How Do You Fix A Waterlogged Hot Tub Cover?

The hot tub my wife and I had at our last house was used and not in the best of shape. As the cover got worse and worse, we eventually wondered how do you fix a waterlogged hot tub cover?

Here’s what we learned in going through the steps:

To fix a waterlogged hot tub cover, take the following steps:

  1. Remove the waterlogged hot tub cover
  2. Remove the vinyl lining from the hot tub cover
  3. Dry the foam that was inside the vinyl covering
  4. Clean the vinyl covering
  5. Wash the area around the vinyl
  6. Roughen the patch site before applying it to the vinyl
  7. Repair the hole or foam with a patch

Who doesn’t love or want a hot tub?

It’s a place to relax, unwind and enjoy good company. If you have a hot tub for just yourself or a place for your friends to come and hang out, you know it’s a huge disappointment when you can’t use it for some reason.

But a waterlogged hot tub cover is no fun and will eventually increase the energy usage.

Don’t worry too much though. Fixing a waterlogged hot tub cover isn’t a very difficult, expensive, or time-consuming project if this is something that you have to do.

We’ll cover how to determine if your cover is waterlogged and then go step-by-step through how to perform the repair.

What causes a hot tub cover to get waterlogged?

Lots of things can cause your hot tub cover to tear or get holes in it. When that happens it’s easy for moisture from the hot tub or rain to get inside the vinyl cover.

The biggest factor for my old hot tub cover at that last house was the fact that we didn’t have a hot tub cover lifter.

My daughters and even my wife had a very hard time getting the cover on and off. Of course, I would do it if I was at home. But if they were using it while I was at work it was pretty challenging.

After all, a hot tub cover is heavy!

Depending on the size of your hot tub, the cover could weight anywhere from 35-70 lbs. But about 45 lbs is probably about average.

So my family would basically just fold the top of the cover in half and then push it to the edge of the hot tub and let it slide down the side.

Since it’s heavy, the weight of the cover would definitely put stress on the edges and middle of the cover where the crease is.

The house where we live now, which has a nicer hot tub also didn’t have a cover lifter. So since I learned that lesson the hard way before I bought a lifter this time around.

I did a lot of research and read tons of reviews. Finally I settled on the Cover Valet Spa Cover Lift(just click the link to check current price on Amazon).

Some cover lifters screw into the sides of the tub which wouldn’t work for my plastic-sided tub.

Others had terrible reviews. This one is almost all 5-star reviews, an Amazon’s Choice product has hundreds of reviews and comes with free shipping!

The best part is this thing was cheap (well under $200) and I installed it in under 10 minutes.

How to Repair Your Waterlogged Hot Tub Cover

When it comes to repairing a hot tub cover, it’s not rocket science. No, really, it’s just a hot tub. When the problem of why your hot tub cover is waterlogged, it should be as easy to fix as it was to find out the reason most of the time.

Typically, when a hot tub’s vinyl lining in the cover begins ripping, tearing, or begins to deteriorate, the foam in the lining will begin to absorb the water from within the hot tub. It will be very clear when this starts to occur because the hot tub cover will start to feel heavy and a bit soggy when you try to move it.

Aside from this, another clear sign is a lower water level in your hot tub. Here are the initial steps to assessing and repairing a waterlogged hot tub cover:

  • Attempt to dry out the hot tub cover
  • Inspect the hot tub cover for rips or tears
  • Determine whether or not the hot tub cover can be saved
  • Attempt to save the hot tub cover
  • If all else fails: Replace it

Well maintained, a hot tub cover should last you 5-7 years. I go into great detail not only about the cover, but about how long each piece of a hot tub lasts, on average, in a recent post.

Just click the link to read that now on my site.

Fixing a Waterlogged Hot Tub Cover, Step-by-Step:

To resolve the issue of the waterlogged hot tub cover, you are going to have to follow these steps:

1. Remove the Waterlogged Hot Tub Cover

The first thing you are going to have to do is remove the hot tub cover. If the cover is too heavy, don’t try to muscle it by yourself and risk injury. It’s not worth it. Get some help in removing the cover, so you don’t have an unplanned trip to the doctor’s office.

2. Remove the Vinyl Lining from The Hot Tub Cover

To address the waterlogged hot tub cover issue, you are going to have to remove the vinyl after taking the hot tub cover off of the hot tub. Be careful not to create more work for yourself when doing this by taking it off aggressively.

I understand you may be in a rush to get to the root of the problem, but without care, you can risk more damage to the vinyl. So, proceed with caution to keep from increasing the damage.

3. Dry the Foam That Was Inside the Vinyl Covering
After removing the foam from within the vinyl covering, you need to lay it out somewhere it can dry effectively.

This can be on the patio in the sun or in your garage with space heaters pointing towards it. If you use space heaters, be sure not to place them too close to the heaters, as this would be a fire hazard.

4. Be Sure to Clean the Vinyl Covering

While the foam of the hot tub cover is drying, you will need to thoroughly clean the vinyl that was covering the foam. Inside and out.

Make sure that you use cleaning products that are designed to eliminate molds and mildews depending on how long your hot tub cover was waterlogged; these things could have started growing in the vinyl.

There’s actually no better product on the planet for cleaning hot tub covers than 303 UV Protectant (click to learn more on Amazon).

303 brand is the ultimate cleaner and protector for vinyl, fiberglass (so it works on the acrylic shell too), plastic, rubber or leather.

So like the patch product I mention below, this product will have lots of uses around your house too (and easily replaces the inferior Armor All which you shouldn’t use on hot tub covers due to the silicone in it).

Not convinced? Read some of the amazing reviews on Amazon!

I recommend applying this to your hot tub cover once a month.

5. Wash the Area Around the Vinyl

Before applying a patch to the hole in your vinyl for the hot tub cover, be sure to wash the area thoroughly first. This will ensure that the patch that you cut out will adhere securely to the vinyl.

6. Roughen the Patch Site Before Applying It to The Vinyl

A general rule to repairing a hole in the vinyl is to ensure that the patch is smooth but the area in the vinyl that you are applying the patch to needs to be rough.

Take some sandpaper and thoroughly rub it across the area to ensure that it is rough and porous enough for the patch to adhere to.

For fixing small holes or tears, I LOVE the product Tear-Aid Vinyl Repair Patch Kit (click to see the current price on Amazon). That’s definitely the product to get for these steps.

7. Repair the Hole or Tear in The Foam

When it comes to the foam of the hot tub cover, that could also be suffering from a rip or tear as well. If this is the case with the foam for your hot tub cover, you’ll be applying a patch to the foam, too.

Purchase some foam to insert to the area and apply a patch to both sides. This will provide maximum security and protection to the site.

What Problems Does a Waterlogged Hot Tub Cover Cause?

Having a waterlogged hot tub cover can provide some complications if not addressed.

Yes, technically even a waterlogged hot tub cover will still keep out leaves, branches, and insects that can potentially end up in your hot tub.

However, you run the risk of having to deal with other problems:

The Hot Tub’s Water Isn’t Being Insulated

The biggest issue with having a waterlogged hot tub cover is that it isn’t insulating the water in the hot tub. This is a huge problem if you want to have an actual “hot” tub and not a “kinda warm“ tub. The waterlogged hot tub cover will actually pull heat right out of the hot tub’s water.

Your Electric Costs Will Go Up

Due to the hot tub cover not insulating the hot tub and taking heat from the water of the hot tub, it will actually start to eat your electrical costs when you as you have to invest in more electricity to operate your hot tub.

A Waterlogged Hot Tub Cover May Damage Your Hot Tub’s Cover Filters

If your hot tub’s cover is waterlogged, the cover can potentially damage the hot tub’s cover filters. This is due to the extra weight that the hot tub cover provides when it is waterlogged. If the cover filters are broken, you may be seeing your tub getting a lot dirtier.

What If I Can’t Repair My Hot Tub Cover?

Sometimes, your hot tub cover may be beyond repair.

Or it may even smell different even if you do fix it. If that happens to be the case, you may have to start looking at replacing it.

As previously mentioned, while a waterlogged hot tub cover may still keep leaves, branches, other things out of your hot tub, it will still pull large amounts of heat from the water and won’t insulate it, driving up the operating cost of your hot tub.

While it is not what you would prefer to do, when the cover is beyond repair, replacing it is the best thing you can do. I hope this helps with your hot tub cover issue so you can go back to hot tubbing it like you were doing before!

Did I cover everything you wanted to know about fixing a waterlogged hot tub cover?

In this article, we took a look at something every hot tub owner eventually faces; a waterlogged cover.

Luckily, it’s not hard to fix that problem, and the sooner you catch it, the easier it is to fix. Plus if you let it go too long, it may eventually get beyond being fixable.

So we broke it down step-by-step on exactly what to do to fix yours.

Want an easy way to get your hot tub cover on and off?

There’s no better way than using a hot tub cover lifter with hydraulic arms. And despite what you might think they come in all prices ranges even down to around 50 bucks!

In a recent article, I look at the 11 very best ones and break them down by ease of installation, the shape of the lid, how much space is needed behind it and budget.

You won’t want to miss it if you don’t have a cover lifter yet! Just click that link to read it on my site.


Photo credits which require attribution:

Repair complete by Gord Webster is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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