Selecting The Most Durable & Best Pond Liner: Comprehensive Guide

Last Updated on January 13, 2021 by Anne Thynne

A pond liner is an invisible sentry of your pond. It silently does its job from the sidelines, that is to help maintain the best condition of a pond.

Being able to protect the water from seeping into the ground is just a part of its job description; it also provides a base for the plants to grow.

Choosing the best pond liner liner is delicate work, especially if you’re starting out. It can make or break the design of your pond.

I’ve got a list of pond liners that I will be reviewing down below. You might find your ideal liner there…

Which pond liner is the best?: Editor's pick

In my humble opinion, I think Beckett Corporation Flexible Pre-Cut PVC Liner and TotalPond EPDM1515 Pond Liner are the best choices for their respective categories [PVC and EPDM] – the rest is up to your preference.

A pond liner relies a lot on personal preferences; that is the main reason people get indecisive over it. So, what I think is the best might not be the best for you, but still, I believe them to be the best in the market right now and am hopeful one of them would be the liner of your choice.

What is a Pond Liner?

Before going to the review section, let’s understand the basics of a liner.

A pond liner is an impermeable cloth-type material that is commonly made from PVC or rubber to retain liquids. This extraordinary thing is considered a compulsory part of setting up an artificial water reservoir.

From crafting a small garden pond to large artificial streams, you can use it just after the digging part. They come at different sizes and prices so that they can meet your demand efficiently.

Top 8 Best Pond Liners Reviewed

You’re in search of a pond liner, and there are thousands of them in the marketplace. So, will you start checking all of them one by one? Of course not!

The most surprising news is we’ve done that time-consuming part for you and made a perfect list with the top 8 of them. Now, all you need to do is just grab the most suitable one. Let’s start…

1. Firestone 45mil EPDM Rubber Pond Liner- 15 ft by 20 ft

Firestone 45mil EPDM Rubber Pond Liner
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Pros
  • This pond liner is environment-friendly
  • It is made with non-toxic material which is safe for the pond’s inhabitants
  • You can cut it easily to match with a flexible and creative structure
  • The black color of the liner make your pond look deeper
Cons
  • If you want a lightweight pond liner, then this is not for you
  • You have to spend slightly higher compared to its competitors to get it

You will rarely find any pond liner that matches Firestone EPDM rubber’s robustness that has 45 mils of thickness.

This 15feet wide and 20 feet long pond liner is crafted with top-notch EPDM rubber for offering a decade of puncture-less service.

So, you can put your trust in its build-quality. Talking about build-quality, this guy is manufactured by Firestone, a world-class brand which is successfully providing roofing and building solutions for several years.

Apart from that, this rubber product comes pre-cut and delivered in a box to ensure smooth carrying. As a result, you won’t face any issue placing it inside any kind of pond or water reservoir. Therefore, it becomes an ideal pond liner if you want fast and flawless installation.

Moreover, this pond liner is perfect for ponds that can hold 1200 gallons of water. Despite being on the heavier side, the rubber liner lays nicely on any surface, and it can withstand heat, UV rays, and cold. You must warm it in the sun first and apply it in your pond.

2. Firestone W56PL452020 EPDM Rubber – 20 ft by 20 ft

Firestone W56PL452020 EPDM Rubber Pre Cut and Boxed Pond Liner
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Pros
  • Big 20 x 20 square size suits proper with big ponds
  • Non-toxic materials ensure that it defends microbial and algae attack efficiently
  • 45 mil thickness makes it super durable
Cons
  • Its heaviness won’t let you install it without the help of others

If you are on the hunt for a 20 ft wide and 20 ft long pond liner for your irregularly shaped pond, then this Firestone 20X20 will quench your thirst.

This product is fashioned with high-quality EPDM rubber that has a thickness of 45 mils. Therefore, it won’t tear easily, and you don’t need to think about replacing the pond liner within the next ten years.

Moreover, the black liner is super environment-friendly, and it won’t make your fish sick. Yes, it is made with non-toxic EPDM rubber. So, you can add any kind of fishes and plants in your pond after laying this 20x 20 liner.

For smooth installation, you need two helpers to deal with this stunning liner. This pond cloth is heavy, but you can carry it without hassle as it comes in a well-packaged cardboard box. You can adjust this flexible Rubber pond liner with any creative pond design as it can be folded easily.

3. Firestone PondGard PL45-1010

Firestone PondGard PL45-1010 UV and Ozone resistant Rubber Pond Liner
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Pros
  • It can handle long periods of sunlight exposure
  • You can give it various customized shapes
  • The visual appeal of the pond won’t alter as you can hide it naturally
  • Regular maintenance is not necessary, saving a lot of your time
Cons
  • Vulnerable to leakage with as time goes on

You can give every bit of your pond an artistic touch, pond liner is no exception. And for those who lean on the creative side, let me present to you Firestone PondGard PL45-1010.

It is a beautiful and unique 10 feet x 10 feet pond liner that is popular for its flexible rubber texture that is stronger than a woven tarp. What makes it special is its UV resistant properties that allow it to survive direct sunlight for a long period of time.

Another cool feature of it is that you can fold it any way you like, allowing you to flex your creativity using various shapes. You can even install it in ponds with steep sides.

A fantastic example of its flexibility is that the way it conforms to shelves, maintaining your waterfall’s natural look.

It is a big waste of time if you have to do maintenance on your pond liner regularly because that’s not why you bought it. PL45-1010 however, doesn’t have this problem, you don’t have to provide intensive maintenance.

Aesthetic and practical, is it not what every owner wants?

4. TotalPond EPDM1515 Pond Liner

TotalPond EPDM1515 Pond Liner
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Pros
  • 45mm thickness is good enough to prevent leaks by sharp objects like stones
  • Being UV resistant, it can handle direct sunlight for long periods without being damaged
  • A weather-resistant liner like this can handle tough conditions like the extreme cold in winter
  • Not harmful to pond inhabitants
Cons
  • It is hard to contour by yourself

It’s time I introduce you to a premium pick; this 15 feet x 15 feet pond liner is one of the best amongst its peers for a medium-sized pond and for ponds with a dimension of 9 ft x 9 ft x 1.5 ft, it is the best.

This fine liner boasts a thickness of 45mm, which is strong enough to survive the roughest of weather with minimum wear and tear.

While this looks like a convenient feature, there is a drawback too; such a thick liner is hard to unfold and contour around the pond. To work with this product, you might need two or more people. Many pond enthusiasts are DIY hobbyists, so this bane might irk them.

This EPDM pond liner is also UV resistant, so long exposure in sunlight doesn’t damage the liner material easily. On top of that, it is also weather resistant that can withstand the harshest conditions.

It is also certified to be non-toxic, so the plants and fishes in your pond can live comfortably; you don’t have to worry.

5. Aquascape 85009 EPDM 45 Mil Rubber Liner

Aquascape 85009 EPDM 45 Mil Rubber Liner for Pond
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Pros
  • No Extra digging required to install it
  • Extremely thick liner ensures supreme robustness
  • Perfect pond liner for making long stream and waterfall
Cons
  • It’s coated with toxic powder. You need to wash it thoroughly before using it

A decent pond liner manufactured by a renowned brand of the pond’s equipment industry is a jackpot for any serious pond owner. Guess what? Your awaited wish is just about to come in reality with an 85009 EPDM pond liner from Aquascape.

The fascinating thing about the product is that it is suitable for any water feature. So, you can use this water retainer to make pondless waterfalls too.

In addition to that, Aquascape provides 20 years of guarantee with the EPDM Rubber liner. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about the reliability and durability of this guy.

Moreover, this long-lasting pond liner has no toxic material that can degrade your fish or plants’ health. As a result, you don’t need to worry about using this safe liner with any kind of fish and pond. It has a 45 mil of thickness, which makes it sustainable for any sort of water features.

Furthermore, the EPDM rubber cloth is solar UV, Ozone, and oxidations resistant. Also, you can easily install this liner even with your own irregularly shaped water features. It folds to every crevice effortlessly. You don’t need any unique tool to install this 8 by 10 liner.

6. TotalPond Pond Skins 10 ft by 13 ft Pond Liner

TotalPond pond skins Pond Liner
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Pros
  • It doesn’t get punctured easily
  • Can be subjected to UV rays from the sun for long durations
  • You can efficiently work with it since it is so lightweight
  • The surface lets you grow beneficial bacteria for the pond
Cons
  • Not good if you are planning to have turtles, they can tear the liner

In case you don’t have a big budget to go for a premium option for a medium-sized pond, then take a look at this 10 feet x 13 feet pond liner that is a good budget option. If you plan to make a medium-sized pond with a dimension of 6 feet x 9 feet x 1.5 feet, it is an ideal liner.

It is an ultra-durable that is also very lightweight. And since it is lightweight, it is very easy to handle; if you are going to make a pond in a DIY fashion, it is a top pick. The liner has a 14.5 mil thickness, but it is stronger and more flexible than any other 20 mil PVC liner in its price range.

You can rely on it as it is puncture resistant, enabling it to stay firm even in rough conditions. On top of that, it also can withstand UV rays, which is a must-have feature for any liner nowadays.

The secret to its durability is the polyester weave that has been put between the PVC layer. TotalPond’s pond liners have a unique texture that allows microbial growth for beneficial bacteria for the well being of the pond. It is truly a boon for pond owners on a budget.

7. COLIBROX 15 ft by 20 ft Geotextile Underlayment

COLIBROX 15 ft. x 20 ft Geotextile Underlayment
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Pros
  • Chemicals can’t cause harm to it
  • It is one of the best liners for sand and clay
  • Being 100% recyclable, it is good for the environment
  • Practically indestructible, you can expect a long term service from it
Cons
  • Not the best liner for rocky areas

Erosion is a common issue with ponds if it is not appropriately prepared. So if you’re a shrewd owner, you’d have a countermeasure ready for this. One way to deal with this by using something like this high tensile underlayment.

It is made out of 100% virgin polypropylene fabric that is extremely easy to use. By strengthening the soil stability, it’ll reduce the possible erosion that could occur in the pond. And that will serve as a strong base for retaining walls and various pond installations like a fountain, for example.

The polypropylene fabric is nonwoven, needle punched, and comes with a three-dimensional pore structure. The consistency and drainage provided by it are superior to any woven geotextile fabric.

If you ask me, the best thing about this product is that it is practically indestructible; keep it in direct sunlight where it is exposed to UV rays, nothing will happen. Furthermore, it is puncture resistant.

Another plus point is that it is chemical resistant, so various chemicals generated in the pond won’t cause any trouble. Stuff like hydrocarbons doesn’t affect it at all; the same goes for the freeze-thaw cycle that degrades many other liners. It can withstand all of these while diffusing the build-up of gas and fluids.

Pond owners will love the fact that it is 100% recyclable, a significant thing that we take for granted nowadays.

 8. Beckett Corporation Flexible Pre-Cut PVC Liner

Beckett Corporation Flexible Pre-Cut PVC Liner
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Pros
  • It does not show any diverse nature in scorching heat and freezing cold temperature
  • Its lightweight nature makes it super easy to carry and install
  • You can use this 12ft X 17ft liner for making various water features.
Cons
  • Due to its thinness, you may need to use heavy underlay underneath the liner.

This Beckett Corporation pond liner is suitable for those artisans who love to decorate their water features with an adjustable PVC liner. This final addition to our best pond liner review list ensures robustness and offers all-around performance.

Featuring a Pre-cut setting, you don’t need to worry about placing this flexible pond liner in the critical edges of your small ponds. So, you can expect remarkable convenience in installing this PVC liner.

Thankfully, this heavy-duty guy contains no harmful chemical elements. It won’t get damaged by UV rays or ice. As a result, your precious fish and rare plants won’t face any dilemma.

Also, this 20 mils thick PVC liner comes with 15 years of warranty from its manufacturer. Therefore, you can remain tension free for more than a decade after placing it inside your pond.

What’s even better, the malleable liner is puncture-resistant, and you won’t encounter any issue placing your pond filters, pond pumps, and other decorative pieces.

Moreover, it can be used in various ways. Apart from using it inside ponds, you can utilize the PVC liner for sub-irrigation planters, raised garden beds, and other self-watering structures.

What’s the Purpose of a Pond Liner?

A pond liner is an essential part of a pond used to keep different purposes in mind. Now I am going to focus on the purposes of installing a rubber or PVC liner.

Keeping the water fresh

This is one of the main reasons why most people opt for a pond liner. After digging the pond, you can pour water into the hole; nevertheless, the water becomes dirty immediately. To avoid this awkward situation, almost 95% of pond owners install a thick rubber or PVC pond liner.

Smoothly craft water feature

Another reason why pond liner is famous is its flexibility and water retaining capability. Because of being rubber or PVC material made, you can easily place them in literally any pond shapes and sizes.

Before the invention of the pond liner, it was not a straightforward task to build any water feature. And, now, thanks to pond liner, making something beautiful becomes as easy as pie.

Easy maintenance

Maintaining a pond proper requires extreme dedication, and you need to spend a lot of time to see your desired output from the water house.

You have to test the water pH, add necessary fertilization, change the water, monitor the water quality and so on. However, a pond liner will make your life easier by providing various benefits to ensure flawless pond maintenance.

Good for fishes and plants

If you don’t insert pond liner inside your pond, there is a possibility that your expensive fishes and plants don’t get enough nutrients and oxygen due to the poor conditions of underwater soil.

The good news is that a pond liner throws these issues out of the equation as it works like a membrane.           `

Increase the lifespan of the pond

Your pond undergoes many kinds of conditions throughout the whole year. It has to face the burning heat of summer and defend itself against the cold winter seasons.

A pond liner helps the pond cope with these diverse weather extremes, and your beautiful water feature does not lose its juvenile nature.

Provide a handsome Form

Everyone loves to make their backyard water feature look gorgeous. The main reason behind doing so is to make the pond-garden combination delightful. Yes, a pond liner keeps the pond compact in shape and prevents water from escaping the pond. Also, the black color liner makes any shallow pond look deeper than actual deepness.

How to Install a Pond Liner in a Large Pond?

You may find installing a larger pond liner more challenging than installing a smaller version. So, you need to know the proper process to avoid these unwanted situations. Here is the easy installation process-

  1. As the pond liner for a large pond is extremely big and has almost 1000 pounds of weight; you can’t deal with it alone. So, ask some of your friends to help you throughout the whole process. 4-5 adult men will be enough for the task. You can also hire people to help you do the liner placing work.
  2. You need to roll out the pond liner along the length of the pond first. You can use a backhoe to maneuver the hefty liner easily. Place the liner at one end of the pond.
  3. Now, everyone on your team should hold the leading edge of the liner. The gap between every two men should be 15 feet.
  4. After that, the entire team should pull the liner towards the middle of the pond until it reaches the other end of the pond. If it becomes too hard for the team to pull the pond liner smoothly, you can add a 4X4 winch truck to the leading edge center. It will make your task easier.
  5. When you arrive at the other end of the pond, you should start tucking the liner’s extra part into the trench you have dug earlier.
  6. Finally, the whole team should go inside the pond and make any uneven fluffy corners or edges even. That’s it; your pond liner installation is done and dusted.

Understanding and Using Underlays

There is a common misconception that a pond liner is the underlay of a pond. And, many people don’t even know the difference between a pond liner and an underlay. As a result, they end up making a pond without using an underlay. Therefore, their pond liners don’t provide long-lasting service.

Actually, a pond underlayment is placed under the pond liner to protect the liner from the damage caused by the rocks, derbies, soil erosion, root penetration, and other sharp things laid under the surface of the bottom of the pond.

However, if you are damn sure that there is no sharp object mixed or underneath the soil, that you can skip installing an underlay.

But, in reality, it is tough to remove all the potential harmful objects from the ground, and it can consume a lot of your valuable time. So, it is better to spend some money on buying and placing the underlay into the pond before installing the pond liner.

However, some pond liner manufacturers claim that their liner is so heavy and durable that you don’t need to provide anything underneath it. Nevertheless, you must include an underlayment if the pond liner is made of EPDM rubber, no matter who thick the liner is.

You can place an underlay just like the way you are going to install the pond liner. Make sure that the underlay is big enough to cover the entire hole of the pond.

What to Consider Before Buying a Pond Liner?

When it comes to shopping, I’m a picky buyer who’ll nitpick all the details and scrutinize them for hours, so that I can get the best possible returns. And, I would like to believe you are the same.

Best Pond Liner

Are you unsure of what are the most important aspects of a pond liner? Stick with me and see:

1. Design

The whole nature of your pond will depend on how you want to design it. It’ll influence your choices every step of the way.

Whether you choose a flexible liner or a preformed one will go on to yield different criteria, it’ll be all the more different if you go for a concrete floor.

By default, these are the most common design patterns for a pond liner. I’ll give you a brief explanation below about Flexible vs. Preformed vs. Concrete Floor so you’ll understand better.

  • Flexible

It is the type that you can cut any way you like to suit your preferred choice. You get maximum control over how you want to shape your pond.

If you’re going for an unconventional look for your pond, or just want to ensure that the pond looks exactly how you envisioned it, then a flexible liner is the one to go for. Customization choices give it a big advantage over others.

I almost forgot to tell you about the best part; you can modify it however you like if you ever change your mind, and that’s so cool!

But, they also require the most effort and a little mistake can ruin the whole thing, that is why some beginner owners choose to go for a preformed liner at the beginning.

  • Preformed

If you just want to get the job done, the preformed liners will be the ideal solution. They are usually made out of plastic, [or in some cases rubber]; and come in a specific set of sizes and shapes.

With this kind of liner, you don’t need to go through any trouble, just dig the land, place it in, fill it with water, and you’re done.

While it is great for first-timers, it is relatively expensive and only comes with a few common forms. There’s no spice in the designs, and your pond could end up looking bland and lacking originality.

  • Concrete floor

A sad truth of both preformed or flexible liners is that you will have to replace them every few years later, and that process annoys a lot of people.

If you want a pond that’ll live on for a lifetime and won’t back down from spending, then a concrete floor is a power-packed option. You can trust the durability of the concrete as well as the fact that it will not crack or leak if you prepared it properly.

Sadly, concrete liners are not popular due to their monumental cost. They’re also very time hogging and need expert hands that come with another set of expenses.

2. Materials

As a pond liner’s worth is based on how on the properties of the materials, it is a pretty impeccable matter. I’ll discuss them below:

Advantages & Disadvantages of Different Materials:

  • EPDM

It is one of the most used materials for flexible and preformed liners.

Advantages

  1. Inexpensive and easily available.
  2. It can be folded easily, allowing you to make unique shapes.
  3. They easily adhere, so you can cut a number of sheets together, and can also expand if needed.

Disadvantages

  1. Heavy, so hard to work with.
  2. Not entirely puncture resistant.
  • PVC

For flexible pond liner materials, these are a common option.

Advantages

  1. Puncture resistant, so it won’t tear fast.
  2. You can seal multiple sheets as one.
  3. Lightweight.

Disadvantages

  1. Contain trace elements like arsenic that are commonly toxic for fish.
  2. Prone to breakage in winter.
  3. Vulnerable if in long exposure to sunlight.
  4. There is a good possibility of leaking.
  • HDPE

In my opinion, this is one of the better choices for a flexible pond liner. These are reinforced versions of polyethylene liners that are superior in every way to normal polyethylene.

Advantages

  1. More puncture resistant than EPDM and PVC liners while they are only half as much thick.
  2. Easy to conform and install.
  3. Can last up to 40 years.
  4. It is possible to weld them together.
  5. You can make do without an underlay.

Disadvantages

  1. Expensive
  • Butyl rubber

These might not be as popular as their other counterparts, but still, a useful material that you can use in both preformed and flexible liners.

Advantages

  1. You can weld them together using heat.
  2. Resist puncture better than EPDM liners.
  3. Less expensive than HDPE liners.

Disadvantages

  1. They don’t stretch too much.
  2. Only have basic shapes, you need to weld for a custom design.
  • Fiberglass

Another fine material that is a common sight in preformed liners is fiberglass.

Advantages

  1. They are incredibly strong and can handle large loads.
  2. You don’t have to support the pond surrounding it with soil.
  3. It can be used for making a raised pond.
  4. Incredible durability, that lasts for long and doesn’t crack or leak easily, even in tough weather.

Disadvantages

  1. A limited set of forms.
  2. High initial cost.
  • Concrete

In case you’re going for the big bad concrete floor, then you’ll need lots of concrete. It is by far the most durable material here.

Advantages

  1. Extremely durable that will serve for decades.
  2. Won’t crack at all.
  3. Impervious to penetration or puncture.

Disadvantages

  1. Insanely expensive and time-consuming.
  2. You would need a professional’s help to install it.

These are the most commonly used materials for a pond liner.

3. Weather condition

Where you live and what kind of weather you face is an important factor. For example, someone who lives in extreme weather condition needs a more durable pond liner than the rest of us, because their liners will degrade quicker.

If you don’t fall into that category and the weather is a breeze for you then you don’t necessarily need such resilience. I’ll showcase different types of pond liner based on weather conditions so you can understand the situation better-

Diehard liners like EPDM or HDPE are excellent at handling sub-zero temperatures where something like butyl rubber breaks. I would also like to add that fiberglass liner can expand a bit so that it can house the increased volume from the frozen water.

The scorching heat is the other tough weather that troubles a pond liner. Butyl rubber and PVC also struggle here as they are likely to leak chemical compounds when being subjected to sunlight for a long time. This exposure to UV light eventually leads to cracking.

EPDM, HDPE, and fiberglass are better suited to handle extended periods of UV exposure, but eventually, they will also wear down, although it might take them years, or even decades.

The one truly unaffected by UV lights is the concrete floor. But as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, it is a massive investment.

4. Size

Mess up the size of the liner and you can potentially ruin your entire pond. To avoid that, what most people do is- measure the pond and bring a liner that has exactly the same dimension.

I understand people want to be as frugal as possible, but that has to come with proper planning. A liner that is equal to the pond dimension’s size is bound to come short because it has to go down at one end and come upon another.

This is why you need to get a liner that is a bit bigger than your pond. Then you can trim it or hide it.

5. UV resistance

In the case of flexible or preformed liners, both are susceptible to heat. It leads to the damage of the liner material. The biggest culprit here is the direct sunlight that emits UV rays.

Modern pond liners come with UV resistant features that can withstand long duration of exposure to sunlight. Don’t settle for any less, unless you have a weird hobby of changing liners every now and then.

6. Durability

No one would like it if they have to change their liner every now and then. It’s annoying and gives you the feeling that you have done something wrong.

The best kind of EPDM liner can last up to 20 years, and since they are affordable; it is considered the best deal for common folks; no wonder it is insanely popular.

HDPE takes it up a notch, having a life expectancy of 40 years! But they do cost a bit more.

If you’re someone hardcore and want the most outlandish durability, there is the concrete floor that’d most likely outlast you.

But do remember, all of these considerations are only applicable for a good quality liner, not a shabby one.

7. Thickness

Now, this is another make or break property that you should be careful about. It is complicated to say what thickness suits your pond because not every pond is gonna be the same. But, let me share some insights with you-

If you have your pond in rocky or rough terrain, you want a thick liner; otherwise, it could get punctured from the sharp rocks or the rough surface.

Also, having an underlayment changes things because the underlayment’s job is to protect the liner; in case you have a good underlayment, you can get your job done with a thin liner.

Lastly, the surrounding wildlife is also a matter of concern. They could rip your liner, so if there is any chance of a predator attack, you should not only get a thick liner but also a durable one.

I would recommend not going below 1mm thickness.

By the way, don’t confuse mm and mil; they are separate measurements, and both are widely used. One mil accounts for 0.0254 mm, so basically it is a thousandth of an inch; remember this if you don’t have a conversion calculator nearby.

Let me save you some calculation, for thickness in mil, don’t go any lower than 29 mils for rough terrain.

8. Aesthetics

When it comes to ponds, aesthetics is a significant factor. If your pond doesn’t look good after so much financial and emotional investment, then you’ll feel a heavy pain in your chest.

You don’t want to end up with a bland, or I daresay normie lookie pond if you’re planning to spend real money on it. This is why it is only fair that you set aside a decent amount of time to make it look good as well.

And depending on how you want your pond to look, your preference for a liner will vary too.

For example, you will choose a different liner according to how your pond will be set up- fully dug, partially dug, or completely above ground? If it is above ground then you must need fiberglass because it is the one that supports the pond.

If you want to go for a moderately complex design, multiple butyl rubber that are weld together could give you the best ease of operation.

In case you want the bottom to be visible to spectators, choosing HDPE liners results in better natural visuals because of the thin contours. Concrete also has a different charm because it produces the smoothest pond bottom, which is aesthetic in its own right.

Sometimes people have second thoughts on their pond and want to change; for people like them, EPDM/PVC or HDPE/Butyl is the best because you can tape or weld them respectively to make custom sheets.

9. Complexity

As I said before, making a pond is where you can showcase your artistic nous vividly, but some people don’t know where to catch a break and end up going overboard, and end up with a complex layout.

Imagine you wanted to do something wacky and came up with a sharp corner. EPDM and HDPE are quite flexible in these situations as they can be stretched a bit around corners, they’re made to handle situations like this.

While butyl rubber sheets are great for welding together to create custom designs, super complicated shapes might be a big challenge for them due to manufacturing limitations.

Concrete flooring, on the other hand, is the town’s macho monster, that can virtually take on any shape, size, and not leak a single thing while lasting for decades.

As the designs’ demands go up, you will face more trouble working with it, especially if you’re trying to DIY it, and you might end up needing to call for professional aid.

So, you can see why you need to be careful about how complex is your pond design.

10. Toxicity

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s not toxic to your fish. Pond liners [especially PVC] usually have materials that contain trace elements that are considered harmful for the fish in your pond.

This is the main reason people are likely to avoid PVC liners; although many modern liner brands claim their PVC liners are non-toxic, owners are still most likely to not gamble for it.

How to Determine the Size of Your Pond Liner

Making up your mind on which pond liner you want is a significant part of the process, but not the whole picture. You still have to decide on the right size. If you get a too big liner or too small, it’ll waste your time and money. But that’s what I’m here for.

First of all, you will need to take accurate measurements of your pond. You have to measure the maximum length, width, and depth of the pond. But wait, you’re not done yet.

After you got those numbers, you need to factor in some extra space that is twice the pond depth and some additional area for overlapping.

You might be wondering, why do you have to multiply the depth? It is because the liner will go down from one side and extend back up to the other. So, you have to hold depth into an account for both sides, it is the same for overlay/overlap.

Confused? I don’t blame you, let me simplify this-

Total length = L + 2D + [ 2 x Overlay]

Total width = W + 2D + [ 2 x Overlay]

Here, L and D are the maximum length and width that you measured. It’s easier now, isn’t it? Equations are so cool!

In case you don’t have a good value in mind, I suggest you take 0.15m as a reference value for overlay.

By using this method, you will easily find the right size for your pond liner.

Maintaining your pond liner

What if I told you that you could gain a few additional by following a few tricks that’ll help delay the eventual degradation process of a liner? It’s no magic either, just some simple but thoughtful touch-ups. See for yourself below:

Prevent chemical contact

Chemicals can seriously mess up your liner. I understand you might have to add chemicals in your pond for its better health but do it in a fashion that it doesn’t come in contact with the liner, especially if it is chlorine crystals, as it will cause bleaching.

Avoid totally emptying the pond

While water changes are sometimes inevitable, try not to fully drain out all the water. There is a possibility the liner could shrink. It would have been great if just shrinking was the last of your worries, but it is just the start and the endpoint of it is breakage.

So, by avoiding this little thing you might be able to save yourself from buying another liner.

Keep the liner clean

Take a small brush and gently stroke away any debris, dust, or other foreign material so that they don’t accumulate and come to harm the liner material later on. You scrub every now and then.

Avoid sharp objects

While your pond line can be quite thick, it’s not wise to try challenging it; instead, you should protect it as much as you can so it can keep protecting your pond. And no matter how thick a liner is, eventually, sharp objects will get the best of it, It doesn’t have to be on day 1, but gradually one day they will.

So, you need to keep away sharp rocks, nails, or any other items that you might generally neglect that could pose a threat to your liner.

Minimize weathering and other build-ups

In case you’re not using your pond, keep it covered to protect it from weathering and UV rays. You saw how much I emphasized direct sunlight and the effect the UV rays have on liners, so why risk it?

Alongside that, dirt and oil are known enemies that build up around the liner; it is known as “water line”. You can either clean it with a sponge regularly or get a special protective liquid specializing in dealing with problems like these.

These were some simple but useful tips that you could follow that’ll certainly squeeze in a couple of years extra for your pond liner. If a pond liner was a living thing, I’m sure it’d be grateful for taking care of it like that.

Alternative to a Pond Liner

While our whole article is based on pond liners, I fully understand that it doesn’t come for cheap, and many owners might want to look for a more affordable alternative.

I thought to myself, “why do they have to be left out?”, and so I decided to mention a few cheap pond liner alternatives. See below:

1. Polyethylene

It is the most affordable alternative to a pond liner. The amount of water it can retain is excellent. It is very lightweight so you will be able to work with it smoothly.

However, it is susceptible to puncture. And, during summer, it can cause troubles for fish as it can’t absorb much heat.

2. Tarp

If you’re used to camping outside, you might have seen tarp in tents. It is a hybrid material that is made out of polyester or canvas with a coating of polyethylene.

While the polyester makes it strong, the polyethylene allows it to be waterproof. Working together, they offer a more reliable service than just polyethylene.

These are also good for visuals as they come in various colors.

3. Lime and clay

What if I told you that you can make do without installing a liner or anything that works similar to it at all? For that, you just need something that’ll comfortably retain all the water.

For generations, clay is known to be an excellent material to retain water. Remember all those vessels made out of clay that people used to have centuries ago? The trick I’m gonna show you belongs to the same philosophy.

First, you’ll need to use quick lime and then place a clay layer over it and wait for it to be compact.  Then you have to use this to make lime concrete. The benefit of lime concrete is that it is a great water retainer as it is strong and impermeable.

4. Bentonite

This is a very popular alternative to pond liners. They retain water superbly and also fix any leakage in the pond. Using bentonite is an excellent option if you are going for a large pond and looking to cut down some expenses.

It is hard to look away from a lucrative offer like that by a great water retainer and sealant.

These are some good alternatives to a pond liner that you can use if you’re worried about the budget. But even so, I still suggest getting a pond liner because they deliver superior results.

I’m sure most of you will do the budget calculations before you jump into making a pond, so most likely, you’ll have some cash kept as contingency just in case. A bit more money for something that’ll stay for years is a great trade-off, in my opinion.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to protect my Pond Fish and plants?

Installing an excellent pond liner will ensure that everything you offer to the pond’s inhabitant reaches them by keeping the pond water and soil stable as well as contamination free.

Moreover, a black pond liner makes the pond appear much steeper, keeping the outside predators away from your adorable fishes.

What’s the Best Material for Pond Liners?

There are three main types of pond liners out there competing to become the best material for pond liners.

They are- PVC, EPDM, and RPE. Everyone has some unique qualities which make them a strong contender to become the best. But, in my opinion, EPDM is the best material for pond liner for its flexibility.

How to find a leak in a pond liner?

The easiest way to determine a leak in a pond liner is to notice the pond behavior. To do so, turn off the pump and let the water level drop until the leak appears.

You should remove the fish and plants temporarily if the water level is getting too low. When the water level stops dropping, start looking for the leak on the pond liner’s surface.

However, for finding a fast leak, you can spray some milk on the water. The foam of milk will cloud and run towards the leak hole. As a result, the leaked place will be easily noticeable.

How do I fix a pond liner leak?

After identifying the leak, you can effortlessly fix the liner by adding a patch to it. First of all, you need to make sure that no water is touching the leaked part and place the torn part of the liner on a solid and flat surface. It will ensure a nice working surface.

Later, take a patch and cut the corner part of the patch so that the patch’s corner becomes circular. It keeps the edges from fraying and lasts longer.

At this moment, wipe the leaked place and its surroundings with a dry towel so that no dust and powder come in the way. Now, get another towel and add some liner primer to the towel. Slowly rub the towel over the patch in a circular pattern. Remember, if your patch is 5 by 5, you must clean and add adhesive on 6 by 6 or 7 by 7 areas keeping the leak at the center.

Finally, stick your patch on that place. You should use a small roller to roll out any air bubble that may trap inside.

Also, push all the edges evenly with the roller. To make the seal more heavy-duty, you need to put some polyurethane silicone sealant around the edge of the patch. Now, your pond liner should work as good as a new liner.

How much should a pond liner overlap?

A pond liner should overlap at least 30 cm. The overlap part is an essential thing that keeps the pond being exposed when you fill the pond with water.

People hide the overlapped part by tucking or placing plants, rocks, and other decorative pieces near it. However, don’t exceed the overlapped portions more than 2 feet.

How long does a pond liner last?

Some pond liners can last for 50 years, and some can’t offer even one year of service. It depends on the quality of the liner, installation process, and your pond’s maintenance way.

However, if you buy any pond liner from a reputed manufacturer and install it properly, it should last at least 20 years without any issue.

Can you use a tarp as a pond liner?

Well, it depends on the type of tarp that you are going to use. There are different kinds of tarps made of various materials. Among them, the only vinyl tarp is suitable for using as a pond liner because it is waterproof, UV and tear-resistant.  This type of tarp is non-toxic and durable.

Can you join a pond liner?

Yes, it is super easy to join a pond liner with cold tape or quick primer adhesive. Just get the pieces that you want to join, add adhesive, and let them dry. Simple!

Final words

So, I reviewed some of the best available pond liners in the market right now and tried to provide all of their good and bad sides so that you can have an easier time deciding what you want.

As I mentioned earlier, a pond liner has a lot of things left up to the buyer’s judgment, which is why the buying guide I provided will help you identify your needs better.

I hope you end up with the best possible liner for you.

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