Pro's & Con's of Automatic Pool Covers, Slated vs Tarpaulin

HomeFaq’sPro’s & Con’s of Automatic Pool Covers, Slated vs Tarpaulin

There are two main types of automatic cover in the UK. These are Slatted & Fabric (sometimes called Tarpaulin). All have their pros and cons. We discuss these in this article. 

Slatted Covers

Slatted covers are interlocking PVC or Polycarbonate that can be installed in the pool under water or on an above ground roller. They float on the surface of the water and rely on the natural physical properties of water to be able to float across the pool. They have a 24volt (low voltage) drive motor to open and close the cover. The most common type of slats are the solar PVC variety. They are hollow like a double glazing panel and are black underneath clear on the top and have a vacuum that heats up. Having an air gap also stops radiant heat loss through the cover during the night just like a double glazed panel. Worldwide slatted covers make up approximately 80% of the market due to their reliability and simplicity. They are dependent on the water level in the pool being correct for them to open and close. Compass pools are fitted with an overflow as standard and have an option of a digital auto top up. Polycarbonate covers provide additional protection from heavy hail storms common in Europe and greater impact protection. 

  • Reduces Convection heat loss
  • Eliminates evaporation heat loss
  • Captures Solar gains (solar version)
  • Friction free roller
  • Ultra Quiet
  • Can support 100kg m2
  • Maintenance free motors.  

Fabric Safety Covers

The other option for automatic covers are what is know as fabric or tarpaulin type safety covers. They are a think tarpaulin type material made of pvc similar to that used on bouncy castles and are available in similar flat colours. They run in tracks along the edge of the pool either over the top of the coping or underneath. They are powered by a hydraulic motor that tend to be fairly noisy as they take considerable force to move the cover.

This drives a complex pulley mechanism to pull the cover along the track using stateliness steel braised cables. They eliminate evaporation heat loss over the area of the cover, however as they are only a few mm thick radiation heat loss is virtually 0. They also provide no real solar gain to the water. They do require regular maintenance and service to keep pully’s working as grit etc can get into tracks and the hydraulic system requires servings.

On outdoor pools they require a pump placed on top of the cover each time the pool is closed to prevent water pooling from rain on the top,  this can be a safety risk and cause damage to the cover & pool if the weight of the water is allowed to collect and pool water level is low. Generally more prone to user error. 

  • Eliminates Evaporation heat loss. 
  • 100% Seals pools
  • Can support a considerable weight depending on the mounting method. 

We can fit both types of cover to a Compass Pool however we would always recommend a slatted cover for the above reasons. 

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