A solid in-ground swimming pool cover is basically a heavy tarp that is spread across a pool and secured by some form of weight. The safest weights, and most common, are water tubes. These are long tubes made of vinyl that are unrolled and filled with water. They are then placed on the pool deck around the edge of the cover to hold it in place.
In my 20+ years of service, I have seen everything from water tubes, bricks, large potted plants, and even a bicycle used to hold a solid swimming pool cover in place. The only one I recommend is the water tube. When bricks, rocks, or even potted plants fall into a swimming pool they can cause damage. A torn liner or chipped paint is not what you want to open your pool to in the spring. If a water tube falls into a pool, no damage will be done.
Low cost short term
One advantage to having a solid pool cover is the cost, but only the upfront cost. An average 16×32 solid cover will cost around $80.00 to $100.00. The cost for the water tubes for that pool cover is around $10.00 each. A 16×32 cover will need about 10 water tubes. Total cost- around $200.00. That upfront cost is small to cover an in-ground pool.
But in the seasons to come that price goes up. The cover itself will last 4 or 5 years if you’re lucky. Count on replacing at least 1/3 of the water tubes each year as a result of breaks or holes in the vinyl. If they don’t hold water, they can’t do their job. In the long run, the cost can get very high for this type of cover.
Big mess pays off!
Removing this type of pool cover when opening can be very time-consuming and messy. This kind of cover will hold all rainwater and snow from the time the swimming pool is closed in the fall until it is opened in the spring. It also will hold all the leaves, grass clippings, and dead animals that have fallen into the water on the cover. So be prepared to pump, scoop, and dispose of all the wastes that have accumulated on this type of pool cover before removing it. If you make it through this sloppy, smelly process there is a reward at the end. A crystal clear swimming pool. This cover holds all the waste on top of it instead of letting it get to the water in the pool.
If you are looking for a way to cover your swimming pool and want to spread the cost out over many years, a solid pool cover may be the cover for you. For safety reasons, I do not recommend this type of pool cover for families with young children or pets unless the swimming pool is in a gated area that is not accessible to them. Falling onto one of these covers, with or without water on it, can be fatal.