Can You Use a Pool Liner for a Pond?

Ponds are a great addition to any backyard. They provide valuable habitat for wildlife, they’re beautiful in the landscape, and they can be used for fish and aquatic plants. But what if you don’t want to spend the time, money, and energy on building a concrete pond with thick walls and a deep foundation?

This article is going to show you the advantages and disadvantages of using one as a liner for your pond, some tips when looking into this option, and examples of people who have done it before. Ready? Let’s get started!

A pool liner is an inexpensive option that will protect your existing water source while providing some protection to your live plants, Koi, or Goldfish.

If you think about it, it’s not much different than using kiddie pools as ponds! This article discusses how easy it is to use pool liners for ponds.

When considering using pool liners as pond liners, there are several things you need to keep in mind. First, the liner must be a certain gauge to prevent leaks and tears that could eventually result in a catastrophic flood of water spilling out into your yard. Pool liners come in different thicknesses. Thicker is better but will be more expensive.

The Garden pond vs. Container pond
The Garden pond vs. Container pond

A pool liner, by its very nature, is made of relatively thin plastic. It also has a coating to prevent algae, mold, and bacteria from getting inside the liner. Therefore it will need to be sealed on both the top and bottom before you place it into your pond. You must choose a sealant that doesn’t react or interact with the pool liner. You’ll also need to do a thorough job sealing it… you don’t want any pin holes that will let water seep into your pond.

Can you use pool liners in ponds?

A pool liner is a flexible water-resistant material. This is the main component in many swimming pools all over the world. This material is also used for fish ponds that are located indoors and outdoors.

Years ago, people would buy a heavy-duty tarp, cut it to size and attach the edges with rocks or bricks. If a leak happened, it was usually very small because there were no seams. This type of pond liner isn’t as effective at keeping water in the pond as a pool liner. But it is an easy and inexpensive option for beginners who want to make their first backyard pond.

The standard type of pool liner has some features that are very helpful when you’re using it as a pond liner. The best ones have liners with several thicknesses of material, including heavy-duty layers that are made of tough, plastic-coated polyester fabric. This makes it easier for you to seal these pool liners and prevents the seams from splitting when they’re being filled with water.

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Pool liners also come in different thicknesses, which can be important if you live in an area where there is freezing weather. Thicker liners are more resistant to tearing and puncturing. The thicker the liner, the less chance of a leak occurring in your pond.

But if you live in an area where it’s warm all year long, or if you go away during the cold weather and want to leave your pond filled with water, then a thick liner might not be necessary.

So choose the pool liner that is best for your situation. You’ll probably want to have a few smaller, thinner liners on hand in case you need to replace one that gets torn or punctured through regular use.

What other options do you have instead of a pond liner?

If you really don’t want to use a pool liner, there are several other things you can try. For instance, a kiddie pool is basically the same as a pool liner and will work just as well in most cases. Also, some people have taken small inflatable pools and cut them down so they fit perfectly around their existing pond.

If you have a good quality liner and follow these tips, you should be able to get many years of use from it:

1. Thicker is better! The thicker the material, the longer it will last before leaks develop or tears start forming.

2. Have the top and bottom fully sealed so not a drop of water can seep through.

3. Place the liner in your pond over a slope so water won’t sit and stagnate along the bottom of the liner, causing mold, algae, and bacteria to grow inside it.

What can you use as pond underlay?

A pond liner can be used as a layer under your gravel or decorative pebbles that cover the bottom of your pond. This will help in several ways:

1. A smooth, flat surface will help keep debris and leaves from floating on top and making it difficult for your fish to swim easily through their habitat.

2. The plastic liner prevents the gravel or stones from shifting and moving around, which can also make it harder for fish to swim.

3. The liner will help keep chemicals in place so they don’t get sucked up into your pump and filter or washed out of the pond if you’re using a waterfall fountain. This is especially true when you use chemical treatments that are designed to kill algae and bacteria.

Can you use a tarp for a pond liner?

If you have a small, shallow pond that’s not very deep, then using an old tarp as a liner might be okay. But this is true only if the tarp will fit around your pond perfectly and doesn’t have any holes in it.

One problem is that tarps usually disintegrate when they’re exposed to sunlight and water. Another problem is that you can’t really seal it to the sides of the pond or secure it well because tarps are usually a loose-fitting material and don’t have holes along the edges through which you can tie them onto something.

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Wrapping materials like plastic bags and blankets around your pond might be okay if they’re held in place well, but this isn’t usually the case. These lightweight materials usually have big holes in them that allow water to leak through and if you’re not there to hold them down when it rains, the chances of a liner failure are much greater.

In short, a pool liner is better suited for use as a pond liner than any other material you might find lying around the house or garage.

My best advice is to buy a quality pool liner that was meant for this purpose and that has been UV treated so you don’t have to worry about it disintegrating in the sunlight.

Although you’ll pay a little more, it will save money in the long run because it should last much longer than most other options.

Do you need underlayment for a pond liner?

If you use a pond liner on your pond, it makes sense to add a layer of underlayment underneath it. This will give the gravel or stones something smooth to sit on and help keep debris from floating up into the water rather than settling at the bottom where your fish can feed on them.

A smooth surface will also help prevent biological growth from forming underneath your liner and making it more difficult for fish to swim. However, a smooth surface will not always mean that there is less of this growth – it just means fish-friendly conditions will be created more easily.

If you have an olive or black liner, leaving a little slack along the edges can give your fish access to places where light and oxygen concentration are highest. Your fish can use these pockets as hiding places when they want to get out of the sun or avoid predators.

That said, anything you place underneath a pond liner should be something soft and pliable so it’s not hard for your fish to swim against. Using gravel is okay if you don’t have any decorative stones that will do the job better.

You may opt to use a thin layer of sand or fine gravel for this purpose rather than something like the cement-based underlayment you might use on your patio. However, don’t use any kind of material that contains abrasive particles because they can scratch and tear through your pond liner over time.

Can you use a liner from a hot tub for your pond?

Just as water from a hot tub can’t be used to fill your swimming pool, using the liner from a hot tub isn’t usually advisable for use on your pond.

One reason is that they’re not designed to withstand UV exposure and will deteriorate more quickly than other liners – which means you’ll have to replace them more often if they become damaged. Since they’re not designed to house fish, there’s no reason for yours to last longer than a year or two.

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Another potential problem is that some hot tub liners aren’t thick enough for use on a pond and may be more susceptible to punctures than the ones used in swimming pools.

Only buy one if it’s made of vinyl, PVC, or another material that’s designed for outdoor use. If you want to be sure, check with the manufacturer first before buying a liner and using it on your pond.

Can you use Visqueen as a pond liner?

Using Visqueen or other similar plastic sheeting as a pond liner is not advisable.

Visqueen and other types of polyethylene are too thin to be effective at stopping leaks. If you use it, your pond will end up being nothing more than a big puddle by the time winter rolls around – or even sooner if there are lots of hot sunny days this summer.

If you want to use a plastic sheet, double-layer it with something like a 6 mil or thicker plastic drop cloth – which will give you the better results you’re looking for.

Can you use a rubber pond liner?

If your local hardware store only stocks black or olive-colored liners, then it’s probably best to avoid them. This color means the liner was made from recycled tires and will require regular replacement because of UV degradation – not that there is anything wrong with reusing old tires. You don’t want to have to dig up your pond every year and dispose of the old liner in order to save money.

A better option is to purchase white, grey, or tan-colored rubber liners. The ones made from recycled nylon are usually better quality than the ones made from recycled plastic – but they’re either more expensive or harder to find at your local hardware store.

Final thoughts

Using a pool liner for your pond isn’t advisable unless you’re sure it’s made out of PVC, vinyl, or similar material that allows UV light to pass through. While they can work fine if they’re designed for use in aquatic environments, the ones sold at most big box stores are not perfect.

If you keep these things in mind when you’re shopping for a liner, you’ll be able to find the right one at an affordable price.

Even if there are problems with using pool liners on ponds, they can still come in handy as a backup or emergency cover in case something happens to your pond cover. If your pond freezes over during the winter or becomes muddy because of heavy rainfall, you can lay a liner on top of your pond so that it doesn’t get worse.

Although they’re not designed for this purpose, pool liners are made to resist punctures and tears. It’s relatively easy to cut one down to the size of your pond and have it stay in place using rope or bungee cords.

References:

Backyard Conservation – Backyard Ponds https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/?cid=nrcs143_023601