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What is a Pool Cove?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 16, 2024
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Pool cove, or coving as it more commonly called, can be found on above-ground swimming pools all around the world. An above-ground swimming pool is constructed with a very thin and flexible outer wall which contains the liner and the water. The outer wall is supported by the pool cove, which is typically thin aluminum channel which runs from the ground to the top of the swimming pool as well as around the top edge of the pool wall. Made from a slightly wider pool cove, the top edge not only creates structure that will prevent the pool wall from collapsing or bulging out, but it also provides a more comfortable edge on which to enter and exit the swimming pool.

When installing an above-ground swimming pool, the outer wall is set into place while the pool cove is installed. Once the pool cove is in place, the pool wall can be stood into position, placed against the cove and locked in place by installing the top rail or edge. The pool cove acts much like a skeleton, giving the pool wall much-needed support and strength. Without the pool cove, the swimming pool would have no structural strength and would likely collapse when filled with water.

The actual swimming pool wall is not much thicker than the swimming pool liner. If not for the pool cove surrounding the top edge of the swimming pool, it would be unpleasant to rest by leaning over the top edge of the pool. The cove is also used as a safety device. Another very critical function of the coving is to secure the liner inside of the pool wall. The liner is sandwiched between the pool wall and the vertical coving channels and locked in place by the coving that encircles the top edge of the swimming pool wall.

Skeletal strength, comfort, liner integrity and security are all functions of the pool coving. The above-ground swimming pool relies on the coving for much more than aesthetics. The aluminum channels stand guard around the outer perimeter of the swimming pool, providing support to the liner and the pool walls. While the coving protects the wall from bulging when filled with water, it cannot protect the wall from bulging due to ice. In cold climates, it is recommended that the swimming pool be drained of half of its water, thereby protecting the pool from expanding ice which would damage the pool.

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Discussion Comments
By BoniJ — On Aug 05, 2011

It seems that above ground swimming pools that use a cove and liner construction are fairly easy to assemble and set up. The cove, which goes all around the pool gives good support to the sides and top of the pool. There are also vertical cove supports to strengthen the pool.

There doesn't seem to be very much damage to the pools during the summer But those who live in areas where the winter temperatures get very cold and there is a lot of snow, have had big problems with their pools

Unfortunately, even though some pool owners in cold climates try to keep up on removing the snow and ice from the pool,they have ended up with collapsed and torn pools that had to be junked.

By truman12 — On Aug 05, 2011

I just moved into a house where the old owners left an above ground swimming pool in the backyard. It looks like its in pretty good shape and almost everything is clean. It obviously been maintained by someone.

The one problem is that the cove is busted. It is bent out in a few places and snapped in two in a few others. I can't fix it but I want to get this pool up and running before the summer is over.

Does anyone know if you can buy just a pool cove but not the rest of the pool? Where would I go for that kind of thing? I really have no experience with pools until this point.

By nextcorrea — On Aug 04, 2011

My dad bought our family an above ground swimming pool when I was just a kid. he went out to the backyard and started setting it up and told all of us kids to get excited about swimming.

We were all sitting around watching him with our bathing suits on just waiting for it to be finished. My dad was never a read the instructions kind of guy and he was no different this time.

He made some kind of mistake, something to do with the pool cove I'm beginning to suspect. Anyway, when he started filling the pool with water it got about half way filled before there was a big creaking and moaning that began to come from the walls. Before we knew it the entire pool had burst and all the water went rushing across the backyard. The pool looked like a mangled piece of scrap metal.

My dad was so mad about that. he knew that it was his fault but he didn't want to admit it. He left the broken pool in our backyard for about a month before he finally hauled it off. We never did get another pool which was a real disappointment to us kids. That's dad for you.

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