Pool safety covers will keep children, animals, and debris out of your pool. Safety covers also make your pool opening faster, easier and with fewer chemicals.
Here’s how to install a pool safety cover on your own swimming pool. Anyone can install a rectangle safety cover, I like to say. Freeform safety covers are more involved, but still can be quite successful as a do-it-yourself project.
- Rotary Hammer drill with 3/4″ masonry bit
- Extension cord(s)
- Measuring tape
- Garden hose
Rotary Hammer Drills
Don’t use a small, hand-held hammer drill; that can take 20 minutes on each hole. Visit a local rental shop, and tell them you need a rotary hammer drill and a long, sharp 3/4″ masonry bit. Rent by the day, or 1/2 day. If you’re doing this on Saturday, know that some shops close Sunday.
Longer drill bits reduce stooping over the drill, and can lessen operator wear and tear. Sharper bits will cut a cleaner hole, and drill them faster.
Getting Ready to Drill
Open the box and pull out everything; Cover, Cover bag, Anchors, Springs, Tamping tool, Hex key and Installation rod.
To install a safety pool cover, begin by removing any obstructions around the pool, like ladders or handrails. Clear the deck of any furniture that will be in the way of the installation process.
Wait to lower the water level in the pool until after you have installed the pool cover. Floating the pool cover on the water, centering it over the pool while pulling out the packing wrinkles, is the first step.
Pull the cover to one end of the pool and pull it across the pool so that the cover begins to float on the surface. Pull up all edges up onto the coping, or edge of the pool, and lay the straps flat on the pool deck.
Spend 10 minutes centering the cover around all sides. Use the seams running perpendicular to each other as a guide. They should be running straight across the cover width and length. The cover should be overlapping the pool edge equally all around, with no large wrinkles across the cover.
You can add some weights to the cover edge if needed to help, but if the water level is high enough in the pool, it should be able to float and still overlap the edge so that you can center the cover over the pool. If you decide to weigh it down around the edges; use buckets of water, water bags or 4×4 lumber.
Walk the bag of cover springs around the pool, dropping one spring next to each strap. Install all springs onto the straps, at the same length of strap. While doing this, make micro-adjustments of the cover with small tugs on the straps to improve centering of the cover over the pool.
Drilling the Holes
Be certain with your placement of the holes before you drill. If you do end up mis-drilling some holes, you can always drill a new hole, move the anchor, and fill the other hole with mortar mix.
It’s helpful to mark the anchor hole with a Sharpie, or chalk – or place the anchor on the deck in the exact location, before you start to drill. Hold the drill very firmly so that it doesn’t bounce around. This will help reduce chipping on the surface.
Each hole will take 30-60 seconds to drill, depending on the age and content of the concrete. A pile of dust will build up around the hole as you drill; you can spray it off with a hose, or use a vac/blower to either vac it up, or blow it away. The dust needs to come out of the hole, or you won’t be able to fit the anchor.
Some hammer drills will have a bar that you can use as a depth gauge, or you can wrap a piece of electric tape around the drill bit. The hole needs to be almost 2 inches deep. In thin areas of a concrete deck, it’s not uncommon to break through the underside of the pool deck. This is no problem.
As you drill the holes, bear down on the drill with your weight and continue to hold it firmly. If the drill hits some rebar or heavy rock, it may bind up and even though the drill bit stops, the drill keeps turning. This can catch you off guard, and slam into the side of your knee. So, hold on tightly!
Drill just a few anchors at a time, and then switch sides and drill the anchors opposite the ones just drilled. Wait until you drill a complete set of anchors, opposite each other, to connect the springs.
After attaching springs to the anchors on both sides of the cover, adjust the straps as necessary, so the springs are 1/3 – 1/2 compressed.
Freeform safety cover installations
If your cover was designed with cutouts for non-removable objects like slide legs or hand rails, or has been made to fit up against a raised wall or spa, you might begin by attaching the cover at those points first, or using these spots as a way to assist in centering the cover properly.
For freeform pools, you start drilling from the center and work your way to the outside, as opposed to rectangular covers (below) that start from the corners and then move in.
The first holes drilled will be the long center seams that run the length of the cover. Start with the centermost seam, and drill the anchors on each end of the cover. Attach the springs to these anchors and check your centering, side to side and end to end. If it looks good, then drill the anchors on the seam that is on either side of the anchors just drilled.
Pull the cover horizontally, away from and against the anchor just drilled. Don’t pull it so much that it pulls the strap next to you towards you, but just enough to be taut. After drilling the anchors on either side of the first anchor, and on both sides of the pool, connect the springs to these anchors and adjust the straps for a snug fit.
Now move to the side of the pool, and do the same thing, drill the centermost anchor (on both sides of the cover), then attach the springs. Then install the anchors on either side of the center seam, tugging the cover snug, away from the center seam, so you won’t have any gaps or wrinkles on the cover edge.
The cover seams should be running perfectly straight, and not pulling in one direction, where the seams cross. If your seams are running crooked, adjust your strap tension, and recheck your centering.
Work your way from the center, outwardly, pulling any slack towards the outside as you go, alternating from side to end and back to the sides. Keep checking your center as you go, and keep the seams running straight.
Rectangular safety cover installations
For rectangular pools, or nearly rectangle pool shapes, you will start by installing the corner anchors first. With the cover centered properly over the pool, drill your first corner anchor holes with your rotary hammer drill.
When drilling the corner holes, measure to be sure that all of the holes are the same distance back from the pool’s inside edge or the back edge of the coping. Skew the straps slightly toward the outside, so that the straps, when attached to the anchors are pulling slightly away from the pool, just by an inch or two.
After your corner anchors are all tamped into the concrete, connect the appropriate straps to the raised anchors. Adjust the tension on the straps so that the springs are compressed at least 1/3 of the way. Double check your centering before continuing. If it’s not quite equal, loosen one side’s straps and tighten up the straps on the opposite side.
Now you can snap a chalk line in between corner anchors and place the remaining anchors on the chalk line, directly behind the cover strap. Or, use your measuring tape, and measure the same distance, drilling a hole directly behind the cover strap.
I hope this guide will be helpful for you! If you have other questions not covered, please leave a comment below, or give a call to any one of our helpful pool safety cover experts at 1-800-288-7946!
InTheSwim Staff Blogger