Pool cover season is kicking into high gear here, especially for safety covers, which are pool covers that are strapped to deck anchors. We've done posts about the benefits of safety covers, or how to install a safety cover, or repair a safety cover. Today, we're talking about how to measure a pool for a custom safety cover.
Types of Safety Covers
Most safety covers are self draining, or you can order a solid safety cover, without drain panels, which keeps your pool cleaner and maintains your winter water balance better than mesh covers, or solid covers with drain panels, which block sunlight but allows rain to seep through.
Stock Covers and Custom Covers
If your pool is a standard shape, like most of the pool kits that we sell, you can order what's known as a Stock cover, which are common pool cover sizes, already manufactured and ready to ship.
Because the engineering and design work is already done on the cover, the price per square foot is also less than Custom covers. Plus, it's boxed up and ready to go! Stock covers are available in Rectangle and Grecian shapes, with center steps, left or right side steps, or no step section.
After measuring your pool, check our Safety Cover by Pool Size page, where you can find all of the available safety covers for a particular stock size.
A stock cover has to fit your pool size and shape exactly, within 3 inches and you cannot have any of these:
- Raised Walls, Trees or Boulders within 2 ft of the pool.
- Non-removable Rails, Ladders or Fountains within 2 ft of the pool.
- Deck level changes or Steps within 3 ft. of pool.
- Slide legs or Diving board within 2 ft. of pool.
- Pool raised above surrounding deck.
If you think you have a standard pool size, the thing to do would be to measure the pool. You'll need more than a yard stick, or 12 ft tape to get an accurate measurement on your pool. I recommend a tape measure on a reel for measuring a pool.
Measuring for a Custom Safety Pool Cover
If you have determined that you need a custom safety cover, "A-B" measurements of the pool are taken, so that your exact pool dimensions can be entered into a CAD program, and your exact pool shape reproduced on computer.
To measure for a custom safety cover, gather these supplies
- Reliable helper for 30 minutes.
- Duct tape or chalk
- Flexible measuring tape, 75'+
- Two thin stakes, 12-18" tall
- Pen and Clipboard
- Safety Cover Measurement Form
Step One: Place your points around the inside edge of the coping. You can use chalk or strips of duct tape to make your points around the pool. You'll want to space your points every 3 feet or so, but make them up to 1 foot apart in curvy or rocky areas, or for raised walls and stairs.
Any place that has a radius curve or irregularity to it, mark it as a point. Straight runs of pool wall can be marked every 3-4 ft. Non-removable obstructions within 2 ft of the pool water should be marked with points every few inches if needed, to accurately locate it.
The average pool has 40-50 points, so make sure to place enough points around the pool. With a sharpie, you can mark duct tape strips, I usually mark every fifth one (5, 10, 15...). If you use chalk, write the number on the pool deck next to every fifth point, plus the first and last point.
Step Two: Place your stakes on one of the long sides of the pool. Find a spot on one side of the pool, where you have earth that you can push in two stakes firmly. The stakes should both be 3-10 feet away from the pool edge, and about 20 feet apart from each other, or 2/3 of the pool length. These are known as your points A and B for triangulation measurement.
Step Three: Hook the end of the duct tape over the end of stake "A", so that it won't come off. It's best if the metal deal on the end of the measuring tape can swivel around the stake as you move around the pool. If you can't get the tape to swivel, or even stay put on the stake, you can duct tape the end of it to the stake. Take a measurement from your "A" stake to your B stake, and record it on your measurement form.
Step Four: Beginning at point #1, measure the distance from "A" stake. Call out your number to the helper, who writes down the measurement in the "A-1" cell of the form. Move onto the next point and call out the measures, and continue all the way around the pool.
Switch stakes, removing the tape measure from the "A" stake and putting it on your "B" stake. From the "B" stake, start your measuring again at point #1, and continue all the way around the pool.
Step Five: Take some cross measures by selecting some random cross pool measurements. With your helper holding the end of the tape firmly onto point 5, take a measurement across the pool to point 25, for example. Take several cross measurements, and record them on the safety cover measurement form. These are used as cross checks to the stake-to-point measurements.
Step Six: Break out your art skills, it's now time to sketch your pool on the grid section, and show the location of your stakes and points on a diagram. Use pencil, in case you need to erase. It doesn't have to be a perfect drawing, just roughly close the shape of the pool, showing all the points, and the location of your "A-B" stakes.
Step Seven: Fill in your Name and Address, and select the cover type (mesh, solid, solid with drain panels). Answer the "Important Information" questions carefully, which ask if anything unusual exists around the pool perimeter.
Step Eight: Send it off to us - either US Mail, Fax or Email the form. You can also send your measurements to other online companies to compare pricing, but I'll bet you won't find a cheaper price and a wider selection of manufacturers, on a custom safety cover than from SPP!
Get started! Now is the time to get those measurements in - safety covers take about 3 weeks to manufacture and ship, but nothing starts on a custom cover until we get your pool measurements!
SPP Pool Expert