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Solid Vinyl versus Mesh Inground Winter Pool Covers: Which is Better?


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.

Further questions or comments regarding pool covers? Just leave a comment below and as always, don't forget to subscribe to our blog to receive all the latest news, tips, and information for swimming pool owners.

Marcus Sheridan

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One issue I didn't of when I bought my Leisure 33 Elegance was the requirement and more importantly the cost of having to purchase a custom-made security cover (due to the odd-shaped design to accomidate the Elegance's steps). 
For the first winter season at pool closing time, my installer sent someone to lay down the cover which was included in the pool package. 
This cover amounted to be an oversized and very ill-fitting solid cover with water bags (which leaked after 1 month). 
The backyard looks horrendous! (and he charged me $299 to close the pool to boot!! ;-(  
The installer was hesitant to install a security cover for the first winter season because he claimed that the stamped concrete deck needed more time to cure before drilling the pool cover anchors.. 
The deck was 3-4 months old at the time.  
It was poured in early August and the pool was closed Mid-November. 
I think that the Leisure salesman should be more "Up-Front" with the allmost $1600.00 cost required for a security pool cover costs, rather then trying to slip the old "Pool Cover Included" trick into the contract.. 
Feel free to comment class???
Posted @ Wednesday, February 23, 2011 8:01 AM by Phil B
Most standard covers are 'tarp' covers Phil. Without seeing your contract and without having been there, I honestly wouldn't want to speculate on what was said or what should have been said. 
I'm sorry you're disapointed with the way your project went but hopefully you'll be very happy with owning a pool when it's all said and done.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 23, 2011 11:04 AM by Marcus Sheridan
Is it possible to put a solid cover either over or under the mesh loop Lock,having the security of the Loop Lock,and the cleanliness of the water at opening?
Posted @ Thursday, August 25, 2011 9:53 AM by David Haney
Hi David, I'd suggest that you get a solid cover from Loop Loc that has a center piece that's mesh. If you go to Loop Loc's website, you'll see what I'm talking about. 
Posted @ Saturday, August 27, 2011 11:24 AM by Marcus Sheridan
Hey Marcus! My 16X32 Mesh Cover is "SHOT", i.e. brittle and nearly 1/2 of the underside has fallen into the pool in last 2 years. I cannot afford a NEW security cover. And I will save for that new Loop Loc design! But in meantime, can I install the old mesh for SECURITY, and then put on top of that a professional fitted (i.e. much cheaper route) tarp with water bags? i.e. i want the dirty rain water and small debris not to get in and algae to grow! And given this application, would I need a pump at all? Can I just let the snow and rain just "roll off" the anchored surface? Thanks!
Posted @ Monday, September 26, 2011 10:40 AM by BN
Hi BN,  
The quick answer to your question is 'yes', you can put a tarp on an existing security cover, but you'll certainly need a pump, no way around that one, and you're not going to be able to set up a system that has the water run off. 
good luck! 
Posted @ Wednesday, September 28, 2011 12:02 AM by Marcus Sheridan
First time pool owner trying to decide between mesh and solid. the one with the mesh center doesnt that still let the dirty water in? I been thinking of the solid cover and then brand loop loc, meyco or rayner? do have any guidance
Posted @ Wednesday, October 05, 2011 11:54 PM by McKinney
do you need to pump water out of a pool during the winter if you have a mesh cover?
Posted @ Wednesday, November 02, 2011 1:25 PM by Alex Wells
Have had solid safety cover with sub. pump for 3 seasons. Noticed when I took cover off last week it is becoming white and brittle looking along the edges about 1 foot in. This never touched water in winter and had no ice or snow. GLI Pool Products of Youngstown, Oh (12 year limited warranty) wont honor warranty claiming damage caused by chemicals or sunlight. I use a salt generator during summer. Careful with chemicals. No way chemicals could cause damage and 3 winters of low angle sunlight?? Is this typical of pool cover comapnies to refuse warrany. What could have caused damage?
Posted @ Wednesday, May 16, 2012 11:31 AM by Floyd Crowder
Regarding the above comment about being able to put a tarp "over" an existing mesh cover, I have done that and despite our efforts to hold it down with plastic waterfilled milk bottles, the tarp was constantly blowing away during the winter. For the last two years, we just used the mesh safety cover and it our pool opens black and takes at least two weeks and several hundred dollars to get it cleared up. We were told by our neighbor that the previous owner of our house used to put a solid tarp "under" the safety mesh cover and he opened very clean every year. I have seen products called "safety cover-mates" and "mesh mates", which float on the surface of the pool below the mesh safety cover. My 2 questions are, what would be the difference between any dark color vinyl or tarp and these cover mates, and what keeps the cover mates or tarps from sinking to the bottom once water gets through the mesh and sits on top of the vinyl tarp or mate. I don't have the money to buy a new solid safety cover and am looking for a way to open cleaner in the spring. 
Posted @ Sunday, September 16, 2012 10:49 PM by jodee
Can/should you use a solid winter cover that has drilled in pegs on an in-ground pool that has pavers (not cement) surrounding it?
Posted @ Friday, September 21, 2012 11:28 AM by Dar
In most cases Dar, you'll need copper rods instead of your normal anchors. The rods are about 12" or so and are driven in the ground.
Posted @ Saturday, September 22, 2012 8:57 AM by Marcus Sheridan
Nice Post with information regarding great use! The ways you have illustrated the information is impressive. Thanks! 
Posted @ Monday, December 24, 2012 12:52 AM by Pool Covers
I have to add that I was not feeling well last year at closing season and did not cover my pool. Well, it's perfect now in August, but I spent so much time and money getting the pool together this spring. I will not do the mesh cover because previously with the solid cover the pool is ready to go in the spring. But I am sick of jerking around with a pump during the cold winter. So, I guess I will jerk around with the pump this winter! I just wish I could find some good pillows that do not leak!
Posted @ Tuesday, August 06, 2013 4:30 PM by Clare
I'm having a different pool company close my vinyl, safety mesh covered inground pool. They require that I have a Little Giant pump that they will place on my stairs before covering the pool. Then they want me to pull it out before winter/ice sets in (in Mass, probably in November). I've never had to deal with this with any other company, i.e., I drain it down to under the skimmer line, they drain it some more, close it up for the winter, and that's it. So the question is - does one really need a pump under a safety mesh cover? 
Posted @ Sunday, August 18, 2013 9:13 AM by cindy
I am currently looking for a pool cover. In the past I have just used a tarp and have zero problems in the Spring with my water. My question is are the sun blocking mess covers going to cause me issues with my water or will it keep a majority of the sun and debris out of the pool during the winter months.
Posted @ Saturday, August 31, 2013 5:49 AM by Bill
Have seen winter covers that notch in to the trim edge or cosmetic lip on the top of liner , plenty of slack for H2o. and snow issues , would not create a collapse issue , has somebody got this product , Need to know !!!
Posted @ Wednesday, September 04, 2013 7:49 PM by Deputy
we dumped our pool 7 yrs ago. no use.want to put a safety cover on.pool not in use.which type and or brand do you recommend
Posted @ Friday, September 06, 2013 3:34 PM by ken williams
Nice post, I like to read it. Thank you very much for sharing this here with us.
Posted @ Monday, September 09, 2013 4:53 AM by hot tub covers toronto
Great post, I like it and bookmarked it for future ref. Thank you very much for providing this important info here.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 10, 2013 1:55 AM by Pool covers canada
My parents need a new winter cover. Must withstand Ohio winters. They have had tarp cover with water bags. Is there a better solution that I can anchor down and is appropriate for their winter weather. They are a bit older so convenience at spring opening is also important.
Posted @ Sunday, September 29, 2013 8:12 PM by Doug
I have a 16'x 36' free form in ground pool (24K gallons). The shallow end is actually 20' wide so I am not sure how they measure. I was given an estimate of $3,212 for the mesh cover and $4,043 for the solid. These are the Loop-loc covers. That does not include the tax, installation and shipping. Is this reasonable? It will need to be custom made but it sounds a little steep to me. 
Posted @ Wednesday, October 09, 2013 1:27 PM by Denise Merrifield
I live in okla and sometimes get ice and 1-2 ft of snow. I am going to get a mesh safety cover. Which manufacturer do you like best? I was thinking Loop loc or GLI. Also is Doheney's a reputable company to buy from?
Posted @ Tuesday, October 15, 2013 1:35 PM by jay horne
I just got a mesh cover for my in ground pool. Problem is it sinks once water is on top of it.Should I try to suspend it over the water with ropes. If I do that I'm afraid the weight of snow will be too much for it
Posted @ Tuesday, November 05, 2013 4:58 AM by Daniel Adams
I live in Massachusetts and I am having a safety cover installed in late November.... I am nervous about the stamped concrete cracking.... should I wait till springtime next year to have the safety cover installed?
Posted @ Saturday, November 09, 2013 8:46 AM by mike quirk
What about using an inflatable plastic pillow under a mesh tarp (making a high spot in the middle) in ground pool cover to run the water off? wouldnt need a pump then!?
Posted @ Sunday, January 05, 2014 8:41 PM by Ken
Thanks for this relevant article. Every detail about pool safety is so accurately mentioned here and the information about the pool covers is too good. 
Posted @ Wednesday, January 08, 2014 2:29 AM by Design a Pool
Thanks for this relevant article. Every detail about pool safety is so accurately mentioned here and the information about the pool covers is too relevant. 
Posted @ Wednesday, January 08, 2014 10:01 PM by Design a Pool
It seems that mesh is more practical. Thanks for this enlightening post. 
Posted @ Saturday, January 18, 2014 3:14 AM by Fencing services in Brisbane by Fence Co
In this post, you have given in-depth information about pool covers. I really enjoyed reading it.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 11, 2014 11:57 PM by Everything about Pools
Nice Post. Thanks. Yes, this is true that pool cover is needed for safety of pool. It is true and relevant information about swimming pool and its cover. But we can paint our swimming pool to keep it safe. Epoxy pool paint is a great choice to paint our pool which ha low cost and more efficient than other pool paint to look better.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 12, 2014 11:36 PM by Swimming Pool Paint
Great in-depth article about the pool covers. Would be awesome if you could write some lines about fiberglass pool covers as well! 
Posted @ Wednesday, February 26, 2014 1:45 AM by Lisa - GFK Pool Profi
Great to know about Loop Loc. Now I need not weigh about the pros cons of mesh and solid vinyl wall covers. I guess Loop Loc features the best of both worlds. Will check it out! 
Posted @ Friday, March 07, 2014 5:05 AM by Select the best pool supplies from SPR Pool and Spa in Ipswich
Nice Post with information regarding pool covers! The ways you have showed is impressive. Thanks for sharing these.
Posted @ Saturday, March 22, 2014 2:06 AM by Tips to Choose the Right Pool Safety
Solid vinyl is much better than mesh in ground at least on the factor of servicing. It's easy to be cleaned and serviced as compared to mesh in ground and hence the servicing part costs you less. There is one more benefit of owning a vinyl pool as it would be easy to get a <a href ="">Swimming Pool Maintenance Woodland Hills
Posted @ Monday, May 05, 2014 7:25 AM by Eliana
The solid vinyl pool covers are much better than the mesh inground winter pool covers. You need not to take tension of the amount of water falling on it. There are <a href ="">Pool Cleaner Encino and they will only suggest you to use there service then others. Its always very important to be choosy when it comes to pool covers.
Posted @ Thursday, May 08, 2014 6:43 AM by Sam
Hi. I need to replace my pool cover. Pool is 47x25' free form. We are considering solid rather than mesh. Two questions: 
1) is there something we can pur around the edge under the cover to protect the cover from fraying? 
2) why aren't solid covers insstalled with the big balls under the cover so that the water doesn't accumulate and require a pump? 
Thank you. Liz
Posted @ Sunday, May 18, 2014 8:26 AM by liz
I really wouldn't mind having a more expensive solid vinyl pool cover. Although mesh and solid vinyl are both good security measures when pools are not in use, the latter needs little effort and maintenance in keeping the pool clean when not in use. 
Posted @ Thursday, June 12, 2014 4:58 AM by Choose the best pest control services
Solid Vinyl pool cover is better than winter pool covers.
Posted @ Thursday, July 17, 2014 12:21 AM by PaulP
Howbcan I install a solid loop n loc winter cover with only 3 foot of concrete around my inground pool?
Posted @ Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:18 AM by Terrie Scott
Outdoor activities are always more interesting and exiting than indoor activities. Let's spend more time with the sunshine, the trees and the birds, which could make us feel so relaxed. Pick up some pretty stuff and move on! 
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