinations of chemicals at a high concentration can cause bleaching of the liner. You
should test for
the presence of dissolved metals, because they may directly stain the vinyl liner or combine
with calcium hardness to form discolored deposits.
Maintain proper water balance: pH in the range of 7.2 to 7.6; total alkalinity at 80 ppm to 100
ppm; and calcium hardness at 200 ppm to 300 ppm. Keep free chlorine, the most common active
ingredient that sanitizes the pool, at 1.5 ppm to 2.5 ppm. If the concentration drifts below 1.5
ppm, algae and bacterial growth can take hold more easily and may cause staining of the vinyl
liner. If the active chlorine concentration is maintained greater than 2.5 ppm, liner wrinkling
may occur. This problem can be further aggravated if accompanied by pH levels that fall below
All vinyl pools must be routinely stabilized with cyanuric acid in a range between 25 ppm
and 100 ppm. A level of less than 25 ppm combined with a pH level of less than 7.0 can cause the
liner to form wrinkles. Avoid using hydrochloric (muriatic) acid for pH adjustment because it will
chemically attack the liner's print pattern. Use hydrochloric acid for total alkalinity reduction
only, since much of the acid is consumed in the process.
Avoid the use of any abrasive cleaning agents or cleaning aids. Vacuum and clean the pool
with a cleaner designed for vinyl lined pools. Never use sharp objects in or around the pool, as
they can puncture the liner. After the chemicals have dissipated, cover your pool when it's not in
use. This will decrease its exposure to damaging ultraviolet rays. Less chemicals are required if
your pool is covered and/or not used. To avoid high concentrations of airborne chemicals
building up between the water and the cover, open or vent the cover every 24
hours. Do not drain the pool completely for any reason without consulting a pool professional.
The older the liner, the higher the risk that it will shrink and not stretch back into its original
shape.Never close a pool without circulating the pool water for several hours after the addition
Pool ladders, make sure the rubber bumpers that protect the ends of the ladder from the
vinyl liner are always used. Never allow the use of a ladder in your pool that does not have both
rubber bumpers firmly in place. If the bumpers are lost or worn through, then the ladder will cut
the liner. Do not use the ladder, or remove the ladder from the pool, until you have new bumpers
on the ladder. Clean the vinyl liner at the water line of all residue and scum that will accumulate
as a result of people using the pool and all substances floating at the surface of the water like
suntan oil, dust, dirt etc. Take special care to clean any area at the water surface where the sun
hits directly for a long period of the day. DO NOT USE ABRASIVE PADS OR ANY CLEANER THAT IS
ABRASIVE. Use a dealer-approved vinyl cleaner and apply it with a sponge.
Suntan oil badly stains vinyl due to iodine and other caustic chemicals it contains. Without
proper removal, these chemicals will become baked on by the sun and will eat away the finish of
the vinyl. Ultimately, the stains will degrade the vinyl, causing it to crack and break. The
combination of sunshine, pool chlorine and suntan oil is fatal to vinyl.