If your swimming pool is not a standard shape such as Rectangle, Grecian, Oval (see list on our website of standard shapes) and you need to measure for winter safety cover than you would want to use the A-B measuring method. This method allows us to create a CAD drawing based on your measurements which triangulates your swimming pool and will create an exact image of your pool so a custom safety cover can be fabricated.
Below are the details of the exact procedure on how to A-B measure your pool and the tools necessary to provide those measurements. Measuring for a safety cover is not overly complicated and after reading below you will clearly understand the procedure.
After you take AB measurements, you send these off to us here at SPP, and myself or one of the other SPP Pool Experts will personally handle the order from start to finish. I have been selling safety covers for almost 20 years and have seen many different shapes and size pools - there's nothing we can't cover safely! All of our safety cover customers use the AB measurement method to provide us with the necessary information to make a cover that will fit perfectly - like a glove.
One of the more difficult covers I have worked on was a large freeform pool with a lazy river and a bridge going across the river, a dive rock and also a waterfall. John was very skeptical of AB measurements and was worried about the cover not fitting properly. After installing the cover he called me back to say thank you and let me know how well the cover fit and also how happy he was in the quality of the cover; as well as the amount of money he saved by measuring and installing the cover himself.
Another safety cover customer that I still distinctly remember because when I sent in the measurements for a custom safety cover, my designer called and said "Chris, I do not think these measurements are correct because the pool looks like a space ship from Star Wars". At the same time, the customer received the CAD drawing, and they also knew immediately something was wrong. She went back to double check the measurements and found that they accidentally skipped a box when filling out the measurement forms, and all of the measurements were off by 1 box - a simple mistake. The point is, mistakes like this, which produce strange shapes are usually caught, either by myself, the designers, or the customer, who gets a CAD drawing before manufacture, to be sure that it matches the pool shape.
Tools and Materials Needed
- Reel type of measuring tape - 100 ft length
- Chalk or duct tape to mark your points around the pool edge
- 2 tall stakes, pipes or long screwdrivers to mark A and B pts
- Measuring Form and a pencil
Setting A and B Points
You want to establish 2 points along the long side of your swimming pool. When choosing these points A & B, you always want the A measurement to be on your left side if you are looking at the long side of the pool when standing behind that line and looking at the pool. The B measurement will be located on the right hand side.
Mark your A&B points with long stakes and then mark down the exact measurement between the A & B, on the form, and draw the location of A & B on your sketch of the pool. The measurement between A & B should be about two-thirds the length of the pool for example if your pool is 30 feet long, the distance between A&B should be about 20 ft.
When locating your A & B line you must make sure that the distance is at least 3-4 feet off the water’s edge. If the A & B line is too close to the pools edge the points will intersect with the pool. There is no maximum distance from the pool.
If you have absolutely no place to insert A & B stakes into the ground, use chalk or tape to mark an exact location on the concrete. You'll need to have a helper to hold the measuring tape on the point, as you take the measurements around the pool.
Setting Numbered Points
You can use chalk or tape to mark the points around the pool edge. These points should be marked along the inside edge of the pool right on the pool coping. When starting to mark the points start with number 1, that will be closest to point A. Use chalk to mark the number of every fifth point (1, 5, 10, 15...), or if using duct tape strips, use a Sharpie pen. When marking these points all points should be no more than 2-3 feet apart. If you have a tight radius, rocks, raised walls, waterfalls or any type of obstruction mark areas at a 1 ft intervals.
A good rule of thumb is a standard freeform pool will typically have a minimum of 35 points and larger pools may have up to 60 points or more. Rectangle pools can use less, and space out points 3 or 4 feet apart. The more measurements you have, the more accurately the cover will fit - you can never provide too many measurements.
Measuring the Pool
Start by checking your exact measurement between the A & B points and record that on your measuring form. Next, attach a tape measure to point A or if you can’t attach it have someone hold the tape measure on Point A. Now measure the exact distance from point A to point #1, then point A to #2 and so on around the rest of the entire pool. Record the measurements on the form (rounding up to the nearest inch). After completing all of the measurements from point A, move the tape measure to Point B and then start at point #1 again, and continue around the pool. Next, take several cross dimensions from numbered point to numbered point, and mark them on the measurement form. Take measurements across the length, across the width, and diagonally across the pool, from point to point.
Measuring Obstructions or Raised Walls
Make sure you mark and name any obstructions on the form - those that can’t be removed for the winter time. Obstructions include slide legs, non removable rails or ladders, dive stands, rocks, planters, spa walls or anything that is within 2 feet of the pool edge. Also indicate any deck level changes, raised spas or seating areas, and make sure these points are clearly labeled on the drawing. If you have unusual obstructions such as a raised wall, raised spa, waterfalls or large boulders, digital photos are requested.
Sending us your Measurements
Specialty Pool Products
54 Newberry Road
East Windsor, CT 06088
Also make sure that you include a sketch of the pool showing the location of each obstruction and make sure they are clearly marked on the drawing. It is very important to make sure the A & B line location is clearly shown on the drawing and also the exact measurement between the A & B points, or length of the A-B line.
After reading this blog you should completely understand how to take A - B measurements for a safety cover. You will see that there is no need to pay a local pool dealer a lot of money to measure your freeform pool; you can measure, buy and install your own safety cover and save a significant amount of money. All you need is a little bit of patience and a helper to help you hold the tape measure, and to write the measurements on the measurement form.
Before we have a cover manufactured we send you an "Anchor Plot" - so you can check to make sure the shape and orientation of the pool is correct. If you need to make any changes then you do so and then we resubmit those measurements to your cover manufacturer.
So if you are one of those customers that gets a CAD drawing back and it looks like something from out of space like mentioned earlier do not worry, we'll both check your measurements and figure out what the problem was so that you receive a perfect fit custom safety cover.
After seeing how easy it is to install your own safety cover, you may be like several of my customers who raise a little extra fall income by measuring and installing safety covers in their home town.
SPP Pool Expert