How to Buy a Spa Cover

Hot tub covers and spa coversThe word “custom” seems to be synonymous with the words “expensive” and “complicated”, but it doesn’t have to be that way, at least when it comes to custom spa covers! After a few simple measurements, you can choose a few options, pick a color and in about 3 weeks you’ll receive a new spa cover!

More often than not, when you purchase a new spa cover it will be custom made to your specifications. This is because there are so many different sizes and types of spas, and such a variety of options and colors available. Storing so many different sizes of covers in all colors and options is just not feasible, so they are produced as needed. So, don’t let the word “custom” scare you.

How to Measure for a New Spa Top

The measurements needed will vary based on the shape of your spa; the diagram on the right gives an example of the simple measurements that are required for a 2 cut-corner spa cover.

When measuring, take the dimensions of the spa from outside edge to outside edge. You want the spa cover to rest on top of the spa, if you were to take inside measurements, the cover would fall in!

If you have an in-ground spa and the spa cover will be lying on the ground, be sure to note that on the form. The spa cover needs to be a bit larger to lay on the coping around the spa without falling in. For inground spas, the cover should be about a foot larger than the spa itself. The best thing to do would be to provide the inside dimensions of the spa and allow the manufacturer to determine the necessary overlap.

If you are ever in doubt of what measurements are required, or think your spa top might need some special modifications, sending some pictures along with your measurements is always a good idea. Good digital photos can speak 1000 words to our spa cover designers!

To determine the specific measurements required for your spa, please see our spa cover measuring form. Always be sure to note if you have any obstructions or a control panel that you would like to be able to access while the cover is on the spa. A cut out in the foam may be required for the proper fit.

Choosing Spa Cover Types

Spa covers come in various thicknesses and foam densities. The foam used in spa covers has a particular R-value, the standard used for comparing insulation. The higher the foam density and the thicker the cover, the more heat it will help you to retain in the spa. The downside to a thicker, denser cover is that they will be a bit heavier and a bit more expensive. The upside is increased heat retention and strength.

Outdoor spa covers will need to have a taper to allow for rainwater run-off. As an example, a 4” to 2” taper cover is 4 inches thick in the center of the cover, tapering down to 2 inches thick along the edges. Covers for indoor spas can also be tapered, or they can maintain the same thickness all the way across, since you won’t have to worry about runoff.

In The Swim carries 4 different kinds of spa covers. The specifications of each are listed below.

Select from Spa Cover Options

Spa Cover Skirt: Once you’ve chosen the spa cover you’d like, you can move on to the options available to you. If you have a freestanding spa or hot tub, you should have a skirt on your cover. A skirt is simply additional vinyl material that hangs down off the cover to reduce heat loss where the cover meets the outside edge of the spa.

spa-cover-optionsIf you still have your old cover, measure the skirt to determine what it should be on the replacement cover. If you do not have the old cover, a 2 inch skirt is fairly standard, but there is usually no additional charge for skirt lengths up to 4 inches.

You may want to consider having the corners of the skirt split instead of running in one continuous piece around the spa cover edge.  This helps to ensure the skirt hangs nicely and does not bunch up around the corners of the spa cover.  It should be noted though that while a split skirt looks nicer in some cases, it may allow some heat to escape.

Cover Hinge: The location of the hinge that divides the cover in to two sides can also be specified if you like. If not specified, our manufacturer will place it in the middle of the longest side. In the measuring diagram above, you can see you have a choice between placing the hinge in the “Fold 1” or “Fold 2” locations. Large spa covers (anything over 96 inches) are generally a 3 piece spa top; one single piece and a hinged double piece.

Spa Cover Handles: Two handles generally come standard with a cover, but you may want more, or perhaps you don’t need any at all depending on the shape and location of your cover.  Be sure to indicate where you would like the handles to be located if you have a preference.

Spa Top Locks: Most spa owners want the ability to lock the spa lock downs for spa topstop down to the spa cabinet. Usually 4 spa cover snap locks will be included with the cover along with 4 fasteners attached to the cover. Screw the locks onto the spa cabinet and you can snap the fasteners into the locks, so it is safe & secure. Indicate where you would like the fasteners to be located on the cover, if you have a preference.

In ground spa tops do not generally have such clips to secure them in place. For improved safety, you can create a spa cover security system by using heavy nylon straps and safety cover hardware (springs and anchors). This will keep out curious children and strong winds.

Spa Cover Colors: Your last choice to make is the color. In The Swim currently offers spa tops in 12 colors shown below.


And that’s all there is to it! You can place an order for a custom spa cover on our website, or if you have a more complex spa or pictures to include, you can fill out our spa cover measuring form and mail, email or fax it to us.

Spa covers generally take about 3 weeks for delivery by truck line, but the time frame can vary based on seasonality. If you have any questions about ordering a new spa cover, please give us a call at 1-800-288-7946.

Jackie Wolski
InTheSwim Staff Blogger

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