As a pool owner you can have sleepless nights, if you don’t know how to patch a pool on your own. Trust me as I have been there done that. In this article I will guide you on this process, so that you can learn this art with ease.
Summer is all about swimming, and the happiness of a pool owner is beyond compare when it’s this time of the year. However, their pumped-up spirit can lose air quickly if they find a new tear in their vinyl pool lining.
So, your swimming session needs a halt, and you will have to fix that hole first. Fortunately, some easy fixes can patch your problem without beaconing professional help.
The following steps should help you learn how to patch a pool.
Types Pools and their Leaks
Broadly, there are two types of vinyl pools, above and inground. Each of these has its own sets of issues when it comes to leaks.
Above ground pools
In case the liner of your above-ground pool tears and begins to leak, water will generally flow out until it’s in level with the tear.
In case the tear is closer to the pool’s top edge, you will only lose a few inches of water. However, if the tear is closer to the bottom, you might notice a significant water loss.
If you are losing water from the top of the pool, do not ignore the situation. If you don’t take steps in time, your pool might collapse in itself. Plus, all that chemical will be flooding your lawn. The water will eventually kill your grass and turn your yard into a muddy pit.
A leak in the liner of your inground pool is more damaging. If there is a tear on the top edge of the liner, it can lead to water pockets, thereby trapping both water and air. The pouch then adds weight which causes your liner to rip open further.
Besides, holes in the liner of your inbound pool can eventually lead to water pockets underneath your pool deck. This brings in added troubles like soil erosion, cracks underneath the concrete, rust, and many more.
Locating the Hole in the Liner
If you own an inground pool, you already know that it loses some amount of water daily. This is primarily due to evaporation. Your pool can lose as much as ½ inch of water daily. Pool covers can help control the evaporation rate, so get one if you don’t already have it.
In case you have a tear in your pool, it can be spotted easily while swimming or lounging near the poolside. That saves you a lot of trouble.
Having said that, if you can’t see the tear and still need to determine whether the loss of water is due to a cut. There are two ways to test it:
Food coloring test: Take a walk around your pool and locate places that have a squishy feel. Apply food coloring to those areas. If there is any tear, the food coloring will get swept through the hole with the water flow. This will reveal your exact location of the damage.
Bucket test: Grab a five-gallon bucket, fill it with water and place it on your pool steps. Be sure to match the water level in the bucket to that of the surrounding water level. To be sure, mark the water level in the bucket with a painter’s tape and keep noting the changes for 24 hours. Keep track of the water level in the bucket and the pool. If, after 24 hours, the water level in your bucket is higher than that of the pool, you have a leak. However, if the water level is the same as before, it’s just evaporation causing the daily water loss.
If you cannot spot the tear location and your pool still seems to be leaking, check the electrical and filtration system.
How to Patch a Pool Tear (Step-by-Step Process)
Unlike other water features at your home, you need not drain the pool to fix a tear. Your liner might wrinkle or collapse if you do this.
So, here are a few things you will require:
- Pool dye
- Kit to repair tears
- Underwear gear and goggles.
Step 1: Turn the Pool Pump
Begin by cleaning your pool if it’s not already clean. This is essential, and ignoring this step can cause you to miss the tear or, in the worse case, multiple tears. For better results, turn the pool pump off to keep the water calm. Put on your snorkeling gear and swim around your pool slowly to locate the tear. But if the tear is not visible to the naked eye, put a bit of pool due in the water, the dye will move towards the incision.
Step 2: Patch the tears
Once you have identified the tear, half the battle is won. Next, place the repair kit in a place you can access easily. Take some time to clean the area near the tear. Then cut a larger patch from your equipment. Ideally, it should be an inch larger than the tear.
Next, place the patch on a smooth surface and then add cement or waterproof epoxy on the underside. Then fold the patch, take it underwater, and put it on the tear location.
Press it over the tear and use your fingers to smooth out
Pro tip: Move from the center to the sides.
Use the same process to patch the outside of the pool, if possible.
Patching works on all sorts of tears. From a 2-inch tear to a 10-inch one, patching can fix it all. However, it depends on the age of the pool and the location of the incision.
However, it’s vital to borne in mind that patches are unpredictable. While sometimes they can hold up for years, other times they fail within days. So, keep an eye on the patch daily to make sure it’s in place.
There a few types of patches you can look into while fixing your pool tear, and there are:
Waterproof patch: It is similar to duct tape and can be used underwater. These tapes are UV resistant and transparent.
Peel-and-stick: The process of using it is as easy as its name. These tapes are vinyl made and are specifically designed for swimming pools.
Though it’s the worst-case scenario, sometimes it’s the only option left. But of course, you can use one of the patching options as a temporary fix while you shop for a new pool liner.
Safety tips to keep in mind while patching liner tear
Don’t drain the water
Never drain the water while fixing the liner patch. Please note a waterless above-ground pool has all the chances of collapsing. This will also make it harder to identify the tear and fix it. Draining the water can cause structural damage and further weaken the liner for an inground pool.
Especially if you have more than one tear to fix, ask a few of your friends to lend you a hand.
When it’s time to adhere the patch to your liner, make sure you do it very quickly. This will hold it for longer. Though Vinyl patches are waterproof, you don’t want to expose them to the water for very long.
Patching a pool is not highly complex, and you can do it on your own. Hopefully this guide on how to patch a pool will do the trick. But do remember that a pool liner does not last forever. So it might get essential to replace the liner from time to time.