Pool Cover?

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I am trying to figure out a way to cover my pool. Here is a picture of it... www.drumrx.com/9.jpg
Priority # 1 - I need to keep my 1 year old and 4 year old from drowning.
Priority # 2 - I need to have the rain run off toward the back of the property (narrow decking on opposite side of pool in pic)
Priority # 3 - Notice the trees... no leaves allowed!!!
Priority # 4 - It would be cool to be able to claim some of the space in my yard in the 9 months that we do not use the pool. We are in the north east.
The problem...
Notice the brick patio and the wood decking near the pool stairs... It is about 14 to 16 inches above the rest of the decking around the pool.
Notice the cut-out for the stairs, this makes the pool somewhat of an L shape.
I have been told by the company that services my pool that a standard safety cover will not be suitable for my application because of the height of the patio.
I thought about 2 options...
First, to build some sort of a removeable deck that can span the 15 feet from the brick patio to the narrow decking on the other side of the pool, and cover it with a tied down tarp. The problem with this is A. I am worried about the weight of the entire thing when on the pool, and B. because I would have to remove and store these "removable deck sections" they could not be that wide, or that heavy. Fat chance being that I would have to use 2 x 12's of PTL to span the 15 feet.
Second, I thought it would be cool to have a bunch of floating dock sections like offered by a company called EZDock... Again, covered by a tied down tarp. I thought this was a neat idea until I found out that it would cost about $13,000... Not worth that kind of money. Although I would not rule out some other floating mechanism as it would allow me to walk on it and use the space in my yard.
I still do not know what to do. I need to replace the "tarp with water bags" system that I have now, it is a pain to maintain, and my kids cannot use my yard for 9 months out of the year for I fear that they would drown.
Any suggestions would be helpful...
Thanks,
Frank
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I'm not seeing why a custom fit safety cover wouldn't work
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Are you speaking of the anchored down variety? Kind of like the one that they advertise with an elephant on it? Because almost 50% of the perimeter of the pool is higher than the rest, this would make for a very odd shaped custom cover wouldnt it? I mean, if the cover is to be pulled tightly, what happens with the right-triangle shaped opening that would be there just after the drop off from the patio for example? Do they sell some kind of wedge or something that is to be installed to act as a slope?
As I said in my post, I wouuld like to be able to walk on it, I am not sure the "safety" covers are meant for that. Although I am probably just out of luck on that... I guess I could live with enough saftey for my kids to run across it to get a ball or something though.
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on 2/28/2008 9:47 PM snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net said the following:

When I installed my safety cover for the first time last Fall. I walked across it to show my wife how safe it was. I weigh 200 lbs and I got my feet wet up to my ankles. It was brand new and hadn't stretched out yet. I intend to make it tighter next year, but I doubt that my feet won't get wet.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Thanks for the reply... Question.... Can you tell me more about the "solid" cover you had?
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I don't see the elevation in your picture. All I see is an L shaped pool and a table. I doubt any cover is made to be walked on, and anything you construct to do so, will be a pita to set up, break down, as well as store
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I know it is hard to see from the pic... If you look over toward the pool stairs, you can see that there are 2 stairs on the wood decking there.
As far as it being a PIA to setup and store... I have the room to store it if I did some sort of remoable deck so long as the sections were less than say... 4 feet. Each section would be heavy and a pain to put of and take off, but I would only be doing this once a year with lots of help.
Thanks for the resonses though. I will keep plugging away for ideas.
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On Feb 29, 6:09 am, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Frank-
A couple more photos from the shallow end of the pool & from the far side of the yard would help flesh out the geometry you have.
from your OP.....

I didn't understand your issue.... Are you concerned whether the pool structure can take the load of the cover?
If you've got a place to store the "cover sections" and help with the removal then cover sections made from joists & plywood sound like the way to go. Four foot sections would minimize the number of joist, over 24", 30" or 32" sections but the 48" sections would be rather heavy.
The stored sections will stack pretty high as well. :(
You've have to check but depending on the design load you could get away with a 2x10 maybe even a 2x8.... I'd skin the bottom side to increase stiffness and make handing easier. Because of the pool moisture & weather exposure I'd suggest pre-painting all surface before construction.
I'm guessing your pool is ~15 x 30? Not an insignificant project but doable with skills & help.
cheers Bob
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Not a problem with stacking them for storage, I have a "side yard" not show in the pic that runs the length of the house.
My concern with this approach would be... will building code allow it? I guess only my local town would anser that. But lets say they did...
I was thinking 2x12's topped off with either plywood, or deck boards... each section would need to be about 3 feet wide (for weight purposes), and 18 or so feet across the pool. The pool is 16ft x 32ft. Question, can you even span 18 feet with PTL 2x12's, can you even get them at 18 feet? Would my pool structure even support all the weight on it?
Does any of this seem feasible, or am I just crazy?
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On Feb 29, 12:00 pm, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Frank-
A "hard" pool cover would be similar to a raised wooden deck....there are design requirements for it. I'm guessing about 50 psf LL & another 10 DL.
Is the pool edge to pool edge span 15'? or 18'? Big difference.
Plywood wood deck would help the span stiffness.....deck boards won't.
I'm not sure PTL is required if you provide a means of ventilation but
http://www.awc.org/calculators/span/calc/timbercalcstyle.asp
Designing & building a deck / cover is easily feasible...that's how engineers & contractors make their livings.
It's not going to be cheap though..... material alone will be a several $1,000's.
cheers Bob
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wrote:

Yes, but that would be much easier than actually supervising the little darlings.
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What's your problem dumb ass. Shut the F**K up. No one wants your retarded opinion.
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Thanks BobK. The span would need to be 18 ft because the pool is 16x32 actually. I will check with building codes. I am not concerned about the 1000's of dollars, my kids safety way more important than money. I hear you on the plywood, you think 1/2 inch would be OK, or would this need to be 3/4. I would certaily do PTL on the joists and paint the entire thing. 2x12 would be needed on such a span I would think.
As for SteveB... Go play somewhere, I'm busy. I do not have time for you and your idiotic, childish diatribe. Perhaps there is a kiddie chat room somewhere for you to go to instead?
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On Mar 1, 9:17 am, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Frank-
To get this done, you need to either do some design work yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
I'm confused, if the pool is 16 ft wide...why would the span be 18 ft?
There are design codes (span allowables for floors) for plywood based on plywood thickness & joist spacing.
1/2" plywood (15/32") has allowable span rating 32/16 which means it can be used for floor applications at joist spacing of 16" (or closer)
You can always go for minimum allowable thickness but it depends on how you want your deck to feel.
cheers Bob
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"I'm confused, if the pool is 16 ft wide...why would the span be 18 ft?"
The joists would have to be larger than the pool itself, no? I was thinking that they would need to extend about a foot or so on either side of the pool. How else could it be done?
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On Mar 2, 6:02 pm, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Frank-
This is why you need a design / construction pro....the definition of "span" is the clear distance between supports. Hence the term "clear span".
The fact that you have been concerned about the pool supporting the deck load plus thinking that the joists extending beyond the edge of the pool also extends the "span" tells me that you are in over your depth...get in touch with someone :(local) who can do this design for you.
This isn't the space shuttle....its just a deck over a pool.
cheers Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net writes:

Personally, I'd go with a custom electric cover. That way the pool can be made safe with the flick of a switch any time of year.
Probably big bucks.
If I was going to try to span the pool with lumber and plywood, I'd be thinking of using styrofoam supports floating in the pool. That way the thing would not have to weigh a ton. The bigger the styrofoam blocks, the less lumber needed.
There was a similar thread on this group a few months back and someone was looking at a floating dock.
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Yep Dan that was me actually... I am still looking for a solution. I loved the floating idea with EZDock sections, but it was really pricey, about 13K. And I am leery about using foam billets because of the weather here... I think that the winter will eat up the foam pretty good.
As to BobK, thanks again, and you are correct, I am not a builder, nor am I an architect. I am pretty handy though, and have done some framing, decking etc... Nohjting like this though... Maybe I am in a little over my head here, but thanks a million for your time, at least I know that there are others who are sypathetic to my plight, are reasonable, and have made me feel that I am not crazy, that it is possible, and that....well... just thanks a lot man.
I will be sure to repost here when I do find a solution, as I was not able to find anyone else on any board, or anywhere else for that matter, who has done anything like what I am trying to do.
Thanks again all.
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on 2/28/2008 8:48 PM snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net said the following:

I had a solid pool cover over my 18' x 36' inground pool with a 4' wide step at one end for 20 years. I got tired of shoveling off all the leaves from the top of the cover plus 6"-8" of rainwater and melted snow when I went to open it in the late Spring This winter I got one of those fine mesh safety covers that allow rain and melt water to seep through. All the fallen leaves had blown off before the first snowfall here in the NE US. I don't know what to expect when I take it off in the summer, but those who have them say that it is not too bad. Mine cost around $800, and I had to drill about 40 holes in the concrete deck around the pool, but that's another story that I won't revisit here. I got mine here. http://www.intheswim.com/Landing/safetycovers.aspx They have many standard configurations and can even custom build one if none fit yours. When the box was delivered, I discovered that it was built about 15 minutes from me. :-)
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Start with the simplest thing. Watch your kids. This is the major cause of children drowning.
From what I can see, the fence around the pool is the last and only line of defense? Is that so? IOW, if the children can get out the back door, is there or is there not another fence between them and their ancestors?
You may want to put up another fence that will isolate the pool further. I know this is going to cut down on the usability of the yard, but you have a small crowded yard already.
My daughter and SIL have a small yard like you, and were able to put up a system they bought that has posts, and screen sections that can be stretched across and retracted in different combinations depending on the yard usage and children present.
What you seem to want to be able to do, and cannot do is to have the yard like it is, and somehow have a floating barrier on the pool. Well, yes, you can have that, but they are expensive, heavy, and a real PITA to move around when you DO want to swim.
About all I can see you doing is putting up a fence close to the pool and losing some of the usable back yard you do have. You are limited because of the size and shape of the pool, the heights, and the size and shape of the back yard itself. What is code where you live? Maybe you already need a perimeter fence around the pool ONLY, as you plainly understand your present situation presents a drowning hazard to the children.
You sound like it's the children are a bother, no one understands your plight, and everyone wants to sell you an expensive system.
Stand back and look at it like it was someone else's house. What would you suggest then? You can't have it all unless you expand your yard, buy a bigger house, or make some compromises.
Steve, who was a steel erection contractor for ten years, and solved many a pool hazard.
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