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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 and humectant. 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®.

We 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. 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, 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 (like the images below) need a proper vinyl repair compound like our Soft Filler. Be sure to subpatch any holes first! 

Soft Filler, however, is cost prohibitive for large areas of degradation. Instead, you’re better off resurfacing the vinyl with a rubberized coating like Liquid Rubber® or FlexSeal®. Our colored finishes will recolor these coatings if they are not available in the desired shade. This may set you back US$150, but it’s still cheaper than replacement.  NOTE: Liquid Rubber® is water-based and can be diluted with water, making it more versatile and less noxious. We used their Polyurethane Sealant 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. It must be ordered online. FlexSeal® can be found in most hardware stores in either an aerosol spray or liquid. However, it is solvent-based and cannot be diluted and is therefore less versatile.

When you do 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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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