How to Build a Pool Cover from PVC Pipe

How to Build a Pool Cover from PVC Pipe

A pool cover comes with tons of benefits for your swimming pool. You will have an effective solution for keeping debris out of the pool and pesky critters like frogs or birds such as ducks with a good one.

Pool covers also reduce evaporation and minimize the breakdown of chlorine to keep your pool sanitized. But, you do not need to buy an expensive and complicated one to get these benefits as you can make an effective pool cover from PVC pipe.

Making a PVC pipe pool cover makes a great weekend DIY project. The job should also be pretty simple with good preparation and following the simple steps we provide below.


Preparation is vital when doing any DIY project. For a PVC pipe cover project, you will first need to come up with the specific hand-crank style that you prefer to use. Make sure it is a simple design you can create by joining PVC pipes.

Additionally, make sure you know what will work best for your specific pool type and size by doing enough research. Also, you have to look for an excellent spot to work from in your backyard since you will have to lay out the tarp when attaching it to the pipe or testing what you make.

Another crucial element of the preparation stage is gathering everything you will need. Here is a list of the materials and tools you need for this project.

Materials You Need

  • PVC pipes and their fittings
  • A tarp
  • Self-tapping screws
  • PVC Pipe endcaps and adapter sections
  • PVC elbow pieces (90-degree elbows)

Tools You Need

  • Bright color marker
  • Hack saw with a PVC cutting blade
  • A drill
  • Screwdriver

Step by Step

Step 1: Measure and Cut the PVC Pipes

The first step should be to measure the PVC pipes and cut them to size. The size you need depends on your pool size and the tarp that you have. Therefore, you need to know how much space you will need to cover before buying the tarp to ensure you get the correct size.

You can lay the tarp in an open area and measure it to determine the exact dimensions, as this will tell you the PVC pipe you need. After measuring, you can cut the pipes to size using a hacksaw.

Step 2: Glue PVC Sections Together

For those with large pools, it will be necessary to glue some PVC pipes together to achieve the correct length. Also, gluing PVC pipes together is often essential if you have an irregular pool shape to give them a shape that can work for your specific situation.

While you can always get a long enough PVC pipe to cover almost any pool width, massive ones can be super hard to transport. You will have an easier time buying smaller ones and joining them. A PVC primer is the best product for attaching two PVC pipe sections.

Step 3: Install the Endcaps           

Now you can start the actual cover construction, and the first step here will be to add the endcaps to your PVC pipes.

Installing endcaps on one side of the PVC pipe is crucial for ensuring water does not pool there and that the pipe never becomes a conducive habitat for pests.

Step 4: Make the Hand Crank

Once you cover one side of the pipe with the endcaps, you need to install an elbow on the other to create your hand crank.

A 90-degree elbow is the best, and you will also need an adapter and a smaller PVC pipe to make your hand crank.

With a good hand crank, you will have an easy time rolling and unrolling your pool cover, making it easier and more convenient to use.

Step 5: Form Clips for Connecting PVC Pipe to the Tarp

The next step is to form clips that you will use to connect the PVC pipe to the tarp. The best way to do this is by cutting them out of the PVC pipe.

You can form the clips by cutting the PVC pipe into three sections and cutting each lengthwise to end up with pieces around a third of the original diameter. These clips will pin the tarp between them and the pipe to ensure that it does not rely on screws to remain in place.

Without these clips, screws will tear your pool cover almost instantly. Therefore, avoid the temptation of screwing the tarp directly on the pipe as you try to finish the job quickly.

Step 6: Paint the Pipe

If you are making a cover for outdoor use, it is good to paint the pipe. Remember that it will be at the mercy of the elements, and the sun can damage it quickly. Paint provides UV protection to ensure your PVC cover holds up well for long.

Step 7: Attach the Tap

Now you can attach the tarp to finish your cover. Here you will need to drill holes on your pipe for the clips and also make sure you line up the tarp to know how it will sit in the water, so you do not drill holes in the wrong places.

Once the holes are ready, you can attach the clips and the tarp to finish the cover. Make sure the screws are tight enough, and once the cover is ready, you should roll and unroll it a few times to see if it is working as expected.

Bottom Line

A simple PVC pool cover can help save you money, and building one makes a good weekend project that will help sharpen your DIY skills.

With the easy-to-follow steps above, you can be sure of an easy time making your DIY pool cover. Also, you can tweak the design a little to suit your specific situation and add a little creativity to ensure you end up with a cool-looking pool cover.

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