Water level when closing a mesh-covered fiberglass pool with waterline tile


Active member
Oct 21, 2018
Northern Tennessee
What is the consensus on the safest water level when closing a fiberglass pool with a mesh cover when you have waterline tile to protect? My older fiberglass pool is showing signs of settling so I am worried about draining it down below the returns like we normally do. The concrete cantilever coping above the tiles is cracking significantly, and pool is about 2 inches off level now, so I'm worried that tiles could start popping off if it settles more during the winter or if water gets into the cracks and freezes. Would the chances of increased settlement over the winter lessen if I didn't drain as much water out of the pool? My pool pro recommends draining it 3 inches below the bottom of the skimmer which is at the top of the returns. This is approximately 17 inches from the top of the deck. My pool pro said that another alternative is to just lower the water level to the bottom of the skimmer (which is approximately 13 inches from the top of the deck), but that would require pumping water out really often to keep it below the tiles all winter since the tiles start approximately 3 inches above the bottom of the skimmer. I've got a submersible pump that connects to a garden hose to drain water out but it isn't an automatic one and it takes a long time to drain water out with it. I cannot afford an automatic one at this time. I'd love to lower it 3 inches below the bottom of the skimmer if that wouldn't be too risky because I wouldn't have to drain water out as often. I've heard that fiberglass pools can crack or even pop out of the ground if they are drained too low or they settle too much after a heavy rain, so I wanted to get a second opinion about the water level before closing the pool.

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
I think you have a few things to consider, especially if we compare closing in your area to those up north. Up north, the extended, very cold winters they experience can result in an ice shelf. It often requires them to lower the water level below the waterline tiles to reduce the chances of them popping-off from freeze expansion. Is your weather the same? If not, you probably could leave the water level higher. Closing and lowering the water level also has advantages for blowing out the lines and providing some relief from winter precipitation, so evaluating your typical winter rain/snow fall is another factor. In general, lowering your water level to the bottom of the skimmer or even a couple inches below that shouldn't be a big factor in the pool moving.