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How Do I Choose A Pool Liner?

With so many liner patterns to choose from, how do I choose the best one for my pool?  Choosing the right liner for your new or existing swimming pool is one of the most important decisions you will make when planning for your new swimming pool.  This is done not only for durability but also to achieve the style and look that best suits your preferences for your pool.  While there are many liner options available, the first consideration should be the overall color that you would like your pool water to be.  The liner pattern itself makes a big difference in the look of the water, but there are many other variables that play a large role as well.  Each pool will be different, and the same liner pattern and color will vary from pool to pool.  One factor that contributes to this is the depth of the pool itself.  With a deeper pool you will notice the pattern less, and the vibrancy of the color more.  A shallower pool will show more of the pattern itself and appear as a different color altogether.aqua-1

Less important, but notable is the thickness.  With several different thicknesses, the easy and obvious answer is thicker is better right?  Not necessarily.  In most cases a thicker liner will last longer, and will be less likely to be cut or punctured, but if installed in colder climates on a cooler day, they aren’t as pliable as a thinner liner.  Truthfully, if you are going to puncture or cut a liner, you will likely do the damage no matter what the thickness is, with few exceptions.  On installations where the liner is a little tighter, if you over stretch, it will reduce the life of the liner.  For these reasons, we normally suggest going with the pattern that you like the most, so worry about the thickness of the liner second.  If the pattern is available in multiple thicknesses, and it’s in your budget to upgrade, it’s almost always a good idea, especially in warmer areas with longer seasons.  Colder climates equal shorter seasons, less UV degradation, so the standard 20 mil liners are just fine.

Color Profiles

There are four main color profiles to choose from; Vivid Blue, Light Blue, Deep Blue, and Aqua.  Each will have several different actual patterns that you will choose based on your personal taste, and most are available with or without borders at the top.

Deep blue

A darker liner is more likely to absorb sunlight, and therefore can help to warm your pool water.  Darker liners will also make it more difficult to see debris and dirt in your pool.  But as liners become darker, they are more inclined to fade over time due to UV damage and Chlorine.  You will notice fading quicker, but it may take longer to actually bleach completely since most liners are printed on darker blue vinyl.  Deep blue liners seem to hold their color longer, even though you will still see tone changes.


Light Blue

Lighter colored liners will not be as susceptible to fading. They will attract less sunlight and will be less likely to show bleaching and fading as fast over time due to less UV damage.  A lighter liner will show more debris and thus, demand to be cleaned on a more regular basis.  Some choose this style because there is less of a change in the way the pattern looks over longer periods of time.



The aqua color profile is getting more and more popular.  Traditionally when people think pool color, they think blue.  These tan colored liners have grown in popularity among those who don’t necessarily want an everyday blue swimming pool.  Sandstone Liners similar to the one pictured, will make your pool appear aqua in color, and give what some people call a lagoon look.  If choosing an aqua liner, it may be best to pair with gray options such as coping, steps, skimmers, or even a slide for optimum aesthetics. 


Vivid Blue

While somewhat darker than Light Blue or Aqua, Vivid Blue liners appear brighter in direct sunlight, giving off a vibrant color that can attract attention to your pool. The richer, louder blue color appeals naturally to the eye, and goes well with all sorts of landscaping and patio furniture.  This look is one of the more common today, and seems to be what a lot of people are looking for in a pool.


Additional info

Textured vinyl is a great option to consider if you will be installing vinyl over steel steps.  While most manufacturers have an additional charge, it is a much safer option.  The textured option adds additional traction on the steps, but isn’t a substitute for good pool chemistry.  You should still maintain the proper chemical balance in your pool.  Balancing your chemicals properly will insure years of use and beauty of your vinyl lined swimming pool.  Automated chlorination systems, mineral systems, and salt systems will help maintain lower levels over a longer period of time vs. shocking your pool weekly.  There are other options as well such as Ozone and UV that can reduce the need for chlorine, reducing or slowing down the fading time on your liner. vivid-blue

Another option to look for is a liner which offers a coating to protect against UV and Chlorine.  H2okay! Made by O’ Sullivan Films uses a superior coating and has been proven to increase the liner’s lifespan by reducing the amount of fading over time.

Whichever pool liner you choose, maintenance is important, but eventually it will need to be replaced, and you will have a brand new looking pool.  This is one of the big reasons vinyl lined pools are so popular.  Changing the liner is not an extremely expensive process, and can give your pool a brand new, or even completely different look.


Jayson Mannix

Written by Jayson Mannix