Hot Tub Cover and Spa Cover Buying Guide
by Jay Labelle
There are many hot tub covers & spa covers available on the internet and in your local stores. This guide is designed to educate you on the attributes that make up a hot tub cover and spa cover, so you can choose the best spa cover for you, at the best price available.
All spa covers these days are tapered so that the rain, snow and ice will runoff much like the roof of your house. You will find covers ranging in thickness starting at a 3" x 2" taper to a 5" x 4" tapered spa cover. The difference in the thickness of the foam is not only size but also load capacity, and that is the most important part of the thickness. The thicker the foam the more load the cover can withstand. For example a 4" x 2" tapered cover can withstand approximately 75lbs. of load capacity before it will break whereas a 4" x 3" spa cover can withstand 125lbs. of load. And lastly a 5" x 4" tapered hot tub cover can withstand a load of 250lbs. As with everything there are tradeoffs the more load capacity the heavier the cover. The most important thing to look at is your climate, the more snow load the heavier the cover you require. If your spa is at deck level and people are possibly going to walk on it you will need a 5" x 4" hot tub cover. If your spa is indoors you can get away with a 4" x 2" taper. The best cover for most conditions is the all season cover, the 4 x 3 hot tub cover taper which is manageable weight and great load capacity.
Foam density plays a vital role in your insulation value and again the load capacity that your cover can endure. There are 3 levels of foam density being used today 1lbs., 1.5lbs., and 2lbs. The foam density is measured by pound per square inch. The lower the foam poundage the more open the cells of the foam are. This results in lower R-value, lower weight capacity and higher saturation points. These three points are important to the performance of your spa cover. The density of your foam will enviably determine the years of service your hot tub cover will provide. The higher the density the longer it will take for the cover to become waterlogged. The higher the density of foam, the lower your operational cost will be. For this reason alone always go for the highest density foam available 2lbs. regardless of your location.
The vinyl used in today's high end spa covers is 32 oz. and is treated with UV and mildew inhibitors which allows for more hours in direct sunlight and keeps mildew from building on your cover. Always look for covers with marine grade vinyl. With the new treatments available on marine grade vinyl fading is minimal and you can choose the darker colors to accent your yard.
The Scrim is the material used on the underside of your spa cover. The primary function of the scrim is to protect the foam core from moisture. There are many different types of scrim available ranging from cheap mesh to the latest and greatest reflective full backing. We recommend only full scrim for the underside and protection of your foam cores. There are different types of full scrims as well. Some are water repellent and some are not. The best scrim out there is the reflective scrim which deflects the radiant heat from your spa back into the spa reducing your heating cost, but more importantly this material is water repellent saving your foam core and adding years of service to your cover.
Poly wrap is moisture barrier around the foam core. Most poly wraps are 3 mil. and are vacuum and heat sealed. The first thing to look at is the thickness of the poly wrap do not accept anything less than 3 mil and if you can upgrade to 6 mil or a double vapor seal, it is well advised to make the investment. Look out for poly wraps that are taped, these will not stand up to the moisture in your spa and cause your hot tub top to become waterlogged.
This is very important as there have been increased reports of accidental drowning among small children in spas. There are options available 2 locks or 4, we highly recommend 4 locks, 1 in each corner for as stated safety, and as well to keep your spa top in place due to wind. Remember to always insure that new hardware is installed for your locks as the plastic will wear over years of use. Try to replace your locks in a different location from where they were originally as the original location will be worn.
All spa covers should have a reinforcing c-channel either aluminum or galvanized steel. Either one is fine with the galvanized steel being slightly stronger but a little heavier. This is a minor tradeoff and either is sufficient.
There are many ways to protect your spa cover. The best way is to use a Spa Cover Cap which is a tarp like cover with an elastic hem that goes over your cover and protects the cover during the winter months. Floating solar or thermal covers will also protect you spa cover from harmfull chemical filled condensation that will eat away at the underside of your spa cover. Hot tub & spa cover lifters not only make removing your cover a one person job, they help save your cover by reducing the wear and tear on them. Lastly keep your cover clean and conditioned with special formulated hot tub cover cleaners and wipes.
The Cover Guy
About the Author
Jay Labelle is the owner of www.thecoverguy.com and has been in the pool & spa industry for over 20 years.
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