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Pool Liner Comparison: Unibead Liners vs. Overlap Liners

After selecting one’s above ground pool model, a buyer’s next decision to make is the pool liner design/print...
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After selecting an above ground pool model, a buyer’s next decision is the pool liner design/print. Being able to choose the liner print is an important aspect of the design. Some homeowners prefer a darker swimming pool liner, while others prefer a lighter shade. Additionally, some prefer a bright blue tropical design and others a more classic and subtle look.

Pool Liners

Under each “Customize Your Pool” section at www.ThePoolFactory.com there are many different pool liner styles to choose from to get the perfect look that you have in mind.

Customize Pool Liner in Pool Wizard

Equally as important is the way in which the liner is installed. Knowing the differences between an Overlap Liner vs. a Unibead Liner and the advantages of each will help you to decide.

Overlap Pool Liners

Overlap Pool Liners must match the exact length and width of your above ground pool in order to have a proper fit. It is not important to have the liner match the pool’s height. They have additional material so that they can overlap the wall and be held down with coping strips. Overlap liners are the liners that you can see from the outside of the pool near the top.

Overlap Liner Outside

Oval Pool with Overlap Liner on the outside

The extra material provided in the height of an overlap liner will fit either a 48”, 52”, or a 54” tall pool. It is possible to tuck the additional material under the top ledge to make it less visible.

Some people like to trim the outside of the liner once installed but it is very important to only trim the excess overlapped vinyl after the pool has been filled with water and has been given at least 2 weeks to settle. It is also important to trim only a small portion of the overlapped vinyl as you run a higher risk of the liner beginning to pull off with the shorter you trim it.

Overall, the overlap liners provide some major benefits. Overlap pool liners are very easy to install and can be slightly adjusted as the pool is filling with water, making it the perfect choice for a DIY project. They are generally less expensive (depending on the print) and if there are any questions on the exact height of your pool, an overlap pool liner will fit a variety of heights.

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Unibead Pool Liners

Unibead Pool Liners must match the exact length, width, AND height of your above ground pool. These liners are custom cut in every direction so it is important to know your exact pool size.

EXPERT TIP: Unibead simply means you have the choice of how to install the liner in one of two ways, as a beaded liner, or as a J-hook liner (a.k.a. V-bead liner).

Unibead Liner As A J-Hook Liner

A J-Hook Liner has a special attachment at the top of the pool liner (similar to built-in coping strips) that hangs directly on the top of the pool wall. Moreover, there will not be any overlapped vinyl showing on the outside of the pool like there is with overlap liners. Unibead Liners simply clip to the top of the pool wall (using the integrated j-hook bead at the top) allowing you to have a printed design with a straight border at the waterline giving a more professional appearance.

J Hook Liner

We recommend Unibead Liners to be used just the way they come out of the box, as a j-hook liner. It simply clips right on to the top of the pool wall and you would not need bead receiver. This seals off the inside of the pool wall to avoid the corrosion problems caused by chemically treated water that gets between the gaps of the 4′ long bead receiver tracks.

However, some pool models require a standard Beaded Liner and the Unibead Liner can easily be adapted for this purpose.

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Installing A Unibead Liner As A Beaded Liner

Beaded Liners attach to a special tracking called a “bead receiver”. The main benefit of installing your pool this way is to make your next liner change easier. With bead receiver, the pool liner can be removed and reinstalled without having to remove the top ledges. Need a liner replacement? A beaded liner makes for the easiest change. This is especially important when decking is installed above the pool’s top ledge. After draining the water, the old liner can be removed and the new liner replaced without disassembling the pool itself.

unibead to beaded liner

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Important To Know!

If you are purchasing an above ground pool from www.ThePoolFactory.com and wish to install a Unibead liner using the beaded style, you will need to purchase the bead receiver separately. All pool models do not come with bead receiver (except for the Intrepid).

Shop Bead Receivers

Above Ground Pool Liners

We carry pool liners from the top manufacturer’s in the industry. These liners are made to last and feature extra heavy duty virgin vinyl, with super strong welded seams to last long winters and hot summers. The liner manufacturer’s use computerized cutting tables and a computer aided design, eliminating the risk of human error.

  • May 10, 2015 at 8:15 AM


    I have a 24′ x 54″ above ground pool with an overlap liner. I read your article about the uni-bead liner as a replacement liner. From the drawing, it looks like the uni-bead would would slide over the top of the wall. I have a round metal tube that runs around the pool wall to attach the coping to after installing the overlap liner. If I use a uni-bead do I remove this tubing and if I do, will the wall be rigid enough?

    Thanks for your time and your help. I would like to use the uni-bead but I am not sure I can.


    • May 13, 2015 at 12:03 PM

      Hi David,

      The round metal tubing sounds like your pools’ top tracks and would normally install directly on top of the unibead liner.

  • June 26, 2016 at 8:13 AM

    I have a 15x24x54″ oval with overlap liner. Liner installation went fine but as I am filling the pool the liner has come away from the wall. There was only about 1/2″ of liner visible once the coping was installed. Are these conditions typical will the weight of the water push the liner back against the wall?

  • June 29, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    If my current pool is leaking, can I used a overlap liner to fix the pool

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