Can a Pool Liner be Installed in the Rain?

There is nothing worse than having an outdoor project ready to get started and out of nowhere, the weather takes a turn for the worst. We are here to tell you about the troubles that can come with installing a pool liner in the rain. This project will be just as frustrating as it sounds.

Installing a pool liner in the rain should be avoided at all costs. When you install a pool liner in the rain, rain is not only going to wet the liner’s surface, but it will fall behind the liner preventing the proper seal. Without this, the liner will not hold properly and wrinkles can occur. 

This may be bad news for those of you planning on fighting Mother Nature and installing a pool liner regardless of her protests, but it will save you some serious work, time, and other resources in the long run. Continue reading to understand why you should avoid installing a pool liner in the rain and what to do if your pool does take on water and it wedges itself beneath the liner. 

Why You Should Not Install a Pool Liner in the Rain 

There are only so many days that people have off of work, have no sort of social obligation, have no errands to run, no meetings to attend, and no practices to run to. Free time is hard to find, and when you have a big project like installing a pool liner, carving out time to get it done takes some serious work. Even if you are having it installed professionally, you have to be around to make sure all goes well. So, when it rains on installation day, it can be a real drag.

You should not install a pool liner in the rain because the liner needs to be sealed tight on the bottom and sides of the pool creating a smooth, airtight surface that water cannot seep behind. Installing in the rain not only inhibits a proper seal but can cause distortions that create long-lasting issues.

When you see a pool liner, there should be no wrinkles and it should be firmly against the side and bottom of the pool. There should be no area where it seems loose or has any type of give. This is due to its seal which is formed up against the pool sides and along the bottom. If this seal is broken, your hope of a smooth surface all around is completely lost. You will be swimming in an area that looks more like a mole mine rather than a glossy pool floor. 

This seal is only achieved when the pool itself is dry and when the liner is dry during the installation process. If the liner becomes wet during installation, the seal cannot come to be and your liner will look quite wrinkled after the installation has been completed. Many think that adding water will help to smooth things out, but this is only true in a very small way. Some wrinkles may go away, but most will remain, especially along the bottom of the pool. 

Although it may feel like the right call to go ahead and power through the rain to install your pool liner, I promise, waiting a few days to let the storm pass will leave you with much better results when it comes to the look and function of your pool liner. The seal of your liner is the most important part of a tight liner. This is how you will avoid any rips or tears due to excess wrinkles in the liner. Take a rain check here and try another day. 

If you are like I was (before I learned the hard way), you would look at the rain and say “Forget it, I am going to install this pool liner anyway.” However, be wary of this type of bullheadedness as it can get you in major trouble when it comes to your pool. I realize that this news may make you want to pull your hair out, but trust me, rearranging your schedule to accommodate a dryer day is in your best interest as well as your pool. Take a deep breath, find something else to do with the day. 

What to Do if Water Gets Behind Your Pool Liner 

If you have decided to forgo installing on a rainy day, then I applaud you! You made the most responsible call here. Your budget, time, and pool will thank you now and in the future. However, just because you are installing your pool liner on a sunny day does not mean that you are out of the woods completely. Even if you are able to avoid installing when it is raining, there are still situations when your water is capable of getting behind your liner and wreaking havoc. 

If water gets behind your pool liner, this is the case scenario for your pool’s liner. If a flood happens and you see that your pool liner has begun to float, take a deep breath, hyperventilate into a paper bag, and then calm down because this can be fixed. I am going to give you the steps to solve this problem on your own, but remember that a professional can always help if you feel uneasy tackling the challenge! 

Step-by-Step Solution if Water Gets Behind Your Pool Liner

  1. Do not drain your pool. First, do not, I repeat, do not drain your pool. Your pool has gone through a lot with water getting up under it, with downpours it was never prepared for, and with the physical and emotional beating that rain has caused it. 

If you drain the pool, it is only going to cause even more structural duress on top of what the flooding has already done. Keep the water in and keep the structure of your pool supported.

  1. Lower the pool water level. I know, lowering the pool water level may seem like I am contradicting myself, but I did not say drain the pool, simply lower the water level.

 I say this because if you have experienced a flood or a significant amount of rain, there is going to be excess water in your pool and will likely be overfull. If this is the cause, you need to drain the pool to its normal water operating level.

  1. Find your vacuum pipe. Your vacuum pipe is the pipe that is used to get any access to water from beneath your liner. If you do not know where this is, call your pool guys and let them guide you through locating it, or do a bit of digging yourself. 
  2. Make sure your pipe is unblocked. Once you find the pipe, make sure that it is free-flowing. If it is blocked, then it needs to be unblocked so that it can properly do its job, which is draining all the excess water from your pool. 
  3. Grab a pool broom to use gently while standing on the side of the pool. Try to avoid getting into the pool because you can easily rip the liner due to its instability and lack of seal. 

You want to use this broom to gently push the liner back to where it came from, aka its original position. Be as gentle as you can as tearing is a real thing and it happens in the blink of an eye. Once you have torn the liner, you have a whole new set of problems.

  1. Consider seeking some professional assistance. If these steps have not worked, consider calling a professional so they can diagnose the problem a bit further. Just be sure to keep the pool from overfilling and always make sure the vacuum pipe is free-flowing so that it is able to self drain any water that remains or that might get there over time.

Water under your liner will nearly scare you into the next holiday, but just know that it is a problem you can fix. Although you can fix it, it is not a problem you want to begin with and this is why you should avoid installing a liner in the rain. So instead, spend that rainy day playing board games, sipping coffee, sleeping – whatever floats your boat. Just do not use it to get your pool up and running, because it will be quite the disappointment of a workday.   

Jed Arnold

Jed spent every year from the ages of 15 - 22 as a Lifeguard (Red Cross) and ages of 17 - 22 as a Certified Pool Operator (CPO). Between working for over a dozen facilities and owning a pool, he carries over a decade of pool experience.

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