A hot tub cover is a necessary piece of equipment for anyone who owns a hot tub. The cover protects it from debris while also keeping the water warm while not in use. A good cover should be durable and last a long time. But if it is damaged, it is essential to fix it as soon as possible.
Can I repair my hot tub cover?
Generally, you can repair a hot tub cover if the damage is not extensive. A small tear on the seam can be fixed with a vinyl patch. A hole in the vapor barrier can be repaired with a polythene patch or duct tape as a quick fix. If you notice that the cover is waterlogged, let it completely dry and fix the area that is damaged. For extensive damage or worn-out foam, consider replacing it.
In this article, I will explain how to fix many of the more common problems with a hot tub cover. Including how to refurbish the cover and how thick it should be.
- 1 Can I fix my hot tub cover?
- 2 How do you fix a waterlogged spa cover?
- 3 How long will a hot tub cover last?
- 4 Can I use Flex Seal on a hot tub cover?
- 5 Can I use Armor All on my hot tub cover?
- 6 How thick should your hot tub cover be?
- 7 What kind of foam is in a hot tub cover?
- 8 Can I replace the foam in my hot tub cover?
- 9 How do you refurbish a hot tub cover?
Can I fix my hot tub cover?
You can repair your hot tub cover if the damage is not extensive. Fixing a tear on the seam or a hole in the vapor barrier is easy. However, if the damage is extensive, as in the case of a cracked or water-logged foam core, it may not be worth investing time, effort, and money to repair it. Always compare these aspects with the ease and cost of ordering a new cover before fixing your old hot tub cover.
– Fixing a small tear on the seam
In covers with a cover lift bar that runs across the middle, the seam may rip after prolonged usage. It will eventually lead to water entering the cover, especially in outdoor hot tubs. It will also affect the durability since a small tear would worsen every time you lift the cover. In this case, if you fix the small rip in the first place, no need to replace the hot tub cover.
Purchase a vinyl repair patch and adhesive. You may start by cleaning the area near the rip with rubbing alcohol. Then prepare a vinyl repair patch at least 1 inch bigger than the tear in all directions. Apply the adhesive to both the leather patch and the area around the tear. Fix the leather patch directly on top of the tear. Ensure to flat out wrinkles or air bubbles in the patch you pasted. The edges of the patch should be smoothly pasted, not protruding out. Leave it untouched for a while to get cured.
This simple fix will considerably extend the durability of the hot tub cover. It will also save you the inconvenience of ordering a new hot tub cover.
– Repairing holes in the vapor barrier
Every hot tub cover has a vapor barrier that blocks the vapor from the hot water from entering the foam core. If there are holes or a tear in the vapor barrier, water will seep into the foam core, making it heavy with waterlogging. If you spot holes or corrosion in the vapor barrier early, you can fix them quickly.
You may use a polythene patch to take care of the holes in the vapor barrier. Duct tapes also come in handy as a quick solution. However, duct tapes are a very temporary solution only. They will not withstand heat and steam for long. In the case of several holes in the vapor barrier, remove the foam core and use bigger polythene sheets or a tarp to cover it before putting it back.
One of the reasons for a damaged vapor barrier is the effect of the chemicals added to the hot tub water. If you close the tub immediately after tossing in your daily dose of chlorine or bromine, the gases produced by these chemicals stay inside, often eating up the vapor barrier. To avoid this, keep the tub open for at least 30 minutes after adding chemicals. Often proactive measures like this would help you buy more time before going for a replacement.
– Replacing a cracked foam core in a hot tub cover
Heavy load on top of the hot tub cover like pets or kids walking over may lead to the cover sagging or the foam core getting cracked. In such cases, patching up the old foam core will not solve the issue. You may need to replace it with a new one.
You need to measure the size of the old core and get a new foam core of the same size so that it fits the outer jacket and the hot tub. Often replacing the foam core is not easy and cheap. So in case of a cracked foam core, I recommend you order a new hot tub cover.
– Fixing a heavy hot tub cover
A common issue with hot tub covers is water-logging. Any small tear in the cover or the vapor barrier will let water seep in. Features like waterfalls with your hot tub may also cause water to get into the hot tub cover.
Waterlogged hot tub cover turns heavy and difficult to lift. Similarly, it will lead to molds and stinking. If it is heavily waterlogged, it is better to order a new hot tub cover than try to fix it. However, if you detect the water logging issue early, it can be fixed as described below.
How do you fix a waterlogged spa cover?
You need to take out the foam core and let it dry out. You may do it by placing the foam core vertically in the shade or in the sun so that the water trapped inside the foam cells runs off or evaporates. Depending on the amount of water it soaked up, it may take hours to get dry.
Once dry, spray it with an anti-mold and anti-mildew agent and place it back into the cover. Make sure to flip the foam core to reverse any sagging due to residual water content inside. Make sure that the foam is well-insulated with the plastic covering as a vapor barrier. If there are any holes in the cover, make sure to seal with adhesive tape. In the case of a heavily water-logged foam core, it may be better to order a new cover than to fix it.
How long will a hot tub cover last?
As compared to other hot tub parts like filters, the hot tub cover lasts considerably longer. A standard hot tub cover will work fine for 5 to 7 years with normal use. With proper care, you can extend the lifespan of the hot tub cover up to 10 years. The lifespan differs depending on the tub is indoors or outdoors.
Covers on an outdoor hot tub without a roof may be exposed to strong sunlight or heavy snow. Facing the elements of nature may lead to discoloration or cracks in the outer vinyl jacket of the cover. Heavy snow deposits will eventually lead to the tub cover getting sagged and water seeping in. If you detect damages like tears or cracks in the tub cover at an early stage and fix them pro-actively, the lifespan of the hot tub cover can be extended.
Can I use Flex Seal on a hot tub cover?
Flex Seal is a quick and effective solution to fix leaky situations. However, to repair your leaky hot tub cover, I recommend better options. If you notice a small hole in the hot tub cover, you may use a Flexi seal to seal it. Flexi Seal may not provide a durable solution since the hot tub cover is exposed to heat and steam.
Buying a can of Flexi Seal for repairing a small hole may not be cost-effective unless you have other leaks to plug in your household. Flexi Seal may not be effective for some types of leaks. For instance, if you use Flexi Seal to plug a leak on an inflatable tub, it won't withstand the pressure once the tub is filled. While Flexi Seal adheres well to most surfaces like wood, glass, fiber, and plastic, certain kinds of vinyl surfaces may not be very compatible with it.
Can I use Armor All on my hot tub cover?
I do not recommend using Armor All on your hot tub cover with a vinyl top. It will lead to discoloration and the vinyl top drying out, eventually leading to cracks on the tub cover. However, you can use other protectants to keep the vinyl top of your hot tub cover shining and durable.
Use a quality vinyl protectant that does not have petroleum or alcohol content in it. 303 Aerospace protectant for vinyl surfaces is very effective. You may wipe the vinyl top with the protectant to keep the hot tub cover clean and protected from dust and sunlight. You may need to do it four or five times a year.
How thick should your hot tub cover be?
The optimum thickness of a spa cover depends on the spa's location, most prevalent climatic conditions, insulation needed, and the budget. In the case of an indoor hot tub, the cover can be 4 to 2.5 inches thick. But this is not enough for most of the outdoor hubs.
For an outdoor hot tub, I recommend using a cover from 6 to 4 inches thick. The colder it gets in your location, the thicker it should be. Thick covers will insulate better and will save on electricity. Most of the hot tub covers are tapered to ensure that the rainwater or snow runs off. For an outdoor hot tub in harsh climatic conditions, the cover should be 6 inches thick in the middle, tapering to 4 inches on the edges.
Primarily, the thickness of the cover is very influential in deciding the weight-bearing capacity and the heat retention ability of the cover. A thicker cover can support more weight load and retain heat more efficiently. If you have thinner covers, you may spend more on utility bills. Heavy loads like snow-build up or kids over the cover may crack a thinner cover.
Similarly, you need to pick a thicker foam core based on the saturation of the foam cells per square area. Foam core with 2 pounds cells per square area offers the best heat retention capacity. If this is too much, you should use a foam core with at least 1.5 pounds per square area saturation.
The following table shows the preferred thickness and saturation for hot tub covers in different conditions.
Hot Tub Location
Thickness(center to edges tapering)
Load bearing capacity
Indoor with heating
1.0 lb (Light Density)
4 inches to 2.5 inches
Covered Outdoor with a mild climate
1.5 lbs (Medium-density)
4 inches to 2.5 inches
Outdoor in a cold climate
2 lbs (high density)
4 inches to 2.5 inches
Value for money
Outdoor in a rainy climate
2 lbs (high Density)
4 inches to 2.5 inches
Outdoor with moderate snow
1.5 lb (medium density)
5 inches to 3 inches
Outdoor with heavy snow
2 lb (high density)
6 inches to 4 inches
What kind of foam is in a hot tub cover?
For best results, use 100% closed-cell polystyrene as the foam core of a hot tub cover. Cheaper foam cores made of recycled foam are not very efficient in heat retention. Since one of the major functions of the hot tub cover is to provide insulation to the tub, having a thick and dense closed-cell polystyrene foam core is important.
Can I replace the foam in my hot tub cover?
To replace the foam core, you need to unzip the outer vinyl jacket and pull out the foam core. You may need to replace the foam core that is heavily water-logged or cracked and inefficient to retain heat. In both cases, you may remove the foam core and replace it with a new foam core. Not many companies which sell custom hot tub covers sell replacement foam cores. Typically, the price of the new foam core replacements will be anywhere around 70 percent of the price of a new hot tub cover. I always recommended ordering a new hot tub cover than a replacement for the foam core. In that case, you will replace the outer jacket as well.
How do you refurbish a hot tub cover?
A hot tub cover needs periodical attention and care to last longer. The cover of an outdoor hot tub is exposed to elements like strong sunlight, causing discoloration and wearing out. It may lead to the cover turning porous, letting water seep into the foam core during rains. Refurbish the cover once in a while to avoid such issues.
You need to closely inspect it to spot any cracks or holes on the cover. In such cases, you need to fill them with Flexi paste or other soft fillers. Then apply a vinyl patch over the hole using an adhesive.
Another step needed to restore the hot tub cover is to wipe it clean with a mild detergent to remove any bird poop or mud settled over the cover. It would also remove any chemical residue. After the cleaning, apply a coat or two of vinyl polish with pigment to keep the cover look more new and lively. At last, you may add a layer of vinyl protectant like Aerospace 303 protectant to safeguard the vinyl top from the strong sunlight.