Common Problems with Geomembranes

With proper material and thickness selection, geomembranes should install smoothly with few issues. Routine maintenance also reduces the likelihood of any issues popping up through years of use. However, there are a handful of problems common to geomembranes with time-tested solutions to quickly solve them.


Geomembranes can be punctured by everything from curious birds pecking at the material to errant sharp rocks left scattered across the soil surface if a low-quality product is selected. Small holes may cause leaks so small they’re hard to find, so smoothing the ground as much as possible pays off in the long run. Keep machinery off the of the liner whenever possible, ensure employees aren’t wearing cleats or mud spikes, and avoid dragging materials over each other to reduce the chances of punctures.


Tears happen when too much stress presses against a specific part of the liner, leading it to deform until it simply can’t hold all the weight anymore. LDPE is one of the most tear resistant materials available for liner use, so considering using a product like BTL Liner’s ArmorPro that is both flexible and long lasting.

UV Degradation

Exposed geomembranes are susceptible to eventual UV degradation that causes the material to lose its flexibility and crack and tear under pressure. Even when the material offers high UV resistance and additional protective coatings or additives, sun exposure eventually leads to damage. If you can’t add a coating, cover, or ballast that blocks the sun’s harmless rays, plan to replace the material at least once every few decades.

Temperature Damage

Most geomembranes can handle relatively high temperatures well, but the same is not always true for freezing temperatures. HDPE in particular is prone to damage while stiff from being frozen or after years of regular freeze and thaw cycles due to the semi-crystalline structure of the polymer. Look for combination geomembranes that pair it with another more flexible material like LDPE to ensure that cracks don’t form in liners installed in areas with cold winters.

Chemical Leaching

If you notice your pond is losing fish or plants at a rapid rate, you may have a problem with toxic chemicals leaching out of the liner and into the water. This is frustrating enough for a backyard hobbyist, but professional farms can lose millions of dollars in potential earnings by using the wrong liners. Double-check that all materials you install in your ponds are both fish and plant safe according to NSF guidelines so there’s no chance of anything unexpected leaching out.

With this guide, you should know where to start and what to look for regardless of your plans for geomembranes. From simple retaining ponds to complex wastewater treatment plants, geomembranes play valuable roles across dozens of industries. Explore your options for putting some of the many products from BTL Liners to good use, including our liners, tarps, and covers designed with every application in mind. If you can’t find the perfect product on our website,

Liners by BTL

AquaArmor Pond Liner

The most versatile liner on the market today, AquaArmor maximizes protection from harmful UV rays, tear resistance and punctures that cause leaks. Simply the best liner on the market.

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