Talk to me about Auto Covers

mummer43

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2016
47
Lehigh Valley, PA
My wife and I have given a deposit to a builder and we like the design we have come up with, which is basically a 20x40 rectangle with a 9x18 sun shelf on the side, which basically makes in an L shape. We are also going with a raised hot tub. We haven't started digging yet and I have spoken about this with my PB this week. Lately, my wife and I are feeling like we should consider changing our design to a 20x40 rectangle with an auto cover. The reason is that the pool will be accessed by walking out of the house and it will not have a fence around it. We have two young children, age 2 and 4, and I don't know if I could sleep at night without the peace of mind that I feel an auto cover would offer. We would also have to do something with the hot tub.

My builder uses Coverstar covers and they do have a unit designed for spas and small pools. In our case, the cover for the main pool will be around 20k. The hot tub is going to be 9x7, is there any way to estimate what an auto cover for that would cost?

We thought we had this all figured out, but now we are having second thoughts.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
15,475
Evans, Georgia
Probably about $15-20k for a pool that large. And I *do* sleep better not worrying about unwanted swimmers while we're on vacation, but all more importantly I'll never have to explain to my daughter why a grandbebe drowned in the pool.

Personally I'd prefer a separate hot tub so that its up and running in the dead of winter, unlike the pool. Placed near the back door it makes for quick soak which is heavenly when snow flakes are falling and the steam from the hot tub is rising.

Maddie :flower;
 

Ourad

Silver Supporter
Jun 25, 2019
59
Tulsa, OK
I just had an estimate added to my pool cover for the spa. It was only around 2k less than the pool cover quote, which was 10k with install for an 18x36, but I am supposedly getting a discount since they goofed up the measurements on the replacement cover for my old unit. I also already have the cavity that holds the cover, and the electrical in place, so mine might be less, I dunno.

That seems on the high end for the main pool cover, I was thinking 15kish. Can't imagine a spa autocover would be anywhere near 15+k, but then, its a pretty luxury item so they can charge whatever they want I guess. My situation is somewhat out of the ordinary so I'm not sure if its a great comparison.

I see advantages to a separate hot tub in Pennsylvania for sure, because you're probably closing your pool up there. Wouldn't think you would need to in Georgia though.

On the topic of covers, has anyone seen or heard of an autocover being used in a situation where there is a tanning shelf on the end, which the autocover overlaps, but does not completely cover, because the shelf is not the same width as the pool? It wouldn't really be a safety issue because I don't think anyone could fit between the shelf and the bar, but it might just look really weird. I could find a separate cover option for the remainder of the shelf.
 
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Lindsaya22

New member
Nov 7, 2020
1
Kansas City, MO
We are getting an autocover for an 18 x 40 rectangle pool and it’s 15k. We have 4 kiddos and decided it was worth it. Traded a fancy design bc I wanted autocover to run in it and not outside of it. Now I just need to decide on vinyl color! Thinking blue slate.
 
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CPS Reno

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2019
114
Reno, NV
Man, we're not charging enough for auto covers! Just to help some on these, it's the "little things" that increase the cost of these covers so much. We also do Coverstar, but there are 4 different cover lids you can install and they range from very little $ (standard hinged aluminum lid) to very high $$$$ (paver or stone lid). We almost exclusively use the "Flush Lid Kit" on our builds mainly because they look the best and don't have edges that kiddos can cut themselves on, but that kit is almost $2000 more than standard hinged lid. Fabric is fabric, no real upgrades. The system is pretty standard.
 

DorsalSpine

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
715
Columbus, Ohio
A 20K price for a 20 x 40 seems a little steep compared to what I just paid two years ago. Mine was in the 10-12K range if I remember correctly. My pool is very close to that size. My $.02 would be a auto cover for the pool and a separate hot tub rather than a spa attached to the pool.
 
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mummer43

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2016
47
Lehigh Valley, PA
Man, we're not charging enough for auto covers! Just to help some on these, it's the "little things" that increase the cost of these covers so much. We also do Coverstar, but there are 4 different cover lids you can install and they range from very little $ (standard hinged aluminum lid) to very high $$$$ (paver or stone lid). We almost exclusively use the "Flush Lid Kit" on our builds mainly because they look the best and don't have edges that kiddos can cut themselves on, but that kit is almost $2000 more than standard hinged lid. Fabric is fabric, no real upgrades. The system is pretty standard.

We would do the paver lid since we are doing pavers all around the pool and would want it to look seamless. What system do you typically install? We would probably go with the eclipse and do an encapsulated track that is recessed under the coping. Have you done any spa covers using the CS300HD system? This is a more compact system that doesn't take up as much room and has a low profile, flat lead bar. I can't see paying almost as much to put an auto cover on the spa as the main pool, but if it's only a couple to a few grand I would consider it.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

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Jun 7, 2018
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If you are willing to have your spa integrated into a corner of the pool and level with the pool, one autocover can cover them both. That's the setup of my 30-year-old pool, which is about the same size as the one you're planning. The autocover drags over the spa dam tiles, so they must be smooth in order to avoid pinholes caused by abrasion.
 

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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
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Jul 16, 2012
6,763
Central MD
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
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In your locale, I‘d absolutely go with a stand-alone spa. I’m sure there are great late fall days/nights that you could use the spa. Even all winter I suppose. And that doesn’t happen with a built-in variety. But yes, Rocket’s comments about the spa location and design are key if you integrate one.

Our cover has a stone lid which looks great and concrete pit, and cost $15K for an 18x38 8 years ago.


 

CPS Reno

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2019
114
Reno, NV
We only do Coverstar. If it's a rectangle pool, we only use the track/encapsulation that goes between the pool and coping. Yes, we use Coverstar's "spa" cover system and it is more compact, but with that comes space constraints, which means time added to the install. The system is $1000's cheaper than a pool and certainly less than your pool.
 

mummer43

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2016
47
Lehigh Valley, PA
We only do Coverstar. If it's a rectangle pool, we only use the track/encapsulation that goes between the pool and coping. Yes, we use Coverstar's "spa" cover system and it is more compact, but with that comes space constraints, which means time added to the install. The system is $1000's cheaper than a pool and certainly less than your pool.

What do you mean by space constraints? We definitely do not want to recess the hot tub into the pool. Yes, we know we won't get as much use out of the hot tub as a standalone and we are fine with the fact that it's pretty much an expensive water feature.

In regards to the main pool cover, what do you see is more common: a recessed leading edge or one that is visible? I prefer the look of the recessed leading edge but I'm not sure if we will be able to do it with the pavers we plan on using.
 

CPS Reno

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2019
114
Reno, NV
For a normal pool cover, we make the box 14" wide and 16" deep (along with the appropriate length of course). This gives us a little wiggle room for fitment issues. For most spa's and the placement/sizing of the box, we are limited to just 12" (or so) and 14" deep (or so) while still installing a system that is close to the same size as the pool. The spa systems are normally "stacked" motor/gearbox, which in itself is more challenging to install.

As far as the leading edge, it depends if you're talking about the "hidden" design or the "recessed" design. Hidden just requires the paver lids are built as to cantilever enough into the pool that the leading edge rides back far enough that you can't see it. Recessed is using curved tracks that allow the entire cover/leading edge to ride down "in to" the box, so you can't see things. Hidden is fairly simple, you just have to build a more complex lid system. Recessed is not simple, as you have to change your entire box dimensions and layout.
 

mummer43

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2016
47
Lehigh Valley, PA
For a normal pool cover, we make the box 14" wide and 16" deep (along with the appropriate length of course). This gives us a little wiggle room for fitment issues. For most spa's and the placement/sizing of the box, we are limited to just 12" (or so) and 14" deep (or so) while still installing a system that is close to the same size as the pool. The spa systems are normally "stacked" motor/gearbox, which in itself is more challenging to install.

As far as the leading edge, it depends if you're talking about the "hidden" design or the "recessed" design. Hidden just requires the paver lids are built as to cantilever enough into the pool that the leading edge rides back far enough that you can't see it. Recessed is using curved tracks that allow the entire cover/leading edge to ride down "in to" the box, so you can't see things. Hidden is fairly simple, you just have to build a more complex lid system. Recessed is not simple, as you have to change your entire box dimensions and layout.

Thanks for that detailed response. In regards to the leading edge bar, I'd just like to hide it so it isn't sticking out when the cover is open. I don't really care if it is totally hidden, just out of sight. However, I haven't heard of the other system you mentioned and it does intrigue me. Is that type of system typically a large jump in price? With the cantilevered pavers, would we be able to use a standard coping such as something from Techo Bloc? We plan on using Techo Bloc Blu 60 throughout the pool area.
 

CPS Reno

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2019
114
Reno, NV
You can build paver cover lid with any pavers, but not every builder can. It's difficult to make it look good AND be strong enough to be safe. I'd suggest talking in depth with your builder about the lid, cover, lead bar, etc. Talking through now can prevent any issues that can't be avoided later. Some options require work WAY ahead of shooting the pool in.
 

mummer43

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2016
47
Lehigh Valley, PA
After much discussion, my wife and I have decided to go with a 20x40 rectangle and an auto cover. We are also very much interested in putting an auto cover on our raised hot tub. While this isn't the sexiest design, we have seen some very nice examples of this setup online and feel like the benefits of the auto cover outweigh the limitations in design.

Does anyone have any good reason not to use a black cover? We feel it would look best with the color scheme of hour house. We will have the Hayward fully automated system with sense and dispense, etc.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
15,475
Evans, Georgia
Hmmmmm... I chose blue so that it was obviously a pool. I worried that in the dark a gray cover wouldn't stand out as obviously from the gray deck and worried someone would just walk over it......

In your area black *might* help heat the water up a bit more even than my blue cover does. That would be a welcome reason to me if I were in PA.

Maddie :flower:
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
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Jul 16, 2012
6,763
Central MD
Pool Size
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My only thoughts about black are heat, but in PA, that’s not really that bad. And dirt. I think it will show dirt/stains easily. But the big picture look is really the main factor. We went with grey and like it.
 

mummer43

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2016
47
Lehigh Valley, PA
My only thoughts about black are heat, but in PA, that’s not really that bad. And dirt. I think it will show dirt/stains easily. But the big picture look is really the main factor. We went with grey and like it.

We have a home that has a lot of black accents. Windows, gutters, roofing, etc. I think the black cover would be in keeping with that theme. Heat would be a secondary benefit and I do get your point about the dirt. Grey would be our second choice.
 

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