Build a Hot Tub Cover in Seven Steps

A woman sitting in a home spa with a tub cover sitting to the side.
  • 4-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-75
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Two full sheets of 1/2-inch plywood
Marine vinyl (size to be determined by measurements)
Rustproof washers
1/4-inch screws
Insulating foam (1/4-inch smaller than the measurement of the inside of the tub)
Staple gun with rust-resistant staples
Padding, outdoor mold-resistant foam is ideal
Foam adhesive spray or caulk style glue
Outdoor fabric (measurement will be determined by the size of the cover)
Four handles with hardware to attach

A hot tub cover serves many purposes including keeping the water clear of leaves and debris, preventing animals from using it as a water source, and to deter children from taking an unsupervised dunk. They are also good for insulating the water temperature so your tub doesn’t waste as much energy keeping the heat where it’s supposed to. However, buying a good, top-of-the-line cover can be a big upfront expense. Fortunately, you can build your own less expensive cover with a moderate knowledge of how to measure and using simple tools.

Step 1 - Always Measure Twice, Cut Once

Measure the size of your spa. You will need exact dimensions of the whole top of the hot tub, not just the area where water is exposed. Divide these numbers in half and transfer the measurements to each piece of plywood. If your tub is small, you may be able to use one piece of plywood for the cover. If so, cut the piece in half once it’s trimmed to size.

Step 2 - To Make A Hinge

Using a 1/8-inch wide piece of the marine vinyl, make a strip that is the length of your plywood. Attach only two inches of each side to the board to allow for leeway when you open the cover. Use the washers and screws every six inches on each side of the vinyl to create a hinge on the lower side of the cover.

Step 3 - Center The Insulation

Use glue to attach the insulating foam on the bottom of the cover. The foam will be covered with the marine vinyl in the next step, so you don’t have to worry about it accumulating moisture.

Step 4 – Staple The Vinyl

The vinyl will protect the wood from the hot wet steam that the hot tub produces, keeping your cover from being bogged down with moisture. Measure out how much vinyl that you will need using the plywood as a template; four to five inches of overage on each side should be sufficient. Lay the plywood in the center of the vinyl and wrap it around the edges, securing every three to five inches with the staple gun. The top will be the side with the staples showing. Do not worry, the foam padding and outer fabric will cover this.

Step 5 - Make it Pleasing to the Eye

Use a staple gun to attach a five-inch strip of fabric along the outer edge of the plywood, two inches from the edge. You can get fancy and make pleats if you choose, or just make it straight around and tuck in the edges. Think of it as a skirt. You may need to use more than one strip to make it all the way around.

Step 6 – Add Fabric

Measure your padding to the exact measurements of your plywood and cover it with the outdoor fabric. Use the spray on adhesive and make sure that there are no wrinkles; the fabric should wrap around the padding with about four inches on the backside. Secure the padding to the top of your cover with a strong adhesive.

Step 7 - Attach the Handles

Attach two handles to each side of the cover. Measure so that they are equidistant from each other. Secure the handles through all layers of the cover. Finally, place your new DIY cover on top of your hot tub and let it do its job.