Since 1980, the vinyl liner has made substantantial inroads to the swimming pool and has become the dominant choice. In the northern seasonal markets some have argued vinyl pools are crack resistant during a freeze, their 7 to 15 year window on vinyl replacement is less expensive than a replaster project and the vinyl surface is always friendly to the swimmer. Liner replacement is typically $3000 to $4000, less than a replaster in every North American market.
A growing number of vinyl builders have been found in Texas, California and Florida although the Fiberglass builders have made in-roads in the desert pools of Arizona and Nevada. Ninety plus percent of the Northern U.S. pools are lined with vinyl and these pools have begun showing up in Texas, Florida, and California.
As with plaster pools the calcium hardness should be maintained above 200ppm and pH above 6.6 (7.2 if using chlorine or bromine). Sanitizer levels above 5.0ppm free chlorine can bleach the liner as can improper handling of chlorine or acid. They are more resistant to stains, less resistant to mold underneath the pool or damage from concentrated chemicals. Confirm all drainage flow from the house is directed away from the pool.
Vinyl pools require little maintenance and have a 6 to 20 year life dependant on water chemistry. Liners are replaced at a cost of $3,000 to $4,000 and come in hundreds of colors. If your liner pool is built in clay (vs. sand) soil environment, proper back filling and drainage are needed to keep water from forming under the liner and giving you water mold issues.
Make certain ALL drainpipes are pointed away from the pool. If water is running toward your pool from the neighbor’s higher elevation house, installing a French drain system may be necessary.
Vinyl pools do not require weekly brushing to avoid algae in high season but do have other issues. Shocking the pool with chlorine must be done with care to avoid bleaching and spotting. Distribute shock (liquid or solid) around the pool and emphasize the deep end. Dilute liquid acid with water in five gallon bucket and “pool” it in the deep end of the pool when adjusting pH down. Keep calcium above 200 ppm and pH above 6.6 to avoid the liner becoming brittle before its ten year life.