Ponds naturally lose water through evaporation and spills from water features. What’s unnatural is water levels decreasing too fast.
If you’re losing a week’s worth of evaporated water in a few days, it can signify a pretty large gash on your pond liner.
Replenishing lost water is a band-aid solution that can worsen your pond situation over time. A pinprick can turn into a nasty tear if left unchecked.
We know you want to nip that problem in the bud. That’s why we’re here to show you how to repair pond liner.
Absolutely! You can repair pond liners whether they’re made of plastic or rubber.
Most plastic liners, like the HDPE and PVC ones, are weldable. There’s no reason you can’t fix a puncture or a cut on your liner with some elbow grease.
Damage to the pond liner can make the water murky because of sediments leaching into the water. If there’s a considerable buildup of sludge, it can darken the water even more.
If you’re lucky and the leak is new, you might find a part of your pond where the water is muddy or cloudy. This will narrow down your search.
However, a pond liner leak can sometimes be a needle in a haystack. Your water is clear, but you’re losing water fast enough to warrant your urgent attention.
Assuming you’ve eliminated any issues with the pump, plumbing, or low edges around the pond, here’s how to locate a leak in the pond liner:
- Shut off your pump and other pond equipment.
If you have fish in the pond, keep the aeration on. If you don’t have an aerator, do this at night when the temperature is cooler.
- Fill the pond to the top and let it stand overnight.
- Monitor the pond until the water level stops dipping. The water will stop leaking below the puncture line and stabilize.
- If the leak is somewhere deep below, you’ll need to move your fish into a safe holding container out of the sun. You can use a wading pool or a large plastic tub.
- Fill the tub with water from the pond to make the transfer as stress-free as possible for the fish. Cover it with a mesh to prevent them from jumping out of the water.
Important note: Move the fish only when you have all your repair supplies to cut the time they’re out of their natural environment.
- Remove plants, rocks, or other decorative elements to expose the liner.
- Keep an eye out for rips and holes. Scrub along the water line with a stiff brush to get rid of algae and mineral deposits.
A tiny hole may be harder to pin down. Try any of these hacks instead:
Turn on the water and fill above the puncture line. Pour a small amount of condensed milk into one area. The hole will draw in the milk and give you a visible path to it.
You may need to do this many times until you’ve covered the perimeter of the entire pond. Just to be on the safe side, replace water mixed with the milk.
Float a ping-pong ball on the pond water and wait for it to deviate to the location of the hole. This will limit your search to that area.
It’s safer than the milk method because it leaves nothing behind.
Before you proceed, drain the pond until you have a sufficient margin to apply your product.
Whatever repair solution you choose, see to it that the surface is clean and prepped. This will ensure optimal adhesion of the product.
- Scrub the area thoroughly if you haven’t already. The liner surface should be free from slime or any detritus.
- Rinse with clean water and wipe the area dry with a cotton cloth.
We’ve found the hole and cleaned the area. Now it’s time for the main steps.
A typical repair kit contains a patch, a liquid primer, a scrub sponge, and disposable gloves. Besides a pair of scissors, that’s pretty much everything you need to seal small to medium-sized holes.
The self-adhesive rubber patch comes in different sizes. You can cut a large patch into smaller pieces.
Here’s your guide on how to use a repair kit:
- Determine the size of your holes.
- Cut the patch into round pieces instead of square ones. The sharp corners of a square curl up and fray, so you’ll want to avoid that.
- Pour a dollop of primer onto the sponge and rub a circular pattern over a large area around the hole.
- After a few seconds, perform a finger test. The primer should be sticky enough for the next step.
- Peel off the release ply and apply the patch over the tear.
- Use a roller to release air bubbles and ensure a watertight fit.
A liquid sealant is non-toxic and bonds to a strong, watertight membrane. Here’s how to use it:
- If your pond liner is of plastic material, sand the area to remove any gloss. This will ensure a strong bond between the sealant and the plastic liner.
- Wipe off dust and debris from the sanded area.
- For a plastic pond liner, coat the surface with a multipurpose primer. For a rubber pond liner, use an EPDM primer instead.
- Apply a liberal amount of sealant using a paintbrush.
- Wait for the product to dry between applications. This takes about four to six hours.
- Brush three to four coatings and let it cure for 72 hours before filling the pond.
The double-sided rubber tape is used to join two liners together and repair pond liner damage. Follow these steps for seaming a pond liner:
- Prepare the pond liner with a generous layer of EPDM primer.
- Run the seam tape along the liner damage.
- Press down on the paper ply to get a good grab.
- Cut a rubber liner to size.
- Peel off the release paper from the seam tape.
- Attach the piece of liner to the tape on a flat surface.
- Use a roller to secure the joint.
Now that you know how to repair pond liner, you’ll be ready to tackle any leaks from your pond. Remember that a good adhesion starts from a clean surface.
You can get the repair supplies mentioned in the article from Amazon or your local hardware store.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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