Custom Swimming Pool Liners
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TopicsChoosing Your Liner
This page is all about In-ground Swimming Pool Liners. There are quite a few options with in-ground pool liners, , like thickness, patterns, textures, type of installation, etc., and we'll try to help you sort all that out. While there are "stock sizes", each in-ground liner should be measured to fit perfectly, and it should not be presumed that your pool uses a stock liner size. Expert measurement is included with each liner we install, to prevent wrinkles or overstretching. When we come to measure for a new liner, we bring samples to show you the differences, and help you choose the best liner for your in-ground pool. If you need more information about swimming pool liners, feel free to contact us by e-mail [firstname.lastname@example.org] or at the phone number above - we'll be more than happy to help with all your questions! If your liner is fairly new, and leaking, you might want to check out this page, before you replace it:
There is actually quite a bit going on in the liner industry. Plastimayd, a brand we have been selling for many years, was bought out by Latham Pool Products, who is the giant of the industry, a couple of years ago. Latham owns many brands, including Fort Wayne, Kafco, Premier Vinyl, Total Vinyl, and Vyn-All, just to mention a few. Plastimayd had some problems, at first, adapting to the new way of doing things, so we didn't sell them for a while. There are some changes to the product line, both good and bad. The 28 mil liners are now 27 mil, and all feature Latham's Ultra seam, which they say makes them "virtually invisible". Well, they are, from one direction, which is usually the shallow end. They are still just as visible to me, especially from the other direction, but they do look better than some of the cheap brands. It is a completely different process, using hot air injection, which Latham claims makes a stronger seam. Well, maybe, but after having installed in-ground vinyl liners for more than 30 years, I can only recall having 4 seam failures, without the new technology. Maybe that's because we measure accurately, and don't overstretch our liners, or because we used top quality brands, like Plastimayd always was. GLI now uses the same technology, leading me to believe that it is more a matter of speeding up production than making a stronger or prettier seam. Either way, these companies have invested millions of dollars in the new technology. One last interesting note about Latham is that regardless of which of their brands you buy, there are 35 patterns to choose from. I wasn't able to get a straight answer from the rep as to whether all of their factories would stock all the patterns, so I suspect not. The difference is how long it takes to get the liner, and more importantly, knowing how long it will take. Normally, our Plastimayd liners would come from Bossier City, LA, which meant we would have it the day after it shipped. But if that pattern comes from a plant on the east or west coast, it can add a week or more in transit time. Aside from that, if you are buying one of their brands, it really doesn't matter which brand it is. All of the Latham brands offer the same patterns, and are made in whichever factory happens to have that material. Plastimayd will now be no better or no worse than any other Latham liner. The difference comes down to these two things: Whether the dealer buys directly from the factory, or through a distributor - for speed and accountability, and how well the liner is measured and installed. I will say, in all humility, that there is no-one out there who cares more, or works more diligently to see that your liner is well fitted and properly installed, than A-Pro Services.
The above paragraph transcribed from home page - Continued Below:
In general, you usually get about what you pay for, both in the choice of liner, and in the installation. While there is the occasional bargain, or an installer who needs the work badly, you usually pay a price for going cheap. All too often, I replace a liner that is only a few years old, and the customer says that the person who installed their last liner was the cheapest. The worst thing that I hear, though, is that companies often bid low to get the job, then find a lot of "unexpected" problems, adding to the price, or that they don't include gaskets, etc., and charge very high prices for them - or, even worse, reuse the old ones! The best thing that you can do to avoid all of this is to Check the company out by checking the BBB, and feedback at sites like YellowPages.com, Local.com, SuperPages.com, etc. Know who you are dealing with. Also, you should leave feedback at these sites, so that others can use your experience when choosing a contractor. It helps to support good companies, and weed out the unscrupulous.
A-pro Services offers expert measurement, sales, and installation of in-ground swimming pool liners, and offers several brands of liners, including Loop-Loc, GLI, Plastimayd. We can get just about any brand of liner, but we have chosen to focus on these three brands because they are American Made, and we can get them quickly and at a better price because we buy directly from the factories. thus eliminating the middle men and having better quality assurance. All liners sold and installed by A-Pro Services include new gaskets and faceplates for skimmers, returns, and main drain, as well as minor surface repair, and VGB* compliant main drain covers. Most complications with pool liner installation can be foreseen, so you can expect an accurate estimate, and a professional installation.
In-ground liners are rated in thickness. How these liners are rated depends, largely, on the manufacturer, and can sometimes be deceiving. First, there is the difference of "gauge" vs "mil". Imported liners are usually rated as being a certain gauge, while American made liners are normally rated in mils. While a mil specifically is defined as one thousandth of an inch, there is little control over what is defined as a gauge. In wiring and metal, actually, the thinner the material, the higher the gauge. A #12 (or 12 Gauge ) wire is smaller than a 10 Gauge. 26 gauge steel is heavier than 29 gauge. Liners, however, are sold as a higher gauge being thicker. Why? Well, I wore the same shoe size for about 20 years as an adult - I didn't even have to try them on! Now, I not only have to try them on, I have suddenly gained at least 2 shoe sizes. My foot hasn't gotten any bigger, it's that the standards have changed, because sizing depends on the country of origin. The same is true with vinyl liners. There is no international standard for the word, it is dependant on the country of origin. Some people who sell vinyl liners will tell you that the terms gauge and mil are interchangeable. They are not. To me, this is another reason to buy American, even if they cost a little more. At least you know what You are paying for. Well, Sort of....
One variance among American made liners is that there is what is known as "Nominal Value" Some companies sell liners this way. Much the same as electricity (we say 120 volts, or 110 to mean the same thing. Actually, the true voltage may be anywhere from 105 to 125. In the case of electricity, appliances are designed to handle this variance. For vinyl liners, 30 mil is a nominal value, which can be anything thicker than 22 mil. However, a 28 mil is a more specific value which indicates the minimum thickness of the liner. While most manufacturers rate their thinner liners at the nominal value of 20 mil, you can usually tell how exacting their standards are by looking at how they rate their heavier liners. If the heavier liners are rated at the more exacting 28 mil rather than the nominal 30 mil, odds are that that manufacturer's thinner liners conform more closely to the specification. a nominal 20 mil liner can be as thin as 16 thousandths of an inch. One Mfg rep tells me that their above ground 20 mil liners are actually 18 and their 25 is actually 22. While above ground liners may be held to a lower standard than in-ground liners, I say it's kind of a dirty trick. Some are actually imports, originally rated as certain gauges, that have been re-specified in mils. The long and short of it is, probably the best thing to do is buy your liner from a reputable local company that you trust, buy American, and feel the sample material for yourself. Thicker isn't always better, but if you are paying extra for it, or even if it is "thrown in", you should get what you were promised.
Choosing a liner pattern is usually pretty straight forward, you pick what you like, for the most part. But remember that you will be looking at this design for a few years, so you want something that looks nice. You might want to avoid the outdated, but not necessarily go ultra modern, either. Consider the liner pattern much as you might consider the living room carpet. Green shag carpet was popular at one time, but not such a good choice nowadays. However, a modern sculptured black carpet might clash with your cherry wood cabinets and moldings. Similarly, your back yard is the summer extension of your living room. It has a theme, and a group of colors. Where there is a pool in the back yard, it is usually the centerpiece, so it needs to fit into the surroundings. No need to obsess, but if you have a grey house, you might want highlights of grey in your tile pattern.
Another consideration is that sometimes, because of poor construction or settling, the pool may not be quite level. Choosing a liner pattern that does not have straight horizontal lines at the water level might help to make this less noticeable.
Some floor patterns which have little variance (black, for example) tend to show every imperfection in the surface, especially when the light is on, so be careful about choosing them. All pools have at least minor imperfections in the surface.
One final thought on liner patterns is to consider how long you plan to stay in the house. If you plan to sell the house in a couple of years, choose a liner that is most appealing to potential buyers. On the other hand, if you plan to stay in your home for 10 years or more, choose what appeals to you. Note that some companies try to sell very dark liners on the premise that dark makes the water warmer. In reality, it makes little difference, and very dark liners tend not to last quite as long, because they do absorb more sunlight above the waterline on the sunny side, and the temperature difference at the waterline makes the vinyl more brittle. Some companies like to sell darker liners because the manufacturer gives them a discount (if you can sell a liner every 8 years versus 10 years, that's a 20% increase in potential sales!) And, honestly, some just don't know any better.
Most manufacturers offer texture on steps as an option, usually at an added cost. For the most part, I would say that it is worth the small extra expense. One of our manufacturers felt so strongly about the value of textured tread that they offered it at no extra charge. But I guess a buck is a buck, so they now charge for it like everyone else. Still probably worth it. It isn't much of a texture, but it is enough to prevent slippage. While some manufacturers only offer textured tread in solid colors, others offer it in select patterns that match the floor. Solid color steps can be attractive, provided that they don't clash with the rest of the pattern. I had a customer one time who wouldn't buy again from the company who did her previous liner, because they gave her white steps on her dark blue liner with brownish tile. To be fair, it was a pretty bad clash, in this case.
Some liners have built into them UV protection, to help protect the liner from sun damage. Most companies charge extra for it, including one of the manufacturers we use. Other liner manufacturers, like GLI, build it into their product without making a big fuss about it. Sometimes, it is sort of like undercoating used to be on a car. It is already there, it's just a matter of whether the dealer can get you to pay extra for it! Personally, I haven't seen that it makes as much difference to the life of the liner as some manufacturers would have you believe, so I wouldn't pay 30% extra for it, I would just go with a dealer that I trust, and buy from a manufacturer that includes it.
I always chuckle when I see pennies stuck in a liner track to keep the liner in place. Usually, a properly installed liner in a track that is in good condition will stay there on it's own. Still, I always lock the corners in place, mostly because it helps to keep the corners in place while the liner is being installed. But what we use is a vinyl wedge, called liner lock, which is made specifically for the purpose. If the track is not in good shape, we sometimes use liner lock all the way around the pool for "insurance" but it is usually not necessary. I have seen some installers use window screen beading, because it is cheaper, but Puh-Lease! Liner lock at wholesale is about 3 cents per foot.
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A-Pro Services, Your pool and spa service company, offers Pool Repair Spa Repair Pool Service Spa Service Pool heaters, Pool liners, inground liners, in ground liners above ground liners, safety covers, spa parts, spa motors, spa controls spa diagnostics, pool equipment, pool pumps, spa pumps, pool motors, heaters, In the Oklahoma City Area, including Bethany, Edmond, El Reno, Mustang, Moore, Yukon, Warr Acres, and Metro OKC. zip codes include: 73003, 73008, 73013,73034, 73083, 73036, 73059, 73064, 73090,73099, 73064, 73101, 73102, 73103, 73104, 73105, 73106, 73107, 73108, 73109, 73110, 73111. 73112, 73113, 73114, 73115, 73116, 73117, 73118, 73119, 73120, 73121, 73122, 73123, 73124, 73125, 73126, 73127, 73128, 73129, 73130, 73131, 73132, 73134, 73135, 73136, 73137, 73139, 73140, 73141, 73142, 73143, 73144, 73145, 73146, 73147, 73148, 73149, 73150, 73151, 73152, 73153, 73154, 73155, 73156, 73157, 73159, 73160, 73162, 73163, 73164, 73165, 73167, 73169, 73170, 73172, 73173, 73178, 73179, 73184, 73185, 73189, 73190, 73194, 73195, 73196, 73197, 73198,