Winter cover.. which to buy....

youmyboyblue

Member
Jul 12, 2019
12
Ann Arbor, Michigan
We are relatively new homeowners and just got the inground pool up and running again this year with a new liner and some other repairs. We have a lot of trees and get tons of leaves in the fall. We get a good amount of snow and several accumulations and thaws. We have a baby daughter and want to make sure she stays safe over future winters as she gets older. The current cover is trashed and I can't find a brand name or serial number on it. I've looked into duplication of the current cover, but I'm told that it was the wrong size for the steps on our pool.

Due to the leaves, I've ruled out all-mesh covers - don't want them clogging the mesh, longer spring cleanup of both pool and cover, etc. I'm leaning towards a solid cover with center mesh panel so I don't have to manage a pump on the cover, just occasionally check on the water in the pool and pump it down if needed.

But I'm having trouble deciding which cover to buy. I guess I have some sticker shock on the safety cover prices.

It's a 18'x36' pool with 40"x80" steps on the left side, 32" offset.

So options are:

Under $300: Vinyl tarp with water bags. Can be unsightly. Not very safe for the little one when she gets older. (Or even me, I carelessly fell into the cover while sweeping leaves this spring and even the torn, worn-out safety cover saved me from falling into an empty pool).

$900: HPI Aquamaster solid cover, mesh center panel with universal left step. This is more or less a vinyl cover with a coating. Not sure how long it'd last. Has extra padding around the step area. Water Warden has similar offerings.

$1500-1700: Loop Loc or Meyco sold covers with mesh center panels. These are stock sizes, but don't have a perfect fit for the steps, so they may wear faster.

$2000-2200: Loop Loc or Meyco solid covers, center mesh panels, custom sized to fit the steps. Should last 15 years if maintained and cared for.

$2000+ is tough to swallow when a regular tarp is less than $300. I'm leaning towards the stock Loop Loc or Meyco to save a little. Can I just add extra padding around the steps myself?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,794
Northern NJ
Get the LoopLoc or Meyco cver if you will be there for many years. My Meyco cover is 20 years old and still good.

I am not sure what your stairs issue is. Even with a custom Meyco cover I put folded towels under some edges of the coping to keep it from wearing through the cover under heavy snow loads.
 

youmyboyblue

Member
Jul 12, 2019
12
Ann Arbor, Michigan
The cover dealer I've been working with says that they don't have stock sizes that fit the steps. They're willing to sell me something close, or I could just get a custom cover made.

From the cover dealer:
"None of the manufacturers have a standard cover size for your step size or offset size so that means the step padding, sizes, and offsets will be off and will be wearing in the wrong spot and may end their useful life sooner than normal. It may also void the warranty due the improper step size and offset."
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,186
NY
You dont need the center mesh. I have a 'solid' looplock cover. Its still a mesh, just really tightly woven. You can hold it up and not see though it. It takes a puddle of water a few minutes to saturate the cover and then it goes right through. No need for a pump. The only way you'll need to pump is with a tarp. Like you said, $2k is alot of money. Like you also said, you have a little one. You also have large animals who would destroy your pool if they wandered across the pool. (Mine is fenced but deer can hop 6ft all day) Myself and my neighbor fell onto my cover one time. It sagged down like a trampoline and we got soaked from the water coming up through the cover, but it held 2 grown adults like we were nothing. Protect your loved ones and your investment. Besides, replacing the tarp and a handful of water bags each year will run you several hundred. My cover is 7 years old and has probably broke even by now.
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,428
Central MD
Here's my suggestion. Say out loud that you are considering a cover that is not safe and you have a toddler. Then scratch the tarp off the list. :)

Get a custom made safety cover from a reputable company, Looploc, Meyco, Merlin, etc. A solid cover is waterproof. Anything mesh is not. Solid covers need a pump to act as safety covers. Mesh do not use pumps.

I think your real issue with leaves is the tea they will create on a cover with a meshing opening or mesh, if they steep over the winter. Not so much the mesh getting clogged I don't think. You pay for quality. A good cover will be over $2K, plus install. It's just a part of pool ownership. If you didn't need a safety cover (no small children or pets) then a tarp might be a realistic option.
 
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youmyboyblue

Member
Jul 12, 2019
12
Ann Arbor, Michigan
No, I wasn't planning on going with a tarp, I just wasn't expecting safety covers to be so pricey, and was really hoping that I could use a stock size since it's a basic rectangle, but the steps are calling for a custom cover. You know the saying,"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't."

Regarding the mesh clogging, from the pool cover dealer:
"The Mighty Mesh, Aqua Xtreme, Defender Mesh, and BlocMesh 99 are all upgraded mesh materials which may drain slower than what you are used to and can become clogged easier from time to time. Our customer fix that with a broom or leaf blower and the end result is supposed to be a cleaner open with less chemical expense."
 

CarolineM

Silver Supporter
Jun 20, 2018
220
Annapolis, MD
I have a Loop Loc Aqua Xtreme cover, it is very tightly woven mesh so leafs and small junk don’t get through. I have a forest on one side of my pool so I deal with a lot of leafs. Once a week in the late fall I blow the cover off, during the winter no leafs. I opened to clean and clear pool water.
 

MarlboroMan

Gold Supporter
Jul 17, 2018
82
Marlboro New Jersey
We just put in our order today for a custom fit solid pool cover. It was way more than what we wanted to spend too but we bit the bullet. We have an open yard and the solid cover will give us peace of mind as we have young children.
 
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youmyboyblue

Member
Jul 12, 2019
12
Ann Arbor, Michigan
First time reading about covers. What is the advantage to having the mesh center?
Solid safety covers usually have the option of either a mesh center or having to use a pump. There is one report earlier in this thread that you don't actually need the pump. Then again there is another recent thread showing where the pump is needed due to water accumulation. The Loop Loc FAQ goes over automatic pump info. and how you have to be careful to not drain the pool as well in case the water seeps through the seams following snow/ice accumulation. If this causes the pump to drain too much then there can be excess pressure on the cover, anchors, and coping.

I'm still on the fence, but I think I'm going to go with the center mesh since I really just don't want to deal with the pump.

This post has a good summary of the cover types. I contacted him but he no longer sells pool covers.
 
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