Over the years we have been asked a lot of questions about installing a pool cover, and there always seems to be a small group of questions that are asked over and over again. So let’s tackle them first.
Do you lay the bubble side up facing the sky or down facing the water?
The answer is the bubble side faces down facing the water. Can you imagine trying to clean the dirt off the pool cover if the bubble side faced up.
What do you use to cut in a pool cover, scissors or a Stanley knife?
The answer is scissors and just a pair of scissors from a $2.00 shop is all you need and they will do a great job. Stanley knives don’t give enough control when you’re cutting in a pool cover.
Do you cut the pool cover flush to the pool wall or longer so that it pals up the sides of the pool?
This answer largely comes down to the pool owner’s preference, but it must be remembered that a pool cover will shrink a small amount in its first six weeks of life on the swimming pool. So, if you cut the pool cover flush to the pool wall to begin with, you risk having the pool cover shrink away from the pool wall soon after you install it. A better plan is to cut the pool cover in long at the start and then about six weeks later go back and trim it in flush if you want. By that time, any shrinkage will have already taken place. What I am seeing is that a majority of customers prefer to leave the pool cover cut long as it then does a better job of controlling leaves in the pool. If you are going to cut it in this way, remember to make two vertical cuts in the pool cover at the skimmer box channel entrance. Then push the flap you have made into the skimmer box channel. This will allow you to hose or sweep any debris that falls onto the pool cover into the skimmer box and capture it in the skimmer basket.
So, how to start:
- After you have rolled out the pool cover onto the pool make sure it sits straight on the swimming pool and has an even overhang on the pool on all sides.
- It’s a good idea to tap the pool cover down into the pool using the pool broom to make sure it sits down into the pool.
- First Cut: If there is a long straight side, trim about a two bubble width off it to make sure the side is straight and push the side down into the water so that the cover lays flat on the water right up to the pool wall with some of the cover lapping up the side of the pool wall.
- Now tuck the top edge of the pool cover under the overhanging pool coping if there is one. If there isn’t an overhanging pool coping allow the cover to lap up the pool wall about 100mm. First Side Done!
- If you have a partner to assist you, get them to sit on the side of the pool that you just cut ( the first side) and have them hold the pool cover in place while you move around to the opposing side of the pool ( the second side) to make the second cut. If you are doing this for the first time it’s a good idea to have your partner hold the pool cover in position while you go to make the second cut, because you run the risk of pulling the pool cover away from the first side wall when you are trying to make the second cut. This would result in the pool cover being cut too short.
- Second Cut: With your partner holding side 1 of the pool cover in place, push side 2 down towards the water so that the pool cover lays flat on the water right up to the pool wall. The remainder of the pool cover will lap up the side of the pool wall. Now, find the point where the pool cover comes up past the overhanging pool coping. This is the point where you cut side number two.
- Make the cut for side number two and then tuck that side under the overhanging pool coping. Side number two done.
- Because side one and two are on opposite sides of the pool and therefore are opposing each other, they will lock each other in position and your partner does not have to hold the cover in position on side one any longer.
- Your can now repeat the entire process on the narrow sides of the pool to complete the cuts for sides three and four. Cutting in almost complete!
- At this point with the pool cover all trimmed in, you will almost certainly notice that some pockets of air have been trapped under the pool cover forming lumps and bulges in the pool cover as it lays on the pool surface. These lumps and bulges will to a small degree interfere with the ideal length and width of the pool cover as it lays on the water’s surface. To deal with this, using the long pool broom, push as much of this captured air towards the side of the pool so that it escapes from under the pool cover. Once this is done, the pool cover will now sit a little flatter on the water’s surface than before.
- Now that some of the captured air released from under the pool cover, take a final slow walk around the pool and look to see if any final trimming is necessary.
Two things are certain when cutting in a pool cover.
- Once you cut it off, you cannot put it back. So it is far better to cut off a small amount if you are not confident and sneak up on the final result.
- No one is offering a prize for the fastest cut in, so go slowly and think about each section.
If you remember these two points alone, and take plenty of time and only take off small amounts each time, it is difficult to make a mistake.
Even the Pro’s started out following this advice.