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Thread: New Pool Build - Auto Cover Question - Homeowner Builder...

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    New Pool Build - Auto Cover Question - Homeowner Builder...

    Hi there,

    First posting, so not sure if this is the proper location for the questions...

    Looking to build a pool in my house, it will be the our first pool and my first pool build... I've done some construction before and I'm relatively handy...

    Decided to build the pool myself to save on cost and hopefully enjoy the experience of creating something, though I will mostly use sub-contractors.

    I'm going to build a 20'x40' pool, depth of 4' at ends and 5' in middle. We were going to do a Spa with spill-over and interesting steps into the pool, but now I'm thinking about an Automatic Pool Cover for the pool, do will have to change the plan to simple rectangular pool that will have a square spa inside the pool...

    A few questions:

    1- Is it worth changing the pool just for the automatic pool cover? My thought is that avoiding the fencing, door alarms, etc. saving on water evaporation, heating, etc. is worth the added expense of the pool cover and changing the pool design to simple design. What are your thoughts?

    2- The Automatic Pool Cover I'd like to use is the concealed type with the under the coping tracks. I understand that the bond beam on the Cover Mechanism side needs to be 2" lower than the top of the rest of the bond beams. If I place a spa inside the pool, what would you set the height of the spa walls? I understand that I wouldn't be able to have a real spillover, but how would you set up the elevations for this so the spa and cover will both be functional and look good? Also, what would you set the skimmer elevation at?

    3- My plan is to place the Spa on the same side as the Cover Concealment Bay, would that be an issue for using the spa from a convenience or functionality? Would I be leaning against the leading edge tube? Any input on this would be greatly appreciated...

    4- Has anyone here installed their own Automatic Pool Cover? What brand did you use? Did you have an issue buying the kit? Was it difficult to install? Am I being overly ambitious or crazy thinking I can install it myself?

    5- Any advice from professional installers would also be greatly appreciated. It seems that the popular 3-4 different companies all use the same type of tracks and same dimensions for the motor bay; any particular company is superior to another or is it simply a cost/preference call?

    Any input would be appreciated and Best wishes.

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    In the Industry

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: New Pool Build - Auto Cover Question - Homeowner Builder

    ybz personally I wouldn't have the spa tied to the pool. I would do a stand alone spa, that is just me. The auto covers are all basically the same. If you are doing a salt pool get a stainless steel mechanism not an aluminum. Coverstar makes an the eclipse system that is stainless and is a nice setup. Auqamatic only has an aluminum system I think. To do an underguide system is pretty tricky, you must have the tracks and trough square with the pool.
    Over 30 years in the pool business
    We build vinyl, fiberglass, stainless steel pools
    Certified in Hydraulics

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    bmoreswim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Central MD

    Re: New Pool Build - Auto Cover Question - Homeowner Builder

    1) We designed our pool around our autocover so I'd say it's perfectly reasonable to consider "changing" your design to work better with a cover. We love ours but don't ever expect to earn the cost of it back monetarily(unless it saves us from being sued from someone accidentally drowning in our pool while we are not home). You will have maintenance occasionally and a replacement cover at some point too. They will save you yearly on some things but the up front cost is so much that it will tilt the equation the other way. You need to want it for the intangibles as much as the ease of maintenance, in my mind, to make it worthwhile.

    2) Our lowered bond beam is angled. The high part is 2" below the top of the 6" waterline tile. The low part is 1 1/2" lower than that. We generally keep the water at or below the lower edge of the dam wall. If you did an in-pool spa, I would recommend having the spa height at the high point of the dam wall. This would give you some natural water exchange but not an excessive amount. I would also definitely have the top of the spa wall have large radius curved edges (I've seen this with 1x1 tiles and it looks great). This will greatly ease the wear on the cover pulling across the edges.

    3) Seems to me like it would work best to have the spa in the non cover pit end. Much more of the cover needs to pull over the spa each time if is in located adjacent to the cover pit. You would not be leaning on the leading edge tube if it were on the cover pit end. On ours there is about 8" of the 12 inch dam wall exposed when the cover is retracted. You can view our build thread from my signature to see the pictures.

    4) I saw them put ours in. Yes, I'd say you are being overly ambitious thinking that you can/should reasonably do it. I'm fairly handy but there are two aspects to it. Installing the track below the coping and the the mechanism/cover installation. I know my limits and for detailed stuff like that, they get more constrained as I get older/wiser.

    5) Our builder is an engineer by training and he overanalyzes lots of things (which is mostly good). When he did his evaluation of the covers to decide which one he was comfortable selling (i.e. which one was the best), he felt that Coverstar was the best when combined with the local Coverstar personnel. It has to be a combination of both was his feeling.

    I remember seeing one thread within the last year on here where a DIY person put in a pool and picked up a cover secondhand and installed it themselves (IIRC). I'd try to track them down if you want to pursue your own installation.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking | Merlin SmartMesh winter safety cover
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

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    Re: New Pool Build - Auto Cover Question - Homeowner Builder

    Thanks all for the feedback. I'm going to separate the spa from the pool as was suggested - I think it will look better and function better...

    I'm still considering installing the cover myself... I like the one from Aquamatic but want to explore CoverStar as well... anyone has any input?

    Best wishes and thanks again.

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    Re: New Pool Build - Auto Cover Question - Homeowner Builder

    bmoreswim ,

    thanks for the link to your build, that answers lots of my autocover questions...

    very cool build postings, the pool looks amazing. i'll be picking your brain down the road if you don't mind...

    thanks again.

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