DIY Jacuzzi Hot Tub Cover: What You Need to Know BEFORE You Start

Many people who own jacuzzi hot tubs leave them behind when they sell their homes. The cost and work involved with moving hot tubs are usually not worth it. In many cases, old hot tub covers are thick and soggy when they get wet, making them difficult to lift. Some of these used hot tub covers show signs of mold at the seams. If you inherit a used hot tub with your new home, you’ll probably be excited — until you see the sad state of the hot tub cover.

Perhaps you’re the original owner of a hot tub that needs a new cover. Spa covers are expensive. Depending on the age of your hot tub, you may be wondering if it’s worth replacing the cover. The good news is that you can build a spa cover for a fraction of the cost. This article includes helpful information to know before you start your project.

What Type of Hot Tub Cover Do You Want?

Unusual or Oversized Shapes

Who Will Use the Spa?

Using a spa is a great way to relax and ease sore muscles at the end of the day. Hot tubs can also be fun and entertaining for the entire family. When you choose a hot tub cover, consider who will be using the hot tub.

If the spa cover is too heavy to lift yourself, you will need a cover lift to help get it on and off. A roll-up hot tub and spa cover can help you lift a heavy cover on your own. Otherwise, you’re forced to limit hot tub use to times when someone is available to help.

If you have children, security is also a primary concern. Even if you don’t have kids, you must take necessary precautions to secure your hot tub. This helps ensure the safety of family members with children or neighborhood children who occasionally visit.

What Is the Climate Like Where You Live?

A hot tub used in a snowy climate will need a cover with a frame that’s heavy enough to support the snow’s weight. On the other hand, if you live in sunny Florida or Texas where the average temperature might be 90 degrees in the shade, you need a heat-resistant cover. Two significant causes of spa cover damage are rain settling on top of the hot tub cover and wear from sitting in the sun.

All types of weather affect spa cover durability, and should be considered when selecting the type and thickness of your spa cover. Outdoor spa covers should have a tapered design, which allows rain and snow to slide off. A good jacuzzi cover will also be waterproof, as too much water eventually compromises their ability to retain heat.

Get monthly updates on promotions, deals, and new products.

How Much Money Do You Want to Spend?

One of the primary reasons to build your own spa cover is to save money. Hot tub covers can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. When you design your own cover, you can keep your budget front of mind.

Materials Used to Make Your Hot Tub Cover

The materials inside a hot tub cover determine stability, and the outer materials determine how long they will last in the elements. In most cases, spa covers need replacing because they are old, heavy from water retention, and shaped awkwardly. A brief internet search reveals the same story repeatedly about worn-out and unusable spa covers.

When considering what to use for insulation, look for materials with a higher R-Value. An R-Value is a rating that measures how well an insulating material resists heat flow. The higher the R-Value, the greater the insulating power. The R-Value of foam insulation in hot tub covers can range from a basic rating of R-14 to a supreme heavy-duty rating of R-27.

Once you know which type of cover you want, list the materials you need. Certain materials are more suitable than others in different situations. Some materials used in replaceable spa covers include plastic, tarps, marine vinyl, Sunbrella, and neoprene.

Examples of DIY Jacuzzi Covers

DIY Lumber Hot Tub Cover

When Styrofoam gets wet, it cracks and becomes waterlogged. The hot tub cover belonging to the family in the video below was so wet that it felt like it weighed 300 pounds. You can see how they made their new hot tub cover in this video, Cheap, Light, DIY, Hot Tub Cover.

The couple in the video took the following steps in making their hot tub cover:

  1. First, they made the frame using lumber and sanded it down.
  2. Next, they covered the frame with a plastic tarp and used tape on the inside to plug up small holes.
  3. They stapled the cover down on the side.
  4. They cleaned the plastic tarp and painted it white.
  5. Next, they covered it with UV plastic vinyl secured with stainless steel staples.
  6. They put a solar cover on the bottom to act as an insulator.

The finished product was a lightweight, easy-to-use plastic cover.

Tarp and Wood Hot Tub Cover

  • This couple followed directions they found on the internet. They cut and cleaned their boards, then stained them.
  • Next, they glued the insulation and tarp onto the boards.
  • To give the cover a finished look, they covered the staples with brown duct tape.
  • Using a tarp to cover this jacuzzi is acceptable in this instance because the hot tub is inside, underneath a cover. A hot tub cover this light is not suitable for an outdoor spa.

Regular Tarp Hot Tub Cover

Another person posted a video on YouTube of his DIY spa cover project, made by gluing strips of wood to a tarp. This cover can be rolled on and off a hot tub. He also used other materials including 2 inch by ½ inch strips of wood, liquid nails, staples, and a dough roller. He already had many of the other materials on hand.

Pros of a Plastic Tarp Cover

Tarps are strong, rugged, durable, and long-lasting material. Super heavy-duty tarps from places like Home Depot are suitable for long-term covering and protection. They have the following benefits:

  • Strong, durable material
  • Waterproof
  • Reusable
  • Mildew-resistant
  • Rot-resistant
  • Washable
  • Fade-resistant
  • UV-resistant
Cons of a Plastic Tarp Cover
  • Tarps are usually not strong enough for heavy items and will not last long in hot weather. If your 50-pound dog jumps up on a hot tub covered with a tarp, it can be a dangerous situation.

Marine Vinyl and Cedar Rolling Hot Tub Cover

After receiving estimates of $1,800 and $2,200 for a cedar hot tub cover, one couple decided to make their own, which cost just $1,500.

To make their DIY rollable cedar hot tub spa cover, this couple used:

  • Cedar two-by-fours
  • Marine vinyl 
  • Scotch adhesive 77
  • 1/4″ closed-cell foam rubber
  • 100 fender washers
  • Spray paint
  • Duct tape
  • 100 deck screws
Pros of a Marine-Grade Vinyl
  • Easy to work with
  • UV-resistant
  • Mold/mildew-resistant
  • Useful as a reflective liner
Cons of a Marine-Grade Vinyl
  • Vinyl dries, cracks, and falls apart faster than other materials.

Sunbrella Hot Tub Cover

Pros of Waterproof Sunbrella Material
  • Exterior UV-resistant and interior UV-resistant
  • Ideal for environments prone to heavy rain, moisture, and mildew
  • Resistant to decay caused by sunlight and weather exposure
  • Comes in a wide variety of patterns and solid colors
Cons of Waterproof Sunbrella Material
  • Sunbrella can be more expensive than other materials. It also transmits static electricity, so it’s capable of shocking bare skin in the sun.

Neoprene Hot Tub Cover

The DIY spa cover community has not provided much information on the use of neoprene. However, the characteristics of this material make it an excellent choice. Some people have used it on the exterior of their spa covers. You can buy neoprene at Foamorder.com. Depending on its size, you can complete your DIY hot tub cover within a weekend.

Pros of Neoprene
  • High-quality material
  • Durable
  • Resistant to extreme temperatures
  • Can withstand compression
Cons of Neoprene
  • Too warm at times
  • Rubber can snag easily on sharp objects

To DIY or Not to DIY?

The internet can provide lots of DIY spa cover instructions. However, you may decide not to take the DIY route for the following reasons:

May not hold heat efficiently as they don’t include professional insulation
Can be challenging to secure, and may require additional latches and hooks
Can warp if the panels are not strong enough
May also require a spa cover lift
Can bend, allowing rainwater and melted snow into the spa

Now that you’ve considered all the factors involved in making a DIY hot tub cover, you can decide what’s best for you. In most instances, making a cover from start to finish is most affordable. If you decide to do it yourself, neoprene is the most economical option because of its durability. Plastic tarps cost less, but are not as strong and do not last long in adverse weather conditions. Marine-grade vinyl and Sunbrella are good quality products, but neoprene is, overall, the better choice. You can find affordable neoprene from Foam Order.

Once you finish your DIY spa cover project, consider posting your video to let others see how it turns out.