After being strictly a builder of fiberglass pools in Indianapolis for over 18 years, we here at Perma Pools decided 7 years ago to start installing vinyl liner pools as an additional product line. We had pointed out for years the deficits of these pools but I think we have come to understand that the problems with these pools do have signifigant solutions!
So let’s take a look at the problems with vinyl liner pools built right here in Central Indiana!
The liner can wrinkle, fade and puncture. Vinyl liner pools in Indianapolis are built with steel or composite walls stabilized by a footer, a poured bottom and a liner that makes this structure watertight. But the liner is a 20-28 mil piece of vinyl and can be easily punctured. These liners are also susceptible to chemical damage which can cause wrinkling and fading.
The solution to this problem is knowledge. The liner has to be treated carefully to avoid punctures or cutting. It is probably best to leave your knives and ice picks in the house! As to the wrinkling and fading, we know that bad water chemistry is the usual cause of these features. So the solution here is to properly maintain your pool! Avoid bad water chemistry! For more details, click here for a full discussion of how chemicals can affect the liner.
Water under the pool can crack the bottom. The bottom of the vinyl liner pool is poured and trowled with grout or cement or with vermiculite. The grout or cement is known to crack due to hydrostatic pressure or for other reasons that concrete cracks. If a crack occurs, the repairs are difficult and there is a risk of sharp cement cutting the liner or at least appearing as a blemish. This risk is greatly reduced by pouring the bottom with vermiculite. Vermiculite is a pourous material that allows water to permeate it and recede without the vermiculite cracking. In fact, vermiculite seldom cracks and is softer and therefore kinder to the liner. Check out this article for more details on this choice of vinyl liner pool bottoms.
The steps and coping don’t match the rest of the pool. A lot of vinyl liner pools have white steps and white coping that do not match the rest of the pool and just don’t look that great. While a bit more difficult to build and a bit more expensive, these ugly features can be avoided with steel steps and benches that are covered with a foam pad and a liner that matches the rest of the pool. As to the coping, it does not need to be white. It can be gray or better yet made out of concrete or stone. Take a look at the pool to the right!
The liner is slippery and dangerous. When the steps or benches of one of these pool is covered by the liner, there is danger. Wet vinyl can be very slippery! The solution to this problem is to buy a liner that does a quality job of installing a textured surface on the part of the liner covering stairs and benches. I am amazed that this is not a standard feature imposed by the manufacturer, but sadly, it is not.
The quality of a vinyl liner pool kit is difficult to determine. There are good kits and bad kits and it is very difficult for a consumer to evaluate what he is buying. What is a good gauge of steel? How many braces per panel are needed? Is the steel appropriately galvanized? I think the solution to this problem is to stick to national brand names, specify a premium grade kit (not an economy or “builder’s grade”) and stick to reputable builders whose reputation is staked on quality products.
I know that a lot of people buy other types of pool just to avoid the above problems. However, Indianapolis pool builders and pool buyers can avoid these problems with a little common sense and with knowing the above solutions!