Advice requested on pool covers

KateOnlineOctober 28, 2011

Our newly built pool now needs a pool cover since winter is on its way here in the Midwest. We are realizing our pool is about the worst case scenario for installing a pool cover.

There is a ~3 foot raised beam around about half of the pool and the bond beam is tiled.

The pool builder is concerned about cracking the tiles drilling in anchors into the bond beam (which is gunite and integral with the pool). We've talked about having the cover come up over the bond beam, but I'm concerned about whether that will cause premature failure of the pool cover.

We also have the added complexity of a pool deck which is dry laid travertine pavers (i.e. nothing sold to drill anchors into).

The spa is similarly situated (adjacent to paver deck and raised above the deck and pool about half way around).

We are considering draining the spa during the winter to avoid having to cover it. The spa is attached completely to the pool (shares bond beam wall).

Any advice is appreciated.

Is a non-attached cover of some sort recommended since we have all kinds of cover attachment challenges? (floating cover?)

If we do attach a cover, what is the best way to attach the cover given our situation?

What issues might we have with leaving the spa drained and uncovered during the winter? Is that a viable option or a bad idea?

Thanks as always for the advice!

I've put pictures below.

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I've gotta say: your pool is really pretty...

I'm interested in the same information since I'm going to end up putting myself into exactly the same situation. Substitute a geometric pool and a shorter beam made out of stacked stone and you'll have mine. I can anchor in the stacked stone, but having the dry laid travertine on the other side isn't too helpful.

I'm going to heat my pool too. I think at least during the 'heating season', I'm going to end up with solar cover pieces floating on it.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 9:06PM
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Piece of cake. I do encourage the use of a mesh cover to keep weight at a minimum. The weight concern, IMHO, would eliminate using a Merlin Smart Mesh as these covers are both heavy and have almost no stretchiness like a Loop Loc or Meyco brand cover. I'm not knocking the Merlin Smart Mesh. Its a fine cover but in this application, it isn't appropriate. I think Performance Covers has a similar model, I think it's the ProMesh grade and would be equally unsuitable.

Put an automatic step pump on the deep end swimout's 1st step. I like the Rule 1800. The latest edition has improved water tightness, a low profile. and a 3 year warranty. This will keep the water level off the tile reliably. Please run the discharge end of the hose away from the house, walk ways, driveways, and down hill, away from the pool.

The wall is too high for an "up and over" the wall cover. You would not have a warranty and a healthy snow load would prove problematic. Most quality manufacturers want there to be no more than 18" from the water line to the bottom of the cover.

There is a solution, as long as the manufacturer can make it so there are no opposed snap hooks on strap lines. There must be a full sized spring on the other side opposite a snap hook to meet the ASTMI/ANSI standard for a "safety cover".

Tile wall:
Home Depot carries 1/2" tile and glass drill bits. Drill between tiles to form the initial cut into the tile edges. I would likely put them at the bottom of each of the blue accent tiles to keep them even and uniform looking. Then a 3/8" bit light hammer drill 2.5" into the gunite. Set the anchor, attach the removable eye bolt (but here I suggest they be left in), run the stainless cable, and attach the cover. As long as the tech has done raised surfaces before, this will be about as easy for him as it gets with wall anchors. The cable should be at least 3/16" thick but 1/4" is preferred and MUST be stainless.

Dry laid Travertine deck:
Core drilling 1" holes in the correct locations, then hammer drill a 3/4" hole inside the 1" through about 10 to 12 inches into the base material under the Travertine tiles. The cover manufacturers make a 15" aluminum pipes that hold an anchor and that is hammered into the 1" hole. I like to add a 2' long piece of #5 rebar for extra bite but it isn't required. Still a good idea, none the less.

Use masonry collars. They will protect the deck from the steel installation and removal tool/pipe and look neater, effectively hiding the edge of the hole. They tarnish to a deep brown but won't corrode or stain the decking.

If the curve of the wall prevents the placement of a spring being opposite a snap hook end, i.e. two snap hooks that are directly opposed, the manufacturer would label this as non-safe because it doesn't meet the ASTMI/ANSI standards for design requirements. That doesn't mean it wont hold a snow load or a person or last a long time!

The use of two turn buckles on the cable ends, instead of the customary single, is suggested to provide the cable slack for initial connections and for tensioning later.

Feel free to PM me if your builder's or the installers want to discuss these projects.

These covers won't be cheap. The raised wall treatments, for example, from Loop Loc (I am a L/L dealer but the plug is not meant as such) are about $100 per linear foot of raised wall extra. The pipes for the deck anchor are an extra $15 and the core drill rental and extra bits will run another couple hundred. All told, it winds up adding up. I would expect Kate's pool to run about $6500 and barba's about $5000.

They will keep accidents from happening, the number one reason for installing these covers. The neat appearance and durability, when compared to a tarp cover with water bags and the way leaves blow off are secondary but important bonuses.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 7:40AM
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Kate, I am lowering my estimate by about a $1000. Your pool is smaller than I thought.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 2:08PM
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