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Guru

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Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/17/2009 11:08 PM

We have a five-year-old hot tub, and the cover seems to be waterlogged. It originally weighed a feather, and a light wind could blow it off. Now, it's so heavy, a tornado wouldn't budge it.

It's about 7x7 ft. in two folding parts, made of vinyl over hard styrofoam, about 6-inch think. I took it off, unzipped the cover, and stood it up so it would drain, but very little water is coming out.

I can probably get the vinyl cover off the styrofoam, but I have serious doubts if I can get the cover back on. I'm betting the styrofoam was injected into the vinyl.

Any ideas on how to dry it out? Or am I doomed to buying a new cover?

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#1

Re: Drying out a hot tub cover

05/18/2009 3:30 AM

Not knowing a geographical location it's difficult to advise.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Drying out a hot tub cover

05/18/2009 4:15 AM

Midwest USA

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Drying out a hot tub cover

05/18/2009 4:36 AM

Use a plastic drop cloth to make an envelope that will accommodate the cover half or the whole thing. Make the envelope large enough to have the cover set upon about six inches of cheap unsoiled cat litter. Close as air tight as possible in and area out of sunlight and let the desiccant work.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Drying out a hot tub cover

05/18/2009 11:20 PM

So don't you think that a 7 ft by 7 ft bed of cat liter 6 inches thick might be as expensive as a new lid? I seem to remember from my youth when I lived is Mascoutah Il for several years that it gets hottern Billy Heck there. Just stand it against a wall in the sun and turn it now and again. It will dry, slowly but it will get there.

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#7
In reply to #4

Re: Drying out a hot tub cover

05/19/2009 12:26 AM

Less than $20

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#35
In reply to #3

Re: Drying out a hot tub cover

04/06/2013 6:40 PM

1-Have you personally tried the cat litter trick? Or is it 'hear-say?'

2-Do you mean lay the Whole enchilada (foam, vinyl cover - the whole cover)

3-(this one seems obvious to me, but I won't assume)laid out flat, not folded?

Thanks-I hope this is a tried and proven trick....I need one. The local (and ONLY) spa guy local to us gets about $550 for a replacement cover. I did find an online source, something like 'discount spa covers (dot) com, that looked good, in as much as they let you pick, by brand name and model, and also the weight (the local guy sells 2 ounce), color and tjhickness (inc taper or flat), but I really dont want to drop the $350 that THEY charge if theres any way to home-fix the thing. Thanks for your info.

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#5

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/18/2009 11:49 PM

Blow the dry air from your air conditioner through it.

That is with the dehumidifier on.

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#6

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/18/2009 11:49 PM

Buying a new cover is your best approach. Even if you could dry it out-styrofoam is not wettable-the cover as well as the insulation is probably damaged. The hot tub dealer will charge a high price for a replacement cover- marking up parts is a very profitable part of their business-so I suggest you ask a local company that has heavy duty sewing machines, e.g. a company that makes auto seat covers or fabric tops for convertibles, how much they would charge to make the covers which are really of very simple rectangular construction. Make certain they use a vinyl material that is sun resistant.

Dennis Waller

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/19/2009 1:19 AM

>I suggest you ask a local company that has heavy duty sewing machines, e.g. a company that makes auto seat covers or...

Dennis:

That is a VERY GOOD idea! I can't believe they would charge the $450 plus shipping that the local hot tub dealer wants for a 7x7 cover. And they can use my old cover as a template.

Thanks

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#19
In reply to #6

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

10/22/2009 10:54 AM

Good luck finding a company that will sew a new (custom) cover. And even if you do, you still need to replace the foam which is critical to insulating the tub and providing structural strength to the cover. All of these foam inserts are tapered as well, so good luck making a replacement. You are better off drying out the foam cover as best as you can (time, a dry place, the sun and or a hairdryer will help) and then resealing it with shrink plastic wrap (like used for windows). I just pulled mine apart because of the same problem, plus the cover is ripped by my dogs. Another trick is to stand it up horizontal for a few days and then vertical as let gravity help out. I can spend $400+ on a new cover or dry out the old one, tape it up and hope it lasts. Another season.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

10/22/2009 11:07 AM

I stood my foam up for weeks, and it didn't dry out. As described above somewhere, we made a hot wire cutter and tapered the foam, wrapped it in plastic, and reinstalled it into the cover. It's been on there all summer, and seems to work pretty well.

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#9

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/19/2009 8:24 AM

I assume (bad to do, but I digress) that you mean white beaded foam? If so, you will wait a long time for it to dry out since it took 5 years to wick the moisture in. Plus, you would have a giant wick all over again.Chances are that it was not well fused to begin with.

Since the object is to keep from losing the heat in the tub, you want to replace it with insulation of some variety. If you can find a foam fabricator in your vicinty with a hot wire cutter, you can have them cut you a replacement. www.epsmolders.org has industry links.

The other way is to build up Dow board, the blue stuff. Cut to size and stack it up to get the thickness you want and use foam board adhesive to join it. you could wrap and seal the whole deal in 6 mil poly vapor barrier for added protection.

A nice Saturday morning project.

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Guru

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#22
In reply to #9

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

12/07/2009 7:15 PM

If you look at #16, you'll see we fixed it, sort of the way you describe.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

12/08/2009 8:11 AM

Happy to have been of assistance. CR4 is a great place for getting help or just blowing off steam.

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#27
In reply to #9

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

10/23/2011 11:08 PM

I found this thread very helpful, and went the polystyrene from home depot and homemade wire cutter route. It took a day and worked but learn from my mistakes! Don't glue the boards together with anything containing acetone or acetates, it eats through the foam. I ultimately used elmer's spray rather than order a proper styrofoam glue (like 3m #78). I also didn't use a proper power supply and burned out 10 guitar strings for the cutter using a car battery jump pack. At least I could've added some resistance to the wire.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

10/25/2011 10:33 AM

Welcome to the insanity. This place never gets old. Cruise some of the threads in areas that interest you. Just pop in with random thoughts at will.

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#29
In reply to #27

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

10/27/2011 8:08 AM

Hi Buz11

Don't glue the boards together with anything containing acetone or acetates - I've had success using PVA wood glue on polystyrene.

The long drying time is a nuisance, but otherwise it works OK.

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#30
In reply to #27

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

11/30/2011 10:40 AM

Alright I hope to see a place turn up Foams reasonable all the cutting screwing n gluing gotta Rem Ya'll engineers @ 75-100$ an hour fixing ONE tub / cover I repair Spas for a living So I cannot go to your house and make repairs like this kinda afro engineering if you will My covers are Made by RHTUBS.com read the site about covers. you engineers will like the work done there Andrew will openly tell ya what the marine grade vinyl really costs the good stuff from boats etc and look at all the avail options and you should see one live the extreme 6-4 taper is 349 delivered to your door and will make 10 plus years really ive em on my route and see them weekly(not for repairs) So I guess if your retired with not much avail to do then go for it but to my younger movers n shakers they'll be havin none o this .. these would be like your kids

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

11/30/2011 12:35 PM

Welcome to the site.

You have made quite an impression on me.

1) This is not an advertising site.

2) "afro engineering" is not a term I ever want to hear again.

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#33
In reply to #9

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

01/01/2013 10:32 PM

well, well, well. Your answer seems to me to accomplish a few things. It examples that it's not too difficult to remain friendly, albeit aloof, when answering someones question. It seems that I am also in search of an answer for a similar situation, and I have read about a dozen or so replies on this site, and been brought to a decision. We used to have a little round spa, and a cover for it. And even on that little sukka, once that top was waterlogged, it was a real grunt to get it to open (and yes, we HAD the tubing 'EZ-Open assist goodie, and it still required a chorus of "Ya load 16 tons and whaddya get"in 3 part harmony to get the lid opened.
So after a bunch of giggles, and a few guffaws from reading y'all's experiences, I'm just going to order a new cover. I found this place, spacoverbuydirect, and they have a typical cover for right at $309. The catcher (the hook) was the option called "Dry & Drain underside" Which is a system of holes that allow any accumulated steam to drip back into the water, instead of staying in the foam and making it into an Olympic Event to try and dry it out, which has already been addressed, correctly, I believe. Styrofoam will shrink, stink, turn black with moldy looking junk and otherwise be a pain, as I learned with that tiny round spa I previously mentioned.
So, thats my story, and I'm stickin to it! NOTE: If you would be so kind, if someone finds a place that sells a regular 4"-2" taper cover for a Sundance Marin 2008, at a real reasonable price, please let me know. I have a call into my local spa guy, and if he has any great news in his reply, I will post it.
Thanks.
The DUCK!

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Commentator

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#10

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/19/2009 9:22 AM

I ran into a similar issue, except the high wind that blew my cover off broke the foam inside. I was able to get the foam out, make some repairs and reinstall it. When you do, there is also a plastic liner inside to keep it from absorbing moisture. My guess is that your liner is damaged/ deteriated and needs replacement. If you take the foam out, dry it in the sun, then replace the plastic liner you may get some years of service out of it. A word to the wise.......if you build up the foam as someone suggested, it has a top taper so water can run off. I guess I am saying you cant just build a foam flat panel, it should have the taper. Another tip, look on line, I have found the covers much cheaper on ebay and craigs list, etc. Even the online stores have better deals than the local businesses.

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#11

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/19/2009 11:40 PM

Hi there

Get yourself some inflated truck inner tubes and float it for a while. The process should reverse faster if you puncture holes in the underrside. It will take time though. Good luck, Ky

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#12

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/20/2009 1:04 AM

I gave a GA to beriberi because he seems to have grasped the situation. That white Styrofoam will soak up moisture, to the extent that if you hit it with a hammer it will squirt at you. The 'Blue Board' is closed cell, and won't pick up water.

Get the thickness and size right, and use a 'Sureform' plane to shape the bevels and corners. Put the vinyl back on and no-one will know the difference, except it will be lighter. Oh yeah; do your forming either in the garage, or on a windy day. You can shop vac all them little blue chips, or let 'em blow into the neighbors yard.

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#13

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/20/2009 11:55 AM

A tornado proof hot tub may not be a bad thing.

Considering the R-24 of six inches of hard (white) Styrofoam compared to R-24 of four inches of insulating foam board in various colors.

You could cut cover around the outside remove the 6" material and replace with the 4" material then sew it up again.

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#14

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/21/2009 4:31 AM

You could also use polyethylene foam.

As a closed cell foam, it won't absorb much moisture, and absorption should soon stabilize.

Take off the old cover, put it over a suitable shaped rigid polyethylene foam board and it should be good for many years yet.

Polystyrene foam is fine, but unless you get a good sheet, the bubbles may not be well bonded together and so water can be dragged into the interstices by capillary action, which seems to be your problem.

The required camber can be obtained by heating and deforming to the right shape.

Polyurethane foam is cheaper, easier to get and will also do the job. It is, however harder to shape to a reasonable camber. Best way in that case is to cut wedges out and glue the board back together with contact adhesive.

Good luck

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#15

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

07/06/2009 5:31 PM

I felt like I wrote this post too, I have the same problem. I have had the styrofoam sitting out in the sun every day it is not raining. Some drying has happened, but not nearly enough yet. Have you tried any of the other suggestions?

I am thinking of having new foam cut to fit.

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#16

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

07/06/2009 6:20 PM

We fixed it, thanks to my electrical engineer buddy. We went to Lowe's, and bought 4 sheets of 4x8 2-in styrofoam. The biggest problem was that the cover tapers from four inches to two inches. My buddy designed and built a hot-wire cutter, and we used it to trim two of the sheets of styrofoam from 2 in down to zilch--sort of like a great big wedge. We glued the two pieces together, wrapped them in plastic, taped it up with racer's tape, and stuffed them back into the cover. If we have to do it again, we'll make it a tad smaller, because getting the zipper over the last little bit required superhuman strength. It took five years to soak the first one, and we hope this one will take that long, too. Total cost: $100 for the styrofoam and $50 for the power supply on the hot wire cutter.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

07/06/2009 11:38 PM

You could have done that on the Space Shuttle for that price

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

10/01/2009 10:49 PM

water enter the foam as steam, to dry out the foam you need to get the water back to a steam state or molecule size, and to evaporate upward, got a 7x7 ft micro wave oven handy.

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#24
In reply to #16

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

03/04/2010 1:34 AM
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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

03/04/2010 1:44 AM

Watch the video on this link it may help if your considering cover fabrication, I found a auto upolsterer that will make the vinyl cover for my 2 person tub (marquis "haven" 54 X 84") for 40 bucks (http://www.buythepiece.com/acatalog/Marine-Grade-Vinyl-smoke-yard.html).

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#21

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

12/07/2009 5:47 PM

Has anyone used a desiccant on waterlogged styrofoam?

If so what did you use and how did it work?

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#26

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/07/2010 11:55 AM

I've done this twice in 7 yrs. Take the foam out, remove the plastic wrap, leave the foam out to dry in the sun for a few days, take 1 mil to 3 mil painters plastic and rewrap it, use a heat gun to shrink wrap the seams or duck tape, reinstall it back in the vinyl. Done at the cost of $5.

What I cannot find it Taiwan Vinyl replacement sleeve? I need to replace the sleeve soon. All hot tub companies want to sell the whole thing and I know my 92 x 92 with 6 inch corners with a 4" to 2" taper is out here for $100 premade

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#32

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

05/31/2012 2:36 AM

hot tub cover

If you are looking for the largest selection, top value and best prices, you have found the right store for you!
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#34

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

04/06/2013 5:30 PM

I am having the same problem. I have taken the cover off and stripped the black vinyl off the Styrofoam sheets. It was not injected. They are now standing against the wall and already water is starting to run from the bottom (the thick edges).

I hope they dry out in a week or two but I will have to show some patience. I am now looking for replacement plastic sheeting to recover the vinyl. It is the sealing of the sheeting that so far has evaded me. Any suggestions?

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#36

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

04/06/2013 8:27 PM

It's been four years since we fixed it with stryofoam from Lowe's, and the cover hasn't soaked up moisture yet.

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#37
In reply to #36

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

04/06/2013 8:51 PM

It is the plastic cover for the styrofoam I need the adhesive for.

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

04/06/2013 11:37 PM

We used racer's tape (duct tape). It's not like the cover is going to be submerged in water...all you have to do is secure the plastic.Kinda like wrapping a sandwich.

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

04/08/2013 9:12 PM

Ok, now that you have given it the test of time, I will give mine a shot. Soon. I promise.

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#40
In reply to #37

Re: Drying Out a Hot Tub Cover

04/09/2013 4:27 AM

PVA wood glue works on polystyrene although it is slow to set

Should also bond to vinyl quite well.

Has limited long term water resistance but being covered by the vinyl should last reasonably well.

Some of the acrylic adhesives work too and they are water resistant when fully set. Try on a small piece of polystyrene first.

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