How To Install Above Ground Pool Liners


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An above-ground pool is useless without its liner. The pool liner is basically a large bag made of vinyl that is designed to hold water within the pool's frame. It is the most important part of above ground pools and has the potential to be the most frustrating. Liners must be handled carefully and installed properly to avoid damage to the vinyl. Our basic guidelines for liner installation will help you do it right, whether you're just setting up a new above ground pool or replacing an existing liner. 

Click Here to View Our Selection of Above Ground Pool Liners

Things You'll Need


Step by Step


Step 1

Drain Water - If replacing an existing above ground pool liner, drain the water from the pool and detach the hoses from the return jet and skimmer.

Step 2

Return Jet - Remove the return jet from the pool wall. Save the return jet components so they can be reused on the new liner.

Step 3

Faceplate Screws - Remove the screws from the skimmer faceplate. Save the screws for when you reinstall the faceplate.

Step 4

Remove Faceplate - Remove the faceplate once the screws are removed. Save the faceplate for installation later.

Click Here to View Our Selection of Skimmer Parts

Step 5

Detach Skimmer - Remove the skimmer body from the above ground pool wall. Remove the skimmer gasket(s) as well.

Step 6

Ladders & Steps - Remove any ladders and steps that may be in the pool.

Step 7

Remove Top Caps - Remove all of the top caps from the top of the pool.

Step 8

Remove Top Rails -Remove the screws that secure the top rails to the uprights. Remove all of the top rails from the top of the pool.

Step 9

Remove Top Plates - Remove the screws that secure the top plates to the uprights and remove all of the top plates.

Step 10

Remove Stabilizers - Remove all of the stabilizers/top rims from the pool wall.

Step 11

Remove Liner - Start by cutting the liner into smaller pieces. This will make it easier to remove the liner from the pool.

Step 12

Secure Wall - Using tape or clamps, secure the wall to the uprights. This will prevent the wall from caving in.

Step 13

Repair Wall (If Necessary) - This would be an excellent time to repair any excessive rust damage on the wall.

In-depth instructions for above ground pool wall repair can be found here, How to Repair Rusty Above Ground Pool Wall

Step 14

Wall Foam - Attach wall foam to the inside of the wall using spray-on adhesive. Wall foam acts as a buffer between the steel wall and vinyl liner; provides a cushion for contact from swimmers and ladders.

Step 15

Rake And Flatten Floor - This is our last chance to remove any imperfection on the surface of the pool floor, like rocks, roots, or any sharp objects. These foreign objects could puncture the liner once the water is added to the pool. Use a tamper to compact the soil as much as possible.

Step 16

Pool Cove - Add a pool cover to the inner floor to wall seam; This adds a gradual gradient to prevent a pinch point for your liner. A cove can be made out of dirt or sand, but for a more uniform (and less likely to shift under pressure,) use Peel & Stick or Clip-On Cove.

Step 17

Floor Padding - Similar to wall foam, this foam helps prevent liner punctures from swimmers and any objects you couldn’t sift out before installation. Some floor padding can even prevent punctures from invasive plants like nutgrass.

Step 18

Unfold Liner - Place the in the middle of the pool and unfold the liner, layout to pool’s wall. Lay the liner out to warm up in the sun to increase the vinyl’s elasticity. 

Note: It may be best to remove your shoes while handling the liner at this point. The freshly unfolded virgin vinyl may not be at its full elasticity, making punctures from shoes and boots more likely. 

Click Here to View Our Selection of Above Ground Pool Liners

Step 19

Attach Liner to Pool Wall - Attach your new pool liner to the pool wall. For overlap liners, place a coping strip over each section as you go. For beaded liners, you will need to place the bead receiver on the wall, then slide the liner bead into the receiver. Like the one shown in the video, J-Hook liners slide the liner cuff over the wall; coping strips aren’t required but can be used.

Related Article - Above Ground Pool liner Types

Step 20

Install Top Stabilizer Rim - Place the top stabilizer over top the liner or bead receiver, as you go.

Step 21

Begin Refilling the Pool - Use a hose to begin the refilling as the pool fills work out the wrinkles in the liner outwards from the pool’s center point.

Step 22

Install Top Plates - First, ensure the uprights are level, then re-attach each top plate.

Step 23

Install Top Rails and Top Caps - Re-install your pool’s full set of top rails.

Step 24

Install Skimmer - Wait for the water level to reach between half to three-quarters of the way full, to begin preparing the skimmer installation. This water weight will make sure the liner is snug to the pol wall. Tack the skimmer faceplate in place with the faceplate screws to help you align with the skimmer body.

Step 25

Install Return Jet - Press the return jet fitting into the sidewall cutout. Cut the liner while pressing the fitting through the hole. Cut away any excess liner material.

Step 26

Congratulations, you have successfully installed your above ground pool liner if you have any questions below.

Click Here to View Our Selection of Above Ground Pool Liners


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Anonymous  Posted: 8/21/2022 

I have a 27’ x 54” round pool. We are struggling to find the right liner. Flat bottom pool. It is not quite round but egg shaped. What would be the best liner to fit this pool? We bought an overlap liner than only measure 55.5” on the walls which did not allow for slack on the wall and pulled the pool walls down with it. We need to find an overlap liner that would give us play room and not worry about pool walls being buckled inward and falling down.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/30/2022 

Stock above ground pool liners come in three sizes, oval, round, or rectangle. We only carry the oval and round types, neither of which sound like they would work for your application. You will need a customer liner.

 Posted: 7/17/2020 

Is it possible to replace an intex ultra frame pool with any kind of liner. I bought the pool in 2015 and everything is great except the liner is fading. Intex no longer has these in stock..

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/24/2020 

Unfortunately, the standard steel wall pool liners we carry are not compatible with the Intex frame pools. The two designs are entirely different; our liners need a wall backing to retain the water.

 Posted: 4/11/2019 

Hi.. I have an above ground pool... it's a 24 ft round pool. The wall measures right at 54 inches. My question is: would a liner that's 24ft by 52 inches work with the 54 inch wall? I know there's usually quite a bit of slack left over after over lapping the liner but I just need to know if I can use a 24 ft by 52 inch liner for my pool that has the 54 inch wall.... I'll be using an over lapping liner... thank you for any advise u can send my way! Beth

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 4/15/2019 

Hello Beth - We'd recommend selecting an overlap liner that specifically states that it will work with a 54" wall. Some pool owners have successfully installed 52" overlap liners on 54" walls but others have not been successful. Better to be safe and get the correct size.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/17/2017 

Wanda - If you have a beaded liner as shown here, you may have the wrong height and the weight of the water is pulling the bead out of the track. If you have a basis overlap liner, make sure all the coping pieces that hold the liner on the wall are in place.

 Posted: 6/15/2017 

We bought a new liner for our pool after 12 yrs of being up.. followed directions on installing it. We were getting it filled and was almost half done when our liner started coming off and fell in. Any ideas on what happened and how to fix it?

 Posted: 6/12/2017 

We have a 15x30 oval above ground pool. Our new liner has a boulder pattern on the top, rest of the liner is swirl pattern. After 2 attempts to install, something isn't right. The space between the two center seams was positioned correctly. We have excess liner on the sides! If we pull the sides up, won't that mess up the ends too? This is the first liner we've installed with a pattern on the top and we want to make sure we do it right. I have to admit, this liner is kicking our butt! My husband is frustrated and I'm in tears! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

 Posted: 6/17/2019 

Hi, I just seen your post from 2017. I have the same liner and I am on my 2nd attempt. Did you successfully install the liner? What was the Outcome? Thanks Roy

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/12/2017 

Juranimal - Standard liners are not designed to stretch. Their seam would split. We do sell an expandable liner that would probably satisfy your requirements. See "24 Round Overlap Expandable Liners 72".

 Posted: 6/11/2017 

Have a Vogue above ground 24' pool with 52" walls. When I stalled 18 years ago (original liner) thyenrecommended a 3' ledge and then a cereal bowl dish that is 6" deeper in the center(but flat bottom). The original liner was a hung type with the rubber j gasket on the top. Need to replace but everything online says hung liners are for flat bottom pools only. Question: will today's hung liners stretch this 10% or must I use an overlap?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/14/2016 

flush liner - I don't know what stage you are at in installing your liner. If you used a vacuum to suck the liner up against the wall, the liner should be fairly flush. The liner will have some play in it. As the pool is filled up with water, the water will push the liner against the wall making the liner fairly tight. You will still have a few minor winkles.

Anonymous  Posted: 6/13/2016 

I have put up my 27x52 Blue Wave Belize perfectly to the instructions. How come my liner is not flush with the wall? I even have the cove between the liner and the wall. I also set the liner out in the sun to heat up. Is that normal?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/3/2016 

JimFromIL - I would think you would be alright without adding support. Like you say, the ground should be fully settled so there wouldn't be any pressure on the pool when it is emptied.

 Posted: 6/2/2016 

In a few weeks we're having a pool company replace our old 10 year old liner that has a 2 inch gash above the pool line. About a third of the pool is underground as we have partial slope that leans towards the house. I'll have to completely empty the pool (21' round X 52" high), and I'm afraid of potential wall damage on the side that is underground. After 10 years, I would hope the ground is fully settled. Should I provide some type of support when draining the pool on the side that is underground?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 3/23/2016 

Dave - The pump is attached to the pool skimmer which is mounted to the pool wall. See out guide on "How To Assemble an Above Ground Pool - Part 6 - Installing the Skimmer", and "How To Assemble an Above Ground Pool - Part 7 - Return Port".

 Posted: 3/23/2016 

My new liner has no holes for the pump...what do I do???

 Posted: 2/15/2016 

Bought my liner here and used the instructional video All went well I was pleased with my first time liner install and the help from this company I also bought top plates and other parts for my pool from them and always am happy When I have questions about parts or need technical help they are the guys to ask


InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 9/22/2015 

replacing liner - I would not recommend overlapping an old liner with an new one. You are likely to collect mold between the two liners.

Anonymous  Posted: 9/21/2015 

Hi I have above ground pool my question can I install a new liner over the old liner by cutting out the bottom of the old liner then overlapping with the new liner.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/29/2015 

vchaney - The bead should snap out the same way it snapped in. You'll have to be a little creative to get it stared, maybe lift up an end of one section of the grooves that holds the bead to get up under the bead.

 Posted: 6/28/2015 

Is there a way to remove a beaded liner and reinstall after the pool is relocated? The liner is less than a month old.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/26/2015 

Tammy - Usually you might have been able to kick the seam back to the corner before you have 2-3 " of water but you are beyond that stage. You may have some winkles on the floor now but the coving around the edge should support the liner edge where it is now.

 Posted: 6/25/2015 

We just finished installing a new above ground liner. We had the bottom seam positioned about 2-3 inches up the wall above the cove and no wrinkles on floor of pool. We began adding water and everything looked great but then we noticed that the bottom seam is now on the bottom of the pool about 4-6" from wall. It's fairly uniform all the way around but is this normal? It's running about 90-95 degrees here. Will this compromise the pool? We are almost half way full of water!

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/18/2015 

Olivia - The liner should fit but if it was hot when you installed it, it could have stretched that much. I would call the company you bought it from and see what they say. If you bought it from us, call 877-372-6038 and talk to one of our service reps.

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/18/2015 

tina - You cannot put a 21' liner in a 20 foot pool. But here is a link to a company that says they have 20' liners. I don't know anything about them but you could give them a try:

 Posted: 6/16/2015 

I just bought a new liner and we had installed it all the way around then when we got to the very end there was about 3 inches of excess liner. Is this normal or should I return it?

 Posted: 6/16/2015 

Can l put a 21, foot liner on a 20 foot pool can't find a 20 foot loner anywhere

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/16/2015 

Billy - It sounds like your liner may have excess material that may have pulled out from under the coping. You may have to take off the top rail and coping to pull some of that material back so you don't have large winkles when you fill it up.

 Posted: 6/15/2015 

my liner had pulled away from my walls while filling it up, it had about 2 ft of water in it at the time. it has large pockets of air tward the top of the liner all the way around. will using the vacume method prevent this from happining again?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/14/2015 

Manitoba - I would recheck the measurement of the liner to make sure you didn't receive something smaller than you ordered. Then I would take most of the water out of the pool before I dismantled the upper braces [toprails, stabilizers] that support the pool wall. The water exerts a lot of pressure on the wall.

 Posted: 6/11/2015 

I've installed a 15x30 overlap replacement
liner on my above ground pool. The first
attempt to fill resulted in the liner
pulling out of the coping/wall on the
skimmer end. Unknowingly we did not
vacuum the huge pockets of air from behind
the liner and we installed the output
gasket device and the skimmer frame
but did not cut the skimmer hole. There
are minimal wrinkles on the pool floor.
I am in the process of draining the 2ft of
water from the pool with plans to rehang
the liner on the side it slipped from.
I had than planned to use the vacuum to
remove the liner air before and during
pool fill. Does this sound correct or
will it slip again? We only have about
2inches of overhang showing below the
pool shelf when it's all installed and


InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 6/9/2015 

Mike - Probably not. I'm afraid that if you pulled off one of the Top Rails and Stabilizers to pull the liner up, you would create a temporary weak point in the wall that might fail with that much water on it.

 Posted: 6/9/2015 

I bought a ued above groud pool, ad intalled the liner and filled it to the skimmer. Until it was a litte over half full, the liner looked pretty that it is up to the skimmer, it has a 6ft long area right by the top rail and 3 inches down that is a little baggy and looks crappy....any way to fix this without draing the pool?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 5/21/2015 

shrunk liner - It is unlikely that your liner has shrunk. You will have to detach the top of the liner from the top edge of your pool and start over working the bottom edge of the liner into the bottom corner of the pool. Then reattach the top of the liner to the top edge of the pool.

Anonymous  Posted: 5/19/2015 

I drained my pool in order to fix the pits in the sand under the liner now it seams as though the liner is to small or has shrunk. The bottom seam looks to be about 4-6" away from the pool wall all the way a round. Now when I get about a foot of water in it the wall is starting to buckle. Do I need to add more sand or make more of a cove?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 3/15/2015 

Leaking - Sounds like you have a hole in your liner that will have to be replaced or repaired. If your pool water has drained out, you should support the wall until you can refill it. The pool wall needs pressure from the water to stay up over time. You can go into the pool now to remove the ice and try to repair the liner but you will have to use a ladder to get over the wall. Don't put any weight on the wall. And wait for a warm day if you have to install a patch.

 Posted: 3/14/2015 

Came home from work to see that my pool has a small river coming from the bottom. During the winter the cover fell in, bought the house in Dec, still have large pieces of ice in it. Do I need to support the sides till the ice melts or I can get in there?? What else should I be concerned about. Never owned a pool before. Is this the beginning of a nightmare?

InyoPools Product Specialist  Posted: 8/5/2014 

illinois22 - Sometimes you are shipped the wrong product or it is mislabeled. Check the height of your liner from the seam at the bottom [that goes into the bottom corner] to the top of the liner. If you have an overlapping liner, you should have 54" plus at least another 6" to overlap the top of the wall. Very often you have to trim off some the excess liner on the outside of the wall. See our other guide on "How To Assemble an Above Ground Pool - Part 4 - Liner Install" for further information.