How to Choose the Correct Replacement Liner for Above Ground Pools

  1. Determine what type of pool liner you need.  Above ground swimming pools are built to accommodate either an overlap style liner or a beaded style liner.  The difference between a “beaded” style liner, and an “overlap” style liner is the way the liner is held in place at the top of the swimming pool.  Beaded aboveground pool liners have a very small groove or lip at the top edge of the liner.  This small lip is snapped into a track all the way around the inside of the swimming pool at the very top of the pool wall, to hold the pool liner in place.  If your swimming pool requires a beaded pool liner, you will be able to see this track by looking under the top rail on the inside of the above ground swimming pool.
  2. An overlap style liner is folded over the wall of the swimming pool and held in place underneath the top rail of the above ground swimming pool.  If your swimming pool requires an overlap style liner, you can see a small amount of the pool liner under the top rail on the outside of the swimming pool.  To install an overlap pool liner, the top rail of the above ground pool is removed all the way around the pool.  The new liner is then placed in the pool and draped over the top of the thin metal wall of the pool.  Long plastic coping clips, along with a top metal rim, are placed over the liner and the metal wall to hold the liner in place.  The top rails are then re-installed over the new liner.
  3. Determine what grade of pool liner is in your price range.  Replacement swimming pool liners for aboveground swimming pools can be found in several grades, or thicknesses.  The thickness of vinyl pool liner material indicates how durable the pool liner is, and how long it might last inside a swimming pool.  The thicker the pool liner material is, the more durable (and more expensive) it will be.  The measure of pool liner thickness is presented in either “gauge” or “mil”, both meaning the same thing.


  • The pool liner included with most new above ground swimming pools is plain blue color, and a 20 mil thickness.  This is a standard pool liner, and will perform well and look geat for years.
  • Replacement swimming pool liners can be found in thicknesses up to 30 mil, but be aware that this is significant price difference.
  • There are many ways in which liners are manufactured in the industry, with some companies offering re-processed vinyl.  What this means is vinyl which is ground up and re-manufactured out of second hand material.  It will not be as strong, or last as long in your pool.  Be sure you are buying “virgin vinyl”, which is the original processed material.


Installing a replacement pool liner yourself can be much more complicated than it might seem.  If not handled carefully during installation, or if not installed properly, your beautiful new pool liner might quickly tear or leak.  If you have never seen or helped with the liner replacement process, or the installation of a new swimming pool, you should pay a professional to install your new liner this time.  Watch closely and ask questions, and you will be prepared for next time!


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