Commercial pool renovations
After the pandemic closures, commercial aquatics facilities might have been confronted with peeling, cracking or leaking pools. A feasible solution to these chronic problems is to line these pools with an on-site PVC membrane.
Not only is the weld-in-place liner very affordable, but also can it eliminate some underlying issues in the pool’s structure to make it completely watertight. A PVC membrane thoroughly seals the pool structure, and is thus the perfect solution for commercial pool renovations.
It’s also important to consider that on-site pool liners are suitable for both renovating existing pools and building new aquatics facilities. They can be used to line a new concrete wall or stainless-steel pool wall construction, or to line a cracked, peeling, or leaking gunite, plaster or fiberglass pool.
Why choose a PVC pool membrane for commercial pool renovations
- Thanks to its protective lacquer, they are chlorine and UV resistant. Its outstanding performance shows also in conditions of chemical abuse.
- Instead of dealing with long lead times for pre-manufactured products, weld-in-place pool membranes are readily available. Pool liner installers can overcome lead times by stocking the PVC membranes for upcoming jobs.
- Weld-in-place pool liners provide a perfect fit for any pool shape. Since they are installed on-site, you can get an exact fit even for the most challenging shapes.
- Because of the mesh reinforcement between the layers, they perform great longevity and tear-resistance.
- The surface underneath the PVC membrane can continue to shift and crack but it won’t affect the membrane. This of course gives peace of mind to any aquatics facility manager.
- Due to its low maintenance, aquatics facility managers will see their pool maintenance costs decrease in terms of money and time.
- In both 60- and 80-mil thicknesses, they come in beautiful textures that will give pools not only watertightness, but also a completely renovated look in a trendy design.
- Talking about design, these reinforced pool liners can be found in various textures and prints that resemble natural elements such as marble, stone and sand. Going beyond the plain white or blue, these options are popular among hotels, country clubs, homeowners associations and community pools because they provide a more high-end feel.
- Forget the old anti-slip texture for steps and shallow water areas. Slip resistant does not mean old-fashioned knobbly texture anymore.
After having seen the various advantages an on-site pool liner bears within itself for commercial pool refurbishment, let’s have a look at how to install it.
Understanding PVC pool membrane installation
The installation process of a weld-in-place membrane is relatively straightforward. These are the steps to follow:
Preparing the surface
Before installing the pool liner, crews have to prepare the surface, which can include repairs. In terms of time, most pools require a day or even less for preparation.
Nonetheless, if a pool is in particularly bad shape, it might need three to four days for fixing the surface.
Installing the felt linig
Once the surface is ready, a felt lining aka geotextile is installed on the pool shell. Thanks to its anti-bacterial properties, it avoids bacteria proliferation behind the PVC membrane, thus extending the life of the product.
As a side benefit, the felt lining conveys a cushioned feeling to the surface making the floor more comfortable to stand on. This is specially important in wading pools and also when using the commercial pool for water conditioning, therapy or aerobics.
Installing the weld-in-place liner
After the geotextile is installed, 6-foot-wide strips of PVC pool membrane are rolled out and heat-welded together on site. Steps, beach entries, safety ledges and any other shallow water areas are cut, fitted and welded as well.
Slip-resistant, embossed surfaces have to be used on steps, shallow areas and beach entries. There is also black membrane to create racing lanes and depth markers.
How to weld reinforced pool liners
Because they are welded on site, this allows the greatest degree of customisation, and can help avoid supply-chain issues.
Depending on the part of the installation process, there are three different welding techniques.
Reinforced pool liners welding techniques
The two basic installation techniques are spot welding and traditional overlap welding. Contractors looking for a superior aesthetic finish also use the butt-welding technique along the pool floor to make the welds almost invisible.
Spot welding takes place at the beginning of the installation to help position and secure the liner so that it does not move through the rest of the process.
Small, quick ‘pre-welds’ are made between the overlapping pieces at intervals of approx. 7 to 8 inches along the seam. During this process, the pieces must be perfectly aligned since the liner needs to be held in place.
For overlap welding the liner layers overlap by approximately 2 inches. This overlap will in the end turn into a 2-inch-wide seam.
Once the spot welds have been done, installers apply the welding gun down the full length of the seam. The welding nozzle is inserted under the overlap in order to heat both surfaces sufficiently to fuse the layers and form a lap. While the lap is still hot, pressure is applied with a silicone roller to ensure the two layers are fused together.
Robot welders are used to speed up the welding process for larger pools. Once the robot welder is set-up, it automatically welds the entire length of the pool.
The butt welding technique is compatible only with 80mil membranes. This is specially recommended for more visible areas such as the pool floor in order to hide the seam.
Instead of overlapping the membrane edges, they are butt up against each other.
This technique is not compulsory at all, though it achieves virtually invisible joints on the pool floor.
Being more time-consumig, it will add to installation costs. That’s why some installers stick with the traditional overlap weld since in the daytime, when the water is moving, the overlap joint is not apparent.
As a result, the awareness of reinforced PVC pool membranes is definitely on the rise, specially among commercial aquatics facilities that need a renovation. After considering the different systems for commercial pool renovations, refurbishing them with an on-site pool liner becomes the long-lasting pool lining solution facility managers have been looking for.
Make yourself comfortable and have a look at our Prestigious Pools e-book. A collection of commercial pool projects around the world that have been lined with a RENOLIT ALKORPLAN weld-on-site pool liner.
This is a version of an article written by Matthew Sands (RENOLIT sales engineer) for the Aquatics International magazine.