Swimming Pool Blog

10 Tips to Measure for a Safety Pool Cover

Measuring for a Pool Safety Cover
by Rob Cox August 9, 2013

Measuring for a Custom Safety Pool Cover

Go from this... to this!Measuring a pool for a safety cover, doling A-B measurements, as they are called, should take you 30-60 minutes, depending on the size and complexity of the pool shape.

If you are planning to install your own safety cover - and I encourage every pool owner that winterizes or partially winterizes their pool during winter, to use a safety cover, you will also be responsible for sending in accurate measurements of your pool to safety cover dealers (like POOLCENTER!). :-)

When we prepped for our days out in the field, we would make sure that we had all of the necessary equipment that we thought we would need for the day. To prep the truck for a safety cover measurement, we would make sure that we had the following.

  • 100 ft tape measure, reel type
  • Two narrow stakes, 12-24 in. long
  • Roll of Duct Tape and a Sharpie Pen
  • Measuring Form
  • Helper that can write legibly

Tips on Measuring a Pool for a Custom Safety Cover

duct tape, instead of chalk

1. Most instructions for measuring the pool will say to use chalk, but I prefer to use small strips of duct tape. Chalk can take weeks or months before the rain washes it away.

Tear off long 1/2 in. strips, and then tear them into strips about 2 in. long, as you stick them on the edge of the pool. Only stick the back half of the strip to the pool coping, leave the front half free - it makes it easier to remove them.

2. Write every fifth number on the back half of the duct tape pieces with a sharpie pen, starting with number 1, and ending with your final, last point.

3. How's the weather? Measuring on a dry day will be the best. When the coping stones are wet, duct tape (or chalk) doesn't work too well, and the ink runs on the measuring form.

4. For your A-B stakes, you can use a piece of 3/8 in. steel rebar or wooden dowel. A very long (15-18 in.) Phillips screwdriver can be used. It's best to have a narrow stake, so that you can slip the metal end of the measuring tape over the end of the stake, and it will swivel on the smaller stake diameter. You could also use larger wooden stakes pounded into the ground, with a nail on the top.

5. Whichever type of stake you use for your A and B points, make sure they are placed firmly in the ground, so that it won't lean or move when you are pulling the tape from across the pool. But, be careful of pounding your stakes too deeply, if there is a possibility of pool plumbing pipes within a foot of the surface. If possible, leave the stakes in place until after your measurements have been approved, just in case there is a need to double check some measures.

6. On curves and irregular points, take measurements to points at the beginning, apex and end of the curve. On straight runs of pool wall, you can set points 3-4 feet apart. Measure 90 degree corners, at the corner.

7. Always round up, or always round down - to the nearest inch, as you shout out your measurement to your helper. Have them shout it back to you as they write it down, to improve accuracy.

8. If you end up with your 'A' measurements having more points than you have in the 'B' column, or vice-versa, that means you either skipped a point, or measured a point twice. Go back to verify each point until you find the mistake.

9. Most extreme measurement mistakes are caught by the manufacturer, because they produce mathematical inconsistencies or make the shape of the pool impossible. Measure carefully nonetheless, and fill out all of the other sections of the measurement form thoughtfully. Email pictures for very unusual water features, planters or cut-outs.

10. I wish we had done a video on measuring for a custom safety pool cover. Here's a great video that I came across produced by pools.com. Give it a watch for the process of A-B measurements on a custom pool.


Get your measurements in early, safety pool covers can take 3 weeks to produce, after your measurements have been received. Replacement covers are slightly faster, if you have your original order number or invoice number from the manufacturer.

For any assistance with measuring, ordering or installing a safety cover, send me an email, or fill out a question in our Pool Forum, which I moderate, or you can always call our call center and ask to speak to our safety cover specialists, who can answer any questions you have over the phone. 

- Rob