designer pool covers A group of people sitting around an inflatable pool.

Can I use a regular tarp as a pool cover?

Are you thinking about using a regular tarp as a pool cover, but not sure if it’s the right choice? It’s crucial to know that typical tarps aren’t designed specifically for pools. This article will guide you through making an effective pool cover from a standard tarp, addressing common concerns and offering practical advice.

Let’s dive in and find out how to protect your pool efficiently and cost-effectively. Keep reading; this could be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Key Takeaways

  • A regular tarp isn’t the best choice for a pool cover because it doesn’t fit snugly and can let debris in. It also might not prevent algae growth as well as covers made just for pools.
  • Using a tarp can save money and water by reducing evaporation and chemical use. However, tarps usually only last 1-3 seasons, making them less durable than proper pool covers.
  • When putting a tarp over your pool, make sure to secure it with tent stakes and bungee cords to keep it in place. You might need extra weights around the edges for more security.
  • If heavy rain is coming, consider removing the tarp from your pool to avoid damage. Covers are good for light rain but might not hold up against strong winds or hail.
  • Mesh and solid vinyl covers are better alternatives to tarps. They last longer and protect your pool better by keeping out debris and maintaining heat.

Understanding the Use of a Tarp as a Pool Cover

A pool covered with a winter safety cover in well-maintained surroundings.
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A tarp might seem like a simple solution for covering your pool, but it’s not the best choice. Regular blue tarps are not designed to withstand the elements or provide the protection your pool needs during off-season months.

They lack the durability and features of winter safety pool covers, such as mesh and solid vinyl options, which are specifically crafted to keep pools safe and clean.

Using a tarp instead of a proper pool cover comes with drawbacks. For one, they don’t fit snugly around your pool’s perimeter, allowing debris and contaminants to enter the water. This compromises water quality and makes maintenance harder.

Additionally, while tarps can block up to 97% of UV rays—helping prevent surface fading—they fall short in preventing algae growth due to inadequate sunlight blockage compared with CCS polypropylene mesh tarps designed for pools.

These specialised covers do more than just block sunlight; they help maintain water quality by preventing algae proliferation essential for keeping your swimming area pristine.

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Pros and Cons of Using a Regular Tarp as a Pool Cover

A damaged tarp covering a pool during harsh weather.
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Using a regular tarp as a pool cover is cost-effective and readily available. However, durability may be an issue due to the material’s inability to withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight and harsh weather conditions.

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A regular tarp stands out as a cost-efficient choice for pool coverage. It helps maintain the pool’s condition, cutting down on water loss through evaporation. This means less water is needed to keep the pool at its optimal level.

Chemical consumption drops significantly too, as the tarp reduces contamination and algae growth—both of which demand expensive treatments.

Choosing a tarp could lead to significant long-term savings in pool maintenance expenses. The initial investment pays off by conserving resources and diminishing the need for frequent chemical adjustments.

Through effective pool care, owners see a decrease in ongoing costs, making a simple tarp an astute decision for both your wallet and your time spent on upkeep.


Finding the right cover for your pool is easier than you think. Traditional winter covers, made of tarp-like material, are everywhere. You can buy them in local stores or online with just a few clicks.

Mesh pool covers and designer options that boost safety and energy efficiency aren’t far behind. They’re widely available too.

You have lots of choices for pool protection, from simple tarps to high-end designs. No matter what your budget or needs are, there’s something out there for you. These products make pool care less of a chore and keep your swimming area clean and safe year-round.

Durability issues

Regular tarps, while tempting for pool cover use due to cost and availability, fall short in the durability department. They typically last between 1-3 seasons before showing signs of wear like tearing or wearing thin.

This contrasts sharply with winter safety covers made from mesh or solid vinyl, designed specifically for pools and boasting longer lifespans.

Winter has a harsh effect on swimming pools. Frost protection is essential, yet a basic tarp struggles to offer long-term solutions. It may fend off some winter woes initially, but its lack of endurance means replacing it sooner than one would like.

For inground and above ground pools alike, relying on regular tarps can lead to frequent maintenance issues and unexpected cover failures when you least expect them—highlighting the false economy they represent over time.

Steps to Securely Cover the Pool with a Tarp

Securing your pool with a tarp is a smart move, especially when you’re looking for a cost-effective solution. A sturdy plastic or vinyl tarp can do the job well, if you know the right steps to take.

  • Start by laying the tarp over your pool, making sure it stretches across the entire surface. You want no part of the water exposed. This first step is crucial for getting full coverage.
  • Next, pull the edges of the tarp so that they extend several feet beyond the pool edge on all sides. This extra material is what you’ll secure to keep the cover in place.
  • Find tent stakes and bungee cords — these will be your best friends in this process. They’re not just for camping; they work wonders in keeping tarps tight and secure.
  • Secure one corner of the tarp by attaching a bungee cord to it, then drive a tent stake into the ground at an angle away from the pool edge, hooking the other end of the bungee cord onto it.
  • Repeat this process with each corner of the tarp. Ensure that each stake is driven firmly into the ground so that wind or rain won’t dislodge them easily.
  • After all corners are secured, check for any loose edges along the sides of your pool. Use more tent stakes and bungee cords along these areas if necessary.
  • Consider adding weight to further anchor down your cover. You can use sandbags or water weights around the perimeter for extra security against strong winds or heavy rain.
  • Finally, make adjustments as needed. After securing every side and corner, walk around your pool to inspect how well-covered it is. Tighten any loose ends and add more stakes or weights where needed.

Should I Cover My Pool if It’s Going to Rain?

Covering your pool before rain seems like a smart move, but it’s not always necessary. Rain can dilute chemicals and introduce debris, making pool protection important. Yet, if thunderstorms or hail are forecasted, removing the cover might be best to avoid damage from severe weather.

Pool covers help in keeping out unwanted materials and maintaining chemical balance during light rains. However, for heavy rainfall expected to bring strong winds or hail, taking off the pool cover can prevent potential tearing or other damage.

It saves you from costly repairs and ensures your pool remains a safe place for family fun post-stormy weather.

Alternative Options to a Tarp Pool Cover

Mesh and solid vinyl covers stand out as superior choices for those seeking a durable and long-lasting pool cover. These options not only promise extended longevity but also ensure your pool remains clean by keeping debris at bay.

They provide excellent protection, with mesh covers allowing water to seep through while trapping leaves and twigs on top. Solid vinyl covers, meanwhile, offer the advantage of being waterproof—perfect for maintaining heat retention during colder months.

Affordable yet effective alternatives include specially designed waterproof tarps that strike a balance between cost-efficiency and functionality. Ideal for budget-conscious pool owners, these tarps excel in preventing dirt from entering the pool and retaining warmth without the hefty price tag of more conventional pool covers.

Their versatility makes them an astute choice for anyone prioritising both savings and performance in their quest to maintain a pristine and inviting swimming environment.


In conclusion, using a regular tarp as a pool cover is feasible but may not be the best long-term solution. Consider factors like durability and effectiveness before opting for this DIY approach.

Always prioritise safety and maintenance when making choices for your swimming pool’s protection. Explore alternative options if a regular tarp doesn’t meet your specific needs. Remember to secure the tarp properly to ensure it effectively covers and protects your pool.


1. Can I use a regular tarp as a pool cover?

Yes, you can use a regular tarp as a temporary solution to cover your pool, but it may not provide the same level of protection and durability as a specialised pool cover.

2. What are the disadvantages of using a regular tarp as a pool cover?

Using a regular tarp for your pool can lead to water accumulation, potential damage from UV rays, and difficulty in securing it properly over the pool’s surface.

3. How do I secure a regular tarp as a pool cover?

To secure a regular tarp on your pool, you can use weights or tie-downs placed along the edges to prevent wind from lifting it and allowing debris to enter the water.

4. Is there an alternative to using a regular tarp as my pool cover?

Consider investing in an actual pool cover designed for this purpose; they offer better fit, longevity, and protection for your swimming pool compared to using standard tarps.

5. Can I cut or modify my existing tarp to fit it over my swimming pool?

Yes, if needed, you can trim or adjust your existing tarp to better fit the dimensions of your swimming pool before securing it in place.