|Overview of Slatted Swimming Pool Covers|
How do slatted pool covers work?
Unlike a bubble cover a slatted cover is ridgid enough to be pushed on to a pool by a roller which means they can be taken off and put on automatically. So the slats have to be bouyant so they float and flexible so they roll up on to the roller. The electric roller can be sited either in a pit below water level or above the ground at one end, usually the deep end.
Rollers located in a pit are great because it leaves the pool deck un-cluttered but the pit is usually constructed when the pool is built. There is a system for having a pit located roller retro fitted to an existing pool. For most retro fit jobs you would have an above ground roller. These can be bare but most often they are covered in a housing. You need an electricity supply to the roller.
They great thing about slatted covers is that they can accomodate roman ends or any other odd shapes that pool may be made to.
Where do slatted pool covers come from?
The process from manufacture of slatted swimming pool covers to the installation of one on your pool is quite complex so lets start by explaining it.
There are a number of slatted pool cover manufacturers all competing with each other. They are nearly all based in Belgium or Holland. Nearly every pool in Holland has a slatted cover. Most of the manufacturers just make the slats and the rollers and only sell them to the large pool trade companies (the "big boys"), some deal direct with the retail trade though. When you, the end user, contact a pool retailer for a slatted cover the pool retailer buys it from the "big boys" who put the order in to the factory and the covers are made to order. There is typically a 4 to 5 week lead time on them.
Most pool retailers have their favourite among the big boys that they deal with and the big boys only deal with one manufacturer so your choice of cover can be limited depending on who you deal with. That is not the case with PoolStore. We deal with all the big boys and often direct with the factory so you can be sure of the widest choice.
Some pool companies installthe covers themselves others sub-let the installation to an expert and take a mark up on his price. PoolStore uses the most experienced subcontractor but takes no mark up, we charge you what he charges us or if you prefer you can deal direct with him.
What are the different types of slats available?
There are three basic types of slat but with in each type there are variants.
The cheapest slats will be made from plastic, have a solid colour, typically blue or white, and each slat will join to the next with a groove. The slats will be constructed to have air pockets inside and have an end cap to seal the sides.
More expensive than the plastic slats are the clear slats that are made from polycarbonate. Clear slats let the sunlight through and so you will achieve the "solar gain" greenhouse effect and warm your pool up when it is sunny. They may be tinted pale blue and they will also have end caps.
In between the Plastic and Polycarbonate in cost is the foam filled slats. Foam filled slats are much thinner in profile and come with 3 slats joined by a rubber seal and then each group of three joined with a groove. They dont have end caps and can be cut on site which can be a considerable advanatage in some cases. Being foam filled they have the best insulation value.
The two things that the slats have to do is float and join to the next slat. How they achieve this is what sets the slats apart from each other. Another difference is are they are either a solid colour or are they clear. Each slat is typically 2 to 3 inches wide. You can combine clear slats with solid slats and you can combine colours to make a stripes.
The longer you have a slatted cover the more likely it is that algae will grow on it particulary in the joints. How easy it is to clean the joints or how resistant they are water gathering in them is an important consideration.
Slatted cover or Solar panels?
Clear polycarbonate slats with black underside are available and the manufacturer claims that the heat gain given to the pool is better than the heat gain from a roof-installed solar heating system. We at PoolStore have yet to prove this claim but his arguement makes sense. Why spend thousands heating water on your roof and then pump it to the pool when a slatted cover on the pool will cost the same, give as much heat to the pool, and have all the other benefits of a slatted cover as well.
Click on the photos below to see the product pages for the different slatted covers