Compare the best pond liners materials

What’s the Best Material for Pond Liners? – A Side-by-Side Comparison

Whether you’re constructing a commercial, residential decorative pond or agricultural retention pond, you’re going to need a liner. It’s important to do your research and choose the best pond liners material for the job at hand. We’ve been digging up information on the three popular types of materials for pond liners and have formed a deep retention pond of knowledge on the subject. Take a look at our side-by-side comparison to get a better idea of which pond liners material will work best for your next project.

RPE – Reinforced Polyethylene Pond Liners

RPE pond liners are by far the most durable of all of the materials available. Because these liners are reinforced, they are stronger and more puncture resistant than the two other major types of pond liners. Here are a few facts to consider about RPE liners:

  • RPE liners are half the thickness of EPDM and PVC liners
  • RPE liners are one third the weight of other liners, making it easy to produce larger sheets and liners
  • RPE packs smaller than other liners and is easier to install
  • Because RPE liners are reinforced and stronger they don’t stretch as much as EDPM liners, but can still fold around corners and pond shelves and look good
  • RPE pond liners don’t require underlayment because of their strength and puncture resistance
  • RPE pond liners are considered to be the most durable liners available and last upwards of 40 years
  • Can be welded together with heat
  • RPE liners are fish and plant safe

EPDM – Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer Pond Liners

For many years, EPDM pond liners have been the go-to material in the construction of ponds of varying kinds. With the rise of RPE liners, EPDM has gotten a run for its money. Consider these facts about EPDM pond liners:

  • Made from rubber, EPDM liners are very flexible and fold around corners easily
  • Ponds lined with EPDM require an underlayment due to how soft and flexible the material is
  • Sheets of EPDM liner can’t be welded together with heat, but can be adhered with liner tape
  • EPDM liners can be difficult to ship due to heavy weight concerns
  • EPDM liners are the heaviest of the three liner materials
  • EPDM liners are the least puncture resistant of the three materials
  • EPDM liners are fish and plant safe

PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride Pond Liners

The third popular type of material for pond liners is PVC. PVC liners are generally the least expensive option, but their downsides far outweigh their low cost.

  • PVC liners are heavier than RPE liners, but not quite as heavy as EPDM
  • PVC liners are more puncture resistant than EPDM liners, but not as much as RPE
  • Plasticizers are added to PVC to make the liners more flexible
  • These liners can contain trace amounts of arsenic and other toxins that are lethal to pond fish
  • Plasticizers also can cause cracks or splits in the liners, which threaten wildlife
  • PVC liners are inexpensive and easy to use, but not desirable for cold climates
  • PVC pond liners have a lack of UV stability meaning direct sunlight can have negative effects
  • PVC liners can be seamed together using liner tapes or heat for larger areas

Looking at all three pond liner materials side-by-side, it’s clear to see that RPE is the best choice for all types of ponds and liner projects. The strength and puncture resistance of RPE combined with the light weight, ease of installation and ability to sheet large panels, all add up to the highest quality pond liner material on the market.

BTL proudly sells RPE pond liners for a variety of projects, custom cut to your specifications. Contact us for more information about RPE pond liners today.

15 responses to “What’s the Best Material for Pond Liners? – A Side-by-Side Comparison

  1. I would like to know if this comes in rolls? If it does what are the dimensions? I would like to line a water pit approximately 250 Ft x 150 Ft and 16 Ft Deep.
    Can you e-mail me costs for material required and what is used to fused this material together.

  2. Thanks, Jerry. I’ve gotten back to you by email. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you. – BTL Liners

  3. We have a pond and it has a liner and it’s pretty old. I think we’ve had a few small holes that we had to patch up over the years. I didn’t know that you could weld these things together though, at least the ones that are weldable. I guess that makes sense if you had a big pond, but mine’s pretty small, so I probably would have to worry about that. Thanks for the info and comparisons.

  4. Is there a good way (a super good flange system?) to have a drain pipe rise through the liner at the lowest point in the pond or will it always be prone to leaking and failure ?

  5. Truly appreciate the write up. I am a small scale farmer with an acre dedicated to cat fish production. How best can I get this product in my country Nigeria

  6. I’m thinking about using an RPE liner for the liquid seal on a concrete septic tank I’m designing. What do you think about digging a hole for the concrete tank, laying the RPE sheet out in the hole, placing the tank on the RPE sheet in the hole, folding/working the sheet all the way up to the top of the tank, and on up the riser pipes used for periodic pumping? Would the sheet need to have sand backfill to guard against rock puncture protection? Could this installation be done without any seams? Are the earth pressures going to be too much for the RPE to withstand, especially where it’s folded? Will it be difficult to seal any pipe penetrations?

    Thanks
    Jay

  7. James,

    Thank you for your inquiry here. What you have described is certainly doable. We can make single panels very large, so likely there would be no issue with seams. We wrap many very large underground systems, so this is nothing that can’t be done. We usually recommend an 8oz non woven geotextile underneath the liner first and the liner on top of that. For pipe penetration on underground systems our tape-on boot kits are used if you do not have the ability to weld the liner. Please feel free to reach me direct at my email or phone number below and we can further discuss the folding and materials to back fill. I can also then send you some attachments with cross view and photos.

    Thank you,

    Jared Santoro
    GM/VP
    BTL Liners, Inc.
    jared@btlliners.com
    541-447-0712

  8. I am researching a product to install over the top of an existing underground parking garage for a condo building. Built in 1965, the concrete roof of this garage (also the bottom of the courtyard lawn above) has been leaking ever since. A structural engineer we contacted suggested that we should remove the 6 to 8 inches of soil, install a waterproof membrane, and replace the soil. Two products have been explored so far, a bentonite sheet product (very heavy and maybe not available, but simple to install), and reinforced polyethylene.

    Can you give me a general idea of the availability, applicability difficulty of installation and cost for this product to Missoula, MT. We are looking at a horizontal surface of 60′ x 120′, plus about 8 inches or so overlap on all 4 sides (up the side of the building on one long and one short side, and over the edge on the other long and short side.

    Any information that you can provide would be helpful.

  9. Are all the pond liners that you sell RPE, when I was looking through your shopping portion of your page I didn’t notice where it said it was or was not our RPE, I will be using the material timeline my Deepwater culture aquaponic beds, and I could use a little help in determining what grade will be best suited for my niece thank you and advance.
    Michael T.Edwards

  10. Michael,
    Thank you for your inquiry! I have responded via email.

    Julie Hughes
    Sales/Marketing
    BTL Sales, Inc.

  11. Do I need to put a underlayment down first when using RPE? Making a waterfall then into a creek and then into a pond approx 16 x 40.

  12. Interesting information. I have a decorative pond which is a round preformed ‘tub’ about 3-4′ deep and approx 4′ in diameter. It has degraded over the years, forming a large vertical crack on one side which is too large to fill so the pond no longer retains water. The RPE material sounds like a viable solution. I would like to line the existing ‘tub’ to avoid removal and reconstruction. This pond has no fish but is a haven for frogs.

    I welcome your feedback re material, pricing, and any other helpful info.

    Thanks

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