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Can Above Ground Pool Liners Be Patched? Step by Step Guide

A common issue many above-ground pool owners experience is a tear or some other form of damage to the pool’s liner. The thought of needing to replace the entire liner is daunting and expensive, especially if you’re hiring a professional to install it for you. But if the extent of your liner’s damage is nothing more than a small hole, is a complete replacement really the only option? Can it simply be patched instead?

Yes, there are several ways to effectively patch a pool’s liner. Determining which method suits your pool best will largely depend on the liner’s material as well as the location and extent of its damage. However, you might find that replacing the entire liner is a more efficient solution.

In this article, we will discuss the various type of pool liner patches in more detail, and explain when may or may not be beneficial to use a patch versus replacing the liner. We will also answer commonly asked questions regarding liner patching, such as whether your pool must be drained of all water, and close with a step-by-step guide on how to perform this process easily by yourself.

Is It Worth Patching A Pool Liner?

If you’ve noticed that your pool has a hole or tear, you might be questioning whether patching it is really necessary, especially if the damage is towards the rim, above the water line.

It is always recommended to repair a damaged pool liner as quickly as possible, regardless of whether it impacts the pool’s ability to retain water.

Failing to fix this simple issue can have serious repercussions that might ultimately cost you significantly more than a $10 pack of liner patches. For example, if your pool liner has a hole somewhere along the bottom or lower region of its wall, it might start leaking water.

This could cause serious damage to your lawn or structures surrounding the pool (ex. decks, sheds, etc.), especially if flooding and pooling occurs.

Common complications include:

  • Soil or concrete erosion (can result in instability for structures constructed on top)
  • Deck cave-ins
  • Wood rot or other damage to wooden structures
  • Rust

Additionally, your pool could buckle and collapse if enough of its water escapes, which might require significant repairs or a complete replacement.

Even if the liner is damaged towards the pool’s rim, you’ll wan to at least have it patched to help prevent the tear from growing in size.

Here’s a quick video showing how to find the leak and patch it quickly:

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.

Should I Patch or Replace My Pool Liner?

Before you start purchasing liner patches and researching how to apply them, you’ll want to seriously consider whether this is the best solution for your pool.

The primary factors you’ll want to consider when determining if you should patch or replace your pool liner include:

  • Cost
  • Liner age
  • Extent of damage

The average pool liner patch is only going to cost an owner anywhere from $5-$20, which is significantly cheaper than replacing the liner entirely, which can range anywhere from $150-$5,000.

Most people would prefer to opt for the budget-friendly solution of a patch, and if the liner is brand new and/or the damage is nothing more than a small hole or tear, we would agree that it is much more worthwhile than replacing the entire liner.

That being said, using a liner patch is only a short-term solution to this problem. Some might last two days while others will last 10 years, but ultimately, the damage hasn’t really been repaired. If you want a long-term solution, then you’ll need to replace the liner.

Another reason you might want to forego the liner patch is if your pool’s liner is significantly old, if it already has numerous patches covering damage, or if the damage is fairly large in size.

Can You Patch An Above Ground Pool Liner With Water In It?

A common question pool owners have regarding liner patches is whether these quick fixes will work once submerged under water. This can greatly influence whether a liner patch is a viable option, or if the pool’s liner needs to be completely replaced.

Fortunately, most pool liner patches are specifically designed to be able to adhere effectively and remain firmly in place, even when surrounded by water. Owners should be able to successfully install these products on dry liner or under water without issue.

In fact, it is almost always advised to apply a liner patch with water in your pool rather than draining for a dry installation.

As we mentioned previously, removing all water from your pool puts it at risk of collapse and can also dry your liner. This can result in cracks and other damage that would need to be repaired or replaced.

How Do I Fix a Hole In My Above Ground Pool Liner?

Now that you’ve determined that you’d rather use a pool liner patch over replacing the entire liner, and you know a little more about the risks associated with liner damage, let’s walk through the repair process step by step.

Fixing a hole or tear in your above-ground pool’s liner using a liner patch is extremely simple and can be performed in minutes by following the steps listed below.

  1. Obtain the necessary tools for this process: (Scissors, Pool-safe cleaning products, A pool liner patch kit)
  2. Locate the hole/tear
  3. Apply patch according to product directions
  4. Press the patch firmly to the liner and remove any trapped bubbles
  5. Apply a long-term source of pressure (if possible)
  6. Leave the patch to adhere for 24 hours

And that’s all there is to it! The hardest part of this process is usually finding the type of patch that works best with your pool liner.

The three most widely used options include:

  • Waterproof tape: most budget-friendly option and ideal for small, short-term repairs
  • Peel-and-stick patches: cheap and easy to use option made of vinyl and offered in pre-cut shapes. Ideal for small tears and punctures.
  • Vinyl patch kit: most effective, long-lasting choice that allows for easy application above and underwater.

Of these options, we recommend the vinyl patch kit most, especially if you want the most durable solution that could potentially give your months or even years of success before it, or your liner, needs to be replaced.

Here’s a link to some Pool Accessories from Amazon and the highly recommended Sand Filter Pump to upgrade any above ground pool setup.

Final Thoughts

Noticing that your above-ground pool has a hole that has turned your backyard into a swamp can be extremely stressful, but this can often be solved quickly with a liner patch. Just remember that this is a short-term solution that might not be worthwhile if your pool’s liner has seen better days. In which case, you’re better off upgrading it than slapping a band aid on.

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