Pool liners are held in place by a coping track that runs around the perimeter of the pool.
Unfortunately, sometimes pool owners will find that the pool liner has pulled away from the coping track and is now partially hanging off the wall.
This is a common problem and, if you’re lucky, can be easily fixed assuming you don’t need to replace the pool liner or coping track.
If all that happened was the pool liner slipped out of the coping track, a simple fix is to pour boiling hot water on the section of liner that has pulled loose. The heat will temporarily increase the liner’s elasticity, allowing you to pull the liner back to the coping track which will hold it in place. If water has gotten under the liner, you will need to call a service to drain the water before doing this.
The worst case scenario is that the coping track or liner has gotten irreparably damaged and then you need to completely replace them.
In this article, I will discuss in more detail how to fix a pool liner that is pulling away from the wall or coping track.
Common causes of pool liner pulling away from the track
Before I begin, it’s important to understand why this problem has occurred in the first place so that you can prevent it from happening.
Long-term damage: Liners have an expected lifespan of 10-15 years. Over that period of time, UV and chemical damage can occur which can cause the liner to shrink. If the liner is not kept submerged underwater, then it can also dry out and shrink. Shrinkage causes the liner to pull away from the coping track and come off the walls.
Improper installation: Sometimes it looks like the liner was held in place by the coping track when in reality it never was. Additionally, extreme temperature fluctuations and pool openings after the winter season can expose weak spots that may necessitate a liner pull to fix.
Accumulation of debris or water on the pool cover: If you allow too much water or debris to pile up on the pool cover, the extra weight can sometimes pull the bead out of the track. Make sure to drain the water and remove debris on top of the cover from time to time.
How to put the pool liner back into the coping track
The most ideal solution is that the pool liner has simply slipped off the coping track and that there is no permanent damage done to either component.
For this, you just need to pull the pool liner back into the track but the issue is that the liner may not be elastic enough to be stretched all the way there.
As mentioned, you can use the boiling water trick: simply pour boiling hot water over the areas of the liner you want to stretch to temporarily increase its elasticity.
Be careful when pouring the hot water, and be aware that the pool liner will be extremely hot to the touch.
Another method I’ve heard some people do is to use a blow dryer to heat up the pool liner instead. The risk here is that you don’t want to accidentally drop an electrical appliance into the pool.
Then you put the liner back into the coping track, and that solves the problem for the foreseeable future.
What to do if the pool liner is old
If your pool liner is a few years old and not as elastic as it used to be, then sometimes even the boiling water trick isn’t as effective.
In that case, you may have to partially drain your pool water to expose more of the wall section that the liner is pulling away from.
You will still need to heat up the pool liner to make it stretchier, but lowering the water level makes it easier for you to stretch the liner back into the coping track.
What to do if the coping track is partially broken
If you managed to pull the liner back into the coping track but then found that it slipped out again the next day, then there may be something wrong with the coping track.
It is possible that the coping track is completely broken, especially if it is a PVC track, in which case you will have to replace it.
However, it’s also possible that the coping track is only partially broken and can still retain the liner bead with some help.
The coping track has a small piece of plastic or aluminum that the bead of the liner hangs on.
Pool liners are massive and extremely heavy when filled, so there is a lot of force pulling down on the coping.
If this piece of plastic or aluminum has broken or stretched out slightly from the weight of the liner, then pick up a liner block to wedge into the same coping track that the liner is pulling away from.
This is a stopgap solution that may allow your coping track to last a bit longer before you ultimately replace the coping.
Worst case scenario: replace the liner and the track
If none of the solutions provided in this article work, then unfortunately your pool liner and/or coping track is too far gone.
You will have to completely replace them both which will cost you some money. If you don’t know how to replace the liner and track yourself, then you will need to call a pool service provider which won’t be cheap either.
That said, if it has been 10-15 years since you installed the liner, then it is about time to get it replaced and you can replace the coping track while you’re at it.
Photo Credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer (CC BY 2.0)