Can a Pool Cover be Patched?

It is certain that no matter how well you care for your pool, there is going to come a time when things wear down, break, or need to be replaced entirely. Although these things are inevitable, it does not make seeing a rip in your pool cover any easier. Can the spot be patched? 

A pool cover can be patched in a few different ways. If you have a winter pool cover with a rip less than 7 inches, you can use a repair patch to seal up the area. For safety covers with rips less than 3 inches you can use a safety cover patch or vinyl patch to mend the damaged area.

Pool covers, whether they are winter covers or safety covers, provide protection for your pool during harsh winter months, but also keep the area safe for those who are within the area during the off-season. Because of this, you want a cover that is secure and fully intact so that it can perform without issue. Continue reading to see a step-by-step guide to patching a torn pool cover. 

How to Patch a Winter Pool Cover 

If you are new to the pool arena, you may be surprised to hear that there is more than one type of cover out there. You may be even more surprised to hear that they are wildly different from one another – although they do share a few key traits. 

When you hear about winter pool covers, the conversation is going to revolve around a cover that is made of a UV-resistant material that helps to fight off algae-feeding sunlight. They are thin, very easily maneuvered to fit various pool shapes, and are low maintenance as far as installation is concerned. 

Winter pool covers are also installed in order to keep dirt, debris, and other types of intruders out of your pool during the winter months. They work to protect your pool during the off-season and also keep you from having to drain your pool of water every winter. These types of covers are typically used for above-ground pools. 

The material a winter pool cover is made of is tightly weaved, which makes it very durable. Even with its ability to withstand falling limbs, heavy snow, and the occasional rodent running across its surface, they are still susceptible to damage. Rips and tears happen, but this does not mean you need to throw the pool cover away. If the tear is smaller than 7 inches, it is likely an easy fix and one that will keep your winter pool cover working at peak performance. 

The best way to fix a rip or tear in your cover is through the use of a repair patch kit. These are easy to find and are the most reliable method for getting your winter pool cover back in working order. But how do you go about installing one? 

How to Use a Repair Patch Kit on a Winter Pool Cover

A repair patch kit is going to be the most reliable option and likely the easiest choice for any tears or rips on your winter pool cover. These are designed in a way that will help to maintain the structural integrity of your pool and will last for multiple seasons without any noticeable wear. 

A repair patch kit can be purchased online or you can find them at your local pool store. They are easily installed and take only seconds to apply and then the repair has been made. They are low fuss and can be applied to tiny holes and rips as well as larger rips (usually up to 7 inches) and can be customized to fit each space with a little bit of measuring and cutting down.

To apply a repair patch kit on a winter pool cover, follow these steps: 

1. Clean the Area 

You want to make sure that the area is first free of any type of dirt or debris. This should be done on both sides of the winter pool cover as patches will be applied to the top as well as underneath the rip. If the area is dirty or has even a bit of dust on it, it can prevent the patch from sticking and can result in a patch that is capable of being used effectively. Clean the area with a damp rag or even better, with rubbing alcohol to ensure it is spotless. 

2. Measure the Tear 

If you are one who typically goes at a task full force without thinking at times, you are not alone. This can sometimes lead to careless mistakes though and this is why measuring the area of the tear is so important. Before cutting the repair patch, accurately measure the area so that you know exactly how long the rip is. Once you have your measurements, measure out a piece of patching 2-3 inches larger than the tear to ensure sufficient coverage. 

If you add a piece of repair patching that is just barely bigger than the tear, you risk the chance of the tear growing because it does not have enough support on either end that is holding together any loose fibers that have not yet ripped. This extra area of support helps to cover any part of the tear that has the potential to spread and also reinforces the tear itself due to a larger area being covered. 

3. Tailor the Repair Patch 

This sounds a bit more formal than it actually is. Tailoring the repair patch only means cutting the patch in a way that is most conducive to longevity. This means cutting the patch in a rounded way to ensure that no corners peel up over time. If edges are rounded, they are less likely to rub against other surfaces as harshly and thus have a better chance at wearing well which means fewer patch replacements for you. 

4. Apply the Repair Patch 

You may be inclined to only apply the patch to the top surface of the rip in your winter pool cover, but don’t be so fast. A repair patch should be placed on both sides of the tear to ensure the most support and also help to keep the tear from getting any larger. First, apply the patch to the bottom of the tear and then carefully flip the cover over and apply it directly matching at the top of the tear. 

5. Allow the Repair Patch to Set 

Once you have the repair patch in place, do not move your winter pool cover. Let the patch set for a few hours to ensure that a good bond has been made between the two patches. To be even more thorough, place a heavy object over the patch and give the area a bit more direct bonding due to the weight above it. Once time has passed, you can place the cover back on the pool. Be sure to never let the patch bend or fold to maintain the proper structure.

How to Patch a Safety Pool Cover 

Winter pool covers and safety pool covers do share the same purpose in that they both protect your pool from debris and other types of pollutants during the winter months. However, they differ in the material that they are made of as well as the purpose of their function. Winter pool covers are thin, flimsy, and are usually a bit loose when they are installed. A safety pool cover is very thick, very tight, and is intended to protect people from falling into the water. 

The protective feature of a safety pool cover is what really separates it from its winter pool cover counterpart. Safety pool covers are most often made of vinyl as the mesh options do not fare well when it comes to keeping debris and excess water out of your pool. Vinyl safety covers are thick, extremely durable, and largely effective. Even with their solid construction, they are also susceptible to damage and this can come in the form of rips and tears. 

These types of covers are much more expensive than winter pool covers, so walking out to see a rip in these may stop you dead in your tracks. But before you allow your blood pressure to shoot up, take ease in knowing that you likely can repair it on your own as long as the rip is relatively straight and it does not exceed 3 inches. If you find your cover has ripped along the edges or is one that is very misshapen, you may need to send it off to a professional.

It may seem like a bit of a more difficult task to repair this type of pool cover, but it certainly can be done. There are a few different methods that you can look into to see which will work best for a safety pool cover. 

Solid Cover Patch 

A solid cover patch is going to be much thicker than a repair patch that would be used for a winter pool cover. Because a solid cover is made of vinyl, it needs a material that is going to be strong enough to hold the tear together without pulling apart from either side of the tear due to the strain that the cover encounters over the course of the winter being pulled tautly. This patch matches the strength of the cover and thus performs very well over time. 

Although the material might be different, the application is just the same as that of a winter pool repair patch. Refer above to get a more in-depth description, but here are the key steps to applying a solid cover patch. 

1. Clean the Area 

Using a damp rag or rubbing alcohol, clean the area well to make sure it is free of any dust that could cause the adhesive to stick improperly. 

2. Measure the Tear 

You want the patch to be around 2-3 inches larger than the tear itself to ensure that the tear will not spread and that it is properly reinforced. 

3. Tailor the Solid Cover Patch 

Round out the edges of the repair patch so that no sharp corners are present. They are more inclined to raising over time which can make the need for another repair patch to be applied. 

4. Apply the Solid Cover Patch

Once the patch has been cut properly, apply it on both sides of the tear. This creates a more stable support for the tear and will last much longer than if you were to only apply the patch on top of the cover. 

5. Allow the Solid Cover Patch to Set

Once the patches have been applied, give them time to properly set. Keep the area flat and reinforce the patches with a heavy object over top of them. After a few hours, the cover and be put back on. Never allow the patched area to bend or fold, always keep that section flat.

Vinyl Patch Kit 

Vinyl patch kits are the super-duty of pool cover tear repairs. They are made of vinyl and come with a super-strength adhesive that will last for years and years of use. This type of patch kit is one that can even be applied underwater, although you may be in over your head if you are repairing a pool cover underneath the surface. These kits are easy to install and follow the same guidelines as other kits with a few variants. 

1. Clean the Area 

This is the same for every type of repair patch kit. It is imperative that the surface is clean so that the adhesive can stick well. It is best to use rubbing alcohol for this, but if you are in need of a quick repair, grab a damp cloth and rub the area clean. Allow time for it to dry so that the adhesive can be applied to a dry surface. 

2. Measure the Tear 

A vinyl patch kit also needs to be customized to the tear size of your safety pool cover. Measure out the area and give 2-3 extra inches of space to reinforce the tear and prevent it from tearing any further. 

3. Tailor the Vinyl Patch 

Once you have things properly measured, you will need to cut the patch in a rounded fashion. Sharp corners tend to peel much easier than those that are rounded so by doing this, you help to create less work for you in the future by avoiding having to replace the vinyl patch within a few years. 

4. Apply Glue to the Vinyl Patch 

Vinyl patches come with a very strong glue that should be applied to the patch. Cover the patch entirely with the glue before you place the patch on your safety cover. If you want to create even more of a bond, apply glue around the tear itself. Once this has been applied, you are ready to place the vinyl patch on your safety pool cover. 

5. Apply the Vinyl Patch 

Once you have the glue on, go ahead and apply the patch to the top surface of the safety pool cover. Once you have that applied, flip the pool cover over and repeat the exact same steps for a vinyl patch to be applied on the inside of the cover. This double layer is going to create the most reinforcement for your pool cover and will give the tear the least amount of room to spread. 

6. Allow the Vinyl Patch Cover to Set 

You want to give the vinyl patch time to set, essentially. Wait a few hours and let the patch bond properly to the cover. To make the bond even more effective, place a heavy object over the area as you wait. Once ample time has passed, the cover can be placed back on the pool. Be sure to keep the area from ever bending or being folded. 

Jed Arnold

Jed spent every year from the ages of 15 - 22 as a Lifeguard (Red Cross) and ages of 17 - 22 as a Certified Pool Operator (CPO). Between working for over a dozen facilities and owning a pool, he carries over a decade of pool experience.

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