4 min read

3 Benefits of Retractable Pool Covers

3 Benefits of Retractable Pool Covers

To retract or not to retract? That is the question. The context is, well, keep reading.

It’s never a good idea to retract, or retrofit, your personality and accomplishments to take the shape of whatever ridiculous standard might initiate your "take that haters” moment at your high school ten-year reunion. In this case, molding your unique identity to “fit” a managed perception is not the move (although I greatly sympathize with the Bel Air private school memories; plaid skirts and nepotism babies trigger me to this day).

Retrofitting can, however, have an authentically happy ending! You would love a high-tech pool cover but have been stuck with a tiresome manual cover because your pool’s shape is unorthodox. Over time, your pool fills with debris, and you feel stuck because shelling out for a custom automatic cover would likely incur a long installation time and cost.

Then you hear about retractable pool covers and how they are made to fit and take the shape of existing pools. Alas, the “after the fact” contorting has a redemptive arc.

At J Designs Pool and Spa, we have over 15 years of experience in consulting our customers on different pool covers and installing the right type for their pool’s specific needs. We don’t adhere to a one-size-fits-all process in the design or construction phase of bringing to life the pool and spa our customers envision. 

As such, the pool covers products we recommend for any given project or existing pool are likewise tailored to best fit your specific needs and the holistic characteristics of your pool.

At the end of this article, you’ll fully grasp the convenience, aesthetic, and safety benefits of choosing a retractable pool cover for your existing pool.



Retractable covers, also affectionately known as retrofit covers, are specifically configured to be applied to existing, creatively-shaped pools.

Don’t glaze over this detail; it’s no small feat! 

Consider the context: although automatic pool covers are innovative, reliable, and user-friendly, their most prevalent limitation is that they mostly require pools to be rectangular. This means that owners of free-form pools were relegated to settling for the far less convenient option of manual pool covers.

Then came retrofit: the chameleon of automatic pool covers. A retrofit cover can be quickly and easily installed to fit an existing pool regardless of shape (no painstaking contortion required).

This is possible because as long as the pool has an adjacent deck structure, the retrofit mechanism can be seamlessly bolted to the deck via tracks. 

This is akin to how a garage door is installed: a garage door also has tracks, but those tracks need to be bolted into some hardscape; the tracks can hold and roll out the garage door only because they’re secured in the garage framing. A pool deck serves as the framing for the tracks of the retrofit pool cover to be bolted into.

pool cover housing box

Once the retrofit external mechanism is bolted and mounted atop the deck, the pool cover is rolled out of the mechanism and extends onto the pool.


The external mechanism the cover rolls out is a housing box that lends itself to a sleek aesthetic. The other option includes the mechanism being housed underground, or recessed.



The retractable pool cover is tidy and compact in design because the cover when not in use, is hidden in a multi-purpose housing box. A cover for a cover, if you will.

The aforementioned housing box is formally known as a “bench box” because it looks like and can function as a bench!

It’s the (practical) gift that keeps on giving! 

The design of the bench box is very advantageous because it allows you to shoot two birds with one stone: getting discrete housing for your pool cover and subtle additional seating. 

Speaking of birds… this bench unit is fantastic for protecting the pool cover from birds poking their beaks at or building a nest on it. The result? A pool cover lasts longer because it’s completely shielded from nature’s wear and tear when the cover is not in use. 

While the bench housing is simultaneously functioning as additional seating and secure pool cover protection, it is essential to note that the bench design may obstruct the view in outdoor spaces. While this is not always the case, it is still a possibility depending on the view and where precisely the pool is located on the property.

Additionally, though this bench box is highly versatile, it should never be used as a jumping-off point. Safety first!



Five feet away: not a COVID-era social distance rule, but a critical regulation that can lower the chances of electrical shock incidents around the pool. Retrofit pool covers aid the safety efforts against electrical shock because of the hydraulic motor option.

The National Electrical Code (NEC) code prohibits electrical installations closer than five feet from water unless separated by a barrier and requires GFCI protection for all electrical equipment.

"The greater danger associated with electrical shock in a swimming pool is that anyone in the pool may be rendered immobile and unable to rescue themselves or to call for help. Drowning becomes a likely outcome, even if the current is not immediately lethal.”

With a retrofit cover’s hydraulic motor, no electronic components are near the pool, providing excellent safety. Granted, you will still need to run a little trench to run those hydraulic lines. Nevertheless, the hydraulic system’s huge benefit is that you do not power them with electricity. So, there's never anything electric near the water.


This is very important in the pool and spa industry because sometimes electricians are unaware of how certain electrical outlets and appliances affect the swimming pool building code. An electrical subcontractor may not be aware that any electrical receptacle needs to be at least five feet away from the water. This type of oversight is, at the very least, not environmentally friendly. This oversight’s worst-case scenario is a tragic incident of electrical shock.

Speaking with a certified design and build pool company is your only option for ensuring your pool checks the boxes for safety, eco-consciousness, and beauty!



Now that you’ve read this article, you have a high-level understanding of a retractable pool cover and why its myriad of features makes it a great pool cover for existing pools.

At J Design Pool and Spa, we have years of experience installing various pool covers for both the pools we build and renovate. Throughout our tenure, we’ve committed ourselves to continuous education, refining our craft, and leading with empathy. 

The result? We stray far from the cookie-cutter approach, offering design blueprints, construction plans, and pool covers tailored to each pool project. 

If a retractable pool cover seems promising for your existing pool or potential renovation, please contact us and schedule a consultation to get your questions answered and break ground on upgrading your current pool.

Still want to learn more about different pool covers before speaking with a team member? No problem. You should always have options! Check out these related articles for more information:



Ensuring Pool Safety for Children with Autism

Ensuring Pool Safety for Children with Autism

As we mark Autism Awareness Month, our focus turns to a topic of critical importance for families and communities: pool safety for children with...

Read More
Crafting Your Luxury Pool and Spa Design in Los Angeles: A Guide

Crafting Your Luxury Pool and Spa Design in Los Angeles: A Guide

Imagine transforming your backyard into a luxurious oasis, a personal retreat where every detail reflects your unique style and enhances your home's...

Read More
Why Draining Your Pool Is Not The Answer

Why Draining Your Pool Is Not The Answer

For many homeowners, whether to drain a pool is daunting, especially in the aftermath of heavy rainfall or when faced with the challenge of...

Read More