If you’re reading this, you probably need to LISTEN UP!!! We feel this is important!
Ok, we don’t mean to be that aggressive 😂. But what we’re about to discuss again is very important!
When considering pool liners, it’s common that people think thicker liners are the better option, and when quickly answering the question, that seems like the right answer. But, there’s a lot that can happen to the liner regardless of its thickness, so we’d like to take an in-depth look at what the true differences are between 20 mil liners and 30 mil liners—the thinnest and thickest liners, respectively.
With our 18 years of experience in the pool industry, we’ve seen and installed hundreds of liners. But, as always, there’s always something to learn which is why we continue to educate ourselves about how liners continue to evolve.
So, before you choose a replacement liner for your pool or a liner for your new vinyl liner pool, you should know about what you’re going to get from liners of different thicknesses.
What is a mil?
Your first question is probably, “What’s a mil?” Well, that’s the unit used to measure the thickness of vinyl liners. Contrary to popular belief, a mil IS NOT a millimeter. Rather, it is 1/1000th of an inch, with 39 mils equaling 1 millimeter. In other words, a mil is really small😂 and a 20 mil liner is about the equivalent of two sheets of paper!
Liners can also be measured in gauges, but you should always ask for them to be converted to mils to make sure that they are exactly the size you want/need?
Are There Different Types of Liners and How Does Thickness Play a Role?
Yes! In fact, liners can be either embossed or non-embossed.
Embossed or textured liners vary in thickness with high points and low points. As you can see in the picture above, the embossed liner is not the same thickness all-the way through. So, if you were to buy a 30 mil embossed liner, you wouldn’t get a liner that is truly 30 mils thick. Rather, you’d get a liner that is 30 mils at its peaks, but somewhere around 23 mils thick at its valleys.
Non-embossed liners, on the other hand, are flat and therefore the same thickness throughout. They don’t feel as soft as embossed liners but do create a true sense of thickness. So, if you were to buy a 30 mil non-embossed liner, you’d be getting a liner that is 30 mils thick all the way around.
Do Thicker Liners Last Longer?
Regardless of the type of liner that you purchase, we recommend that you replace it every 4-9 years.
Now, we understand that 4-9 years is a pretty wide range of time. So, you’re probably wondering if a thicker liner has a lifespan closer to that 9-year mark. And the answer is, it depends! There are so many factors such as chemistry, pool maintenance, installation etc. So the short answer is it most likely wont last longer but potentially can if you maintain your pool properly.
You would probably guess that a 30 mil liner has more insurance to battle against tears and holes than a 20 mil liner but it actually doesn’t. Liners are only as good as their backing, which is the walls of the pool and the floor. Tara liners one of the leading pool liner manufacturers in the world recommends only 20 mil. They actually state on their website “Although, 27, 30 even 40mil liners are available, we do not recommend using anything thicker than 20mil. A thicker liner may not conform to the shape as well. Because it is often stiffer, a 27ml liner may not fit securely in tight corners. This is like asking a weight lifter to bend into a pretzel shape.”
In all actuality, a 20 mil liner is a better option than a 30 mil liner. It will be more secure around corners and unique shapes whereas a 30 mil liner might not fight as tight as it should, making it more prone to wrinkling and becoming loose over time.
At the end of the day, the choice is up to you. You have a variety of combinations to consider and it’s all about finding which liner you are the most comfortable with.
Does a Thicker Liner Cost More?
As you likely guessed, yes, a 30 mil liner does cost more than a 20 mil liner. And on top of the several hundred dollars more that a 30 mil liner costs, you’ll also see an increased price in embossed liner as opposed to an non- embossed liner.
This is because more material is used in embossed liners than non-embossed liners since they are the same thickness all the way around.
What Can You Do to Increase Liner Lifespan?
So, everyone wants to know how to increase their liners life expectancy! NO ONE wants to replace the liner every 4 years. So here are 3 things to do to have a liner reach its max potential.
1.Proper Liner Installation
When dealing with vinyl liners its super important that we THE INSTALLERS install the liner correctly! This is by far the most important step as it should be! A liner that is not fit properly will have major issues. Be careful when choosing a liner installation company and make sure they do not cut corners.
2. Proper Pool Chemistry
Keep your pool chemicals balanced at all times! What you will need to do is keep a close eye on the water chemistry. It’s important to keep the chlorine and pH levels of the water balanced because if they are not, you could be creating an environment where algae can grow and where the liner itself is susceptible to damage.
3. Clean Regularly
Brush, Skim and Vacuum the pool regularly. By doing those simple steps you can help prevent organic staining and use a significantly lower amount of chemicals.
Keep a close eye on the water chemistry. It’s important to keep the chlorine and pH levels of the water balanced because if they are not, you could be creating an environment where algae can grow and where the liner itself is susceptible to damage.
So now that you know a thicker liner isn’t necessarily better at least we gave you some ways to elongate the life of your liner.
With this explanation of the difference in types of liners and their thicknesses, and basic liner maintenance we hope to have educated you well so you can make the right decision for the future of your vinyl liner pool!