We sat down with Gregg & Michael Weber, father & son vinyl liner experts with a lifetime of pool experience, to ask the question: What are the differences between swimming pool liners? Here are three things to consider:
- The mil isn’t as important as you thinkPeople get hung up on the millimeter thickness of a liner. The mil thickness is used as a selling and upgrade point. Consumers think that getting 7 mils more is going to keep them from having to change their liner as often. When in reality, Gregg reveals, “Why do people change their liner? The pattern is gone. The average liner lasts about 8-12 years.” Michael adds, “Customers change liners because they fade. It’s the same ink on a 20 and a 27 mil liner. Only reason I’d get a 27 mil is because they didn’t have the pattern I liked on a 20 mil.” Gregg shares, “A garbage bag is about 8 mils thick, so you’re paying for about that much more.” A liner will likely have to be patched in its lifetime, regardless of the mil you select.As well, if you have a pool with many vinyl over steel features, a lesser mil might be the way to go. The thinner liners are easier for the installer to manipulate, leaving less room for error and a smaller chance for wrinkles.
- Where the liner is made can make a differenceGregg tells us, “Many liner companies pitch about their liners being made in North America. The largest place they are being made here is out of Canadian General Tower. When a liner comes from China, there is a risk that it is made with filler called talc. You want to be sure your liner is 100% vinyl.”
- Shipping & Ordering onlineShipping is something else to consider when ordering a liner, how far away was the liner made and what is the time frame that it can get to the local distributer. “You want a company that can ship the liner to you in one day, the longer it is out for shipping the more issues you have,” says Gregg. He goes on, “If the liner is coming from too far away there is higher risk for it to get caught on a nail or be damaged. Then we have to send it back.”Ordering a liner online can be challenging because liners are hard to measure. Gregg had an event where a customer sent him dimensions for a liner and he had to send out an expert out to retake them. “Homeowners don’t understand how hard it actually is to measure their pool for a new liner. There are a lot of angles involved and everything has to be just right. Old pools sometimes have shifted from their original shape and this has to be accounted for, otherwise it won’t fit or you’ll get wrinkles.”
Grand Rapids, MI