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Three Types of Vinyl Liners

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

If you are in the market for a new above or semi in-ground liner, it can be quite confusing when you hear the words beaded, uni-bead, overlap, coping, etc. There are three different types of liners that are used and they may all be used, with some adjusting, interchangeably on any above or semi in-ground pool. You will have the option between overlap, uni-bead, and beaded.

In this article we will talk about having access to the top of your pool. What does it mean to have access to the entire top of the pool? The top of the pool is composed of a series of screws, top rails, front and back caps, vertical top plates, and stabilizer bars. For overlap and uni-bead liners, you generally need to be able to reach all of the screws and remove all of these parts in order to have access to the liner. There are instances were pool owners were never told this and now have no access to the top of the pool in which certain decking or other obstructions must be removed before changing the liner.


Overlap liners can be used on any steel or aluminum above ground coil pool walls. In some instances they may also be used on semi in-ground pools, but in most cases this will create a problem down the road; We will talk about this later in the article. These liners hang directly over your pool wall and are held down using plastic coping strips. In order to change these types of liners you need to take apart the entire top of the pool, and therefore, need to have access to the top of the pool. The main benefit of using the overlap liner is cost. Being the least expensive liner type on the market, as long as you have access to the entire top of the pool and you have it installed by a pool professional, an overlap liner will be a good choice.

A lot of times, new pool owners, even with above or semi in-grounds, will choose to make it look like a fully in-ground pool. While this is completely acceptable and highly recommended as it can be cheaper without sacrificing the look, there are right and wrong ways to do it. If you chose to lay pavers around an above or semi in-ground pool with an overlap liner, it can be very difficult, as you need to have access to the top of the pool. So before you make the decision on which liner to go with, make sure you have a plan with want you want your finished yard to look like.


Uni-bead liners work similarly to overlaps in that they hang over the wall and you must have access to the top of your pool. The difference however is that uni-bead liners do not use coping, but instead clip on the wall by their rubber fold. They have the coping mechanism that is conveniently built into the liner itself. These liners are generally mid-ranged in price since they are more durable than overlap and hold onto the pool wall tighter. They also require no addition parts; whether you have an overlap liner or a beaded liner, you can replace it with a uni-bead liner.


Both overlap and uni-bead liners hang up on the wall and are held down with stabilizer bars. For both of these types of liners you have to take caution when bricking or decking up to the pool. If you decide to go with a beaded liner It is easier to avoid future complications of having to remove any decking or pavers when you need a liner change. Beaded liners simply clip into a track that is already attached to the pool wall. This bead track takes the place of any stabilizer and makes it a very simple process to change the liner. With beaded liners you are able to deck/pave right up to the top rails and usually do not need to remove any of the top of the pool, making this type of liner the most convenient. Just be aware that down the road, you may need to have access to the pool for any unpredicted repairs.

If you originally had an overlap or uni-bead, you can still use a beaded liner. You just have to make sure that you have the appropriate bead track (or bead receiver) for your size pool. Basically all liners are interchangeable as long as you have the right parts. If you choose an overlap liner, you have to use coping to clip it to the wall. If you choose a beaded liner you need you get bead receiver, sometimes called bead track, in order to clip the liner into. Lastly, if you purchase a uni-bead liner you do not need either, as the uni-bead itself is designed to simply hang directly onto the pool wall. If you have any further questions regarding liner changes or are interested in pricing please give Sparkle Pool Service a call at 631-981-0685.

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