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What To Expect When Replacing A Vinyl Pool Liner

June 30, 2022

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After almost twenty years, it was time to replace the vinyl liner in our inground pool.

Clearly it wasn't a DIY kind of job, but the process was still an interesting one to watch and the results are stunning. Here's what you can expect.

Uncovering An Inground Pool To Replace The Liner

Way, way back in summer of 2002 my husband I packed up all our belongings, our tiny little family and moved them all two houses over.

No joke. 

We bought the house across the street. No moving van was needed and there was no crosstown trek to our dream home.

It was so close, we literally rolled the barbeque from one backyard to the next.

And while the move itself was very easy, the rest of the process was not.

Drawing Of Our 1920's beach cottage

The house was built in the 1920's and in all that time, it had just two owners. We were the third. 

The original owners, who built the home, vacated sometime in the 80's and the new buyer used it primarily as a summer residence. 

Needless to say, when we moved in with kids in tow, the tiny kitchen and outdated bathrooms were not going to cut it. 

So the renovations began and once that door was opened it was almost impossible to shut. 

Each new project led to another and by the time we were finished, not only had we redecorated every room in the cottage, but we'd upgraded, updated and remodeled almost everything else.

We added a kitchen, replaced all the plumbing, switched the boiler from oil to gas, upgraded the electrical, installed a new water heater, doubled the driveway, removed rotted trees and planted new ones, added central air conditioning, screened in a covered porch, ripped up the carpets, painted the walls, fenced in the yard, put down a concrete patio.

And put a pool in this grassy space.

Backyard Pictures From Before The Renovation

All within the first year or so. It was exhausting and like living in a tornado. With toddlers. 

So for the next two decades, we kept the DIY and renovation projects to a minimum. Unless it was absolutely necessary, it didn't happen.

Well. This summer, exactly 20 years later, lots of things became absolutely necessary. All at once.

It started with a wind storm that took part of the roof with it when it finally blew out of town.

Then our beloved painted concrete patio lifted and cracked during the winter and we were forced to replace it...which changed the pitch of our already needy driveway and revealed rotten patches in our fence that were beyond repair.

So it goes.

Among all this madness, and the renovations going on inside, there was one project we had planned to do this spring and that was to replace the vinyl pool liner on our inground pool.

Pool liners are not meant to last 20 years. In general they last anywhere from 5-15 years. It's a big swing that depends on a lot of factors.

They get gummy, fade and, in our case, pull away from the frame.

My DIY guy repaired the sagging corners twice in the last two years, but this spring, we knew it was time for new.

And unlike adding a solar pool heater, this was not a do it yourself kind of job.

Although, don't think my husband didn't investigate it.

First up, we called a lot of pools shops for liner replacement estimates. We had no idea how replacing a pool liner cost, so we wanted to get a consensus on price.

Vinyl Pool Liner Choices

Honestly, I can't believe how many places never even called me back. I also can't believe the variation in price from one contractor to the next.

A few gave me estimates over the phone, site unseen. That made me nervous, because the liner is just one part of the replacement and if pipes or structural pieces had been broken the costs could've been significant.

Luckily, we found a great company who came out, in the snow and with the cover on, to evaluate.

They gave us a very fair price and an available replacement date that fit our schedule.

Loved them...and done.

We opted to tackle this project in the spring, long before anyone would swim since the longer the water sat in the pool undisturbed, the less chance there was of getting footprints and other marks on the floor.

Covered Inground Pool

Picking a liner was a bit of challenge, since I really, really liked our old one. The catalog was filled with so many choices that the company sent us photos of real life pools to help us out.

That made it much easier to choose.

However, they did tell us that the color of the pool liner doesn't necessarily dictate the color of your water. A lot has to do with your sun exposure.

In the end, we chose one without a traditional tile border, in a nondescript pattern called Stone Jewel and crossed our fingers.

The rip out was a big job that started with emptying that sucker out.

Draining An Inground Pool

For the first day or two, the pool area looked and felt kind of creepy. Stranger Things vibes for sure.

And honestly, I didn't realize how faded the liner was until all the water was gone. 

Replacing An Old Vinyl Pool Liner

The next day things started looking up.

First, they removed our well worn liner, cut it up and left it at the curb.

Cut Up Vinyl Pool Liner

 Then they smoothed out the sand and inspected all the interior steel walls.

Installing A New Pool Liner

Within a few hours the bright new liner was fit into the hole, clipped in place and smoothed out.

Installing A New Inground Vinyl Pool Liner

The only part of the process that was a little annoying was listening to the very powerful and very loud vacuums they installed to keep the liner sucked to the side of the frame as the water filled up.

New Inground Pool Liner

All.night.long. Our neighbors loved us that night.

It took about a day and a half for the silence to return. That's when the pool was filled up enough for us to shut down the machines.

We had a cold snap that froze the outside hose for a bit- welcome to NY in spring - but we were back on track in a few days.

Then the workmen returned to cut the vinyl around the steps, the skimmers and returns and put our pool back to sleep until it was warm enough to open it up again a few weeks later.

Well. That was the plan. 

But the patio contractor didn't show up until after Memorial Day and we couldn't open the pool before the patio was done. There was too much debris that could make its way into the area and damage the new liner.

So it sat there. Hibernating.

Kitchen Nook with Pool View

My beautiful summertime garden and waterview hidden under that ugly green tarp. 

With me, chomping at the bit and counting the days to the big reveal.

Of course, now that it's open, all that waiting seems a world away.

New Pool Liner

The color is so vibrant and so blue.

And believe it or not, all those little tiles are filled with pictures of flowers, vases and vines.

Perfectly cottagecore.

Wicker Chairs By The Pool

It's a very different look, since it doesn't have that faux tile border, but I like it. 

It's simple. 

Reclining Chairs By The Pool

Needless to say, my view has improved dramatically.

From both inside the house and out.

Cottage Style Garden With a Pool

And hopefully it will stay that way for another 20 years.

Fingers crossed.😉

Who else is renovating?

Replacing An Old Pool Liner Before and After

Kim Signature

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  1. Well, I had a pathway created. Does that count? Kim, your pool liner is beautiful. You've made your cottage such an adorable home. The number of owners of a property always tell me if a house was well-loved.

    1. It absolutely counts, Brenda!! I hope it turned out as you planned. Thank you so much for the kind comments about the pool and my home. ❤️ Your last sentence about the number of owners relating to how well loved a house has been is so interesting. I've never thought about that, but yes, I think you're right! I know in the case of this house, it is for sure. We feel blessed to be here in our little hug of a home.

    2. when i first started reading your blog i thought you said your little cottage home was in CA???how did you now get it to NY?

    3. Hmm...nope, never been in California. Born and bred in NY. Although California in the winter sounds lovely!

  2. It is beautiful and inviting. :-) I just love the color of the water/pool!!

    We have the kitchen 95% done, trim work is all that is to be finished, but we are now outside working.. so the trim will be completed in the Autumn or Winter.. and that is alright. It is only SUMMER in Wisconsin for a wee bit! Hee! Hee!

    1. I hear you loud and clear, Carla...summer is short and we feel the need to be outside as much as possible, too. Enjoy your garden!!

  3. Not sure why it won’t show my google account! Anyway!

    Tim and Kyle are busy building a small deck for our pool! It’s going to be great!

    Your pool and the tiles look so great!

    1. Google is such a fickle friend, Deanna. Ugh. Thanks so much for the kind comment and I know your pool deck will be fabulous!!

  4. I enjoyed reading every word of your move etc. I bet the neighbors enjoyed your moving day. We lived in the same city for 65 years and only moved one time. That was when we downsized. The move was exactly one mile from where we had lived all those years. You have beautiful surroundings. ENJOY THE POOL.

    1. Thanks so much, M! 🥰 Your story sounds lovely, you must have adored that home. I understand the feeling and yes! Our neighbors laughed at our moving day and they still make fun of the barbeque rolling across the street. If social media were a thing back then, I think my husband would've been on a Facebook page for sure!!

  5. It looks so good, refreshing! I would love to have a pool!! Enjoy it

    1. Thanks so much, Debbie! I'm a huge fan of pools. Our season is very short here, but I do love the water.

  6. That was so interesting! We don't have a pool and I never knew what went into exchanging the liner. It looks so good though!
    I know all about waiting. You remember all the waiting we did with our porch project. But it was worth it - and so is your pool! What a great view!
    No projects for us at the moment, but don't think I don't have some ideas. I'm trying to give Bob a break. :)

    1. It really was interesting to watch, Mari. I had a pool growing up and we had the liner replaced once and we put this pool in, so I had a front row to seat to the show then, too. However, so much has changed, even from 20 years ago, that much of it was new to me. Those vacuums were a total surprise…and yes, I remember your porch project. You did wait, but yes, it was so worth it. It’s gorgeous and I know you’re enjoying it now!

  7. You really scored when you bought this cute cute cottage home. All the renovations and now the pool being updated makes this so lovely. Ohhhhh to have that beautiful pool outside to enjoy. I am so jealous. Love the liner it looks so beautiful and bright and clean. Happy 4th enjoy the pool. xoxo Kris

    1. Thanks Kris! We really did luck out with this house. It never even came on the market. The neighbor in between the two houses let us know the owner was looking to sell and the rest was history. I hope you have a lovely 4th, too, and that Mother Nature brings some nice weather to the party!

  8. Another huge home improvement to check off the list, so hopefully the rest of the summer, you can just sit by (and in) that pretty pool and relax! You are living in my dream home, Kim! I keep thinking about where we would move to when we sell this house, and in my mind's eye, I see a pretty cottage with a pool near the beach (move-in ready, of course)!

    1. Thanks so much, Amy, and your vision sounds lovely. I’m a big fan of beach cottage living!!

  9. That turned out great! Luckily living in our condo, we have our HOA to take care of the pool!

    1. That sounds lovely, Penny! Nothing to do, but sit back and enjoy it.

  10. Lovely transformation. I am so glad you got it done, so you can enjoy your pool. Happy 4th of July weekend.

    1. Thanks Linda! Getting contractors lined up has been near impossible. We're still waiting for the fence and driveway crews, but honestly, the pool was most important. To me, anyway! 😂

  11. Thanks for sharing, I have never seen a pool in the ground with a liner (maybe not a Southern California thing) it is very interesting. Also. when I was young my family moved to the house across the street, it was fun just carring my toys to my new room - much easier than any of my other moves.

    1. Yes, liners are very common here, more so than the concrete or gunite versions. I wonder if it's because the weather fluctuates so much. I know my sister had a concrete pool and when the pipes froze, they had to dig up the concrete to repair it. That was a mess! I love hearing about your move though...I bet those are fun memories, trotting across the street with your toys in hand!

  12. Kim the pool looks gorgeous! I recently redid my hardwood floors and painted the living room and the den. I replaced some broken floor tiles in the kitchen and tiled a cubby in the fireplace. I’ve turned my attention to my garden and everything is looking great. Heading out to Shelter Island tomorrow and hoping the girls keep my flowers watered! Hope you have a lovely Fourth of July!

    1. Susan, it all sounds wonderful, I wish you had a blog so I could peek at your lovely projects! Have fun in Shelter Island and enjoy the 4th there. We're heading out to the east end soon, as well. One day it would be lovely to meet out there for a cup of something cold (or hot!) and a nice long chat in person. ❤️

    2. I always think I will blog when I retire. Still working lots of hours! But I do have an Instagram now. Yes I would love to meet you one day. We would be fast friends, both struggling with the poor selection of Long Island thrift shops. My girlfriend told me Shelter Island has great garage sales on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Ha! Maybe I will hit pay dirt.

    3. Instagram is actually where a lot of bloggers are turning today. You could build a following there in no time with your lovely home and yard.I'm the wordy type (big surprise) so I love a traditional blog...and yes, fast friends, indeed. I'm jealous of your garage saling weekend. You'll have to keep me posted! Good luck and enjoy!!

  13. Wow, what a difference from what the yard looked like when you moved in to now. The pool is beautiful and so inviting. I'm not going to lie, I'm so jealous.

    1. Thanks! Growing up with a pool made me really, really want one for my own family. I'm glad we were able to make it happen...and if you ever cross the border and come down for a visit, let me know. The more the merrier over here!

  14. What a huge job you had done Kim. I am glad you will be able to enjoy your gorgeous pool this summer.

  15. Seeing this article as I am getting a new liner in 4 weeks was perfect timing. I love the liner you picked out and I am sure it will be a wonderful summer. I'm in Florida and can't wait to get my pool back up and running. My last liner lasted 10 year's.

    1. Oh you're going to love your new liner! I don't think we realized how much the old one had faded until we saw the new brilliant color. I hope you love your new one as much...and Florida? I'm so jealous. You must swim all year long!!