Mesh vs Solid Pool Cover

Mesh Pool Cover

   PROS
  • Does not require a pump
  • Does not pose drowning risk from puddled water
  • Lightweight and easier to install
  • More durable
  • Less expensive to purchase and install
  CONS
  • Allows some sediment to enter the pool
  • Pool may require more cleaning
  • Allows some UV light to enter the pool
  • May lower chlorine levels
  • May promote algae growth
$2,700

(for 16x32-foot cover, installed)

Get free advice and estimates from swimming pool builders in your city.

Solid Pool Cover

   PROS
  • Completely blocks UV light from the pool
  • Completely blocks sediment and debris
  • Pool stays cleaner
  • No algae growth
  • No effect on chlorine levels
  • Smooth to the touch
  CONS
  • Expensive to purchase and install
  • Requires a pump to drain
  • May pose drowning risk if not pumped
  • Heavy and more difficult to install
$3,700

(for 16x32-foot cover, installed)

Get free advice and estimates from swimming pool builders in your city.

If you have an inground pool in your yard, then you already know that you need to install a safety cover over it before you close it up at the end of the season. Safety covers help keep children, pets, and other creatures out of your pool to prevent drownings. They also help keep your pool clean and in good condition for the year ahead.

The two most common types of pool covers are mesh and solid. Both have advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider. We outline the differences between the two types below so that you can make an informed decision for your pool.

Appearance

When both covers are installed properly, they completely cover the top surface of your pool, anchored at several points around the perimeter. Both types come in a variety of colors and shapes to match differently shaped pools.

The biggest difference in appearance is the surface texture. Solid pool covers have a plastic or vinyl 1 appearance that has no holes. It is completely solid all the way across and smooth to the touch.

Mesh pool covers are very fine, tightly knit fibers that allow water to pass through but not debris. So, they have a more textured look than a solid cover. Aesthetically, neither is meant to enhance your pool’s appearance, but you may prefer the look of one over the other.


Installation

Mesh covers are much lighter than solid covers, which means that they can often be installed by a single person. For this reason, homeowners who want to close their pool themselves for the winter often opt for this cover.

Solid covers are much heavier and, therefore, more difficult to install. They often require two or more people to place properly. So, if you do not have the manpower at home, you may need to hire a professional pool company to put it on for you.

In both cases, however, your pool decking 2 material is the biggest obstacle in the initial installation since the hardware needs to be drilled and inserted into your deck to hold the cover in place. If you have this hardware in place already, the installation of the actual cover is fairly straightforward. The cover is pulled over the pool, straps on the top of the cover are pulled to the grommets or hardware in the deck, and hooked into them. The straps are installed evenly around the pool. The initial straps go on the easiest, but the last few straps may take some tension to get into the correct position.

If you do not have the hardware, your pool deck 2 will determine the type of bit required to drill the grommets and hardware into place. For this, you should have a professional do the installation, particularly if your pool is not rectangular.

Costs

Mesh covers are significantly less expensive than solid covers both to purchase and install. A mesh cover costs between $1,200 and $3,000, depending on the shape and size of the pool.

A solid cover costs between $1,800 and $3,600 for the same shape and size as a mesh cover, about $600 more on average. Initial installation of any cover will cost between $500 and $1,000 depending on the size of the pool. Ongoing installation costs between $100 and $500, with solid covers costing closer to $500 and mesh closer to $100, again depending on the size and shape of the pool.

Therefore, a 16 x 32-foot pool with a mesh cover professionally installed will cost about $2,700 on average for initial installation, while the same size cover in a solid material will cost about $3,700.

Pumps

Mesh pool covers are designed to allow water to pass through the surface into the pool so that it does not collect on top. A solid cover, however, allows the water to collect and puddle in the middle. Therefore, a pump 3 is necessary to remove the water. Part of the higher cost of the solid cover is the addition of the pump. Automatic pumps are available that turn themselves on when the water reaches a certain depth, but manual pumps are often less expensive. With a manual pump, you must operate the pump as needed to get the water off the cover.

Usability

Mesh covers are significantly lighter than solid covers, being made of vinyl fibers rather than solid vinyl. For this reason, they can often be installed and removed by a single person. Solid covers need a minimum of two people to handle, both to move from one place to another and to get the necessary tension on the straps when installing. Many people opt for professional installation for solid covers.


Chlorine

Solid covers block 100% of the UV light from entering your pool, while mesh covers block only 99%. Because chlorine breaks down in the presence of UV light, you may find that a mesh cover requires you to add more chlorine at the end of use, depending on the path of the sun, time of year, and what the chlorine 4 levels were to start.

Dirty Water

The biggest advantage that a solid cover has is that nothing can get through the cover into the pool, including water. While mesh covers are designed to filter out large debris, small particles can get into the water, such as fallen leaves that have begun to decompose. This means that when you reopen the pool in the spring, there may be sediment on the bottom that needs to be cleaned.

In most cases, mesh covers are treated to prevent 99% of sunlight from getting in, which helps prevent algae growth. However, if you live in an area with excessive amounts of sunlight, even that 1% could lead to algae under the right circumstances. Solid covers prevent all sunlight from getting in, which prevents algae growth.

Safety

Because solid covers collect water on the surface, if this water is not drained, it can pose a drowning hazard for children and pets. This is why the pump is necessary when using a solid cover. In addition, the vinyl can become slippery. While it is not advised to walk on the cover, doing so when it is wet could cause a fall.

Mesh covers are less likely to remain wet, and because they do not collect water, they are less likely to pose a drowning risk.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
2 Pool decking: Decorative border or edging around a swimming pool, often including a fence
3 Pump: A device used to move air, liquid, or gas by mechanical means
4 Chlorine: A chemical added to the water in a swimming pool to kill bacteria and microorganisms that can make people sick

Cost to install a mesh or solid pool cover varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Alpharetta, GA
+9%
Apopka, FL
+1%
Arlington, TX
+6%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Austin, TX
+13%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Brentwood, CA
+45%
Buckeye, AZ
-2%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Cape Coral, FL
-9%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Corona, CA
+19%
Dallas, TX
+10%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Myers, FL
-7%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Gainesville, FL
-12%
Henderson, NV
+10%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Homestead, FL
-2%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Killeen, TX
-27%
Kissimmee, FL
-20%
Lake Worth, FL
-2%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Melbourne, FL
-16%
Miami, FL
+1%
North Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Ocala, FL
-25%
Ocoee, FL
+3%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Palm Bay, FL
-16%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pompano Beach, FL
+2%
Port Saint Lucie, FL
-18%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Spartanburg, SC
-17%
Spring, TX
+24%
Vero Beach, FL
-13%
West Palm Beach, FL
-2%

Labor cost in your zip code

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