Whether you are in the market for a new hot tub cover or just want
to get the most out of your existing one, this guide will give you a
wealth of helpful information. These basic maintenance tips can save
you money, and maybe even some grief in the long run.
About Spa Cover Vinyl
||Spa cover material
is a backed fabric with an outer layer made from polyvinyl chloride
(PVC). In the manufacturing process, it is sealed with
a special topcoat containing compounds called
plasticizers, plus softening agents to keep it
supple and attractive.
integrity of the vinyl's topcoat, and protecting against UV
damage are the keys to keeping it looking and performing like
new. All vinyl,
even the special marine grade used in
our premium DuraTherm
is a UV-sensitive material which can
degrade after long time sunlight exposure or
Protecting your Investment from Damage
Protectant conditions beautifully and
prevents fading &
cracking. We recommend only 303
Aerospace Protectant . We've tested
them all, and this is quite simply the best product of its
kind. Featuring an Earth-friendly, non-toxic formula,
it will add years to cover life. With regular use,
303 blocks up to 100% of harmful UV to prevent sun damage.
treated with 303 Aerospace Protectant
blocks UV Rays, maintains new appearance.
breaks-down unprotected surface.
Plasticizers escape, vinyl cracks, fades and fails.
Using the wrong
vinyl treatment product is worse than
using nothing at all! In fact, a well-known automotive vinyl treatment contains silicone
oil, which is death to vinyl. Avoid
products that contain any type of oil, have a greasy
feeling, contain petroleum distillates, or leave a coating
that dries like wax.
||When applied to the underside of your
cover, it also helps prevent mildew. 303 Protectant is very economical, and you'll find many other uses for it around the
home, RV, boat and car.
Tip: The same UV-blocking technology is now
also available to protect outdoor fabric furniture: 303
High Tech Fabric Guard.
||If a vinyl
protectant product label says
"flammable" or contains petroleum distillates,
keep it away from your spa cover! These products look
good when first applied, but actually accelerate spa cover
deterioration and offer little or no UV protection.
Periodic Hot Tub Cover Cleaning & Maintenance
Cleaning of your
spa cover is an important part of routine spa maintenance.
Dirt acts as an abrasive to the vinyl topcoat, and can also
cause wear to fold, seams, and stitching. Mildew which grows
on damp, dirty vinyl will begin to actually root in the
fabric, accelerating failure.
Routine cleaning, prior to application of vinyl
cool water using a garden hose
Spray with a
gentle, non-foaming cleaner such as our Earth-friendly Clean
All and wipe clean. Never use laundry
detergent, abrasives, bleach, alcohols, dish soaps or harsh
cleaners. These products can actually remove some of the
topcoat and cause premature vinyl failure.
TIP: Tree sap can be
removed by rubbing with a little vegetable oil or
dirt, use a non-abrasive sponge such as our Spange.
thoroughly with water and allow to dry.
monthly, or as needed.
- After cleaning cover,
spray a light coating of 303
Protectant on top and cover apron.
- Spread evenly with a damp
terry cloth or use the yellow side of our Spange.
- Repeat procedure on
underside of your cover. This will help prevent
the formation of mildew.
- Repeat monthly in
summer... every 3 to 4 months the rest of the year.
There's never a buildup.
Dealing with Mildew Inside the Vinyl Jacket
(Indicated if odor is a problem)
- Unzip the jacket and carefully remove the foam cores.
- Clean the inside of the jacket with Clean
All and a soft brush.
- Clean the core's plastic vapor barrier.
- Spray off surfaces with garden hose.
- Towel-dry all surfaces, and allow for additional air-dry time of
- Sunlight exposure for an hour or two helps rid residual mildew
from inside the jacket.
- Foam core should be kept in the shade while drying.
- Carefully reassemble when dry.
Note: If foam core is rotten and waterlogged, cover requires
Prolonging Spa Cover Longevity
||Treat your cover as you would a fine automobile. A new car
comes with a warranty covering mechanical defects. Its warranty does not cover dents, a rock-dinged
windshield, tire wear, nor premature engine failure in a car not properly
maintained or in which the oil was not regularly changed.
Similarly, a spa cover manufacturer's warranty covers original
defects in materials, but will not apply to damage caused by abuse,
accidents, neglect or normal wear-and-tear. We've put together the
information that you need for proper maintenance to get the most life
out of your spa cover.
Protecting the Foam Core
Spa covers have a core of polystyrene, which can be broken
if abused. Never allow children to jump or play on a cover, which can
cause breakage of the core. Grit from shoes or bare feet can also mar
the vinyl covering, causing premature failure. Avoid placing sharp
objects on the cover, which can cause punctures to the core liner,
permitting water penetration and absorption by the foam core.
Animal claw scratches or chewing can have the same result, so try to
keep pets away.
Avoid placing glass or other objects on the cover which can create excessive heat from the magnified effects of sunlight. This heat can actually cause the foam core to melt, and is not covered by the warranty.
||The insulating core is sheathed in clear
plastic to prevent water from being absorbed into the insulation.
Condensation and rainwater seepage between the outer vinyl
skin and the clear liner of the foam core is normal. All spa
covers should have weep holes in their undersides to allow this
water to drain out.
Dealing with Water Intrusion
Although a few water droplets inside the clear plastic liner
which protects the foam core are not a major concern, a large accumulation of liquid water needs attention. The cause is normally a
vapor barrier puncture or a break in the plastic seam around the perimeter,
which is easy to fix yourself. (A heavy,
saturated foam core is a different matter, indicative of an old
spa cover that needs replacement).
||If you suspect that your cover core liner contains a lot of
liquid water and it has a zippered vinyl jacket, open the zipper
and carefully remove the form core for inspection. Look for punctures
or openings around the perimeter seal. Even a small hole can let
in a lot of water over time.
Patching Holes in Clear Core Liner
After locating the hole or holes, it is important to drain as much
of the accumulated water out of the clear plastic liner as possible,
to prevent it from eventually getting absorbed by the foam core. If
you can't get
the water out via the entry hole, it can be quickly drained out by very
carefully cutting a small slit in the plastic liner near one of the
corners. Set the core on edge so that the water flows down and out of the
slit. Don't expect to get out every last drop-- if you get most of it
out, you'll be in good shape.
Liner holes are simple to fix with Tear-Aid Type A
. This inexpensive product is the only permanant sealing solution around water. Make sure the plastic is dry around your repair so
that it will adhere. Fixing it yourself is easy, and
eliminates the considerable expense of shipping off the large core for repairs.
Repairing Minor Spa Cover Rips and Tears
If the cover is in othwise sound condition, small holes and tears can be repaired with Tear-Aid Vinyl Patch Type B,
a special clear elastomeric material designed to permanantly adhere to vinyl while making a very neat mend.
Tear-Aid Type B is the only patch product we have ever found that actually bonds to vinyl without getting gummy, while holding up well to weather. Surface must be clean and dry prior to application. Again, fixing it yourself is easy and economical.
Tie Down Straps & Broken Latches
||Tie down straps are there for one purpose: to secure the cover
to the spa. To avoid ripping the straps, never use them to carry
or remove the cover. Another common cause of ripped straps is
failure to unlatch all of the locks before attempting to lift the
cover off of the hot tub. This type of damage is not covered by
any spa cover warranty.
|Broken cover locks/latches can and should be replaced. It's easy with our Sure-Lock replacement set of four with mounting screws.
Avoiding Vinyl, Seam, & Stitching Damage
- A high quality Spa
Cover Lifter can reduce stress on seams.
- Use handles only for gentle opening or closing of the
- Handles are not intended for carrying or removal
of the cover from the hot tub.
- Do not lift cover by the skirting. This stresses
and can rip the bottom seams.
- Never drag a cover across the ground, especially
- Never place glass objects on a spa cover. The glass can magnify sunlight and melt the vinyl.
- Maintain proper water balance and pH.
- Excessive bromine, chlorine, or shock can
- Use a floating Spa
Blanket to protect cover from excess evaporative chemicals &
- Use of Alternative
Sanitizer systems can prolong spa cover life expectancy.
- Carefully secure all latches when hot tub is not
in use, to prevent wind damage.
A single cubic foot of freshly-fallen dry snow weighs about 30 pounds! Doing the math, an 8' x 8' spa cover with
just 3 inches of accumulation is
supporting nearly 500 extra pounds-- even more with wet snow or ice.
Hot tub cover manufacturer's warranties do not cover snow or other
So if it snows where you live, you can help prevent breakage of the
spa cover's foam core by carefully removing excess accumulation during
Sometimes a hot tub cover which has been weight-stressed will
develop water puddles due to sagging. Some cheap covers (and many
older ones) were not designed with a tapered core for proper water
runoff, which exacerbates the problem.
||If you get a small puddle on your cover, unzip the vinyl covering,
carefully remove the foam core, and flip it over. Flipping sometimes
corrects this issue (at least temporarily) if not too severe.
|NOTE: Extreme cases (as illustrated
left) are warped and waterlogged-- too far gone. These
require replacement for safety and energy conservation.
If your old cover is waterlogged, it's time for
replacement. Be sure to buy a well-crafted one.
Think of a new cover as an investment,
not an expense.
DuraTherm covers are not the
cheapest on the market, but you get what you pay
for: a long-lasting, energy-efficient,
custom-made cover of the highest quality. See our Cover
Replacement Guide for more information.