Pool Safety Covers: All You Need To Know
Swimming pools are great and a constant source of joy, entertainment, and relaxation. Overall a very good investment. However, they can also be a source of pain. As sad as it is to say, children are usually involved in many of the pool accidents that occur. The best way to prevent such accidents is by installing a pool safety cover. Pool safety covers prevent pool access to a time where adult supervision of the pool is available.
Pool covers on sale comply with ASTM F 1346 specifications for weight load. Which means the covers are able to bear the combined weight of two grown adults and a child.
Types of Pool Safety Covers
There are many types of pool covers but there are primarily two types of safety covers.
The Two Basic Types
- Mesh Safety Covers
- Solid Safety Covers
A few others
- Automatic Safety Covers
- Solar Safety Covers
The two basic types can stretch tightly covering the entire surface of the pool. The safety covers are anchored firmly at the sides to the deck of the pool, depends on where the pool is.
Mesh Pool Covers
These covers are made of porous materials – porous enough to let water from rainfall in but not enough for debris. Because of its nature, you can use it all year round. It also makes for easy cleaning when pool season comes. Although lighter than their solid counterparts, they can withstand human weight having passed the ASTM F 1346 specifications for weight load.
Solid Pool Covers
Unlike mesh safety covers, they’re made of vinyl. The vinyl material is not of the porous type and impervious to water, debris, twigs, leaves, sunlight and of course, people. The puddles that will form on these covers after rainfall can constitute a health and safety hazard. If you go for solid pool covers it’ll be imperative of you to dry the puddles. Leaving them to stand will make it a breeding ground for mosquitoes, algae, bacteria, and other harmful microorganisms. Solid covers are generally less easy to maintain, heavier and more expensive than their mesh counterparts.
Automatic Pool Covers
Made of vinyl like the solid pool cover, but it offers the best safety. It is easy to use but requires professional hands to install. Automatic pool covers are easy to deploy when the pool is not in use; with just the push of a button! When you want to use the pool again just hit the same controls and you can get it to roll in on itself. Because it is made of solid materials, nothing whatsoever could get in the pool, ensure you clean and wash the cover regularly.
How Hard is it to Install a Pool Cover?
Before you get down to install your pool cover you have to be aware of the scope of work you are undertaking. Several factors determine the difficulty of installing a safety pool cover.
The Shape Of The Pool
A standard-shaped pool cover – rectangular/square – is the easiest to install. Even the cost of these types of covers is significantly lower than those in more complex shapes. They are sometimes referred to as an off-the-shelf cover. If your pool has more curve radius, walls, and lacks symmetry then installing the safety cover gets a little more difficult. Pools without symmetry are usually referred to as free-form pools.
Presence of Obstructions
These obstructions could be railings, diving boards, ladders, pool slides etc. As long as the structures are not within three feet of the pool edge, installation is fairly easy. On the other hand, if there are more intrusions on the pool deck ( within 24 to 36 inches away from the pool edge) then difficulty increases. The more the obstructions, the more difficult it gets to install the safety cover.
Drilling anchor holes on a pool deck made of concrete – any type of concrete) is way easier than it is on a stone deck. This generally affects the difficulty of installing a safety cover. Permit me to use this time to sound a note of warning though, never use material and tools for installing pool covers on concrete decks on stone decks. Yes, this was practiced some time ago, and maybe still is today, but it’s bad practice. You’ll only ruin your pool deck. Ensure you use the right types of equipment for your pool deck type.
How to Measure Your Pool For A Pool Cover
Before you purchase a pool safety cover, you will be required by the manufacturers to measure your pool. The dimensions you send to them are used to manufacture a pool cover specifically for your pool. For the best results, you need to be accurate in your readings.
Measuring your pool for a pool cover may seem like a complex procedure but it is actually very easy, you will see how.
Take a plain sheet of paper and draw a nice sketch of your pool. Make sure to sketch the exact shape of your pool. Draw a line beneath your sketch. The length of this line should be two-thirds of the length of the sketch of your pool. For instance, if the length of the sketch is 6 inches, the line will be 4 inches in length. Draw this line directly at the Centre but 1 inch below your sketch. Mark one point of this line ‘A’ and the other ‘B’. This line is called the A-B line. Keep note of its length.
Represent the A-B line you drew on paper on the deck of your pool. Use chalk to draw the line approximately 4 ft from your pool’s edge. Use the same dimensions in step one above. If your pool is 60 ft across in length, the A-B line will be 40 feet in length directly at the center of your pool but approximately 4 ft from the edge of your pool. As represented in your sketch, one point is ‘A’, the other ‘B’. Ensure your pool is in front of the A-B line. Remember, all this must be accurate.
With chalk mark numbered points along the edge of your pool on its entire perimeter. The point should be exactly 3 ft from each other in a clockwise fashion – from right to left. The first point which should be Point 1 should be directly in front of the A-B line at the edge of your pool, directly facing the center of the A-B line. Point 2 will be exactly 3 ft from Point 1; Point 3, 3ft from Point 2; Point 4 3 ft from Point 3 and so on.
If you meet sharp curves and angles reduce the intervals to 2 ft or less. Any obstructions such as ladders, rocks, pool slide on the edge of the pool should be a numbered point. However, when assigning a number to the obstructions, do so after you’ve completed all other points along the perimeter of your pool. Let’s say the last point – the point on the right of Point 1 – is Point 43 and there’s a ladder within 3ft from the pool edge, the ladder will become the next numbered point Point 44. Take pictures of these obstructions, include the obstructions on your sketch as well.
With your measuring tape and its 0 calibration secured to point A on the A-B line measure and record the distance between A and Point 1, then the distance between A and Point 2. Repeat until you’ve measured the distance between A and all the points you made on the pool edge. Do the same for B. Secure the 0 calibration of your tape to B then measure the distance between B and every other point. Make sure to record your readings. Don’t make the records on your sketch, do so on a fresh sheet of paper.
After completing the process for Step Six, take four diagonal measurements between random numbered points on the pool edge. For instance, if Point 16 is on the other side of my pool diagonally across from Point 36, I’ll measure the distance and record the readings. Repeat this for any other three randomly selected points and sure to pick points spread along the length of the pool. The reading might be something like this:
Point 16 – Point 36
Point 23 – Point 42
Point 2 – Point 45
Point 20 – Point 56
When you’ve finished measuring, recording and taking pictures of your pool and all the intrusions, send them to your preferred pool cover manufacturer. Also, inform them of the type of cover you want. You may get a free quote. Once you make the payment, you can sit back, relax and wait while the manufacturer makes a custom pool cover for you.
How To Choose The Right Pool Cover
Since pool covers are of various kinds, you can face the problem of choice when you want to make a purchase. You have to take a number of things into consideration like the color you want it to be, the purpose it’ll serve, the climate you live in, the shape and size of your pool and of course manufacturer’s warranty.
Purpose/Functionality of the Cover
The primary purpose of pool covers is to provide the safety that’s why they are usually called “safety pool covers”. However, there may be other reasons you may want to get a pool cover. Take for instance the mesh pool cover, it can guard against accidental drowning. If you live in an area that faces frequent or heavy rainfall a mesh pool cover is also a good choice. If you want to lower the cost you spend on heating, you should go for a solar power cover.
The climate you live in also affects your decision. If you’re going to see a lot of rain and snowfall a solid pool cover may not be the best option. Solid pool covers are impervious meaning during rain and snowfall puddles of water will form on the cover which you can constitute a health and safety hazard for you and your family. In such a case you’ll be better off going for a mesh pool cover.
Shape and Size of Your Pool
The shape and size of your pool will hugely determine the shape and size of its cover. You can’t use a rectangular pool cover for your free-form pool, this is highly unconventional an unpleasant to the eyes. Stick with getting a pool cover that matches your to pool shape. Take measurements, makes sketches and send pictures of your pool to a manufacturer for a custom-made cover. It’s worth every penny.
When purchasing a safety pool cover, purchase only from companies and manufacturers that offer a warranty on their pool covers. Like everything man-made, pool covers can become defective. You want to ensure the manufacturers replaces you cover should it get defective shortly after purchase.
Tips to Properly Installing a Pool Cover
- Ensure your safety pool cover is positioned properly.
- Ensure to straighten out or wrinkles and folds.
- Use the straps to guide you, make sure they are all straight and the cover sits perfectly on the deck covering the entire pool.
- You can use heavy items to hold down the pool cover as you work to arrange all the sides of the pool cover.
- Ensure the cover lace over the pool in perfect position before moving on to drilling anchor holes in the deck.
- If you use blocks to hold the cover down over the pool deck, ensure to place something on the cover before using the block. This keeps the cover from taking damage from the rough surfaces of the blocks.
- When installing anchor holes install them in a succession that counters the anchor that precedes it. For instance, after installing the first anchor, the next anchor will be on the opposite end of the cover. This way you’ll be able to adjust and smooth out the cover, making its surface smooth and free of wrinkles and folds.
- Don’t use anchors for a concrete deck on a paved stone deck. You’ll only ruin the deck.
- Ensure the cover fastenings are not too tight or too loose either.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. Failure to do so can yield undesirable results.
Pool Cover Repairs: Why Choose Experts?
Pool covers do become defective. They generally get holes and tears and for automatic pool covers, become crooked and refuse to move at all.
The easiest way to detect a tear or hole in a pool cover is if you notice a puddle of water on the surface when there’s been no rain. These holes have to be fixed as soon as possible. Negligence can put your family’s health and safety at risk. You can patch these yourself. You have to purchase the patch kit with all his patching materials. These materials can restore the integrity of your pool cover, however, it is best to call the experts if the hole/tear in the cover is larger than 3 inches long or 2 inches in diameter. Attempting these sort of repair can ultimately defeat the purpose for your pool covers.
In cases where your automatic pool cover refuses to move or gets crooked, it is recommended, highly recommended you contact an expert.
A Safety pool covers is a really good investment for your pool. The safety they offer is something you can’t afford to refuse. Purchasing one is not difficult, all that’s required on your part are dimensions of your pool. Installation, however, can be tricky, it only depends on your kind of pool.