I’ve owned multiple inflatable pools over the years, and one thing you can always count on is that you’ll need to patch them at one point or another. Some pools are more durable than others, but I always expect to need to patch them sooner or later.
Steps To Patch An Inflatable Pool:
- Step 1: Drain The Water
- Step 2: Cut The Patch
- Step 3: Dry And Clean Patch Area
- Step 4: Inflate The Pool
- Step 5: Apply Plastic Glue
- Step 6: Apply Patch
You may not need to follow all of these steps depending on the type and size of the hole in your inflatable pool. I will go over each of these steps in more detail later on, as well as a quick fix option you could use. But first I want to show you the steps for finding a leak, if you haven’t already.
How To Find A Hole In An Inflatable Pool
This technique will actually work for anything inflatable. I’ve used this method on inflatable pools as well as pool toys and floats. It’s a quick and easy way to pin point a leak.
Step 1: Create A Soap Mixture
You’ll want to create a soapy water mix in a spray bottle if you have one. This will also work with a bucket of some kind, but I found the spray bottle to make things a lot easier. To make soapy water, add 5 tablespoons of dish soap to 20 ounces of water.
You can make it as soapy as you’d like, the soapier the better. You could also use a spray bottle of some household cleaner, like 401 or Fantastik.
Step 2: Spread Mixture Over Surface
Now spray the soapy mixture, or spread it around from a bucket, over the area of concern. If you don’t have any idea where the hole may be, you’ll have to spray the entire inflatable pool. I suggest only doing a couple square feet at a time and look for leaks as you go.
The soapy mixture will start to create air bubbles over any areas with a leak. You may need to spray and wipe an area a couple times before you see the bubbles start to form. Once you see the bubbles, spray and wipe the area again to confirm you’ve found a leak.
Step 3: Mark The Area Of The Hole
Now that you’ve found the leak, simply mark the area so you’ll know where to apply the patch. I use a small piece of white chalk I had lying around, but anything to mark the area that needs patching will work.
Here’s a funny video of someone using this technique to find a pin hole in an inflatable, this should give you an idea of how it’s done.
Steps To Patch An Inflatable Pool
These steps will require that you have vinyl repair glue and a patch like this Heavy Duty Patch Kit For Inflatable Pools on Amazon. I like this set because it comes with 8 patches and enough vinyl repair glue to do multiple patch jobs.
If you have a large inflatable where only the top ring inflates and the hole is in the side liner, you will need something like this Pool Patch Wet Kit (link to Amazon) that kit is made for the liner material and can be applied while the water is still in the pool, that’s a huge plus for those larger inflatable pools.
Step 1: Drain The Water
First, drain all the water out of the inflatable pool completely. The patch will hold up and be much more permanent if it’s applied to a dry surface. If the hole is on the outside of the inflatable pool, you might get away with leaving the water in, I’ve just always found it easier to empty the pool before working on it.
This is really not a problem for medium or small inflatable pools, but for the larger pools, this may not work for you. On the larger pools, the inflatable ring is usually above the water line. If that’s the case for you, simply dry the area as best you can.
To patch a large inflatable pool sidewall liner, you will not need to drain the water as the patch can be applied wet.
Step 2: Cut The Patch
If you’re using a square patch, you’ll want to cut rounded edges on each corner. Sharp or angled edges on a patch don’t hold up over time. They tend to peel and pull up after just a couple months. Cut the patch so that at least 2 inches of patch will make contact with the pool material on each side of the hole.
To patch a pin hole, a 3 inch round patch would work best.
Step 3: Dry And Clean Patch Area
Completely dry the area the patch will be applied. Clean the area with rubbing alcohol or other sanitizing cleaner. Make sure there is no dirt or debris that will get in between the patch and the pool material.
Step 4: Inflate The Pool
If you inflate the pool right before applying the glue and patch, it will be a lot easier to get a good seal. You want the patch to be applied in the condition it will be in under normal use.
If you apply the patch deflated, and then inflate it, the patch could stretch and pull off easily.
Step 5: Apply Plastic Glue
Apply the plastic glue or vinyl repair glue to the torn area on the inflatable, and to the back of the patch area that will be pressed onto the pool. There’s no need to gob the glue on here, just a nice thin layer will do the trick.
I like to wet my finger and use it to lightly apply a thin layer of glue to both the patch and the inflatable
Step 6: Apply Patch
Firmly press the patch onto the leak of the inflatable pool. You may want to continue applying pressure for up to 10 minutes or so. The patch kit you get should have a recommended amount of time to apply pressure. I like to add some more plastic glue around the outside of the patch after I apply it.
Adding plastic glue or vinyl repair glue to the outside edges of the patch after it has been applied will help make a more permanent patch fix.
Quick Fix Method
For a quick fix that will stand the test of time, you’ll need to get some Shoe Goo (link to Amazon) and apply it directly to the hole. This isn’t an official method recommended by the inflatable pool manufacturers, but it’s a great fix for pin sized holes.
Here’s a video of guy using this quick fix method so you can see it in action.
How Do You Fix A Hole Or Crack In A Kiddie Pool?
To fix a hole or crack in a hard-plastic kiddie pool, get some marine silicon or a hot glue gun and seal the crack or hole. Use a card or putty knife to even out the silicon and let dry. A few coats may be needed. Make sure to let it dry after each coat you apply.
I’ve had success using this 3M Marine Grade Silicon Sealant from Amazon before. This tube will have enough to fix large cracks an cures in about 24 hours. For 12 bucks, it’s a good option. If you have a glue gun, you could do it for free.
The glue may not hold up as long as the silicon, but it will do the trick for next to nothing, if you already have a glue gun.
Can You Use Duct Tape To Patch An Inflatable Pool?
Yes, you can use duct tape to temporarily patch an inflatable pool. The duct tape will not hold up very long and a more permanent patch will need to be applied in short time. Patching a pool with duct tape is not recommended, but can work in a pinch for a temporary fix.
I’ve used duct tape to patch an inflatable pool before, and I’ll never waste my time trying to do it again. It’s not worth the hassle to be honest. I’ve had pretty good luck with some waterproof gorilla tape, but even that I don’t recommend wasting your time on.