How to Get Wrinkles Out of a Vinyl Pool Liner

Written by Michael Dean
October 17, 2023

wrinkled vinyl swimming pool liner

Vinyl liners can easily become wrinkled in swimming pools as they are made of very thin material. Although liner wrinkles do not cause catastrophic problems to your pool, they can be unsightly, annoying, and difficult to get rid of. So, what do you do if your pool liner becomes wrinkled?

In this article, I will show you how to quickly remove those annoying wrinkles so you can return to enjoying your pool.

Main Takeaways

  • Over time, your pool liner can wrinkle, but several easy DIY methods exist for fixing it.
  • Don’t immediately replace the liner; it is sometimes just a simple fix.
  • Keep your pool temperature warm and maintain a neutral pH level, as these can affect the vinyl liner.
  • Double-check the liner after a professional has installed it in your pool. If you notice wrinkles, don’t hesitate to speak out.

What Is the Cause of Pool Liner Wrinkles?

You might see wrinkles on your pool liner for several reasons, but the most common culprit is heavy rainfall or excessive water in and around the soil surrounding the pool. When the water recedes, the pool liner returns to a different position, developing wrinkles.

Some other reasons for pool liner wrinkles are:

  • Wrong liner size: If a pool liner is larger than the pool itself, the excess material will crumple and fold over, causing wrinkles.
  • Water pH is too low: Your pool liner may have shrunk slightly due to the water being acidic (pH levels below 7.0). Vinyl liners exposed to low alkaline water for extended periods can be eaten away.
  • Poor installation: When a professional installs a new pool liner, it needs to be placed so that wrinkles are not present during or after installation. If you have hired a professional installer, they should ensure that no creases are present after the liner is installed.
  • Puckering: When the pool liner puckers, it is usually because of undissolved granular chemicals on the vinyl or chlorine tablets left to dissolve on the liner.
  • Water loss: When water is pumped out or leaks out of a pool liner, the vinyl will contract, making it difficult to reset the liner with no wrinkles.
  • Cold water: When the pool water is too cold, the liner may become hardened and wrinkled.
  • Leaks: If there are any small water leaks in the liner, the water will cause the vinyl to lift up and wrinkle.

How to Remove Pool Liner Wrinkles

Wrinkles on a pool liner are unsightly. If left unattended, they can also irreversibly damage the pool liner, which means you will have to eventually replace the liner completely.

Wrinkles at the bottom of the pool liner can also feel unpleasant on your feet and should be taken care of as soon as possible. There are many different strategies to deal with this issue, and the fix often depends on the underlying cause.

Strategy 1: Refill Your Pool

Wrinkles can form if the water level is lower than normal for an extended amount of time. If you notice wrinkles starting in the liner, refill the pool and try to smooth out the wrinkles as you fill it up.

Strategy 2: Stretch It Out with Your Hands, Feet, or a Pool Brush

An easy way to remove the wrinkles from the pool liner is by using your hands, feet, or a pool brush. Wear shoes and walk along the wrinkles to smooth them out. Your feet, hands, or a pool brush are reliable ways to get rid of small wrinkles, but you may have to use a swimming pool brush to remove some of the bigger, more stubborn wrinkles.

Strategy 3: Increase Your Pool Temperature

Wrinkles in your vinyl pool liner are much more likely to form in cold water than in warm water. Try heating the water until the liner softens so you can work the wrinkles out more easily with your hands, a pool brush, a plunger, or your feet. Head over to my guide on the right pool temp for more info on what temperature you should keep in your pool.

Strategy 4: Use a Plunger

Grab a new toilet plunger and head to the pool; it’s a solid choice for getting wrinkles out of your pool liner. Placing the plunger on each side of the wrinkle will pull the liner away and stretch it out, removing the wrinkles.

Strategy 5: Check the Landscaping Around Your Pool

Check to see if your landscaping is redirecting water to where it is causing damage. Trees, shrubs, and bushes can cause water to gather in the area where the liner is wrinkling. When water accumulates, it will soften the soil around your pool and shift the ground. If you notice that the soil is moving the pool around, you will need to shore up the ground surrounding your pool to ensure it stops shifting. To do that:

  1. Dig a trench around this area and compact the dirt so water does not gather in that area anymore.
  2. When you are sure the soil is solid and will not continue to move, you can remove the wrinkles, using one of the above strategies.

Strategy 6: Patch Up Potential Leaks

Leaks in your pool liner, even small ones, can lead to damage. A leak allows the water to go beneath the liner and force it up, causing wrinkles.

To fix a wrinkled liner caused by a leak:

  1. Find the leak, which you can do with a prefilled dye tester.
  2. Drain the pool to patch it.
  3. Once the tear is fixed, you can begin to pull out the wrinkles in the pool liner, using one of the above strategies.

Strategy 7: Blow Out the Liner

If none of the other methods are working, blowing out the liner is a last resort strategy. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Drain the pool.
  2. Blow out the liner using a Shop-Vac. You will need to use the Shop-Vac in reverse, blowing out the air between the liner and the frame and pushing out the wrinkles.
  3. Once the wrinkles are gone, reverse the suction to pull out the excess air you pushed beneath the pool liner.

Strategy 8: Call a Professional

Before resorting to replacing the liner, your last defense should be calling a pool professional to get a second opinion on the wrinkles. If you have tried everything you can to fix the liner with no result, you will likely have to replace the entire thing. But a professional may have a few tricks up their sleeves that could save you a lot of time and money.

Strategy 9: Replace the Liner

If the pool liner is damaged beyond repair, it may be time to admit defeat. Sometimes, the wrinkles won’t come out, and you’ll need to replace the entire liner. If you have come to this point, ensure the liner is installed correctly and wrinkle-free so you won’t have to repeat this entire process.

I suggest hiring a professional to install the pool liner. If you are trying to install the liner alone, do your research to get the right size liner and install it correctly.

How Do You Prevent Wrinkles in a Vinyl Pool Liner?

The best way to avoid wrinkles from forming in your vinyl pool liner is prevention. A good liner installation should prevent you from fixing wrinkles for a very long time.

Check the Installation Before Signing Off

If you have hired a reputable builder to install your swimming pool, they will want you to have the best experience possible.

However, some builders may try to get away with an imperfect installation. This is why it’s so important to pay attention during the installation process and speak up if you notice an issue.

When you hire someone to build your pool, check the warranty to see if it covers wrinkles. More often than not, it does not.

Do not sign off on the paperwork before you inspect the builder’s work. Checking the liner and ensuring you don’t see any wrinkles will save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Keep the Pool Warm During the Winter

As mentioned earlier, cold water can lead to wrinkles in the liner. One preventative measure is keeping your pool at a constant temperature throughout the winter months. The downside of this is the power costs of warming your pool.

Maintain a Neutral pH Level

Acidic water can cause your liner to degrade and wrinkle over time. Maintaining your pool’s pH level is important for several reasons, but preventing damage to the pool’s equipment and surfaces is imperative. Test your water regularly to ensure the alkalinity does not drop below 7.4.

Avoid Sharp Objects

Try not to bring any sharp objects into the pool. But if you bring a pool toy or anything with sharp edges, be careful, as they can puncture the pool liner, leading to wrinkles down the line.

Maintain the Water Level

Since wrinkles can develop in your vinyl pool if your pool sits at a low water level for an extended period. So, make sure you keep your pool level topped up to the correct level.

Get My Free Pool Care Checklist

Download my free, printable pool maintenance checklist to help you accomplish regular pool care tasks for any type of swimming pool.

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Smooth Those Wrinkles!

You can remove pool liner wrinkles, but the best defense is not allowing them to happen in the first place. Hire a professional to install your pool liner and correct the water levels and pH balance. Also, remember to ensure that no excess water is going around your pool and lifting the liner, causing wrinkles.

Calling a professional to help you remove the wrinkles from your pool liner is a good idea if you have tried everything else. With the tips above, hopefully, you will not have to call in the builders.

Questions on liner wrinkles? Let me know; I’m always happy to help.

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