Solid Vinyl versus Mesh Inground Winter Pool Covers: Which is Better?
During this time of the year when pool owners are sadly at the end of the swimming season, the topic of pool covers is one that is often discussed, with many pool owners electing to upgrade from their standard ‘tarp' style winter cover to a stronger, more permanent ‘security' style swimming pool cover. This desire to upgrade is very understandable considering tarp covers are poor winter covers, requiring a pump on top to keep any water off and only last 1-3 years before they need to be replaced. Once someone has decided to go with an upgraded winter cover, the question then turns to whether a solid or mesh cover will suit their needs the best. The following is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of security-style winter pool cover:
Mesh Cover Advantages:
-Mesh covers typically cost less than a solid vinyl pool cover. In most cases, the price difference between the two is $200-$600.
-Mesh covers typically last longer than vinyl covers. I've found the average lifespan for a mesh cover to be 10-15 years whereas a solid cover will typically last 7-11 years.
-Mesh covers do not need a pump on top because they just let the pool water pass through. This is nice because the submersible pumps used with solid vinyl covers usually only last about 2-4 years before they break down. These pumps can be rather costly, often times around $200-$250 each.
-Because a pump is needed with a solid winter cover, mesh covers generally require no work during the offseason.
-With their light-weight material, mesh covers can be taken on and off by one person in most cases, unlike solid covers which generally require at least two persons to take on and off.
Solid Cover Advantages:
-The main advantage to a solid vinyl winter pool cover is the fact that it does not allow sunlight to pass through. This is important because in the Spring when the pool water starts to warm up, algae will grow on the walls if it has contact (as it does with a mesh cover) to sunlight. This is also why people with mesh security covers tend to open up their pools a little earlier (before it gets too warm) than those with solid covers.
-Along with keeping sunlight out, solid vinyl covers keep water out of the pool as well. For example, when leaves fall on your pool cover during the winter and it rains, the leaves will cause the rain water to become very dirty. With a mesh cover, the dirty water will just pass right on through to the pool water, whereas with a solid cover it will be kept out, allowing the pool water to stay much cleaner. This cleaner water usually leads to very little brushing, vacuuming, chemicals, etc in the Spring to get the pool swimmable, unlike a mesh covered pool which will likely need a few days of vacuuming , brushing, and filtering before it is ready for the new season.
So there you have the advantages and the disadvantages to the two main types of pool security/winter covers. Knowing the benefits of each, cover manufacturers like Loop Loc and others have now begun to produce hybrid style covers that share some of the best features of each. For example, Loop Loc makes a cover that is solid vinyl with a small mesh opening in the middle. With such a design, this cover now prevents most sunlight from passing through to the water but it also does not have the need for a submersible pump on top.
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