The question of whether to make or buy a hot tub cover has less to do with the expense then it does with your desire to do the work yourself. There are several affordable options for soft hot tub covers, from tonneau covers to insulated fold-up types. Making your own requires the material, tools and a certain amount of skill that you can avoid entirely by purchasing a cover. For around $300 you can purchase a fold-up, insulated hot tub cover. There are many add-ons you can select to raise the price, but it is a good estimate. Hard hot tub covers are quite a bit more expensive, but they are safer and less prone to water damage. Hot tub covers made from scratch will likely be of the soft variety, but be aware of the steps involved before you commit.
Store-Bought Hot Tub Covers
The least expensive soft hot tub cover you can purchase has no insulation. It is simply a cover that sits over the top of your hot tub. With optional air bladders to create a slope on the cover in order to drain rainwater, this type of cover can be used together with an additional heat retention device. The benefit to this type of cover aside from the relatively low price is that there is no foam interior to sustain water damage.
Insulated Soft Covers
This is the more expensive variety of soft hot tub covers. Consisting of 2 waterproof layers sandwiching an insulating foam core and optional vapor barriers, the insulated soft cover is more expensive than the plain tarp-like tonneau cover. While it works to keep heat in the hot tub, saving you money on power, after time water can eventually work its way into the seams and ruin the foam interior.
Make Your Own Hot Tub Cover
To make your own hot tub cover, you have to choose between the tonneau cover and the insulated cover. By far, the tonneau cover will cost less. You have to purchase the vinyl material in addition to the material for the edging and straps. After finding a place to buy the material in the size you need, you will have to assembled the cover yourself, cutting it to the appropriate size and stitching on the other parts.
An insulated cover that you make yourself is more complicated. It consists of 2 outer layers with an inner core of foam. Vapor wraps encapsulate the core to prevent water evaporation accumulation and damage. In addition, insulated soft hot tub covers are hinged in the middle. This allows you to fold it in half before removing it entirely. The stitching required for this job is challenging, and you must take care to seal off any vulnerable material from steam and water exposure.
Considering the factors such as price, work and time spent, it is a better choice to spend the money on a professionally-made soft hot tub cover. Whether you opt for the tonneau cover or the fully-insulated type, you may spend more than you would for the raw materials, but you will save yourself a lot of time and effort. In this case, paying for the expert production of a quality cover is worth the money.