How to Cut Solar Cover to Fit Kidney Pool?


Well-known member
Nov 12, 2009
I have an 18' x 36' inground and was fortunate to have a friend give me his 20'x40' solar cover he no longer uses.
Would it be best to cut it as one piece and be about 6" short on each side., or cut it as two pieces where it would cover the entire surface of the Pool?

I attached a picture for reference. Thanks for any input!


LifeTime Supporter
Aug 2, 2010
Rural Moloka'i, Hawai'i
I experimented with multiple pieces of solar cover because I had them, and because the one big circle is a hard for a small person like me to manage. But I found that the wind blows the pieces around.

A little exposed water surface won't diminish the effectiveness of the solar cover.


Well-known member
May 3, 2009
I would vote for one piece also.
If it were me I would take it as you have it there and just go along with a marker to decide where to cut.


LifeTime Supporter
Mar 22, 2010
Can't wait to see how yours turns out. This is a project I will be taking on in a few weeks.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
:scratch: Either your pool is not an 18x36 or the cover is not a 20x40? Anyhow...I'll vote for the one piece as well and I do love the shape :goodjob:


Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
Central Massachusetts
dmanb2b said:
:scratch: Either your pool is not an 18x36 or the cover is not a 20x40? :
Actually, the pool and cover are most likely the size stated. For the cover, that extra 2 foot width and 4 foot length isnt enough to cover the ends of the pool. With a kidney, the pool has a rounded end at both ends, and a large U-shape in the middle. The rectangle cover has to be turned at an angle to fit over the kidney shape. When you do that, even a bigger recatangle cover will not be quite long enough or wide enough to cover ever sq foot of the top of the kidney shape. In order to do that, you would need a cover 25x 45 or 50. Hard to explain just in a typed post like this. Hopefully, you get the idea of the issue.


TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
I'm even more confused now :lol: ..But I will take your word for it. Let's just say, it is what it is...I didn't want to call it out just looked funny in the post as I was figuring any shape that is 18' wide x 36 long would surely fit in a 20x40 rectangle...but I think I understand what your saying :goodjob:


LifeTime Supporter
Jul 9, 2007
I have a free-form pool and cut mine in half to make it easier to add/remove. Some things I learned that I will do on my next cover when I have to replace this one are:
1. Leave some overlap at the ends of at least 1.5-2ft. so you can place water jugs on them to keep the wind from blowing it off. This also helps prevent leaves from getting under the cover and into the water if you were to cut it to fit. You can then sweep the leaves with a broom easily.
2. Also leave a 1-2 ft overlap on the cut in the middle so that you can place an old pole to keep the flaps from blowing in the wind.

For a rectangular pool, a 1 piece would be easy since you could use a reel, but free-forms just make it difficult to use one


May 4, 2010
San Jose, CA
I just ordered a 20 x 40 to fit my 16 x 35 kidney shaped pool, should be here this weekend. I'm not getting a reel for now, not sure if you can even use one on a free form pool like this?

I'm considering cutting the cover into 2 or 3 pieces as I've heard others have done this to make remove/replace easier. Anyone else have experience with this?

As for cutting the cover to fit, I've read a few instructions online and one mentioned positioning the cover at a 45 degree angle coming from the water's surface up to the coping, and then cut at exactly the coping all the way around. I assume the premise is that when the edge of the cover lays down flat it will then come right up to the edge of the water, considering most copings overhang the edge a little bit. Another said to cut it slightly big the first time, then come back around and make the final cut. Suggestions?


LifeTime Supporter
Oct 28, 2007
i cut mine in 4 pieces and had no problem. It is now easy for the kids and wife to remove. If I had to do it again, which I will do next year, I will cut in only 3 pieces. No downside at all to this. I didn't leave any overlap and the cover went all the way to the liner. The only tip I would give is don't have a seem (cut part) close to a return jet if you can avoid it.


Well-known member
Jun 13, 2010
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
My kidney shaped solar cover is one piece but is made out of two pieces plastic welded together with a heat sealer type device, they don't have these down south? Have you checked your local PS?


LifeTime Supporter
Jan 11, 2009
Cupertino, CA
gullzway: A gap is no big deal. If you cover 95% of the surface you get 95% of the benefit.

CRG_80cc: If the wind generally comes from one direction, and your seam is perpendicular to that direction, then an overlap will probably help keep things in place. Otherwise probably not.

dwichman: I don't see any reason to do the 45-degree-coping trick, that's just to keep the scissors from getting wet. If I'm out there whacking a pool cover, it's not with the nice scissors and I don't care if they get wet.

Re cutting to fit: I put my first cover on in very early spring, then had to cut a couple inches off when it expanded in the summer heat. Then it didn't cover completely the next winter. It already didn't cover the pool completely so big whoop.

For a kidney, I wonder if two rounds would work better than trimming a rectangular. It could be worth experimenting.


LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2010
Ottawa, ON, Canada


Well-known member
Apr 15, 2014
Livermore, CA
A solar cover, or you actually mean a solar panel?

If solar panel, that's a new topic and I'd advise starting a separate thread/post on that.


Other Threads of Interest