Automatic safety covers provide an array of benefits from protecting your family to lowering your heating bills. And, they can be installed on new or existing swimming pools. One of the key decisions you and your pool cover expert will make is what type of track will be used to guide the cover from one end of the pool to the other.
Let’s Talk Tracks
There are three types of track systems: under track, recessed top track, and deckmount. The type of system chosen for a particular project is based on the shape of the pool, the location of the cover track, and the timing of the installation of the cover track.
Under Track System
This type of track system is generally installed on rectangular pools. It is paired with a drive mechanism that is mounted below grade in a covered box. The track is mounted under the coping to keep it out of sight, providing a clean look to the installation.
The actual mounting of the track can be accomplished in two ways:
1) The first is to anchor it to the underside of the coping itself.
2) The second is to use what is called encapsulation. In this process, the aluminum encapsulation is mounted to the top of the pool wall and the coping is poured or installed directly on top, securing it in place. Encapsulation is available in different options to accommodate different types of pools.
Recessed Top Track System
A recessed top track system is similar to an under track system in that the drive mechanism is mounted below grade in a covered box. However, rather than being mounted under the coping, it is located outside the shape of the pool or along the sides of the pool.
There are two mounting options for this type of track system:
1) The first is a standard top track mounting on the pool deck. With a low profile and rounded edges, it is designed to provide a relatively seamless visual transition from the cover to the pool deck. And because it sits outside the shape of the pool, it is a great option when installing an automatic safety cover on a freeform shaped pool.
2) The second option is to use a recessed track. It is mounted along the sides of the pool before the pool deck is poured, and positioned so it will be flush with the top of the finished pool deck. A recessed track should be discussed when planning your pool project.
Deckmount systems are designed specifically for existing pools. Both the drive mechanism and the low-profile track are mounted on top of the pool deck. Because the drive mechanism is mounted on top of the pool deck, often a bench is built to cover it. This not only protects the mechanism, it provides seating for those enjoying the pool.
Get the Specifics for Your Pool
It you are preparing to have a swimming pool installed, it’s a good idea to consider an automatic safety cover before the installation takes place. That way you can accommodate the track in the most inconspicuous way. However, as noted above, an automatic safety cover can be added to a pool at any time. Plan your dream pool project – cover included – that’s the best fit for you and your family.
Editor’s note: Original article published 2/2018. Updated for relevance and clarity.