How to repair and protect hot tub covers from sun and winter?

Spa and hot tub covers are made of marine vinyl and will begin to desiccate (dry out) after one season of summer sun and winter weather. Conditioners will keep the vinyl from drying out, but only pigmented finish will act as a durable sunscreen. Cracks and tears need to be addressed promptly before the entire cover loses structural integrity or becomes cost-prohibitive to repair.

This picture from 2004 shows our anti-UV conditioning stain applied to Rebecca’s spa cover.

Image of hot tub cover during application of marine vinyl protector

Twelve years later the cover was water-logged. Rebecca found a used cover and swapped the foam inserts. The vinyl on the used cover was years younger, but Rebecca’s, despite years of blistering Southern California sun and torrential rainstorms, was in better condition thanks to a one-time application of 3-4 coats of Rub ’n Restore®. Thus, we can guarantee that our finishes will double or triple the life of marine vinyl on hot tub covers. Colors containing white (titanium oxide) act as an especially potent sunscreen. 

Our Ivory, Beige, Taupe, Camel, Walnut, Slate, Ash, Storm Blue, Midnight Blue, Forest, and Rust colors were all modeled after common marine vinyl colors used to make spa covers. Use a glaze (mix of equal parts color and Clear Prep+Finish™) as a primer or first coat. This will disperse better on weathered vinyl and ultimately cost less than using color alone. Here’s how to estimate quantity needed.

Before and after photo of sun rotted marine vinyl hot tub cover and protected with Rub n Restore

All this said, Rub ‘n Restore® cannot reverse damage (i.e. waterproof a leaky cover), nor is it a void filler. The sun-rotted marine vinyl pictured above benefited from four coats of our anti-UV finish, but anything worse requires a proper vinyl repair putty like our Soft Filler. This, however, is cost prohibitive for large areas of degradation.

Vinyl with extensive cracking, scaliness or flaking is best resurfaced with Liquid Rubber® RV Roof Coating. We used it on both the hot tub cover pictured above and a sun-rotted yurt roof with great success, thanks in part to knowledgeable tech support from the company itself. Currently it is only available in white. It can be tinted with universal colorant and diluted with water. Rub ‘n Restore® leather and vinyl colors can be used on top of Liquid Rubber® to achieve the desired color. 

If and when you spring for a new spa cover, be sure to protect it with Rub ‘n Restore® before the second summer comes ’round. You’ll only have to deal with eventual water-logging, not disintegrating vinyl. We’ve even had customers use it on vinyl siding!

Before picture of faded vinyl siding on hot tub jacuzzi and picture after Rub n Restore vinyl paint

This videos demonstrates a repair and refinishing of a spa cover using a subpatch, Soft Filler, Flite Cleaner, Clear Prep+Finish™ and Espresso color.

Video contents:

  • 0:29 – The hole repaired using this method
  • 0:41 – Cleaning
  • 1:01 – Priming with Clear Prep+Finish™
  • 2:20 – Maintaining moisture level in your sponge
  • 2:42 – Applying anti-UV pigment
  • 3:48 – Before and after pictures

Reader Interactions


  1. Michael Riordan says

    I have a vinyl spa cover that is about 7 years old, and the surface has been flaking away on one side, where the sun hits most, so much that rain water leaks through and accumulates inside the cover, making it nearly impossible to lift. Can I repair that with Rub-n-Restore products, or Do I need to use the Liquid Rubber sealant first? There are no rips or tears.

    • lesandre says

      A 2 oz. tub of filler will do a couple coats on about 4 square feet, but badly sun-rotted vinyl can be hard to work with and drink up a lot. If you have a larger surface area, the rubberized coating is a more economical and easier approach.

  2. Dennis Chico says

    Hello, my name is Dennis Chico.
    I have a 25 ft. pontoon boat that had the seats recovered a couple of years ago.
    The seats aren’t torn, or damaged, but are showing signs of fine cracking.
    I have always kept my eyes & ears open for a product that effectively cleaned & conditioned those type of seats.
    I think I may have found it in this product & am excited about trying it so that i may extend the life of my seats.
    they’ve also gotten pretty stiff & I’m afraid they’re going to start cracking soon.
    Please help me out in where i can get this product.
    Id be MORE THAN HAPPY to make a video showing results so that you may share with all your customers & followers.

    • lesandre says

      Hi Dennis, Thanks for the kind words. Sounds like you’re catching this marine vinyl in the nick of time. This article has more info specific to boats. Without seeing photos and doing a formal evaluation, I’d suggest buying 4 oz. Clear Prep+Finish and 16 oz. color. Combine equal parts of the two and use as a primer on the worst areas. Then combine any remaining mix with the rest of the color and use moving forward. If you make a video and promote us, be sure to enroll in our affiliate program first so as to receive a commission of every sale you send our way.

  3. Carol Coffelt says

    I just received a new hot tub cover. It is perfect in every way only I made a drastic mistake on the color. It is lighter gray and it looks awful with the surroundings. I want to change the color to a medium brown as well as give it good protection since it was 900.00 because my hot tub is very large. I would like to know what product to buy and if this is possible.

  4. Jim Everett says

    Can you use your product in vinyl boat upholstery? I have a pontoon boat and recently replaced all of the upholstery. I would like to preserve it as long as possible.

  5. Roger Lowsky says

    Can it be used to darken a cover a shade? We have a cover about 2 – 3 years old, that’s in fine shape but it’s lighter than our cedar deck so it looks a bit funny. Was looking online for vinyl dye and found your site so naturally interested.

    • lesandre says

      Hi Roger, Don’t see why not. We used it for many years on awnings for the RV industry. Our only concern is how often you may need to touch-up due to weathering if it is a somewhat radical color change. Shouldn’t be too frequent or widespread if you are thorough in your prep, and the vinyl will appreciate the extra sunscreen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Knowledge Hub is a library of articles and videos complied to help our customers complete their DIY leather and vinyl restoration projects.