Grant Osborne

Types of Pool Liners: The Ultimate Guide

Planning to install a new, swimming pool liner or refresh your existing one? At EcoStyle Pool Renovations, we understand the importance of choosing the right pool liner. A pool liner not only protects against leaks and makes cleaning easier but also enhances the aesthetic appeal of your ground swimming pool too. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different types of pool liners available and help you decide which one is best suited for your needs.

Why Do You Need a Pool Liner?

A side pool wall liner offers a ground swimming pool numerous benefits:

  • Protection: It safeguards your pool walls and floor from leaks and damage.
  • Maintenance: It makes it easier to clean and maintain your pool.
  • Comfort: It provides a comfortable surface underfoot.
  • Aesthetics: It gives your pool a polished and attractive look.

While a pool liner is essential for vinyl-lined pools, it can also be beneficial for concrete pools to beaded pool liner to enhance their lifespan pool maintenance, and appearance.

Types of Pool Liners

In this guide, we’ll explore the various types of pool liners available for your above-ground pool, including overlap liners. These liners are known for their unique installation process, where they are secured over the pool walls and held in place with coping strips. This method, while having some aesthetic drawbacks, such as the liner being visible on the outside of the pool wall, does not affect the liner’s functionality. We’ll compare overlap liners to other types, such as J-hook (or unibead) liners and beaded liners, to help you understand the differences in installation methods and visual appeal.

Overlap Vinyl Liner: Overlap liners are draped over the pool walls and secured with coping strips, which may lead to the liner’s edge being visible outside the pool, affecting its aesthetic appeal but not its functionality. This method contrasts with J-hook and beaded liners, which offer a cleaner look but have different installation requirements.

1. Beaded Vinyl Liner

Beaded vinyl liners are known for their decorative embellishments and ease of installation. They snap into a track or bead receiver installed directly into the top edge of already above ground pool liner or foundation, offering a seamless and attractive finish.


  • Easy to install
  • Available in various designs
  • Simple to replace


  • More expensive than other options
  • Potential for gaps where corrosion can occur
  • Requires precise measurements

Best For: Above ground pools with bead receivers.

2. Overlap Vinyl Liner for Above Ground Pools

Overlap vinyl liners fit directly into the pool with a slight amount of overlap over the edges. They are secured to the pool’s walls using coping strips, a method that, while functional, may lead to some aesthetic drawbacks due to the visible excess liner outside the pool. This excess is trimmed once the liner is securely in place.


  • Cost-effective
  • Fits various pool heights
  • DIY-friendly


  • Can be difficult to install neatly due to the coping strips required for securing the liner
  • Visible excess liner outside the pool, leading to potential aesthetic drawbacks
  • Requires coping strips for installation

Best For: DIY pool projects, especially for those seeking a budget-friendly option without a strong emphasis on the liner’s external appearance.

3. Expandable Liner

Expandable wall liners stretch to fit deeper-than-normal swimming pools, accommodating depths up to 72 inches.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Suitable for pools with deep areas


  • Best installed on sunny days
  • Potential for wrinkles after installation

Best For: Pools with deep ends.

4. J-Hook Vinyl Liner

J-Hook liners have an upside-down J-shaped hook that clicks on to the edge of pool edges, eliminating the need j hook liner or for additional tracks.


  • No extra hardware needed
  • Easy to install


  • Requires accurate measurements
  • Fixed wall height, non-adjustable

Best For: Budget-conscious above ground pool owners.

5. Unibead Vinyl Liner

Unibead liners function as both J-Hook and beaded liners, making them versatile and adaptable to different pool wall types.


  • Versatile installation
  • Fits existing bead receivers or can be draped over edges


  • Higher cost
  • Best installed on sunny days

Best For: Pools needing liner replacements.

6. Tile Liner

Tile liners offer superior protection and aesthetic appeal for concrete pools, though they are more expensive and time-consuming to install.


  • Highly protective
  • Variety of tile options available


  • Expensive
  • Longer installation time

Best For: Concrete pools seeking a stylish, finished look.

7. Waterproofing Plaster

Waterproofing plaster adds an extra protective layer to concrete pools, providing a cost-effective alternative to vinyl and tile liners.


  • Affordable
  • Adds protection


  • Limited color options
  • Costly to repair

Best For: Concrete pools needing additional protection.

8. DuoBead Liner

DuoBead liners can be used folded or unfolded, offering versatility in both shape and installation methods.


  • Flexible installation options
  • DIY-friendly


  • Requires sunny weather for optimal installation
  • Higher cost

Best For: Homeowners seeking versatile liner installation options.

9. EZ-Bead Liner

EZ-Bead liners combine two or three main types of beads in one, allowing them to be used as standard bead liners or J-Hook liners.


  • Flexible installation
  • DIY-friendly


  • Requires sunny weather for optimal installation
  • Higher cost

Best For: Those wanting versatile installation without extra materials.

What to Consider When Choosing a Pool Liner

Desired Thickness

Thicker liners (20mm to 30mm) provide better protection and are more durable in the above ground pool liners, resisting tears and punctures more effectively.

Color and Style

Choose a top vinyl liner pool top that complements your pool’s aesthetics. Vinyl liners can mimic the look of tile, while tile liners offer a more premium finish. Consider your budget and desired look when selecting a liner.


Vinyl liners range from $1,000 to $3,600, with J-Hook and beaded liners on the higher end. Tile liners are more expensive, typically costing between $2,000 and $5,000. Waterproofing plaster is a budget-friendly option above ground pool liners, costing $500 to $1,000.

Professional Installation vs. DIY

While it’s possible to install or repair a pool liner yourself, professional installation ensures a perfect fit and long-lasting results. Hiring a pool liner installer minimises the risk of errors and potential future replacement liner repairs.

Grant Osborne

Grant Osborne, owner of Eco Style Pool Renovations and Blue Stone Pools has been working the pool building and maintenance industry for the over 30 years, bringing a wealth of industry knowledge to the hundreds of projects he has delivered.

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