How to Make an Access Panel for a Hot Tub

Lead Image
What You'll Need
A jig saw or other easy to guide small saw
A cordless drill or screwdriver with a screw tip and a ¼ inch drill bit
2 inner mount hinges
16 feet of the border molding of your choice
Tape measure
Carpenter’s square
Straight edge
Carpenter’s pencil or crayon
A bag or box of ¾ inch brads or small nails
A hammer
A nail setter
Latch, tab or something of your choice or design to hold the panel closed

An access panel in the side of your hot tub or spa is something that is very useful for a variety of reasons. Access panels come in many different varieties. Some just plug into the opening they give access to and use friction or a variety of other methods to stay closed. Some of these use the same materials as the tub frame, while others will use other types of materials. Others are hinged and have a clip or latch to stay in place. This article will describe the steps and tools required to create a hinged 2-foot square access panel for your hot tub.

Step 1 - Measure and Draw the Section to be Cut Out

You first need to draw a square, using a tape measure, straight edge, and carpenter’s crayon or pencil. Make sure the square you draw is perfectly square and is drawn with thin lines.

Step 2 - Drill and Cut the Access Panel Opening

A hot tub in a backyard.

Once you have the access panel drawn exactly to dimension and exactly where you want it, it’s time to cut the opening. Using the drill with the ¼ inch drill bit, drill a hole at a corner. Drill in the exact corner. This will be your cutting starting point. Carefully cut the panel opening, saving the piece or pieces of wood when the opening is cut.

Step 3 - Apply the Molding to the Opening and the Panel Door

Lay the piece or pieces that you just cut on the ground in the exact order they came out. Measure the border molding. Use 45 degree angles when cutting the molding for a superior, professional look. Carefully cut the pieces so that they extend approximately 1/8 inch beyond the edges of the panel. Secure them to the panel with the brads or small nails. Use the nail setter to make sure they are fully set. Repeat this step on the panel opening.

Step 4 - Install the Hinges and Closure Mechanism

A hot tub on a patio.

Determine which way you want the door to open. Mount the hinges to the back side of the door and the horizontal portion of the opening, facing into the opening, as you would a regular door. Make sure the door opens and closes properly. Once this is complete, you can affix the securing method of your choice.