It’s all in the details
It is always helpful to receive a rough drawing of the cover specs. When a hot tub is unusual in any way, not only a drawing, but also a cover template or pattern may be required. Digital photos are also extremely useful when fabricating custom hot tub covers. With the increasing demand for natural shapes and landscaped hot tubs, details are important, as they allow the cover manufacturer to determine what designs are possible, as well as make recommendations on the best way to fabricate the cover.
Creating a template
To create a template, place a sturdy, clear-plastic drop cloth on top of the hot tub and secure it with masking tape. Then, trace the hot tub’s outer lip with a heavy marker, making sure to draw one continuous line without breaks. Finally, write ‘top’ on the upper side of the template. Another option is to lay the existing cover on top of the drop cloth to create the outline.
It is okay to show the water-to-water line within the template; however, a clear outline of the actual cover size is required. Fold lines, strap positions and cut-outs should also be indicated on the template.
Never use the vinyl jacket of an existing cover as a template, over time it can shrink, stretch or dry out and result in a poor fit. However, a new vinyl jacket can be fabricated by submitting the measurements, taper and density of the existing inserts. Replacement inserts can also be fabricated from these measurements.
When submitting insert measurements for an entire cover, it is okay to provide the manufacturer with the dimensions of only one insert, as long as both halves are exactly the same size. The order form should also indicate a half measurement was provided, otherwise the dealer may receive a 1.2- x 2.4-m (4- x 8-ft) cover, when the hot tub is 0.7 m2 (8 sf).
Be sure to include the cover’s colour, taper and desired foam density, along with any other special features on the order form. Once the manufacturer receives the template, they can generate a final quote.
When in doubt, call
These are the basic steps required for measuring a custom fabricated hot tub cover. If any facet of the job becomes troublesome, call the cover manufacturer for assistance, as they can help solve any problems to ensure the job is done right the first time.
Aleta Mann is the vice-president of sales and marketing for Commercial Fabrics Inc., a spa cover manufacturer in Niagara Falls, Ont. Her experience as a marketing professional spans more than 30 years in many facets of advertising and sales. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.