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My Pool Cover Ripped During Winter, What Do I Do?

The purpose of a pool cover is to protect the integrity of the pool during the winter when it is not in use. When left uncovered, the pool is exposed to elements such as heavy snow, debris, wild animals, and more. When talking about a safety cover specifically, it also serves the purpose it providing a barrier for which children and pets can not fall in to the pool. When a cover becomes torn, it will not be performing according expectation and will not meet safety standards. In such a situation, you need to find the next course of action. This article will provide details on what to do in such a situation.  

Assess the Damage

Having seen that your pool cover is torn, the first order of business will be conducting a thorough assessment of damage on the cover. An inspection helps you determine the amount of damage and if there are other tears. This is very critical since the size of tear will tell if you need to repair or replace the pool cover. To assess the damage, walk around the pool, paying a close attention to every part of the cover and straps, as well as the “panels,” or large sections of material between the straps.

Does your pool cover need to be replaced?

Weigh Between Repair And Replacement

If the cover is ripped with several holes and tears beyond 7 inches and is giving signs of aging, it is advisable to consider shopping for a new one. Trying to repair such damage could end up costing you more than you would invest with a new cover, in terms of time and money. If the tears are less than 7 inches long and are just a few, and the cover can be patched and will provide many more years of use. Be sure to purchase safety cover patches that match your specific cover material, such as solid or mesh, to ensure proper repair.  Using the wrong patch could result in a faulty patch from poor adhesion.

How to Patch a Ripped Cover

With just a few simple steps, you can repair the cover on your own without having to involve a pool professional. This part of the article gives steps on how to go about this. 

Step 1: Clean the Tear

Begin by carefully cleaning the area around the tear if it is dirty or covered with debris. Exercise caution to avoid tearing the cover further. Cleaning the tear helps the patch adhere to the cover material easily for a better and long lasting solution. Remember to clean both the top and bottom side of the cover, as these two will require patching up

Step 2: Measure the Tear

Using a tape measure, determine the size of the tear. This step helps you determine the size of pool cover patch you will need for the job. You should use a patch that is 2 inches longer in each direction than the tear.

Step 3: Cut out the Edges

Using a pair scissors, remove the sharp edges and corners all-round the patch. This helps prevent the patch from coming off when it encounters other materials.

Step 4: Apply the Patch

Hold the edge of the patch with one hand and adhesive in the other, and pull it off. Place the torn part of the cover on a solid ground then carefully place the patch on the tear and use your palm to straighten it. Let the patch sit for 5 minutes before patching the other side of the cover. Give the cover several hours to allow the patch to strengthen before putting back the cover. 

Other options to repair

Beyond small tears and holes, safety covers can split at the seams, straps can become torn, and more.  Many safety cover manufacturers are willing to take back safety covers to perform professional grade repairs.  They can often times replace straps or whole panels within the cover.  You can often find repair guidelines on their websites, or you can consult a local pool company for advise.  Be advised, if a cover is beyond repair, the cover company will often times refuse to repair it and will deem is unusable, as often times a damaged cover is more dangerous than no cover at all.  

What Causes a Ripped Pool Cover?

Debris such as branches or fallen trees, storms, heavy snowfall, improper installation, rough coping without appropriate padding, poor fit, pet scratches and use of shovel when removing snow are some of the most notorious causes of damage to pool safety covers. While there is not much we can do about natural causes, we can protect covers from ripping by using pool rakes or leaf blowers to get rid of debris. In the event of snow build up on the cover, wait for it to melt and use a sump pump to suck the water off the surface. Using a shovel is not advised because it has sharp edges that could as well rip the cover. 

Having your safety pool cover fit to your specific pool and having it properly installed is crucial to its integrity and lifetime maintenance. An improperly installed pool cover is prone to sagging or puddling during winter, which can cause it to tear. It is also imperative to use the proper hardware for your particular deck material.  Standard or stamped concrete requires small brass anchors, while paver decks require 9-18” tubes for proper installation. Have your pool cover installed by a pool professional and avoid the stress.