Installing An Above-Ground Winter Pool Cover

Lead Image
  • 4-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 200-400
What You'll Need
Pool cover with an adequate amount of overlap
Old towels
Pool clips or winter cover seal

Use a winter pool cover to protect your pool from debris, algae and chemical loss through evaporation during cold months when the pool is not in use. This type of cover is generally a tarp that has grommets around the perimeter, along with a cable and winch that secures it in place.

Although installing an above ground pool cover is quick and easy, you must do it properly so you do not damage or tear your cover. Follow these steps to properly install your cover that will keep your pool safe during the long winter and ready for the next swimming season.

Step 1 – Winterize Your Pool

Before installing your above ground pool cover, make sure you have winterized your pool. This procedure includes cleaning the pool thoroughly, disconnecting the pump and filter, reducing the water level until the skimmer and return fitting, and adding the appropriate pool chemicals.

Although the cover is made of strong material, you should still cover sharp corners and any protrusions in your pool with pieces of foam or old towels to prevent any tear.

Step 2 – Lay the Pool Cover

Make sure you purchase a cover that is a little bigger in size than your pool, so it covers the top completely and has enough material to hang over the sides. Generally, a 3 to 4-foot overlap is ideal to secure the cover tightly in place.

Spread your cover over the pool, with the overlapping material even all the way around. You may need another person to help you lay the cover.

Step 3 – Secure the Pool Cover

With your pool cover in place, insert the cable through the loops or grommets that are all around the edge of the cover. Place both ends of the cable into the holes that are placed at each opposite side of the winch. Pull both the ends of the cable as hard as possible and begin turning the winch slowly to tighten the cover on the pool.

Step 4 - Cover the Sides of the Pool

After securing the pool cover from the top, form a cover that runs the entire perimeter around the sides of the pool. If the side covers are not secured, they will constantly flap with the wind and eventually weaken the cover or cause it to tear.

There are a few ways to secure the sides and greatly reduce any wind damage. You can place water-filled pool cover bags around the cover’s inner perimeter. The grommets on these bags are attached to the cable of your pool cover and placed securely. Another option is to use a stretchable material called a winter cover seal around the edge of the pool. You can also use pool clips that hold the cover securely after you attach them to the rail of the pool.