Need a Pool Cover Solution for Free Form Pool

May 23, 2007
Central Jersey
I'm trying to figure out a good solution for heating my pool this summer.

I have a gas heater, but didn't find it very effective last year. Tried it a few times and only raised the temp a few degrees over the course of many hours as I recall. I ran it overnight once, again with only a small increase, but didn't have a cover and after reading the posts on this forum now realize it was like heating my house and leaving the windows open.

I have a curvy free form pool, on the order of 20' x 40'. One end has steps and the other end has a basic low profile diving board.

Since the widest part of the pool is actually a little greater than 20', a cover and reel solution does not seem feasible. If I put it under the diving board (assuming I can get one to fit) the width would have it outside the surrounding concrete and people would have to step over it to get to the diving board. Similar problem at the shallow end. Is it doable to roll up the cover at the shallow end, then roll the whole reel and cover off to the side in the grass? If I put the reel in the middle, then what, there is always a big cylinder over the middle of the pool? Anybody have any pictures?

If I use the cutting it into strips method, about what size is easy enough for my wife to handle? 20' by 6'? Six 6' strips sounds like a pain to deal with. Does anyone have a configuration they like?

The only other though I had was to run a long rectangular strip down the middle, use a reel for this under the diving board, then handle the curves on the outside with extra pieces or maybe even a few of those solar sun rings.

I'll probably have some weeks where the cover is on 24/7 for days at a a time. Is say 75% coverage with a solar cover worth the effort and expense?

Sorry for the long post.


LifeTime Supporter
Mar 31, 2008
Central VA
Nice, I like it! My wife came up with the idea to cut ours...we have a 16'x36', and cut it into 3 strips, so I guess each strip is maybe 18'x12' (2' wider than the pool). It takes 2 people to put it on, but one person can take it off if he/she runs back & forth to fold it :) PLUS, you can fit it into a large plastic garbage container when the summer heats up.
May 26, 2008
Similar problem, Solar Cover for Curvy Pool

We have a guitar body shaped pool (not a kidney because it is symettrical). The shallow end is 23 foot wide, the neck is 17 foot 10 inches, and the deep end is 20 feet wide. The typical instruction would be to custom cut a cover to fit, and use a 23 foot wide reel at the shallow end. Some reel vendors suggest straddling the reel across the shallow end and folding the cover as it is reeled in. Other vendors suggest a narrower reel with folding ears to cover the 23 foot wide shallow end. Either way, the cover is going to be cumbersome to place and remove, and the reel is going to be large and expensive, and heavy to move. My argument is that the cover is only valuable if it is actually used regularly, and these options will either discourage cover use or discourage pool use.

What do you all think if I just get an 18 foot wide rectangular cover, an 18 foot wide reel, and just cover the rectangular center of the pool? This cover would be easy to place and remove, without folding, and by one person. We could attach ropes to the free end to make it easy to unroll and replace after swimming. I suppose this would cover 85% of the pool surface, and would be used regularly. It would also be cheaper to purchase, and easier to store in winter. Anyone argue that I should still attempt a full coverage cover?
May 23, 2007
Central Jersey
I still haven't decided on anything yet, but the rectangular cover with reasonable width reel covering some large percentage of the pool seems like the best choice. Then cut the remaining odd shapes for full coverage and/or use solar rings.

My key questions are:

1. How heavy is an 18' x 40' 12 mil cover just reeled? Can the whole reel w/cover be wheeled off to the side easily? Has anyone tried this?

2. Is covering 75% of the pool meaningful or is it like leaving your windows open in the winter?

Also, questions for Todd: how long does it take you to put back on? hard to get the sections in place? do the sections stay in place when it's windy? is folding the only option or could you roll up the sections by hand?


LifeTime Supporter
Mar 12, 2008
Hatfield, PA
I was quite tiffy about my cover until I found a workable system. I have a 16x32 free form pool that narrows in the center but has 2 circular ends. This means if I reeled it in the wider shallow end would rub in the middle. I rolled the cover up anyway and was pleasantly surprised to find a once manageable cover was now waterlogged and impossible to lift out of the pool - not to mention filled with debris.

I cut the cover into 4 pieces. Once down the center and once lengthwise. I get in the pool and very carefully roll the cover pieces into tight lengthwise cylinders and set them up on the deck. During the week I'll only roll up the shallow end covers and on the weekend I'll roll up all 4 pieces. Once it gets warmer I won't bother. I'm swimming in 68 degree water comfortably so I must be more akin to a polar bear or something than a human. I simply submerge the cover in the pool to remove debris as I am rolling it. It puts it all on the floor of the pool (specifically the deep end) where I can deal with it later.