replacing an above ground pool

Top Reasons an Above Ground Pool Needs Replacing

Above ground swimming pools don’t last forever. A good-quality above ground made in North America should last between 10 and 20 years. Though, don’t think that if your pool is newer than that, it should still be OK. It may not be. Conversely, if your pool is more than 10 years old, it may not yet need replacing. I have often taken down and replaced pools that didn’t have to be and also just installed new liners in pools that were quite done.

Liners Don’t Last as Long as the Pool Does

As I have said earlier, above grounds last between 10 and 20 years on average. Liners last about half that time so you can count on replacing the liner in your pool at least once, but probably more during the life of the pool. The thicker, fully printed liners will last on average between five and eight years. The thinner, standard solid blue liners usually last between two and five years. So, it’s much better to spend more for the nicer one. Reality check: Above ground pool liners will come with 15-year and 25-year warranties. These liners won’t last even close to that long. The warranties are prorated so don’t think you’re going to get much of a discount when it needs replacing after only three years.

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Not Sure If Your Pool Needs Replacing?

If you are in one of the following six scenarios, maybe I can help with an answer.

Let’s play the yes, no, or maybe game. Wait. We’re talking about above ground pools so it should be mostly called the maybe game.

1) My pool is leaking badly – MAYBE

Most things that hold water will eventually leak. It’s a fact so don’t freak when it happens to you. Chances are the pool doesn’t need replacing. Its liner may need to be replaced though. So, find my blog post on how to find a leak in an above ground pool and go from there.

If you find the leak and also find a very rusty pool wall, then it could be yes.

2) My pool looks faded and the rails are saggy and cracked – NO

Just because your pool looks old and faded from the sun doesn’t mean it needs replacing. You may not like the way it looks, but as long as it safely holds the water, you are good. Some paint their pool walls and replace the top rails (if they can find replacements). Some will also build a new deck and add lattice to hide the pool and that’s nice. You can always replace it too. I’ve seen many people replace a good working pool because they didn’t like the way it looked and that’s OK too. It’s your money and your backyard and you shouldn’t have to feel negative when you go back there to enjoy the pool.

3) My pool keeps turning green – NO

above ground pool turning green

OK, so your pool’s water always used to look great and clear and now it always looks cloudy or green. This is in no way the pool’s fault and you don’t have to punish it by replacing it with a new one. You may want to replace the equipment, though. If your pump is old and you have a bad filter or a small sand filter, it may be tough to keep it clear. Replacing it with a newer, bigger cartridge filter can do wonders for your pool. You may even start to enjoy having it again.

Also, if your pool leaks and you have to keep adding water, fix the leak. It will make a huge difference in maintaining the pool. So, quit living with the leak and fix it.

4) My top rails are rusty – MAYBE

Rusty or corroded top rails on a pool can be a pain, but it’s usually not a good enough reason for replacing the entire pool. First off, the top rails have almost nothing to do with keeping the water safely in the pool so don’t worry about the rust affecting the pool structure. If the rust is minimal, some will take them off and sand them down and paint them and that’s cool. The corrosion will continue, but it’ll look nicer for a while.

If the corrosion is extensive to the point that rust is always falling into the pool or its jagged edges are a danger to swimmers, then that is a little different. Your first thought will be to see if you can get replacement top rails for it and that’s a good idea if you can find them. With a lot of above grounds, you won’t be able to find replacement top rails for it. If you do find the correct top rails, you’re going to pay a lot for them, but that may be better than getting a whole new pool. INYO Pools has the best selection of above ground pool parts that I know of online, so try them. (And I’m not just saying that because I write this blog for them).

5) My pool wall is rusty – MAYBE

Above ground pool walls can get rusty on the inside where the liner touches. It’s not great to have rust on the pool wall, but it’s usually not a big deal. Some surface rust is fine and can be sanded down and painted with a rust inhibitor. You can also cover smaller areas with tin or some kind or metal or duct tape. If most of the inner wall has surface rust, get wall foam and spray glue and apply it before installing a new liner and you should be good.

6) My pool wall is badly rusted – YES

how to fix rusty above gorund pool walls

Pool walls that have rusted or corroded all the way through mean it’s time to get a new pool. If you can poke a screwdriver at the rust and it goes through the wall, that’s very bad. That means the wall’s ability to hold all that heavy water is severely compromised. When a pool wall loses its integrity, it can split open from the outward water pressure and when that happens, the pool is dead.

A couple of small rust holes going all the way through the wall can be repaired with probably no future issues and bigger holes can be repaired with a new piece of wall installed from top to bottom. Though, for the average homeowner, I don’t recommend taking that chance. Save your money and get a replacement pool. In doing so you won’t worry that the wall may split open and your napping Pomeranian won’t have to take a wild backyard river ride.

23 thoughts on “Top Reasons an Above Ground Pool Needs Replacing

  1. I have a 21’ above ground pool from 2005. The bottom wall rail below the skimmer is completely rusted through and the bottom of the wall appears to be rusted, but does not appear soft. When I reach under that section of wall where the bottom rail completely rusted away, I can feel the pool liner from the outside of the pool. Should I replace the pool? I haven’t been able to find a replacement rail and the actual replacement would probably cost quite a bit of money, considering that the bottom drain is also cracked.

    1. If you need to replace the whole bottom rail or the wall, then you should replace the whole pool. The cost of the costs even under warranty would likely be around the cost or more than a new pool.

  2. Last summer, I added too many chemicals to my pool trying to get rid of algae overgrowth. When I drained and cleaned my pool for the winter, the bottom of the pool was all discolored from the chemicals. Should I replace the liner?

    1. It would depend on two things: is the discoloration severe enough to where you want to change it, and what is the general health of the liner? Regarding the health of the liner, if the liner material is still pliable and supple, it is safe to reuse. If the liner is dry, stiff, and becoming brittle. I would change the liner before refilling the pool.

  3. We have rust around the bottom ring of pool, 27 ft above ground, about 21 yrs old. Also bad rust around skimmer on outside which we can replace that with a new panel. Do we need to be concerned with rust on outside bottom?

  4. I bought a pool from inyo last year and hired a local installer to put it in. He totally messed up… the bases were not level, so the posts were 3 – 4″ out of plumb. It looked awful. He walked away from the job, so this spring I’m rebuilding it myself. I drained it and was planning to replace the liner after re-leveling everything myself… but because the posts weren’t level, the wall has a couple of crinkle marks. Do I need to replace the whole pool? Should I do anything other than just try to bang these things out so they’re flat again?

  5. my pool has a leak 24′ round is about half full and leak stops liner is 9yrs old going to replace it in the spring, my question is should I bother covering it and wasting a new winter cover I usually get two seasons out of a cover so I bought a new one this year but developed a leak end of season. liner replacement in May of 2021 planned. so leaving it uncovered I think the only reason to cover would be to keep leaves out ?

    1. Leave it like it is with no cover. Mine needs a new liner and the pool guy said don’t cover. The weight of the cover is not good for the walls with no water in the pool.

  6. My dad wants to get a old pool with dents and rust holes the man he wants to get it from said he has put 2 or more liners in it is it safe to take down

  7. Opening green above ground pool last two days. Filled it up today. Put liquid chlorine and bicarbonate in. Changed to aqua green. Just went outside and noticed water level has significantly dropped. Grass flooded on right side. How can I determine exactly where leak is from outside of cloudy green water? PH is high. Could chlorine and bicarbonate have torn liner in that short amount of time (4 hours)? Also, is it correct to assume that the tear will be in the same area the water is leaking from the pool into the grass? Not sure how old liner is or the pool for that matter. It was here when I purchased house. This will be my third summer here. Thank you.

  8. I have a 15 foot above ground pool liners about 10 plus years.. noticed little dark spots at the bottom of the pool. Have to vacuum particles. The day can the liner be deteriorating from inside out

  9. I have a 28 foot above ground pool and the side has separated from the side posts at the bottom by 5/8″ in two spots. Should I take the pool down? It is 17 years old and no signs of rust or other damage. It is the original liner and filter

  10. My pool is bending away from the center. It is an oval pool.
    18x 45
    Above ground

    Now it looks like the sides are pitching outward

    Should I take down the pool and start over or repairs it?

    1. More then likely the outward part of the buttresses don’t have strong enough blocks or something underneath to keep them from sinking down. Or they don’t have anything supporting them at all. You’ll have to drain the pool and see about leveling the buttresses with thick pavers or something. Then you can re-fill and you should be good. You’ll probably need to get a new liner for it too.

  11. I had a fist sized rust spot in my pool at the bottom (worst possible spot)

    I drained the pool and removed the liner. My son spot welded a piece of sheet metal to the area of the hole, then, I took fiberglass and did a patch halfway up the wall on both sides.

    We haven’t yet installed the liner, is fiberglass even a viable repair?

  12. Hello , I’m looking to replace my pool liner, It’s an in ground pool ,,, L shaped
    it’s ripped on one of the corners, just getting worst.. the liner is
    at least 10 years old … any thoughts on replacement .

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