Top 10 Spa Cover Mistakes
1

BUY LOCAL, NOT IMPORTED

Apart from it giving you a warm fuzzy feeling inside supporting local Industry, there is a huge upside to not spending your hard earned off-shore.  You'll get a much better spa cover if you buy Australian made.

The exception to that is covers imported from the US.  They are relatively expensive but generally of a high standard.

In contrast, the majority of spa covers are imported from ...... you know where. If you get 2 years out of one of these covers before it disintegrates, then you're on par.

There is so much more to creating a high performance spa cover than simply copying the design.  The Chinese are excellent imitators but the years of research and trial and error put in by local manufacturers are not always evident to the inexperienced eye.

Levels of UV protection, heat sealing techniques, proper resistant underside, thread quality, hinging, stitching techniques etc are sadly lacking in the cheap imports ( and now also sadly in most of the local Manufacturers who are trying to compete with the Chinese for price ).

We used to say that if something was Japanese made, then it was rubbish.  Now everyone wants a Toyota.  Perhaps in time the Chinese will create a superior spa cover but for now, let the buyer beware.

Unfortunately, nearly all new spas sold today in Australia are manufactured in China and so to is the cover that comes with it.  It's only when you need to replace your cover that you will have a clear choice as to what quality it should be.

2

ADEQUATE WATER RUN-OFF

If your spa is exposed to the elements, then the spa cover top needs to be correctly tapered for proper rainwater run-off.  A 100 - 60 mm taper means a 4 cm fall from the centre hinge to the cover's edge.  This will ensure that water doesn't pool on top of the cover.

Make sure to ask your Dealer / Manufacturer if their product is adequately tapered.

3

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE VINYL

The sun, rain, hail, frost, wind, dust, dirt, leaves, people, animals, insects etc all attack your spa cover or, more correctly, the vinyl skin on your cover.  If it's not tough, it won't last.

It must be marine grade, have high UV resistance and be ultra washable.  Buy local and only from a credible manufacturer.  The vinyl is the most critical component of a spa cover.

4

DO NOT BUY ON PRICE ALONE

There is such a thing as the price / performance ratio.

Specifically, you can pay $540 for a spa cover that will last at least 15 years or you can save $70 and buy an imported ( or production-line local cover ) for $470 that will last for 3 years. You don't need to be a mathematician to see the huge value disparity.

If you replaced the $470 cover every 3 years after it disintegrates, then you will in affect pay around $1,800 more for the cheaper option.

I often receive calls from customers looking to purchase a cover.  They ask me what the price is.  They thank me and move on.  I used to query them and ask if they had any other questions about my covers.  Invariably they didn't. I soon realized that some people are fixated on price and any attempts on my part to alert them to value issues would more than likely be met with resistance.

Hopefully you will factor more into your purchase choice than price alone.

5

ORDERING A SPA COVER THROUGH A MIDDLE MAN

Whether it's a Pool Shop, Spa Retailer, Service Professional or a Plumber, ordering a spa cover from an intermediary is tempting Chinese whispers. It's really a no brainer.  Talk to the Manufacturer / Supplier directly.   You'll get expert advice, first hand communication, you won't be paying someone else's margin on top of the price and you know where the buck stops.

6

BUYING A SPA COVER BY FILLING OUT A SINGLE INTERNET FORM

On-line Spa Cover Sellers factor in a fail rate of 25%.  So one in every four covers ordered on-line is wrong and will need to be remade - usually at the Customer's expense.

There is nothing wrong with ordering over the internet but you need to be dealing with someone with whom you can have a conversation.

Not only should your needs be fully expressed but the Manufacturer must be confident enough about what your spa is to take responsibility for the outcome.  Not you, the Customer.

Your spa cover should give you over 10 years of excellent service.  Better to take a little time in conversation with a Manufacturer to determine exactly what you need.

A good Manufacturer will be happy to take as much time as is necesssary to meet a Customer's needs.  A good Customer should be patient enough to engage in discussion with the Supplier ( email, phone or face to face ) to ensure that they get precisely what they want.

7

BUYING A SPA COVER WITH INADEQUATE WATER-PROOFING

When you look at a spa cover you only see the skin.  The inside of the cover is out of sight but it should not be out of mind.  The quality of Polystyrene Foam used inside the cover and the way it is protected by a water resistant membrane is pivotal to its longevity.

Wrapping and taping plastic film around the foam inlays was once standard practice and a very successful way to protect spa covers from absorbing water. More recently, the larger Manufacturers have mechanized to seal the plastic around the polystyrene. While this sounds like an improvement, they have coupled this process with a vastly inferior plastic, falsely assuming that sealing the plastic has solved a problem. Actually, it has solved a problem for the Manufacturer by reducing labour costs significantly. For the consumer it usually means a plastic membrane that disintegrates after one hot summer and a water-logged spa cover within 2 years.

Only buy a cover that has a thick plastic membrane around the polystyrene inside. A thin, clear film, whether it's heat-sealed or not, is tantamount to useless.

8

BEWARE OF OZONE

When I mention Ozone to most spa owners, they don't know if they have it or not.

It's a sanitizing system that converts Oxygen molecules into the isotope Ozone ( a very unstable element that's hungry to bond with carbon, making it a very effective water sanitizer ).

Unfortunately Spa Retailers will never tell you that it also likes to eat spa covers.  Even a well made cover can have its underside and stitching destroyed within a few years.  So if you do have an Ozonator fitted to your spa, you may need to be prepared to replace your cover more regularly.

On the upside, most spas don't have Ozone and you can always turn it off if necessary.

9

POOR STITCHING OR INCORRECT THREAD

Workmanship is super important when constructing any product.  A large portion of the creation of a spa cover is in the sewing.

The difference between a credible manufacturer and back-yarders or imported sweat shop products is significant.

I have also seen many covers sewn with natural fibre thread like cotton.  Even a blend of natural and synthetic thread is not acceptable.  It must be 100% high quality synthetic thread or it will rot.

As a potential buyer you cannot know just by looking at a cover whether the thread is ok.  You can only rely on dealing with a credible local Manufacturer.

10

THE PROBLEM OF A TIGHT FITTING COVER

Many people wrongly believe that a snug fitting spa cover is ideal.

Spa Retailers are happy to perpetuate this myth because the cover looks better at the point of sale.  In actual fact, it's definitely preferable for a cover to be made slightly bigger than the spa.  Covers will shrink a touch during their life, especially if exposed to the weather.

If a cover starts out life fitting tightly, then through time the skirt will ride up and ultimately cause the cover to buckle and water may pool on top.  Bear in mind that the skirt ( spa cover gusset ) plays almost no part in retaining heat in the spa, it's purely for aesthetics.  The cover sits flush on top of the spa, sealing in the heat, irrespective of how much it overhangs the spa sides.

A loose fitting cover is a good cover.

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