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Pool Cover Damage - Repair or Replace?

From the heavy rain and snow, to the endless storms, winter time can be a doozy. Especially for your pool and pool cover. Once spring time rolls around, thousands of pool owners face damaged pool covers, and the question: should you replace it or repair it?

Pool cover repair can be successful, depending on the following factors:

  • Age of the cover
  • Extent of the damage
  • Repair materials used
  • Method of repair

Let's cover each of these areas of pool cover repair, to help you determine if a successful cover repair is likely, or if you should recycle or re-purpose your old pool cover, bite the bullet, and buy a new one.

Age of the Cover

If your pool cover is only a couple of years old, and shows no other signs of deterioration (other than your current problem), then you may want to consider patching it, especially if it was an expensive cover, with a long warranty. Speaking of warranty, about the only valid warranty claim is a pool cover that has separated along the seam, for floating type pool covers. Most everything else is either an Act of God, or neglect (not keeping it pumped off and clean). But if you have an actual defect in materials or workmanship, by all means contact the dealer you purchased your pool cover from, with your purchase information. Safety covers typically have a 10-12 yr warranty, and can last much longer. But again, it doesn't cover tree branches or snow loads, which tend to cause the most damage with punctured material or broken straps.

Extent of Pool Cover Damage

Any small rip or tear in a pool cover under 6" in length is a pretty easy repair. But, if you've got a rip along one whole side of the cover, or if the tear is long and curved, then repairing the pool cover may be impossible, or with little chance of success, like the picture shown right.

Safety covers may lose their straps along one side of the pool, like the picture above, or have damaged several panels. Even such major damage could still be a candidate for repair by the factory, or local pool cover repair company, if the cover still has a lot of life left in it.

Cover Repair Materials

patch kit for pool cover repair

For solid pool covers, the type that float on the pool water, you want to use a thick tape that is moisture resistant. Polyethylene tapes are best, to match the pool cover material; stay away from cloth tapes, like Gorilla Tape. We carry an aluminum reinforced PE tape that is waterproof and very sticky - we call it our winter cover patch kit, what else? Other tapes that could be used include Nashua 361-11 Waterproofing Tape and 3M 6969 industrial tape.

For safety pool covers, the type that anchor into the deck, we carry an appropriately named safety cover patch kit. Just peel and stick, for pool cover repairs up to 8" long, or link them together for longer tears. You can also use rubber cement and pieces of the mesh or solid safety cover material. Apply the glue to a patch on both sides and press together with something heavy until dry. Straps can be replaced with nylon webbing (strapping) available at a fabric store, and stitched in place with an awl.

Cover Repair Methods

To make a good cover repair, here are some tips:

  • Clean and dry the area to be patched.
  • Cut patches to create rounded corners, or oval patches.
  • Patch on both sides for extra durability.
  • Place something heavy on the patch for 6-12 hours before folding.
  • Don't fold the cover on the patch, allow it to lay flat.

For safety pool covers, if the repair is too much for a shade tree pool cover repair - you can send it off to the manufacturer - but you may have to contact the dealer whom you purchased the cover from and have them get a PO number for your cover.

You could also send it to one of the many companies that do industrial sewing, making repairs to pool covers, sails, awnings, tents, boat covers and such. You may have one nearby that has the space and equipment to handle pool cover repair.

Here are a few such companies that do safety pool cover repairs.

A damaged pool cover doesn't always mean you need to replace it! A little DIY or professional repair work can have your cover back to looking brand new.

In The Swim makes every effort to provide accurate recommendations based upon current ANSI/APSP/ICC-5 2011 (R2022) standards, but codes and regulations change, and In The Swim assumes no liability for any omissions or errors in this article or the outcome of any project. You must always exercise reasonable caution, carefully read the label on all products, follow all product directions, follow any current codes and regulations that may apply, and consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. In The Swim assumes no legal responsibility for your reliance or interpretation of the data contained herein, and makes no representations or warranties of any kind concerning the quality, safety, or suitability of the information, whether express or implied, including, without limitation, any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.