How To Install A Tarp Cover For An Above-Ground Pool

When winter looms, you have to start thinking about closing your pool, but you likely forgot about buying a pool cover. A pool cover keeps the pool clean and prevents chemical loss. The most common type of winter pool cover is made from tarp with grommets and a cable to secure it. Follow these steps to install an above-ground pool cover for winter.

Prepare to Install the Cover

To install the pool cover, you need:

  • old towels
  • tape measure
  • scissors
  • pool clips, pool bags, or shrink wrap
  • hair dryer and extension cord (optional)
  • pool cleaning net
  • winterizing chemicals 
  • tarp pool cover 

Winterize the pool before you lay the cover. Reduce the water level to come below the skimmer mouth and return fitting. Ensure no water remains inside the skimmer mouth since frozen water can damage it.

Add the proper pool chemicals. Drain and detach the pumps and filters, then go over the pool surface with a pool net to remove debris. 

Lay the Tarp Cover

Measure the length and width of your pool, and buy a cover three to four inches larger than the measurements, since covers tend to dip in the pool. For example, if your custom swimming pool has a diameter of 100 inches, the ideal cover measures 103 to 104 inches.

Tarps are strong, but place old towels over sharp corners or protrusions to prevent tears. Spread the pool cover across the pool, using assistants, if needed.  

Thread the cable through the grommets, and then push it through the holes on each side of the winch. Consider adding a pool leaf net on top of the cover to catch leaves during the fall. 

Secure the Cover

It is especially important to secure the cover in high-wind areas. One way to secure a pool cover is with shrink wrap. 

Lay the shrink wrap so half of it lays over the tarp edge and the other half over the pool edge, and tape it in place. Cover the pool five times with the wrap, cut away the excess, and tuck the ends under previous layers.

Run an extension cord to the pool, and plug in the hair dryer. Set the hair dryer on high, hold it three to four inches from the wrap, and heat the wrap to mold it to the pool. Continue the process around the pool's perimeter. 

Alternately, secure the cover with pool clips to grasp the top rail. Another way to secure the cover is to set pool bags filled with water around the pool edges. Place the bag grommets on the cable.