How to Measure Your Hot Tub Cover
If you’re like some people, eventually you get tired of constantly trying to repair the seams of an old, worn-out hot tub cover and you decide to search for a suitable replacement. After all, there’s only so many times you can use duct tape or glue before the material begins to deteriorate. So, the first step in your quest for a new hot tub cover will likely include finding a cover with the right fit. Which, can be unnecessarily complicated (to say the least), but getting the right fit is well worth the effort.
Now, if you were happy with your first hot tub cover and the manufacturer still has the same product available, then your search may be over. But, what about those instances that require replacing a hot tub cover on an older model of hot tub, or one that is uniquely shaped? That’s what this article is about. And, as you read through, we will show you how to measure your hot tub cover to ensure the replacement works perfectly. Master Spa Parts supplies brand new, factory replacements for models in the Master Spas Series, and also provides custom-made hydraulic lift Smartops, covers for your Swim Spa and many more options to help you find the ideal cover to fit any shape and size hot tub or swim spa.
Why Getting the Right Fit Matters
One of the issues in ordering hot tub covers online is that the quality and precision are often subpar. And, many aftermarket manufacturers don’t put a lot of thought into the corner radius of their covers (more on that later). Let’s play devil’s advocate for a second and ask, “Who cares whether or not the cover is a perfect fit? It still covers the top. Isn’t that good enough?” While having a simply “adequate” hot tub cover with an overhang (or under-hang) may help in keeping out the leaves and other debris, it’s what is escaping your hot tub that’s the issue: your money. Well, your money in an indirect way.
The wrong hot tub cover can have several detrimental effects, including:
• Heat loss — When you use a poor-fitting hot tub cover, the heat from your hot tub escapes. With the wrong cover, you’re not only paying more in terms of your gas or electric bill to heat your hot tub, but also to heat the air outside. This added heating cost can equate to hundreds of dollars each year—not an insignificant sum by any stretch of the imagination.
• Equipment wear — Since your pump and heater will be working overtime to keep your hot tub’s water at a steady temperature, these parts will also wear out faster. Plus, when the foam pads within your hot tub cover don’t align correctly to the contours of the hot tub, a falling tree branch, or other type of impact can easily damage the cover.
• Unstable chemistry — A cover that doesn’t fit quite right also causes hot tub water to evaporate, which can alter the chemistry of the water.
• Safety concerns — If you have kids or pets, then you know they will climb on just about anything. When the cover isn’t the right size, there’s no way it can be properly secured. Therefore, children or pets can cause the cover to cave in, creating a drowning risk.
• Aesthetics — There’s no two ways about it: hot tubs are expensive. So when you add a cheap, badly fitting cover to an expensive spa, it will diminish the overall appearance of the hot tub.
Measuring for a New Hot Tub Cover
Now that you understand the many different ways the wrong hot tub cover can have adverse effects and unintended consequences, let’s get to work in measuring your hot tub cover so we can go about choosing the correct replacement. Some of the tools you will need to complete this are:
1) Measuring tape
2) Notepad and writing utensil (or smartphone)
3) Steel square (carpenter’s square)
4) Tape measure
5) Framing square or straight edge (for hot tub’s with rounded-off corners)
Also, if you have a friend to help you hold the tape on the opposite end, that makes the process much easier.
While square hot tub covers are the easiest to measure (no advanced geometry required, right?), octagonal- and even elliptical-shaped hot tub covers aren’t too much of a challenge so long as you’re equipped with the right tools and know-how. Ready to get started? Here is how to measure square, rectangular, round, and octagonal hot tub covers:
• Square hot tub covers — To measure a square cover, simply measure one outside lip to the outside lip on the opposite side, and repeat this to check for any variations with the other width. Then, add a half-inch to each width. The next thing you’ll want to measure is the skirt length, which should be fairly straightforward.
• Rectangular hot tub covers — In measuring for a rectangular hot tub cover, you will essentially repeat the same steps outlined for square hot tub covers, but you will also want to note in which direction the fold of the cover should be. Typically, the fold should be lengthwise, but depending on the layout of your spa area, this may not be the best option.
• Round hot tub covers — The best way to measure a round hot tub cover is to measure along the fold (so long as it forms a diameter). Don’t forget to add in that additional half-inch to allow for any manufacturing variations. And, you’ll also want to measure the length of the skirt to make sure you choose the right cover size.
• Octagonal hot tub covers — Typically, hot tub manufacturers design their octagonal hot tubs to have equal sides, but there are those rare exceptions. For octagonal hot tubs with equal sides, what you’ll want to do is measure the diameter of the cover (add a half-inch to this figure), then take a measurement from one corner to an adjacent corner so you’ll have a measurement of a side. Also, be sure to measure the skirt length.
• Elliptical hot tub covers — The best way to measure an elliptical cover is to take a measurement of the cover along the fold, then take an additional perpendicular measurement. Add a half-inch to both of these measurements to give yourself some wiggle room. Next, you’ll just want to measure the cover’s skirt height. But what about custom hot tubs and those with unique shapes? When it comes to custom hot tubs and those with irregular shapes, you may need to have a special cover crafted for your particular spa. Take as many measurements as possible and share these with the person charged with its construction.
Have a Question?
While we may not be able to hold the end of your measuring tape, we are always available to answer your questions. So, if you have a question about how to properly measure your hot tub cover, simply contact us at any time.