Using a Vacuum to Install a Vinyl Liner (2024)

Installing a new pool liner without wrinkles is a real accomplishment. It requires careful measurements, skillful adjustments, and a vacuum that really sucks – a lot of air. Pool professionals use vacuum/blowers, such as the Cyclone, to set liners. And many pool owners in cold climates use them to blow the lines for winterization. “Setting the liner” with a vacuum is the process of removing the air behind the liner, which sucks the liner snugly against the walls and floor of the pool.

Types of Vacuum/Blowers Used to Set a Vinyl Liner

We mentioned theCyclonealready. You can use a Shop Vac type of wet/dry vac in most cases, as long as it’s not too small. Smaller shop vacs, or those that cannot obtain a good seal to create strong suction, may not work. Once again, these types of blower/vacs remove the air behind the liner, and pull it tight up against the wall and floor of the pool, to remove the wrinkles before filling the pool with water.

They are also very useful for spotting wrinkles which aren’t removed by the vacuum – those wrinkles that need some special attention, or manipulation, before filling the pool.

Getting Ready to Set the Liner

Before you install the liner, take some time to seal up any air gaps between the wall panels, or between the wall panels and the coping or track, on top of the wall. You can use silicone or duct tape to seal up any void that looks like it might pull in air, when the vac is running. Taping all of the vertical wall joints also helps with a smoother liner surface.

Install the liner into the pool, securing the bead into the track all the way around. If there are any spots where the liner is loose in the track, or pops out of the track, use the liner bead to secure it, or you can use duct tape in that area.

Tape up the skimmer lids, to prevent air leakage around the lid, and also close the skimmer valve, or place the multiport valve in the closed position.

Positioning the Liner Vac

Find a location in the mid section of the pool to set up the vac. Pull a small section of liner out of the track, and insert the vacuum hose behind the liner. Try it at a depth of just 6-12″, and if you need to go deeper (to create more suction), you can push the hose deeper.

Tape up the hose, as shown in the picture at the top of the page. Use lots of duct tape, on all sides, to prevent any air loss at the point where the hose goes behind the liner.

Plug your extension cord into an outlet with a large enough circuit breaker. You don’t want the breaker to trip in the middle of the night, because the blower has to run until the pool is at least halfway full. A 15 or 20 amp outlet, not used by other loads, should be fine.

Setting theLiner with a Vac

Using a Vacuum to Install a Vinyl Liner (2)

When you’re ready to set the vinyl liner, turn on the vacuum. Usually within 1 minute, you should see the liner slowly tighten up against the walls and floor. After a few minutes, it should become very tight.If you have a large pool or heavy gauge vinyl, you may need two vacs to set the liner, placed on opposite sides of the pool.

If the liner does not tighten up after a few minutes, check for air leaks on the vac, the hose, and anywhere around the pool. You may be able to hear the loss of suction, with a loud sucking sound, coming from one area, or you may be able to hear it or see it when you shut off the vac.

Wrinkles in your Vinyl Liner

Using a Vacuum to Install a Vinyl Liner (3)

If you see wrinkles in the liner when the liner is tight, make a plan to move the wrinkles to the edge of the pool, near the wall. Small wrinkles can likely be smoothed out with your hands.If the liner is not properly centered in the corners, you may need to reposition the liner, so that the inside and outside corners line up.

Shut off the blower while you work out any wrinkles and when you turn the blower on again, it may be helpful to pull and push the liner in the direction you want the wrinkle to go. Pull with your hands, or use a soft push broom to pull or push the liner in the desired direction, as the vac pulls the liner tight, as shown in the picture on the right.

Removing the Vac

Remove the vac when the water level in the pool has covered the shallow end floor by at least 6 inches. If the liner is shut off before this point, it could relax enough to allow wrinkles to appear. Don’t allow the water level to cover the hose, it can become nearly impossible to remove, and it will stretch the liner, perhaps leaving an imprint of the ribbed hose. After removing the hose, remove the duct tape. If left on for days, it will leave a sticky residue on the vinyl, which can be removed with soap and water.

Push the liner back into the track, and spread out the excess material. Remove the other duct tape that you placed earlier, and continue filling the pool!

Using a Vacuum to Install a Vinyl Liner (2024)


Do you have to use a vacuum to install a pool liner? ›

Installing a new pool liner without wrinkles is a real accomplishment. It requires careful measurements, skillful adjustments, and a vacuum that really sucks - a lot of air. Pool professionals use vacuum/blowers, such as the Cyclone, to set liners.

How to use shop vac to get wrinkles out of pool liner? ›

Blow out the Liner with a Shop-vac

Once your pool is drained, place the shop vac between the vinyl liner and frame, and use the lowest setting possible to blow air into the gap to push out the wrinkles. Then, set the shop vac to suction, and suck out the excess air between the liner and frame.

How to vacuum seal a pool liner? ›

If vacuuming in, block off the skimmer opening with duct tape. Insert the vacuum hose through the return opening and seal off using duct tape (you are trying to make it air tight). Make sure the vacuum hose has no sharp edges. Turn on the vacuum.

What can I use if I don't have a pool vacuum? ›

Here are a few options:
  • Use Pool Skimmer Sock or Fine Mesh Net. For smaller debris and particles, attach a fine mesh net or pool skimmer sock to your skimmer basket. ...
  • Use Leaf Rake. ...
  • Use Your Pool's Filtration System. ...
  • Use Chemicals And Algaecides. ...
  • Use Automatic Pool Cleaner. ...
  • Use Water Hose Jet.

Can a pool vacuum tear a liner? ›

Clean Your Pool with Care Always use a vacuum that is meant for a vinyl pool liner. If you use a vacuum intended to clean a cement pool, you could end up with major tears and holes in your pool liner.

Can you vacuum a vinyl liner pool? ›

For vacuuming dirt and debris from vinyl liner and fiberglass pools, the deluxe vinyl liner pool and spa vacuum connects to a pool vacuum hose and skimmer to suction-clean dirt and smaller debris from the bottom of the pool or spa.

How do you get wrinkles out of pool liner when installing? ›

Using a Toilet Plunger: A clean, never-used toilet plunger can be your best friend when it comes to minor wrinkle removal. Gently place the plunger near the wrinkle and carefully pull it towards you to smooth out the vinyl liner.

Can I use my shop vac as a pool vacuum? ›

Shop-Vac offers a simple, quick alternative to cleaning pools without dragging larger pool pump equipment out of storage. Plus, a wet vacuum is a faster and less labor-intensive solution than hopping in the pool and skimming out debris manually.

How do you get water from behind pool liner? ›

Locate the “vacuum pipe” and check if it is free flowing. If the pipe is blocked , un-block it and allow it to self drain the water from behind the liner. Using a pool broom, gently push the liner back to its original position as the water drains from behind the liner.

Does skimmer gasket go over pool liner? ›

It goes inside the skimmer hole such that half of it is in the pool over the liner and half is outside the pool and covering the pool wall. your pool wall fits in the crease of the gasket. The skimmer attaches on the outside against the gasket and the faceplate attaches on the inside against the gasket.

Can you install a pool liner yourself? ›

Installing a liner yourself is risky, especially if you haven't done a pool repair project like this before. Improper installation can result in voiding your pool liner (or pool) warranty, severe leaks, or damage to your surrounding property.

What should pool pump be on when vacuuming? ›

For light vacuuming, you can leave your multiport valve filter set to “Filter.” For bigger jobs and larger amounts of debris, set your filter system to the “Waste” setting, which does sends the water down the drain, rather than through the filter.

Do you leave pump on when vacuuming pool? ›

To begin vacuuming your pool:
  1. If you have a sand filter and are vacuuming to waste, set filter to “waste” option. ...
  2. Otherwise, leave setting on “filter” and turn pump on to begin vacuuming. ...
  3. Vacuum your pool just as you would vacuum your living room, picking up debris or algae as you go.
Sep 6, 2019

How to make a homemade pool vacuum? ›

How to Make a DIY Pool Vacuum
  1. Place Funnel on Skimmer Mouth. ...
  2. Securely Connect House to Funnel. ...
  3. Repeat With Other End of Hose. ...
  4. Determine How to Add the Broomstick. ...
  5. Reassemble and Secure Everything. ...
  6. Prime the Vacuum. ...
  7. Test Vacuum for Suction.
Feb 22, 2023

Do you really need a pool vacuum? ›

I've since learned the skimmer is indeed designed to gulp up water and remove any undesirables, but it takes time to filter through all the water and can't always get what's dropped to the bottom. This is why a pool has to be physically cleaned with a mesh net and a pool vacuum.

Do I need a pool vacuum plate? ›

The pool vacuum plate solves the need to connect the vacuum hose directly to the inlet and solves a common problem that can cause the skimmer to become clogged with large debris.

How long does it take to replace an above-ground pool liner? ›

This is definitely not the smallest of jobs to do but with a little planning, some muscle, and maybe even help from friends, installing a new liner on an above-ground pool can be done in a day.


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