Why pay someone to install a safety pool cover? If you are a homeowner that typically takes on backyard projects and has a little bit of patience you can definitely install your own safety cover and save yourself quite a bit of money. First, let's look at what tools you need in order to install your own safety cover, and we'll explain how to install a safety cover for both a Rectangular pool and a Freeform pool.
Tools for Installing a Pool Cover
- Heavy Duty Rotary Hammer Drill w/ a 3/4" Masonry bit.
- Tape measure
- Heavy hammer
- Chalk or Chalk Line
How to Install a Rectangle Pool Cover
Open the cover up and measure the overall length and width of the cover, corner to corner. Next measure the length and width of your pool, inside to inside. Divide the difference between cover and pool in half and mark the deck with chalk at the ends of this distance from the pool edge.
For example a 16'x32' pool with a cover size of 18'x34' has a difference of 2 feet. Half of this gives us 1ft on each end of the pool. Place 2 chalk marks at each corner of the pool, where the pool cover corner should lay on the deck.
Next, take a chalk line and snap a chalk line between all four chalk marks you made on the pool deck, extending 30" beyond each corner chalk marks. Now do the same for the width of the pool.
Start on 1 corner and locate where the 2 chalk lines intersect. Starting at the intersecting point measure 16" towards the end of both lines and mark these positions along the deck. Do the same for the other 3 corners.
Plug in the drill, let's make some holes! Drill the corners at the marks you made - at 16". Attach the springs and adjust both straps on all four corners, so that the cover is centered and taught, and the springs are about halfway compressed. Now you can snap a new chalk line from anchor to anchor, or measure at each strap, 16 inches back from the cover edge, and drill each hole for the remaining straps, on the sides and the ends.
How to Install a Freeform Pool Cover
For a shape other than a rectangle, we can't use the measurement method - instead, we'll use the "centering method". Place the cover over the pool so that it floats on the water and overlaps the edge equally all around the pool. Drop a cover spring next to each strap and place all the springs on the straps, (see below).
After all of the springs are on the cover, spend more time making sure that you have equal overlap all of the way around. Having the water level high in the pool will help the cover overlap more easily, as it floats on the water. You can also use buckets of water, or the water bags from your old cover, to hold the freeform cover in place, centered over the pool.
The straps that run the length of the pool should all be running straight, and not skewed in any direction. After you are sure that the cover is perfectly centered over the pool, drill your first anchor holes, for the straps that come off the longest and most central straps. For the rectangular safety cover, we worked from the outside (corners) in - but with freeform pool shapes we will start on the inside, and work towards the outside straps.
Drill 2 holes on each end of the pool, 4-8" behind where the strap lays on the deck, and directly in-line with the direction of the seam running the length of the cover. Don't attach the springs to the anchors yet, instead - switch sides, and drill the exact opposite springs, then attach the entire set. After you attach your first set of 2 springs on each end of the pool, adjust the straps so that the tension and overlap is equal on both sides.
Switch from the end of the pool to the sides, and drill 2 anchors on each side, 4-8" behind where the strap lays on the deck, for the straps running across the center of the pool cover. After you have drilled the holes on both sides, install the anchors and connect all of the springs. Adjust the straps if necessary, so the cover is centered, spring tension is equal and the panel seams are running parallel and perpendicular to each other.
Continue in this manner by drilling in 2 more on each end, on either side of the anchors already installed, then switch sides and drill 2 on each side. Attach and adjust all 4 anchors (on the end or the side), before moving forward.
How to Drill Holes in your Concrete Pool Deck
- Use a heavy duty rotary hammer drill - not a hand held drill.
- Hold the drill firmly, it can lock up if you hit some rebar.
- A piece of tape on your drill bit, at 1-3/4", can serve as a depth guide.
How to Tamp Brass Anchors into your Concrete Pool Deck
- Use a garden hose or wet/dry vac to remove the concrete dust.
- Check hole depth with your tamping tool before inserting the anchor body in the hole.
- Separate the anchor into it's two halves, use the tamping tool and hammer to press fit the anchor into the hole.
- Thread the insert piece of the brass anchor about halfway down.
How to Connect the Springs to the Straps
- Place the strap through the triangular end of the spring, with the rounded end pointing downward.
- Run the end of the strap through the slot closest to the strap.
- Turn the strap backwards and pull it through the second slot.
- If you need to lengthen the straps, you can slide the buckle down toward the end of the strap.
- When connected to anchors, your springs should be about halfway compressed.
When all of your cover anchors have been installed and all of your springs attached, make final adjustments to the tension of the springs. A safety pool cover installation should take no more than a 2-3 hours to complete. Still enough time left in the day to return the rental drill, and take some pictures of your handiwork!
If you have other questions, comments or concerns about a safety pool cover installation, feel free to give us a call!
SPP Pool Expert