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Measuring for an In-ground Vinyl Pool Liner

Oklahoma City Area Edmond Yukon Mustang Moore Norman Piedmont Midwest City Del City El Reno   Accurate measurement is a very important part of how long your new in-ground vinyl liner will last.  It should be free of wrinkles, but not overstretched.  Because:


                                                          It's not just a pool....  It's Your pool!


 About Liner Measurement    When you have your liner replaced by A-Pro Services, expert measurement for your new liner is included.  But, for those who may be considering ordering and installing an in-ground the liner themselves, we hope this page will provide some helpful information on how to get accurate measurements of the pool, for a perfect fit.

One thing to remember about measuring a pool for a new liner is that you cannot over do it. Very few pools use a "stock" liner. It is pretty common that the pool is not built very symmetrically, so it is important to take every measurement possible.

 About the most common thing that a customer will tell me is that the pool is 3 feet deep in the shallow, and eight feet deep in the deep end.   Actually, this is almost never true.  Each pool needs to be fully measured, without exception.   Even when ordering a liner  using the serial number, the dimensions need to be verified - especially true if the old liner didn't last as long as it should have.

Measuring Your Vinyl Pool For A New Liner


Measuring Rectangular Pools      



      Rectangular liner installed in OKC before water is added

  The pool pictured above is a rectangle with covered steps, and has 4' radius corners.  Notice that the liner is being held in place with a liner vacuum, and that there is no water in the pool.  Rectangular pools are pretty easy, as long as the shape is straight and symmetrical.   Measure the length and width in more than one place, to verify that the pool is straight.  You also want to measure from corner to corner each way to make sure the pool is "square" and not skewed.  If the pool is not square (rectangle, actually), you can let the manufacturer know so they can compensate for it.  They charge a little extra, but it does add to the life of the liner by equalizing the stretch.

     Measure the radius of the corners.  There are a few hard 90 degree corners, and the occasional 6" diagonal, but most corners are radiused.  If you were to imagine that the corner is 1/4 of a circle, how far would it be to the center of that circle?  That is your radius.  (Usually, you can measure from where the curvature starts to the edge of the pool to determine the radius)  fortunately, the increments are fairly standard.  The usual radiuses are 6 inch, 2ft, or 4ft.

     Measure the length of each transition in the floor.  Is there a cove?  If so, it needs to be measured, also. ( a cove is a transition from the wall to the floor that is other than 90 degrees this can be a radius or a diagonal transition)  Measure from the shallow end wall to the shallow break (where it starts to go to the deep end), from the shallow break to the hopper break, across the hopper (bottom of the deep end) and from the end of the hopper to the deep end wall.  Note that these measurements are taken horizontally, not the length of the slope itself, so you may want to use a plumb line to get them exact.   These measurements have to add up to the overall length of the pool.  Then, measure the width of the hopper, and from the edge of the hopper to each wall.  These measurements must add up to the overall width of the pool.   Note whether the hopper pad is perfectly square, or whether it has a radius.  If there is a safety ledge, it's width must also be measured and noted.

      Next, you need to measure the depth.  It is important to note that the measurements are taken from the track where the liner attaches to the floor at the wall, not from the deck.  Take several measurements around the shallow end, and if there is a variance, use the average [(40+41+41+40) /4 = 40 1/2].  For the deep end, run a tight string across the deck, and measure the depth at the corners of the hopper pad.  Subtract the distance from the deck (from the string) to the track where the liner attaches.    ( To keep it simple -  [(100"+100+100+100) /4] - 4" = 96" overall depth.  If there are no vinyl covered steps, swim outs, or other anomalies, you're done!


Rectangle Measuring form


Grecian Shapes                                                                   Grecian pool liner installed - OKC

     Measuring a Grecian shape pool is similar to a rectangle pool, with a few added things.  You need to measure the length of each side, as well.  These dimensions must also add up to the length of the pool, using some simple geometry.  Measurements are taken at the wall panel, not at the coping. Here's how that works out:  [length of long side +(span of diag 1)+(span of diag 2)]=Length.  What's a span?  it is the actual distance in length. A squared +B squared = C squared   (diag1 x diag1)+ (diag 2 x diag 2) = (span x span).  The square root of this gives you the span.   Lets say you have a long side that is 24'0", and the diagonal measurements are each 6'1/4".  The formula would be 24+{ [ (72.25"x72.25")divided by 2] Square root } This gives 51.08", or 4'3".  so 4'3" shallow end +4'3" deep end plus 24 foot long side = total length of 32'6"  I used this example because it is fairly common for in-ground vinyl pools.  Likewise, you will want to verify the width. Just use the formula above, substituting the end measurement for the side measurement.  Commonly this would be 8'0" giving a width of 16'6".  Note that if you are ordering a liner from us to install yourself, just give us accurate measurements, we'll do the math.

     The other consideration on a Grecian pool is the shape of the hopper.  If it is rectangular, the length and width is all that is needed, along with the distance from each side to the wall.   But if the hopper is also Grecian shaped, (or actually, half Grecian) the length of each side, the diagonals, and ends must also be measured, and, again, they have to add up to the length and width of the hopper.

Grecian Measure Form


Measuring Free Form pools Like Kidneys             Kidney shaped pool, empty, liner installed

     Pools without straight sides, like kidney shapes, are measured by triangulation.  It can be a bit cumbersome, but it is very accurate.  It is extremely helpful to have two people. You will need establish two points, a known distance apart, at least 4 feet from the edge of the pool.  Label these as Point A and point B (or x and y, if you prefer).  Measure the distance between them to within a quarter of an inch.  This is called the base line. Standing between these two points, facing the pool, note which of these points is on your left, and call that point A.  (This is very important, because if you get it wrong, your liner will be a mirror of what you wanted.)

     Next,  using chalk, make marks around the edge of the pool, about every 3 feet, or more often on tight radiuses.  Also be sure to put marks at the shallow and deep end breakpoints on each side, as well as the location of steps or other features.  It goes a lot faster and is more accurate if you have two 100' tape measures, one attached to each point on the base line.  You will then go around the pool, measuring from the baseline points to each of the numbered marks around the pool.  Write these measurements down in two columns (point A to point 1, point B to point 1 then point A to point 2, point B to point 2, and so on.  Remember that you are measuring to the edge of the liner, not to the edge of the pool.  It can actually go pretty quickly, if one person measures, and the other writes them down.  From time to time, verify with on another that you are still on the same number.  Note which numbers designate the break points or features.

     For the interior of the pool, you will need a plumb line.  Follow the contours inside the pool, and measure to the string.  We use a special rod to hold the plumb line out over the pool, but a vacuum pole will work just fine.  (Our rod also allows us to note the distance from the edge of the pool, also, as a verifier - (we tend to overkill, a bit).  You should also measure a couple of places around the deep end, the distance from the wall to the hopper.  Select a few sets of points, across the pool, and measure the distance between them. We usually do one along the length of the pool, and then one across each break point.  For example, from point 8 on the shallow end to point 27 under the diving board is 34'5". and point 39 to 40 (across shallow break) is 16'3" point 41 to 42 is 21'5".  We enter these numbers in a plotting program to draw the liner, and the cross measurements are verifiers to make sure it all adds up. You will want to measure the circumference of the pool. This is actually another verifier.  (measure twice, cut once, right?)

As you measure, make sure that the tapes don't get crossed, or caught on anything that affects the measurements.  You may occasionally need to reroute the tapes to go through obstacles such as ladders or handrails, not around them.  Well, that's pretty much how you measure for an in-ground irregular shaped pool.

     Freeform Measure form


L and Lazy Ell                                                 Liner installed - Roman ell with steps - OKC 


     The pictured pool is a Roman Ell.  For the most part, I would recommend that Lazy Ells be measured as if they were free forms,  just in case the builder wasn't acquainted with Pythagoras, but there are less measurements to take.  As long as you plot the radius of the corners, you can just put one point in the middle of each straight run.  Also, rather than measuring the circumference, you can just measure the length of each side.  One other thing to measure is from each corner to it's diagonal (more of those pesky verifiers).  Since the Roman ell has rounded ends, it is always measured by triangulation.

     L shaped pools can be treated as two rectangles, of they can be measured by triangulation, as well.  The main thing to consider is this question:  If someone asked me to build this, would I have enough information?

   Here's a measuring form for Lazy Ell     



Roman and Patrician  and Oval Shapes   Photo oval pool

   Roman, Patrician, and oval shapes are sort of a combination of rectangles combined with rectangles.  There are two methods, actually.  You can triangulate them,  which can be a bit tricky, but is the most accurate when done correctly, or you can measure the radiuses and each straight side, and define the relationship.  I use whichever measurement strikes me at the time. 

   With the triangulation method, you need a helper and a plumb line, to measure the interior.  You hold the plumb line directly above each transition, and at multiple points along the radiuses, (yes, I know, the correct plural is radii, but it just looks stupid) and measure to the string. at ground level.  This draws a picture of the interior and perimeter of the pool, using a plotting system, just as with freeforms

    The other method is to first define the rectangle, then define the interior and exterior rectangles, and their relationship to one another.  Usually, the perimeter ends are not a full half circle, so you define the radius of the arc and its distance from the center of the arc to the breakpoint.  For the interior, this would add up to the length of the protrusion of the arc, plus the length of the straight side of the hopper.  That sounds more complicated than it is, really.  The safest way to measure these shapes is to use a measuring form, then provide a very basic triangulation as a verifier.  Because Roman and Patrician ends usually have a tight radius on the corners (usually a 6" radius) combined with a short distance (usually 12-24 inches) it is very important to get it right.

   Ovals are comparatively easy, they are basically one rectangle in the middle of a circle.  You can triangulate, or simply define the radiuses, and the rectangle, then all the interior measurements, (assuming the hopper is centered and symmetrical) can be given as though the pool were a rectangle.

Roman measure form              Patrician measure form             Oval measure form




Photo vinyl covered rect step

Vinyl covered steps and other features

   Vinyl covered step are usually pretty easy to measure, especially if they are attached rectangles.  All you need is the height of the risers, the length of the treads, the width of the stairs, and the type of attachment.  There may be no attachment, rods, flaps, or beads.  By attachment, I am referring to what holds the liner tread against the riser, not the bead that holds the liner in the track.   The most common attachment is stair rods that go into sleeves on the under side of the liner at the bottom of each riser.  These rods are attached to the stairs using rod clips, and keep the liner from sliding off the stairs.  One thing to remember is that the total measurement of the risers must equal the given wall height of the pool, and the length of the treads must add up to the length of the stair unit.  Beyond that, there is sometimes a setback, usually at 90 degrees or 45 degrees to the rectangle.  90 degree setbacks are measured from the bottom step to the corner of the end wall.  For a  45 degree setback, the setback is calculated from the length of the angle (and you thought you were through with Pythagoras in high school) A sq x B sq = C sq  or in this case, the square root of C sq /2.  As an example, a 7.25" diagonal, squared, (7,25x7.25=52,56)/2_Sq Rt.   52.56/2= 26.28 _ sq rt. = 5,12" setback.  Actually, a common diagonal setback is 51/4 inches, which is  a 7 3/8" diagonal.  Don' obsess over it, though.  The setback can be simplified by using an imaginary line across the end of the pool, and adding the length of the treads.  The distance from this imaginary line, minus the sum of the treads will equal the setback.  0ne common measurement is 3 treads at 14 1/4 = 42 3/4 subtracted from 48" to the imaginary line is a 5 1/4 setback. 

    Interior steps are much the same, but are often diagonal or rounded.  In every case, you look at it as though you were going to build a wooden box over it (never mind the thickness of the wood), and take all the measurements you would need to build the box.

 Just as a side note, if you hire us to replace your liner, measurement is included in the price.


In-Ground Vinyl Lined Pool Measurement -

The Initial Visit

   If you are in the Oklahoma City area, including Metro OKC, Bethany, Yukon, Mustang, Edmond, or really, most of central Oklahoma, measuring for your new liner is included it the price of your liner replacement.  Usually, we do a full measurement of the pool when we make our initial visit.  At that time, we bring samples of liners, and brochures. Initially, we take a quick set of measurements in order to give you an accurate maximum price for your new liner  and installation, based on the square footage, condition, needed repairs, and which liner you choose.  Then, if the estimate is agreeable, and you choose to hire us, we do a full set of measurements to give you a perfect fit.

   The reason we do it in this order is because, in order to get that perfect fit, there are a lot of measurements that have to be taken, and calculations are made to make sure each of those measurements add up.  This can take quite a bit of time, especially on freeform pools, like kidney shapes. So, if the client has not yet chosen to hire us, we may not do the full measure on a rectangle, and definitely not on a freeform.

   One time, we went to do an estimate on a "Mountain Lake" pool with covered steps and a swim-out.   The customer said that he needed an exact price, rather than the "not to exceed" price.  Well, instead of printing him the highest likely estimate, we drained the last of the swamp water from the bottom, and spent half a day triangulating and entering more than 120 measurements in the truck's onboard computer, to get a full set of prints for the new liner.  We printed this out to show to the customer.  On the pretext of showing them to his wife, he went to his home office and made copies.  He then used our free expertise to order a cheap liner from one of the online wholesalers. Because he was selling the house,  he and his buddy were going to install the liner.  The worst part is, he called us back to ask us for pointers on how to install it!  I answered his questions, directed him to the correct page of instructions on our website, and the wiser man that I became adopted a different strategy!

   A smarter man than I would have simply given him the higher estimate.  A less kind man would have sent him a bill for measuring!   We are always happy to help those who want or need to do it themselves, thus this page to help explain how to measure for a new liner, and provide some forms to help those who are tackling  the project themselves.

Above Ground Pool Liner Measurement

The first thing you need to know about measuring an above ground pool liner is what type of liner you need.  To read more about that, visit our Above Ground  (ABG) installation links.  Beyond that, above ground liners are stock sizes, for the most part.  But... Measure it!  While the receipt from the pool store may say that it's a 24'pool, believe it or not, there are different ways to determine the pool size.  The correct way is to measure from the wall to the wall across the pool along two or three axis, to verify that the round pool is not actually "egg shaped"  It doesn't really matter if it is, but you need to get the average diameter, because some 24 foot pools are actually 23'9".  Not a big deal for an overlap, but with beaded an J-hung, you would have to figure or what to do with about a foot of extra liner.  Or even worse, how to stretch it a foot.... you'll buckle your wall. 

The other consideration is wall height.  This measurement is taken from the top of the wall to the bottom of the wall, not top rail to dirt.  There is a specified cove at the bottom of the wall, and it is taken into account when the liner is made.




A-Pro Services, Your pool and spa service company, offers Pool Repair Spa Repair Pool Service Spa Service Pool heaters, Pool liners, inground liners, in ground liners above ground liners, safety covers, spa parts, spa motors, spa controls spa diagnostics, pool equipment, pool pumps, spa pumps, pool motors, heaters, In the Oklahoma City Area, including Bethany, Edmond, El Reno, Mustang, Moore, Yukon, Warr Acres, and Metro OKC.    zip codes include:  73003, 73008, 73013,73034, 73083, 73036, 73059, 73064, 73090,73099, 73064, 73101, 73102, 73103, 73104, 73105, 73106, 73107, 73108, 73109, 73110, 73111. 73112, 73113, 73114, 73115, 73116, 73117, 73118, 73119, 73120, 73121, 73122, 73123, 73124, 73125, 73126, 73127, 73128, 73129, 73130, 73131, 73132, 73134, 73135, 73136, 73137, 73139, 73140, 73141, 73142, 73143, 73144, 73145, 73146, 73147, 73148, 73149, 73150, 73151, 73152, 73153, 73154, 73155, 73156, 73157, 73159, 73160, 73162, 73163, 73164, 73165, 73167, 73169, 73170, 73172, 73173, 73178, 73179, 73184, 73185, 73189, 73190, 73194, 73195, 73196, 73197, 73198,