Hi all -
Bought our home and accompanying 25-year old kidney-shaped vinyl-lined pool with all original equipment last August. Couldn't believe when I went to winterize that I was to use a tarp, water tubes in poor repair, and a huge unwieldy leaf net. Solar cover in the garage is in questionable condition. Husband says the only thing the previous owners did to the house was defer maintenance .
As soon as the snow melted it revealed this ugly contraption and my new #1 problem. We have an almost 1-year old and almost 4-year old so safety is foremost and we foresee many pool parties with all the neighborhood kids in the future. I wanted a cover that could be an all-in-one safety cover, winter cover, and help keep the heat and chlorine in and leaves out during the short season here in Madison, Wisconsin. I called a few pool guys about a automatic safety cover. Two different companies say there's not enough room on the deck to square off the kidney shape without running into landscaping. Wouldn't be too much of a problem except the landscaping in question includes 2-3 foot diameter boulders at two of the four kidney "corners" and moving those suckers would be a chore and the pool deck might need patching to match the stamped concrete. The inside curve of the kidney also has landscaping - just dirt and flowers, no boulders, but that is really the only area for deck chairs to go (perhaps previous owners just liked to look at the pool from afar, not sure why there's no place to put a deck chair!). That large area would also need concrete patching. Also, the wide fiberglass stairs (which are in really rough shape) are exterior to the kidney shape, and there's no way to add them into the rectangle running into the house foundation, so the stairs would need to be moved interior to the pool and the existing stair location filled and again patched with something that resembles 25-year-old stamped concrete. Basically my problem is there's no room to draw a rectangle over top of my kidney shaped pool. So, my options are:
1) Install automatic pool cover over top of existing pool. Would entail removing interior curve landscaping, moving stairs to inside of pool, new vinyl liner, moving boulders and landscaping about 2 feet to accommodate track. Concrete would need to be patched in 2 large areas (stairs and interior curve) and 2 small areas (near boulders).
2) Have a "trampoline" (is that what they're called) cover for winter and install a safety fence around the pool.
3) Take out kidney pool, rip up deck (which actually is in pretty good shape) and reinstall a rectangular pool with automatic pool cover. Install all new pumps, filter, etc. (salt water!).
Option 1 might cost a small fortune and might end up looking patch-y. Option 2 doesn't do anything for the aesthetics of the pool. Option 3 will cost a fortune but obviously some of this is money that we'd be spending in the not-so-distant future due to the aging equipment.
Any other clever ideas out there? Is it possible to square off a kidney pool by cutting down the panels by a foot and shooting gunite around the top to make a rectangle for the auto cover? If that's possible, it would lose the cost of the excavator and we'd obviously be replacing the whole deck but I wonder if the corners can be made tighter to the existing shape than the retro-fit pool cover - it needs 1" extra on one side and 3" extra on another. I don't know if it's even possible as the top of the liner would essentially be encased in gunite but I'm trying to be creative.
18K kidney-shaped, vinyl-lined, 20+ year old in-ground pool with all original equipment. Trouble-free pool it is not