Mesh Covers vs. Tarps

jordangregory

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2010
145
Was wondering about differences between the covers that let water filter through and the tarps that do not let any water through. I have both. I thought it would be better with the mesh cover as they say it can old an elephant and water melts and goes through, but I didn't know if it would let dirt and/or alow algae to grow.
 

rkgdmd

Well-known member
Nov 25, 2007
65
Rockland County, NY
jordangregory,

This is one of those questions that's difficult to answer definitively due to the amount of variables in the equation. Like all things in life, it is ultimately a compromise that will depend on what factors are most important to you. Mesh covers look much nicer than the tarp/water bag combo. They are also much safer because they can easily support many times the weight of a child or adult should someone accidentally fall in the pool. They do however let water and a whole bunch of other junk into your pool. This requires that you are pretty diligent about pumping that accumulated water out over the winter. I had a friend who wasn't so careful and when the overfilled pool froze, he lost most of his stone coping.

On the other hand, the tarp/waterbag cover is ugly and potentially dangerous should someone fall in the pool. It also requires more work to place and remove than the mesh cover and you must pump the water out that accumulates on top. It does however keep your pool spotlessly clean. We have used a tarp cover since we finished our pool 3 years ago, and generally my wife and I use the hot tub the first night we uncover the pool. We usually still have 2-3 ppm of chlorine residual. Don't try that with a mesh cover! They also cost much less...but this is not an issue for you as you already have both.

Mesh covers can create more work if you are a late opener or early closer. Mesh covers allow a significant amount of organic material to pass through, as well as some sunlight. That, combined with some heat from a late spring opening or early fall closing, can create quite a mess to clean up. Generally speaking, tarp covers keep your water cleaner and save you some time and money on chemicals (Stabilizer,Borates, Salt, etc) at initial startup because you haven't diluted and pumped the pool water as much.

Hope this helps,

Rob
 

jordangregory

Well-known member
Jul 12, 2010
145
Thanks for the tip. That helps quite a bit.
I wonder if I could combind the tarp and mesh. perhaps put the mesh down for safety, then put a tarp on top to keep out the debris and sunlight.
 

rkgdmd

Well-known member
Nov 25, 2007
65
Rockland County, NY
Uh, they so make solid safety covers you know,

Scott
His question related to tarp vs. mesh covers as he owns both and not a solid safety cover......a point uh....you might have known uh...if you actually uh...read his post. Solid safety covers come with their own headaches also.
 

offgrid

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2010
87
Ottawa, Canada
My guess would be that with a solid safety cover you need to get the accumulated water (or snow) off some how. I have read that people have to use a pump when ever there is a big rain to remove water ponding on the solid safety covers. From the advice above I think I'll save myself the $3,000 and buy a 30' x 50' tarp from Home Depot for $89. Maybe I'll need to buy a new one each year, but I like my water crystal clean when I remove the cover.
 

rkgdmd

Well-known member
Nov 25, 2007
65
Rockland County, NY
Solid covers tend to be very heavy....usually need at least two people to cover a pool. You also need to be more meticulous about cleaning and the drying cover before storage than you would for a mesh or tarp cover. Some solid covers depend on an electric pump to move the accumulated water. A certain percentage of these pumps can and will fail. The solid covers without pumps require drain panels to get the water off. This water...and sediment.... ultimately ends up in your pool...albeit to a much lesser degree than the mesh covers. I have heard of these panels clogging, preventing proper drainage and creating problems.

These issues probably don't affect the majority of solid covers, so you cannot make your decision based solely on this information. If you can talk to other pool owners in your area...ask what works for them. Maybe somebody else will chime in here with their experiences. Like I said before...we have the tarp/water bag cover...it ain't pretty, but's it's cheap and the water is beautiful come spring time.

Rob
 

rcy

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 25, 2009
345
Burlington, ON, Canada
rkgdmd said:
jordangregory,


Mesh covers can create more work if you are a late opener or early closer. Mesh covers allow a significant amount of organic material to pass through, as well as some sunlight. That, combined with some heat from a late spring opening or early fall closing, can create quite a mess to clean up. Generally speaking, tarp covers keep your water cleaner and save you some time and money on chemicals (Stabilizer,Borates, Salt, etc) at initial startup because you haven't diluted and pumped the pool water as much.

Hope this helps,

Rob
If you have to drain the pool to the same level to blow the lines (whether you use mesh or tarp), how does a tarp cover save on chemicals. Over the winter, the mesh will let the pool fill up with meltwater/rain and dilute the pool water that was left in the fall. With a tarp cover, you have to add tap water (or whatever, truck, well etc.) to top up the pool, thus also leading to dilution of the water that was left in the fall.

Either way, new water will be added to the old, leading to dilution and chemicals will have to be added in both instances.
 

offgrid

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2010
87
Ottawa, Canada
rcy,

I think it's the added organic material you get with the mesh that will require more chemicals than the city water.

I'm wondering if you use mesh and you get a ton of rain and snow melt that brings the water level above your skimmer and gets back into the lines. If you get a spring time freeze-up could that cause damage to pipes and other equipment ?
 

rcy

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 25, 2009
345
Burlington, ON, Canada
Your skimmer holes (and wall jet holes) should be plugged after blowing the lines when winterizing, so water will enter the skimmer but can't get into the line because of the plug (Gizmo in my case). What I did have to do one year when we had a ton of snow and rain, was actually use my sump well pump to drain water from the pool weeks before opening, as it was in danger of overflowing. Most other years, the pool is just high enough for me to do an intial vacuum on 'waste' to get rid of the sediment that has settled to the bottom over the winter, then the level is perfect with no need to add water from the garden hose.
 

Malibu07

Well-known member
Jun 20, 2010
212
Southeast VA
offgrid said:
My guess would be that with a solid safety cover you need to get the accumulated water (or snow) off some how. I have read that people have to use a pump when ever there is a big rain to remove water ponding on the solid safety covers. From the advice above I think I'll save myself the $3,000 and buy a 30' x 50' tarp from Home Depot for $89. Maybe I'll need to buy a new one each year, but I like my water crystal clean when I remove the cover.

Do you put balloon balls or something in the water to keep it from sagging in the middle? What do you do to anchor it? A friend of mine says she uses a tarp too and put sand bags around the edge with a ball in the middle.
 

Heckpools

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 8, 2009
318
New Jersey shore
jordangregory said:
Thanks for the tip. That helps quite a bit.
I wonder if I could combind the tarp and mesh. perhaps put the mesh down for safety, then put a tarp on top to keep out the debris and sunlight.
ive done this a few times this year for customers who REALLY need a new safety cover but cant afford one at the moment...
 

Heckpools

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 8, 2009
318
New Jersey shore
My favorite safety cover is the light weight solid, with mesh drains in the middle.

Pools open crystal clear, they are lightweight unlike the old school solids, and with the mesh drains in the middle there is no worries about pumping off the cover during the off season.

The only downfall is when you open the pool there is usually a little bit of dirt on the floor under the mesh drains. Its a very small amount and takes minutes to vacuum. Other then that, they are my favorite at the moment, and thats all ive been selling. Customers who have had mesh covers for the last 10 years we so pleased this spring to open to a clear pool. One ladies pool was still sparkling, as if we never shut it down. That even impressed me! Here is a new 20 x 40 Lightweight solid with mesh drains we installed a couple weeks ago.
Id like to note, if you have a pool with a tile border, its important that the water level in the pool stays below the tile to prevent freeze damage. Your best option would be a fully solid cover. Or if you chose the solid with mesh drains, you would need to keep an automatic pump on the top step of your pool, so when the water level did rise, it would pump it out and away from the tile.
 

Attachments

Malibu07

Well-known member
Jun 20, 2010
212
Southeast VA
That's really nice! I'd like to get one but because I don't have a cement apron around my pool (waiting for ground to settle) what are my options?
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
Malibu07 said:
l (waiting for ground to settle) what are my options?
Basically, a tarp and water bags.
To answer your earlier question, for an IG pool, you dont need anything under the tarp to hold it up. The tarp floats on top of the water. The weight of snow, water, etc is held up by the water. The water bags hold the edges down and keep the cover from blowing around, but the water underneath does the work of holding the weight.
 

Heckpools

LifeTime Supporter
Feb 8, 2009
318
New Jersey shore
Malibu07 said:
That's really nice! I'd like to get one but because I don't have a cement apron around my pool (waiting for ground to settle) what are my options?

for now... tarp would be the smartest with no concrete around pool.

but do yourself a favor and get a nice safety cover once you do have the cement
 

plucky71

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 18, 2010
116
Michigan
Matt,
Do you have an opinion on Arctic Armor Safety covers? I'm considering either the mesh or solid from them.
 

wilcie627

New member
Oct 9, 2010
1
I'd like to bump jordangregory's question: "I wonder if I could combind the tarp and mesh. perhaps put the mesh down for safety, then put a tarp on top to keep out the debris and sunlight."
Of course a solid safety cover is the $3,000 solution, but like jordangregory, I too have both safety mesh and tarp. Seems this combination would work just like a solid safety cover. Anyone?
 

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