Cheap Pond Liner Alternatives {Best Liner Materials}

Do you want to get a pond liner for your new pond without breaking the bank?

Replace an existing one with cheap pond liner alternatives. Let help break them down for you in detail.

This guide helps you to figure out affordable pond liner alternatives and how to use them.

Cheap Pond Liner Alternatives

Some cheap pond liner alternatives you can use include:

  • waterbed liners
  • PVC liners
  • clay and lime
  • polypropylene pond liner
  • bentonite sealing
  • tarpaulin or vinyl tarp
  • polyethylene pond liner

I will explain each one and much more to give you the best options for your pond liner consideration.

What Can I Use Instead of a Pond Liner?

It is common for people to seek alternatives to pond liners due to several reasons. One of the primary reasons is that pond liners are expensive and hard to repair. Some of the notable materials you can use in place of a pond liner include;

  1. Waterbed liners
  2. PVC liners
  3. Clay and lime
  4. Polypropylene pond liner
  5. Tarpaulin or vinyl tarp
  6. Polyethylene pond liner
  7. Bentonite sealing

1. Waterbed Liners

These waterbed liners are similar to traditional pond liners. In fact, some pond owners argue that this material is stronger and more durable. But it is not the cheapest alternative.

Nevertheless, there is still a notable difference in the price of this material and the traditional pond liners. It will also offer more holding strength and durability to your pond.

2. PVC Liners

If you are familiar with swimming pool liners, then you should know much about PVC liners. It is a standard pool liner, but it is also helpful for ponds.

One of the most notable features of PVC liners is their high puncture strength. So, you can be confident that your liner will not suffer an untimely puncture.

Also, this material offers excellent abrasion resistance. You won’t have to worry about frequent repair of your liner due to abrasion from pond stones. This feature, chemical resistance, and puncture strength make it one of the best alternatives for traditional pond liners.

3. Clay and Lime Cover

Clay and lime cover is another valuable alternative for traditional pond liners. First off, it has excellent water-retaining properties. Another reason for its use is that it forms an almost impenetrable lime concrete.

This material does not allow water to pass, and it is pretty durable. All you need to do is use a layer of quick lime beneath the clay layer. Use a suitable method to keep them compact.

4. Polyethylene Pond Liner

This alternative to the traditional pond liner is the cheapest option available. One of the notable features of this material is that it ultimately holds water. Also, it is pretty easy to use and replace.

But it is crucial to pay attention to the flexible nature of polypropylene. Its lightweight and thinness make it challenging to work. It also makes it vulnerable to puncture and makes it hard to repair. This material can also cause problems for your fish during hot weather because of its inability to retain heat.

Nevertheless, you can beat this hassle by a reasonable margin when you use high-density polythene. HDPE is cheaper and can offer a similar performance as the traditional pond liner.

5. Tarpaulin or vinyl tarp

Tarpaulin or vinyl tarp is known as a tarp for short. This material has an underlayer of polyesters or canvas and a polyethylene coating. The polyethylene layer of the material strengthens its waterproof properties. At the same time, polyester or canvas gives it strength.

The combination of these features makes it a suitable alternative for traditional pond liners. It comes in good quality and in various sizes. So, you don’t have to worry about a size that will fit your pond.

6. Polypropylene pond liner

If you want a durable and robust alternative for the traditional pond liner, consider using polypropylene. It has a higher strength than EPDM, but it also comes at a higher cost. So, it is one of the most preferred options for commercial pond owners.

The major limitation of this material is its rigidity. Polypropylene is not as flexible as other materials, and you would need the service of an expert to install it.

7. Bentonite Sealing

Bentonite sealing is another impressive option when it comes to suitable alternatives for pond liners. It is notable for its use in fixing pool leaks. This option is cheap and relatively easy to use.

There are various methods of using bentonite sealing in place of pond liners. Ensure to use the most suitable option for you. Also, don’t forget that bentonite clay swells when you add water to it.

YouTube video

How Do You Seal A Pond Without A Liner?

Sealing a pond without a liner is easy and possible. The primary reason for using liners is to simplify the construction. But without the liners, sealing ponds require careful design and proper site consideration. You can seal a pond without liner by;

  • Choosing the right soil composition
  • Dig the pond to a suitable depth
  • Use soil additives.

Before you proceed with your pond construction, please find out the soil composition and ensure it is suitable. It is best to use soil with at least 10% clay composition. This soil consideration will fill the void in the absence of liners.

Also, digging the pond is another vital consideration when sealing a pond without a liner. Eliminate all vegetation and dig appropriately. The depth of the pond should be around 10 feet and 30 inches. This measurement will further mitigate the effect of not using a liner.

Consider using soil additives like bentonite to create an impermeable layer in the pace of liners. This additive can be in use at about 10 to 30 pounds per yard.

How Do You Line A Pond Cheaply?

The best way to line a pond liner cheaply is by using an alternative to the traditional pond liner. Two of the best ways to line a pond cheaply is by using:

1. Polyethylene pond liner

This material:

  • does not cost much
  • does not require expensive professional services.
  • fully retains water
  • is easy to change

Another way to line ponds cheaply is by using:

2. PVC liners

The material is:

  • incredibly durable
  • offers a high value for money in the long run
  • doesn’t break easily

Other suitable options for lining a pond cheaply include:

  • lime and clay
  • bentonite sealing
  • polypropylene
  • tarp

These materials are cheaper alternatives to traditional pond liners in many ways. The cost of installation is within a reasonable range as well.

Can I Use Tarp as A Pond Liner?

Yes. Tarp is one of the valuable lining alternatives for the traditional pond liner. This material, also known as tarpaulin or vinyl tarp, has an excellent waterproof capacity. This tent material is strong and does not puncture easily.

Tarp uses two types of materials. It uses an underlayer of polyester or canvas coated with polyethylene. The polyester or canvas materials make it strong, while the polyethylene materials help with its water-holding ability.

Tarpaulin or vinyl tarp has enormous strength. It also adds color to your ponds because it comes in various colors and sizes. Aside from all these features, a tarp is also a cheaper alternative compared to traditional pond liners.

What Thickness of Pond Liner Is Best?

Pond liner and its alternatives vary in thickness, depending on the material in question. But there is a level of thickness best for every pond regardless of the type of liner in use.

  • The best pond liner thickness should be approximately 0.75mm or 30 mils.
  • Materials thinner than 0.75 mm or 0.3 mils might be too fragile for a pond.

They can tear from the impact of inground debris, even during installation. You might consider reinforcing the material you are using to enhance its thickness.

What Kind of Sand Do You Use to Line A Pond?

Installing sand to line your pond is a good idea. But not all types of sands are suitable for this purpose. Create an underlay for the pond with builders’ sand. The sand can be in a layer of 1.2 inches.

Ensure that you remove sharp stones, lumps, and debris. This action is to enhance the safety of fish and materials that you might use for lining.

  • Clay and lime particles are also common sand materials that are suitable for lining the pond.

They have excellent water-retaining properties, and they are cheaper than most other liners.

Can I Put A New Pond Liner Over an Old One?

Yes. You might not have to take out the entire old liner before installing a new one. You can put the new liner over the old one. But before placing a new liner over an old one, it is best to make some due considerations.

  1. If the reason for replacing the old liner is a puncture, you might have to remove the old one. This removal will help you to discover the reason for the punch and make amends.
  2. You might need to remove the old liner if you want to add a protective underlayment.

Note: You will also have to remove everything within the pond if you want to remove an old liner before putting in a new one. So, it is best to weigh your options after due consideration.

How Long Does PVC Pond Liner Last?

Interestingly, a good PVC pond liner can last for up to 20 years without any special maintenance. But you can still improve the durability by using protective underlayment.

Removing lumps, rocks, debris, and other sharp materials before placing your liners will help as well.

What Is the Best Pond Liner Underlay?

High-density polyethylene, also called reinforced polyethylene, is arguably the best pond liner underlay. This material does not weigh much but offers better puncture resistance compared to most other protective materials. It works well with most flexible liners, easy to use, and less expensive.

Other materials functional as protective liner underlay include carpets and the builder’s sand. Using materials like newspapers or wood is not suitable because they can quickly deteriorate in a short while.

How Do You Get Wrinkles Out of a Pond Liner?

Getting wrinkles out of the pond only requires careful filling and little other actions and techniques. All you need to do is:

  • Fill the pond with water slowly
  • Push the wrinkles on the liners gently towards the wall as the water moves across the surface.

The weight of the water covering the surface of the liner will stop the wrinkles from returning. Avoid filling the pond too fast to let you get rid of the wrinkles as much as possible. You might consider getting help from someone else if you have a large pond.

Con can also consolidate the wrinkles pushed to the side walls to make them less noticeable. But note that you might not be able to remove the wrinkles in liners entirely. Just try to make it smooth as much as possible.

Best Pond Liner Material

1. Flexible Liners

The size and shape of the pond are determined by the size and shape of the preformed pond liner since it is composed of a harder material and is already shaped.


Flexible pond liners are frequently made of a synthetic rubber called ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM).

3. PVC

One of the less expensive materials used to make pond liners is polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which has both benefits and drawbacks. When exposed to direct sunlight or freezing temperatures, it is prone to cracking.


The finest materials for pond liners include high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and reinforced polyethylene (RPE), both of which are exceptionally strong and puncture-resistant.

Top 6 Best Pond Liners

  1. Aquascape 85009 EPDM Rubber Liner for Pond
  2. Growneer HDPE Pond Liner
  3. Beckett Corporation PL810 Pond Liner
  4. MacCourt Madeira 100 Gal. Preformed Pond Liner
  5. MacCourt 260-Gallon Polyethylene Pond Liner
  6. Firestone W56PL451015 EPDM Rubber Pond Liner


Pond liners are crucial for setting up a standard pond. But the cost of traditional pond liners raises the need to seek cheaper alternatives.

Most ideal options are easy to use, durable, and are less expensive. Also, they have excellent resistance to punctures and have suitable water-retaining properties.


Thanks for visiting for this article. Check out our home page and search bar with hundreds of  articles to choose from. Bye for now!

John Brandon

John has kept fish all his life (since he was about 5). He started with keeping guppies and fell in love with fish keeping almost straight away. That was 40 odd years ago. These days John still keeps fish and currently has two large tanks where he keeps many different types of fish such as Angelfish, Neon Tetras, Goldfish, Guppies and many more.