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As the vinyl-liner replacement market heats up — with stronger materials and tantalizing contemporary designs — homeowners are asking installers to tackle more complex projects. Increasingly, stairs, tanning ledges and benches are becoming common additions to pool renovations, requiring additional measurements beyond the ones traditionally needed for vinyl liners.
But thanks to Tara Pool & Outdoor Products, replacing a vinyl liner in any pool can be a low-stress, high-revenue addition to the suite of services builders offer. Tara has been manufacturing vinyl liners since 1984 and has earned attention for its precision sizing and attention to detail. By using virgin vinyl, Tara can guarantee an accurate fit and a long life, as well as patterns with vivid colors that don’t lose their brilliance over the years.
Not only does the manufacturer sell more than 25 patterns featuring tile, marble, stone and even a new ink-wash pattern, Tara also provides dealers with tools for taking easy measurements and securely attaching liners to stairs and other in-pool objects.
THE A-B APP
The key to any successful liner installation begins with accurately measuring the surface area — a task that can be challenging with stairs, ledges and benches, given that more angles and surfaces are involved.
“If you mismeasure a project with a liner that costs a couple thousand dollars, that’s a couple thousand dollars out of your pocket, because you have to order a new one,” says Val Simoncic, owner of Carolina Pool and Spa in Columbus, N.C.
Simoncic has yet to make such a mistake, and he’s been installing Tara’s replacement liners since 2015. One reason for his 100% success rate is because he always measures twice to ensure accuracy and reduce the likelihood of needing to return to the jobsite to remeasure. He also, however, uses Tara’s A-B App with his digital tablet.
Available for free in the Apple App store, the app is a simple and effective tool for measuring pools and safety covers. When an installer enters each measurement from Point A and Point B, it then will be displayed in the app. As more measurements are entered, a diagram of the pool takes shape — allowing the installer to compare the diagram to the pool’s perimeter to ensure accuracy.
Cross measurements then can be checked by switching to full-screen mode and selecting any two points, and installers also can verify that the shape of the pool diagram matches the shape of the pool. This will help ensure measurements are accurate before leaving the jobsite.
“Most liner companies don’t offer that,” Simoncic says about the app. “You need to measure the width, the depth and the height of the stair, and you can’t just say, 'That’s close enough.' It’s got to be spot on. The A-B App helps with that. You have to A-B all the points.”
TWO INSTALLATION TOOLS
An additional pair of tools that Tara offers installers are rod pockets and a step bead — each of which are used to attach the liner to stairs. Because there isn’t as much water pressure on stairs, especially the first step, it helps to have something to hold the material in place. That’s where rod pockets come in handy.
A series of pockets is welded to the backside of the liner. An installer feeds the rod through the pockets and then attaches it to the step with small aluminum clips. Rod pockets are typically used on older pools. On many newer pools and remodels, steps come with a built-in bead receiver. In those cases, Tara can add a bead to the back of the step for simple and secure attachment.
Although Simoncic is partial to the bead receiver, he’s familiar with both tools. “I’ve never done a liner over steps or a tanning ledge without using one of them,” he says, adding that he also likes the durability of Tara’s liners, especially for more complex projects.
The company manufactures SureStep, designed specifically for high-traffic, vinyl-covered stairs, benches and sundecks. It features an embossed texture offering more traction, with 27 mil thick material compared to the standard 20 mil. Most Tara patterns are available in SureStep, and there are also SureStep-only patterns that can be used to accent stairs and benches.
“Tara’s a great company to work with, and they work well with their installers,” says Simoncic, adding that one of the company’s regional sales managers has assisted him on specific projects to ensure that the liners are installed properly. “If you do good work and represent the company’s products correctly and appropriately, they’re going to help you as much as they can.”