Though hot tub covers are designed to be sturdy, they are prone to wear and tear if used frequently. A part might get broken, a screw might get loose, and before you know it you’re left with a hot tub that is non-functional. The only way to get around the situation is to either repair the old one or get a new cover for your hot tub.
But what do you do in the meantime? Using your hot tub without a cover increases the maintenance efforts to keep the water clean as well as increased electricity bills. Luckily for all hot tub owners, using something else as a hot tub cover or making your own DIY hot tub cover are excellent options.
- Certain household items can be easily used as a temporary hot tub cover replacement.
- Temporary hot tub covers aren’t very good at heat retention, even DIY ones.
- Making small repairs to your hot tub cover in time can prevent it from breaking down unexpectedly, so check and maintain your hot tub cover on a regular basis.
Common Temporary Hot Tub Cover Replacements
A hot tub cover can get damaged in a variety of ways- the vinyl might have torn off, broken hinges, and damaged foam interiors are just a few. Once these kinds of damage happen, your hot tub cover becomes unusable until repaired or replaced. The good news is, you probably have some temporary hot cover replacements lying around the house already. Some of the common ones include:
A lot of homes have plywood boards lying around the house, and if you happen to have one large enough, you can use it as a temporary hot cover. As you might expect since plywood boards don’t come with heat insulation properties the heat from the tub escapes at a fast rate. While not the perfect solution, they can make do for a few days until your old cover is repaired or replaced.
Cheap and effective, plastic tarps can be brought from any hardware store in your area or ordered online. Since you’ll be using it as a hot tub cover replacement, make sure to use heavier tarps as they’re less prone to melting from the heat trapped inside the tub. While it won’t keep the tub heated for long, it can definitely keep it clean as long as the edges are secured properly with the tub’s rim.
Old tabletops are common in many households, often left out in the garage or backyard after years of use. But in a hot tub-related pinch, that old tabletop that has been abandoned can suddenly become a handy temporary hot tub cover. But there’s a bit of luck in play here since the tabletop has to be large enough to cover the hot tub in the first place.
If it fits, just sew off the table’s legs and make the necessary length adjustments according to the hot tub’s dimensions with a saw. As is the case with the other two, this temporary replacement isn’t good at preserving the tub temperature, so get a proper replacement as soon as possible.
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Making Your Own DIY Hot Tub Cover
If the temporary hot tub cover replacements mentioned above don’t cut it for you, the good news is you can make your own DIY hot tub cover yourself. Of course, this means you need to have the minimum handyman skills required to see through the project.
Here’s a list of materials that you’re going to need for your project:
- Polystyrene foam boards (2- 2″ thick 4×8′)
- Heavy-duty plastic cover
- Waterproof Plywood boards (2 – 4×8′)
- Heavy-duty adhesive
- Continuous hinges and screws
- Exterior paint
- Measuring Tape
- Drill machine
All of these can be purchased from your local hardware store no matter where you live, so procuring the necessary materials won’t be too much of an issue. Once you’ve gathered the necessary materials, execute the following steps in order:
- Measuring the Hot Tub: If you have your hot tub’s manual still lying around somewhere, then this step will be unnecessary. But if you don’t, then get ready with your measuring tape and measure the dimensions of your hot tub’s rim. This will help determine the dimensions of some of the other materials in the project.
- Cutting the Project Materials: Once the tub measurements have been done, you need to cut the foam boards, the plywood boards, and the heavy-duty plastic cover according to the measurements taken. If your tub is square then you’re in luck as the cutting process for all three materials will be fairly straightforward. But if it’s a round one, you’re going to have to be more careful and attentive when cutting the materials as one small mistake can leave enough gap for heat to escape from the tub which you don’t want.
- Smoothing the Rough Edges and Coloring: You can smooth out the rough edges of the foam and plywood boards by stacking them on top of one another after cutting them. You can use a chisel or a screwdriver to scrape the rough edges on the side and smooth them. Once you’re done smoothing, coloring the plywood boards at this point is highly advisable for saving time.
- Wrapping the Pieces with Plastic: With the cutting and smoothing done, the next step of your DIY hot tub cover project is to wrap the cut foam with heavy-duty plastic wraps. Cut the plastic wrap according to the size of the foams with the scissor and make sure the wrap hugs the foams as tightly as possible.
- Gluing the Pieces Together: After wrapping the foam, it’s time to carefully glue the plastic-wrapped foam to the cut plywood boards. Using industry-grade glue is the best idea since normal glues can’t provide a fraction of the adhesiveness required to keep the foam and boar stuck in place when the tub is running hot. After applying the glue let it dry for a couple of hours.
- Install the Hinges: Once all the above-mentioned steps have been completed, the final step is to install the hinges on the hot tub cover so that it can be hooked up to the hot tub. Mark the hinge placement locations with a pencil or marker and drill holes in them for the hinges. Place the hinges in position and put on the screws in the drilled holes. Once the hinges have been secured tightly, hook up your DIY hot tub cover to your hot tub.
You should definitely feel proud for accomplishing the project successfully but in the long run, a DIY hot tub cover is not a permanent solution. It’s a temporary one that can be accomplished within the budget of $50-$75, but these DIY hot tub covers don’t compare to professionally made industrialized ones.
Maintaining Your Hot Tub Cover Properly
No matter how many alternatives you look at, nothing substitutes a proper hot tub cover from a reputed brand. This is why the best course of action is to prevent it from having problems and malfunctioning in the first place by properly maintaining and cleaning it. If you just spend half an hour on your weekends cleaning the hot tub cover, you can easily spot small malfunctions and defects before they can turn into a large problem.
Make a proper maintenance schedule at least 3 times a year and do a comprehensive checkup. Having maintenance checkups at the beginning of spring, in the middle of summer, and at the end of fall are more than enough to spot any hot tub troubles before they even begin.
1. Can DIY hot tub covers be as good as a commercial ones?
No, DIY hot tub covers can’t be as good as industrial-grade covers due to limitations of material quality and assembly.
2. Are DIY inflatable hot tub covers viable as a temporary solution?
No, DIY inflatable hot tub covers are not a viable temporary solution as the heat escapes the hot tub water too fast.
3. When’s the best time for a hot tub cover inspection?
At the beginning of spring, most people bring out their hot tubs and at the end of full they put away their hot tubs. A mid-summer inspection is recommended but not mandatory.
Temporary hot tub covers are all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day, they’re not proper replacements for a genuine hot tub cover. The alternatives discussed above are viable for short-term use when you’re in a pinch and can’t afford the repairs or purchase of a hot tub cover; in the long run you either need to repair your old cover or buy a new one to save money on electricity and overall safety.
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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.