Can A Salt Water Pool Have A Liner? (Considerations)

Can a salt water pool have a liner?

A salt water pool with a vinyl liner is a popular option to consider but it’s not the only choice when building this type of pool.

While a salt water pool can have a liner, the corrosive nature of salt water must be taken into account along with other potential downsides such as the risk of rips, tears and leaks along with the eventual required replacement.

You can not only choose a vinyl liner pool but can also consider numerous colors and design patterns if desired. Below we will discuss pros and cons of using a vinyl liner with a salt water pool design and briefly touch on other options instead of a liner including fiberglass and concrete.

Pros and cons of a vinyl liner salt water pool

In a nutshell you can certainly build a salt water pool with a vinyl liner. Most consumer pools are vinyl lined and although most aren’t salt water, they are still a popular combination.

Having said that, vinyl liners have both positive and negative aspects and more so when using it with a salt water pool. While some pros and cons are general ones, others are salt water-specific.

Vinyl liner salt water pool prosVinyl liner salt water pool cons
A vinyl pool is usually cheaper up front to install than other pool options like fiberglass or concrete.Salt water is corrosive which can impact not so much the liner but metal parts that come into contact with the liner such as a pool ladder or metal supports behind the wall.
Vinyl liners are durable and should last 10-15 years if properly cared for even around salt water.Salt levels need to be kept in line and shouldn’t exceed the recommended range to avoid corrosive water. Again, salt water isn’t a problem for vinyl per se but the metal around the pool can be impacted which in turn can affect the liner.
Vinyl needs little maintenance other than brushing the walls and floor of the pool.Vinyl liners do need eventual replacement which first involves draining the entire pool. This work is typically done by a professional pool company, adding to the cost.
Vinyl liner pools are the most common type of pool so it’s generally easy to get parts and support if needed.Vinyl can be problematic with little kids who may pull at the liner or animals like dogs who may damage the liner with their sharp nails.
Vinyl pools are smooth to walk on and touch with your hands.If the liner starts to come away from the wall, it can be difficult to put back into place. At worst water can get behind the liner and at best, it can be an eyesore.
Vinyl liners come in countless designs and colors to choose from.Vinyl can be susceptible to algae growth if water chemistry gets out of line. This can make a vinyl liner slippery.
Vinyl liners hold up well to cold winter weather often more so than concrete pools which can crack.A vinyl liner surface can get easily stained and the color fades over time.
Salt water pool liner installation is a job for a pro.
Salt water pool liner installation is a job for a pro. It’s a difficult and time-consuming job that requires skill and tools.

Comparing vinyl, fiberglass and concrete pools

While vinyl pools are very popular with salt water systems, fiberglass pools are also an increasingly popular choice. While a fiberglass pool tends to be more expensive than vinyl, fiberglass offers some advantages such as more durability, a high end look and obviously no liner to replace. Fiberglass and a salt water pool system might be a great choice for you.

Concrete pools and salt water systems on the other hand aren’t as straight forward. You might find some pool companies who simply won’t build the two together given the corrosiveness of salt water. It’s not a great combo in the eyes of some pool builders (salt water + concrete) but you will also hear stories about people who do have concrete salt water pools and are happy with the result.

You can read my article comparing vinyl vs fiberglass vs concrete pools to learn more.

In the meantime, here’s a summary that compared vinyl, concrete and fiberglass pools:

Vinyl Pools vs Concrete Pools vs Fiberglass Pools

Here’s a table comparing vinyl liner pools, concrete pools, and fiberglass pools:

AspectVinyl Liner PoolsConcrete PoolsFiberglass Pools
InstallationRelatively quick and easy to install.Time-consuming and labor-intensive.Quick to install, but requires specialized handling.
DurabilitySusceptible to tears, punctures, and fading.Highly durable and long-lasting when properly maintained.Durable and resistant to algae and staining.
MaintenanceRegular liner replacement every 5-10 years.Requires periodic resurfacing and maintenance.Low maintenance, but may require gel coating every 10-15 years.
CostGenerally more affordable upfront.Expensive upfront and may require ongoing repairs.Moderate upfront cost with minimal long-term expenses.
CustomizationLimited design options and shapes.Highly customizable in terms of shape and size.Limited customization options.
Surface TextureSmooth surface, but can feel artificial.Can be customized for various textures and finishes.Smooth and non-abrasive surface.
Eco-FriendlinessLiners can be recycled, but use of chemicals.Environmental impact from construction and maintenance.Lower chemical usage and energy-efficient.

This table provides a critical comparison of the three types of pools, highlighting their differences in installation, durability, maintenance, cost, customization, surface texture, and eco-friendliness.


In summary, a vinyl liner pool with a salt water system is a popular and common design. As long as chemicals are kept inline and care is taken when inside the pool, you generally won’t have problems with a salt water pool with a vinyl liner.

The good news is that you also have a another choice in fiberglass and might also consider a concrete (gunite) option too.

Carl Mueller

I bought a home with a salt water pool in 2006 and soon realized the benefits over traditional chlorinated pools. On this website I'll discuss all the tips and tricks I've learned over the years. I'll also help you troubleshoot various problems with pools in general and ones specific to salt water pools that I've experienced personally!

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