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Thread: Black Plastic for Winter Pool Cover

  1. #1
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    Black Plastic for Winter Pool Cover

    Starting with a suggestion from a friend I have used black plastic with double water tubes as a winter pool cover for somewhere around 12-14 years. I started out using store bought pool covers but by year 2 they were shot. A 24'X100' roll gets me through 2 seasons and leaves enough for various home projects. I learned real quick to use only once. Not the "greenest" thing to do. I hope the trash collectors recycle it but the smell may be more than they care for. When I searched on using black plastic I didn't find any other entries. Is there something I'm missing or should I be embarassed to even bring this up. What I want to know is what thickness do others use, typically 4 mil or 6 mil?
    18X36 IG vinyl 22100 gal. 1.0 HP Hayward Pump w/300# Hayward sand filter.

  2. #2
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Black Plastic for Winter Pool Cover

    For your sized pool it may work out great. You are the first I've read here of anybody using it.

    At first glance that seemed like a good idea. So I did some searching and for my 24' pool I'd need at least 30' wide sheeting. I found some 32'x100' 6mil sheeting for $250. If I can get 3 pieces from it then it'd cost me about $84. I can find 24' winter covers online for less than that and they include the cable and winch. And I probably can get more than one year out of them. It really doesn't make economic sense for my sized pool. The lesser widths get real cheap so it'd make more sense if you could use them.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  3. #3
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    Re: Black Plastic for Winter Pool Cover

    I wonder why your covers die so fast. Are you using water tubes? I have the exact same size pool and my cover is going into its sixth season and still looks pretty good, plus it has water-tube loops and grommets which are useful. This cover has a 10-year pro rata guarantee and costs $184 on-line right now. So I am at slightly over $30 per season and that will probably go to $20 if I get the full ten years. I would be hard to convince that this is a good idea for my pool. What does that roll cost?
    Current: 28,000G 18'x36' I/G AnthonySylvan Plaster; Waterway 60 sq.ft. DE Filter; 1.0hp x 1.65 SF Two-Speed (B2982) WhisperFlo; 2004-Present
    Previous: 40,000G 20'x40' I/G Koven unlined WWII salvage 5/8" marine steel; Lomart Stainless Sand Filter; 3/4hp Hayward SuperPump; 1946-2003 (managed by me from about 1964)
    Ancient Taylor K-2000, upgraded with Taylor CH, TA, and FAS-DPD, and TFT CYA tests.

  4. #4
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    Re: Black Plastic for Winter Pool Cover

    You brought up an interesting thought. 12-14 years ago I could get a 24X100' roll for about $40 and it seems like the basic woven mesh covers were going for about $80-$100. For whatever reason the covers I got would be leaking by the end of the season and by the end of year 2 I spent forever trying to get the water off the cover so I could remove it. Also the water seemed to have been "migrating" back and forth through the cover and it was not a pretty sight. With the black plastic I pump off the rainwater and pull off the plastic to a blue pool except for the worms that make their way under the cover which they do with whichever cover I use. Since then I really haven't done a price comparison but plastic has gone up to where 24X100' 6 mil is ~$110 and 4 mil I have found for ~$85. Looks like I can get a 10yr cover for about $190 which if it would last for 5 years or more then it would be worth doing. The other side is trying to clean, dry, and store the cover. I think for simplicity and dealing with the uncertainty of an aging cover I'll stick with my black plastic rolls. I will admit that it does appear to be more economical to go with a good cover. I'm sure it looks better too!

    One other thing is that the plastic is usually in good shape and with a little garden hosing and care I'm certain it could be used for another year. With the rain, leaves and spring weather in TN it usually has a "distinct" smell about it which leads to not keeping it around. Perhaps this year I'll try to keep it cleaned off and reusable. That would make the economics better.

    Thanks for pointing this out.
    18X36 IG vinyl 22100 gal. 1.0 HP Hayward Pump w/300# Hayward sand filter.

  5. #5
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    Re: Black Plastic for Winter Pool Cover

    Forgive my ignorance as I know nothing about mesh covers. But don't they leak by definition and isn't the 'migrating' what they do? I have only used solid covers, the flexible kind, not the safety covers.

    To clean my cover, I just stake it with tent stakes and bungee cords on the lawn (which slopes) and hit it with the gentlest nozzle on the pressure washer and some car wash concentrate. Rinse, let it dry in the sun, and sail fold. We have plenty of rain and leaves here too, but I have never had a smell issue. But I use a leaf net and cover pump and the top of the cover is dry and clean in the spring.
    Current: 28,000G 18'x36' I/G AnthonySylvan Plaster; Waterway 60 sq.ft. DE Filter; 1.0hp x 1.65 SF Two-Speed (B2982) WhisperFlo; 2004-Present
    Previous: 40,000G 20'x40' I/G Koven unlined WWII salvage 5/8" marine steel; Lomart Stainless Sand Filter; 3/4hp Hayward SuperPump; 1946-2003 (managed by me from about 1964)
    Ancient Taylor K-2000, upgraded with Taylor CH, TA, and FAS-DPD, and TFT CYA tests.

  6. #6
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    Re: Black Plastic for Winter Pool Cover

    The covers I bought locally may not have been (and probably weren't) a very good quality. The smell is due to the stagnant water with all the leaves. I do use a cover pump but I give up on all the leaves and so the water doesn't get all removed when spring rains comes around. Then the warm days of spring gets it all to "cooking". I have thought about trying to keep the leaves off which wouldn't be a bad idea since that would help getting the cover off. I'll look into that. Thanks for the comments.

    Here's an economic update. My local farmer's coop has the 24X100 4 mil plastic for $56 +tax and 6 mil for $83 +tax. Going with the 4 mil for a disposable cover I get 2 pieces which is ~$30/yr. Looks like a solid pool cover would run about $180-$200 w/S&H. That puts the break even at about 6-7 years for the pool cover. Looks even except as I said earlier I don't have to worry if the cover will make it through the winter.

    With all that said, although the aesthetics aren't as good, I'll be going with the convenience, reliability, and potential economic factor. With emphasis on the convienience.

    Thanks for the discussions
    Sam
    18X36 IG vinyl 22100 gal. 1.0 HP Hayward Pump w/300# Hayward sand filter.

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