How to Make a Cheap Hot Tub Cover

Lead Image
  • 5-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-1,000
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
Foam insulation

Outdoor entertainment is more exciting with hot tubs to use all year round. In order to keep your hot tub well-maintained, you should keep it covered when it's not in use. However, it can be hard to find the correct size unless you purchase a cover with the tub itself, and even then, it can be very expensive. Making your own cover, on the other hand, can save you some money and it's a simple enough project for most DIYers to complete.

Step 1 - Choose the Material

Look at the type of hot tub you've installed and decide whether a hard or soft hot tub cover is more appropriate. It is not practical or aesthetic to put a wooden cover on a soft, fiberglass hot tub that will buckle under the weight. Meanwhile, a soft cover can be made for a wooden hot tub, but it may not look good.

Each type of cover also has its own advantages. A soft cover can be rolled up and stored and can be made from foam or vinyl, but the outdoor elements are not kind to these covers and they wear quickly. The foam may develop holes which will let water into the tub and cause leaks. Softer materials can fade from the sun too and have high disinfectant levels. They are, however, inexpensive and easy to make.

A tonneau cover is a hard shell cover which makes it heavier, clumsier, and more expensive to make. The materials to make your own will cost more and the design will have to provide for a hinge in the middle for using part of the tub. If you want to be environmentally friendly, a solar hot tub cover keeps the water clean and warm. Investigate materials that will insulate the hot tub without affecting the electricity account.

Step 2 - Measure the Area

Measure your specific hot tub so you can get the best fit for your hot tub cover. Take into account the overall shape and design of the tub, and make sure to double check your measurements as this will help you to cut the vinyl and wood right the first time.

Consider whether you wish to enclose the whole tub when you're planning your cover design. If you live in a windy area, it is best to cover more than just the top, and it's best to make the cover heavier. The bigger the cover, the heavier it will be to move and remove. The shell of the spa can either form a lip over the edge of the cover or it can easily end on a rail of wood that sticks out from the lip of the shell to secure it.

Step 3 - Cut the Material

Now depending on the shape of the tub, draw the pattern on the plywood or plastic to cover the top dimensions of the hot tub. Plan this step carefully to prevent material waste or mistakes in measuring. It is better to cut the material a little too big as it can always be trimmed or reshaped.

Once the overall shape is cut, split the plywood or plastic piece in exactly two equal parts. Also, cut the foam insulation into two parts which should match the size and shape of the already cut plywood or plastic.

Step 4 - Apply Glue

Apply glue to stick the foam insulation to the base surface. Allow this to cure for the amount of time prescribed by the packaging so you can be sure the bond is strong.

Step 5 - Cut the Vinyl

Now, you will need to cut the vinyl to fit the overall size of the two pieces of plywood with an extra 1 1/2 inches at each edge. Several more strips of vinyl also need to be cut; these should be two inches larger in size to cover the edges. You may need more than four strips to do this.

Lay and unfold the vinyl strips under as well as over the plywood pieces. Make sure that the right side of the strip is facing outward.

Step 6 - Paste Vinyl to the Plywood

Use glue to attach the vinyl to the plywood cover. Then, glue the strips which are on the outer sides and make sure you leave an extra inch on each half of the strip.

Step 7 - Attach the Hot Tub Cover

Either use weighted clips or hooks to get the cover to stay on top of the hot tub or use a plastic tie to keep the wind out and the warmer temperature inside. Heavier, wooden hot tub covers will require screws. It may be easy to attach the cheap hot tub cover under the lip of the shell as it will keep the elements out.

Show off your homemade tub cover when you invite guests over to soak in the clean, warm water.