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Most inground vinyl liners generally last around 10-12 years. It depends on where you live and the chemical care that you give to the pool. Pools open year around, with lots of UV exposure, may have a shorter life to their vinyl liner.
The main problem with vinyl liner pools comes down to their aesthetics. Many consumers complain that they look ‘cheap’, and the honest answer is that this is true in most cases. This is also why much of this article will focus on ways to prevent a liner pool from looking cheap, as there are certainly steps (as well as some great vinyl pool builders in the industry) that can help alleviate this problem. In most cases, the steps and benches of vinyl liner pools are made of white plastic which is structurally sound but the bright white typically doesn’t match well with a colored liner. To make things worse, these benches and steps also have a 3-4 inch wide ‘lip’ that is flush with the top of the patio making them conspicuous from all angles…..not the best thing to look at after investing big bucks into a lovely patio.
In the majority of liner pools, the coping consists of an aluminum C-track. The reason why this track is so commonly used is because it is easy to install and certainly easy to pour concrete up to. But the problem with it is that it makes for a white ‘rim’ all the way around the pool’s edge. This looks especially bad if someone is pouring any type of colored or stamped patio around their pool, as the color clash is quite noticeable and again deters from the entire look of the project.
Originally, all vinyl liner pool structures were made of wood. As you can imagine, this was not the best long-term solution for a pool structure in your back yard. With the average life span of wood being 10-15 years, manufacturers started producing metal walls instead, namely galvanized steel panels. These steel panels were a major upgrade from wood, much stronger, and are still used today by many manufacturers. But as we all know, metal is metal, and no matter how galvanized it is, it can oxidize over time under the ground. This is especially true with the surge in salt water pools around the world. Every vinyl liner will experience at some point a leak behind the liner itself; meaning pool water is making contact with the pool’s panel structure. These leaks and drips usually start in the places the liner has been cut- return fittings, skimmers, etc are the main problem areas. And how does a metal panel react to constant exposure with salt water over time? Yep, it rusts. In fact, the panel can oxidize all the way through, which is a major, major problem and repair.
Obviously, the biggest concern most pool consumers have when considering a vinyl liner is the longevity of the liner. This is understandable because the average vinyl liner replacement cost, when one considers labor, liner, and water is typically 3-6k. The average lifespan for a vinyl liner is 8-12 years, but there are certainly cases where they will last less than 5 years or more than 15. In fact, the biggest factor that dictates the longevity of a vinyl liner in many cases is ‘luck’, although certain measures can be taken to increase the longevity of the pools liner.