This blog post offers; insights, advice, and information to help you with a safety cover installation. You will learn how to position and install a cover, but also get a feel for cost, design, and safety.
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Owner, Installer, Blogger, of MGK Pool Service
Michael Kern (me), seen here on the left after a successful installation of a mesh safety cover, on a free form gunite swimming pool in Middleton MA.
A Safety Cover – Not A Convenience Cover Option
Mesh and solid safety covers are for safety, and keeping the pool protected during the off season (during the winter). They’re not terribly difficult to put on and take off by two people. Generally taking 15 minutes to a half hour by people who have done it before. And while safe, they are hardly considered easy and convenient.
If your inground swimming pool can be accessed directly from your back door, and you are looking for safety options that bar access, but then quickly grant you access to the pool, you want something like an automatic powered pool cover (not a winter cover), or you may choose a removable perimeter fence with gate.
You may also consider installing an alarm on the back door, one that goes off anytime the door is opened.
Safety Cover Design Advice
There are not a lot of options when it comes to design. You can pick from four or five colors, with the standard and most popular color being green. You can choose whether or not to have protective padding sewed onto your cover to protect it from raised coping or pointy corners, versus laying your own padding (indoor/outdoor carpet) over these areas. And lastly, you can choose to install either a cable system along rock walls, or just go up and over these areas.
Not much to talk about here. It cost an extra hundred to go with a designer color. Most manufacturers make covers available in Blue, Green, Biege/Tan, and Black.
I don’t like the sewn in padding available from safety cover manufacturers. It makes folding and storing very hard, even positioning and installing the cover very challenging. The extra cost is $20.00 – $40.00 per foot. I prefer to cut old carpet into strips and lay it over rough areas before installing the cover each year.
Cable Versus Up and Over type installations
Cable systems fail in three critical ways when compared to up and over.
- The eyelets the cable runs through pull out, bend or break.
- The sewn into the cover, non-replaceable clips that attach the cover to the cable, bend or break.
- Cable systems tend to let a lot of debris get into the pool.
I prefer to make the cover longer, pad the area, and extend the cover up and over the rock wall, spa, or waterfall when I can.
Measuring Your Pool To Order New Cover
For rectangle pools and other standard shapes, just measure the width and length, from pool wall to pool wall. If you have stairs that extend past your pool wall measurement, measure them too.
If your pool is a kidney, lagoon, or other free form design, you have to take A/B measurements.
A/B Measuring Instructions
Before you can A/B measure a pool you have to get set up. You have to number points around your pool in chalk. Then you have to establish an A/B Line. First, make marks and write numbers next to them, all around the pool, every 2 feet or so, closer together around tight corners.
An A/B line has just two points, both points are at least 4 feet from the edge of the pool, they should be as far apart from each other as 2/3 the length of the pool. Place a spike in the ground near the shallow end (point A), the walk the length of the pool and place another spike near the end of the deep end (point B). Again, keep both points at least 4 feet from the pool edge.
Now that you are set up, measure the actual distance from point A to point B, and record it. Measure everything in feet and inches.
Now measure all the numbers around the pool from point A. Always round up to the next inch. And measure to the inside of the coping or pool wall. Then take the same measurements from point B.
Lastly, Measure 4 cross points, record the longest points and the widest points and two others. Record all these measurements using the numbers your wrote in chalk.
Safety Cover Installation Instructions
I don’t want to go over the same old installation instructions that are all over the web. I will provide you a link to written instructions, and also provide video below, then discuss some tips and tricks, and help you plan accordingly if you have anything other than a cement deck.
One popular type of deck not covered so far is stamped concrete. We have come up with a home made tool to limit the amount of chipping when drilling to install brass anchors. We took a board 4 feet long, 6 inches wide, and 3/4 inches thick, and attached a piece of rubber on one side. Then we drilled a 3/4 inch hole through it.
Once you mark your anchor location with some chalk, place board over it with the rubber facing down, then stand on the board and place rotary drill through hole. We have also found it better to use an older bit when drilling stamped concrete.
No matter what you do with stamped concrete you will get some chipping around the anchor. Be sure to include brass trim rings on all estimates with stamped concrete decks.
Installing Safety Covers On Above Ground Pools
First off, you have to have a deck all the way around your above ground pool. Pools like Wilkes/Gibraltar are a natural. Otherwise you will need to build a custom deck all the way around.
Without a deck, there is no such thing as a safety cover for above ground pools.
Installation Cost and Tools
We charge between $150.00 and $600.00 depending on deck type, pool size, amount of drilling and raised wall sections.
We sell 3/4 installation masonry drill bits that are about two feet long for $84.00. we use a new one on almost every installation.
Though your new cover comes with the following parts, If you need replacement parts for your installation, the prices are as follows: