Large Pond Liner Installation Guide
Installing a large pond liner can be a lot easier when a few simple steps are taken.
- The delivery of the pond liner: Most large pond liners should be rolled up nicely on a pallet or rolled up on a core. Often it is important to wrap a pond liner in a protective layer of geotextile/felt, this helps prevent the puncturing of the liner. Although many pond liner materials are quite puncture and tear resistant, they can still be damaged in transit. Protecting the liner as much as possible can be the difference between installing a liner in a day or having to wait to get it patched when you have everything lined up and ready to go. Ask the pond liner manufacturer you are purchasing from if they do this to ensure you receive your pond liner undamaged.
When receiving the pallet, roll, or box, be sure to inspect it before signing for it. If the liner has been damaged by the shipping company they may be held responsible and may pay for any damage done to the liner. If you sign for your package before inspecting the liner and allow the shipping company to leave it, can often be difficult to prove the damage was done before you received the liner. If the liner is purchased on a core or pallet, often equipment is needed on site to unload the liner material. If there is no unloading equipment available, requesting a lift gate that can lower the liner to the ground is often needed.
It is important that if a fork lift is being used that the forks are used in between the slats of the pallet, or if a core is being used, that a carpet puller (a metal shaft) can be used to pull the liner out by the inside of the core and not the outside. Trying to pick up a liner wrapped on a core by lifting underneath the core almost never works and will most likely damage the liner.
When storing the liner,it is usually best to store it in a dry area. Although most pond liners are u.v. resistant, if the liner is going to be stored for long periods of time it is best if it can be stored where the liner is not exposed to the sun’s rays. Most liner materials are highly cold resistant as well but can still have problems with cold, especially if it is an unreinforced liner material. The material might be difficult to unroll if it ends up sticking to itself due to excessive cold/freezing weather.
- Field Installation Procedures: Although it is important to know the measurements of the pond before you purchase your pond liner, it is often a good idea to double check the pond and re-measure again. Depending on the location of your pond and the frequency you visit, something may have changed the pond’s size such as a heavy rain. Normally the packaged pond liner material should have dimensions on it to indicate the size of the liner. It is best to double check the measurements on the package compared to the pond to ensure they match so that if there is a discrepancy, a liner can be fixed before the time is taken to unroll the liner and roll it back up.
Make sure that your trench is ready. The trench allows for the burying of the liner around the perimeter and is usually the easiest and most cost effective way to secure the liner. A trench can be anywhere from 6’’ to 30’’ wide and 4’’ to 24’’ deep depending on the size of the pond and the steepness of the slope. It is often important not to make the trench too early or the trench may erode and fall back into itself. A local construction company can often make the trench for you, or a trencher such as a Ditch Witch can be used to make the trench. Be sure the pond is free of rocks or sharp objects. Although many pond liners today are very puncture resistant, when the pond is filled with water, some objects can cause as much damage as a sharp knife would. If getting rid of all debris (usually rocks) cannot be avoided, a puncture resistant geotextile can be used to cover the ground before the liner material is unrolled into the pond. A good geotextile can often protect a liner against most punctures.
Once the size of the liner and pond is verified, it is time to put the liner at the best possible spot so you will be able to unroll the liner and have it fit perfectly. Knowing how the liner is folded up is very important. If sent on a pallet, the liner is most often accordion folded. This means that the width the liner material was stacked on top of each other after each factory weld and then rolled length wise. Most often the pond liner will be rolled to the center but it may be rolled to the end. If rolled to the center, the best place to drop the liner is on either side of the top of the pond, right in the center.If rolled to the edge, it should be put at the end of the pond on either side of the pond.If on a core, it will be on rolled from the end, and not the center. You need only to unroll the liner and then drag it across the pond. Most packed pond liners have arrows on them to help you place the liner in the correct location and show you how to unroll it. Depending on the weight of the pond liner, you may need to have several people to unroll it, or a piece of equipment that can help with the pulling.
If there is any confusion on how the liner needs to be unrolled you should request detailed unrolling directions with pictures to be shipped with your liner. If you cannot unroll the liner all in one day or bury it in a trench, you may need to use sand bags to ensure the liner won’t blow in the wind and possibly rip. If possible, when unrolling the liner, try to leave it loose and not tight. Having a tight liner puts a lot of pressure on it, especially if it is so tight it can’t lay flat on the ground. The space between the liner and the ground will put a lot of pressure on the liner when it is being fill with water and may rip because of it.
- Do not attempt to install a liner on a windy or rainy day if at all possible: Even the heaviest liner can be damaged easily with the wind. Wind can be so powerful that it can send you and the liner high up into the air possibly hurting your liner and yourself. Some areas of the country are windy at certain times of the day consistently. Usually there is a time of day when it isn’t windy and it is important to plan your installation around that time and move as quickly as possible. When it is about the time it gets really windy, it is best to secure the liner by using sand bags or dirt and wait until the wind dies down.