by Sean Griffin, November 15, 2011
Pool Safety Cover Repair: Rips and Tears
The advantages and benefits to owning and using a swimming pool safety cover are tremendous. From protecting your family and loved ones to preserving your pool water chemistry, a safety pool cover is an ideal choice for any pool no matter what shape or size. Keeping out the leaves, holding up to snowstorms, and constantly fighting off unwanted UV rays can be hard work. Covers can develop several weak points that should be tended to.
Even the toughest of safety covers can be compromised by a large tree limb that can snap off and gouge through the material. Ensure your cover lives up to its potential and serves its purpose for many years. Simple maintenance can help you prolong the life of your very wise investment. If the unfortunate does happen and your safety cover is damaged, repairs can sometimes be very simple and inexpensive. If the damage is beyond what an average homeowner can repair you also have the option of sending it back to the manufacturer to have a professional replace paneling as needed.
If you do not currently own a pool safety cover, do your homework and explore all your options to determine which safety cover will best fit your needs…and pool! There are several manufacturers on the market that offer safety covers in a variety of styles. Compare warranty and reviews while shopping. Check up on the manufacturer you are interested in to ensure you will receive a quality cover in a timely fashion. Always save any paperwork associated with a safety cover purchase in the event a replica is ever needed. Send in all warranty cards and make sure to read all your instructions before installing and using a new safety cover.
The three main styles of pool safety covers are mesh, solid with mesh drain paneling, and solid with an automatic cover pump. All cover styles are subject to damage. Damage occurs to both the cover material and the hardware associated with it. The decking anchors can become stripped and seized, the springs can be stretched and damaged, and the material can be punctured by mother-nature or through someone’s carelessness.
Holes, Tears, and Rips:
The most common of damage! Always use caution when installing, removing and storing the safety cover, Make sure not to carelessly snag the cover on a sharp object or drag it over anything with the capability of puncturing the material. Even a deck anchor can create a rip if enough force is used when moving a cover. When storing you will want to first clean the cover and allow it to dry before placing it in the cover storage bag. Prevent rodents from having access to the stored cover and discourage mice from chewing through the paneling by using Mouse Away Pouches, moth balls or a similar product. Keeping up on the landscaping around the backyard and pool area will also help limit the chances that an unattended dead tree limb will fall down onto your pool cover.
Regardless of the preventative measures taken, a hole or tear still might occur. You will first want to inspect the damage and determine if this is something you will be able to fix on your own. Remember that the patch is not merely cosmetic but could at some point be under a high weight load. If your cover has snow accumulation or a layer of ice present do not attempt to adjust the cover. Sheets of ice can slice through material if you attempt to move the cover even slightly.
Smaller holes and little tears are simple. Self adhesive Patch kits are available in a variety of material so you can match your covers pattern and color. Mesh Pool Cover Patch Kits made by 3M are designed for damaged areas smaller than 3”x 6”. Before placing on a patch you will want to clean the compromised panel and allow to dry. I normally take a sharp pair of scissors and round off the corners of the patch to prevent it from peeling off. I apply a patch on both sides of the cover to ensure it will last. If done correctly a patched area can outlast the rest of the pool cover.
Larger patches can be custom made from pieces of mesh material cut out from one of the storage bags. Keep in mind this could be a weak point in your safety barrier. Again you will want to patch both side of the cover using patches with rounded corners. Use Gorilla Glue or a similar adhesive to apply your custom patches. Sewing a patch can be done but might be considered overkill. You would want to use a heavy duty thread.
When a cover tears at a seam you will want to send it into the manufacturer to inspect and repair. If the time has come to replace the cover they will be able to use the damaged cover as a template to ensure the anchor spacing is correct. Contact Poolcenter.com to get a return authorization and instructions on how to send in your cover.
You will want to ensure your cover springs are 2/3 of the way compressed every year. Also make sure the vinyl spring cover is in place to avoid any rubbing friction on the pool deck. If springs are over-tight they will become oblong where they connect to the anchor and eventually the coil will break. Replace all damaged springs and covers annually. Make sure water accumulation is properly draining through the mesh drain paneling or via a pool cover pump. Standing water is a safety hazard and can also warp material if water pools on the incorrect panel. If panel does create a pocket you will want to replace and adjust the tension of the strapping.
Anchors are usually threaded or spring loaded. You can use WD-40 to keep them lubed and a garden hose with a high pressure nozzle to spray out any grit that gets into the anchor casing. Over time the anchors can become seized in the deck or the anchor heads can get stripped. Extraction tools can be purchased to assist you in removing and replacing those old anchors.
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