We have a cover lift for it, which assists in opening the cover, but only assists in going from step 2 to step 3. However, a few months ago, the middle part of the cover became waterlogged, so that going from step 1 to step 2 began to require quite a bit of strength. My wife, who is quite a bit shorter than I am, and therefore has less leverage, was no longer able to open the cover by herself.
This page described what I did. I do not advocate that anyone else do it, because the cover can no longer support much weight. This makes the hot tub substantially less safe. In particular, children and intoxicated people should be kept away from a hot tub with this modification.
If you do anything similiar with your own hot tub, you do so at your own risk.
Four 2 foot by 8 foot pieces, each 1-1/2 inches thick. These were about $11 each, from Home Depot. They are designed to be fitted together, long edge to long edge.
|I figured I would need to glue the styrofoam together,
wrap it in plastic, and tape the plastic.
For glue, I decided on Liquid Nails; the kind that is designed for foam, not the kind that dissolves foam. This kind says "Wood and Foam Molding Adhesive" on it.
In retrospect, this was not a good choice of adhesive. More on that later.
The next step (below) was to open the zipper on the middle compartment and pull out the insert.
|Pulling out the old insert was every bit as difficult
as I thought it would be. It was in there very tight! The replacement
had better be a bit smaller, or I'll never get it in.
What do you suppose those gray rectangles are? They correspond to gray patches on the vinyl covering. Your guess is as good as mine.
This thing weighed 46-1/2 pounds!
I was afraid of making the insert too big, or I wouldn't be able to put it in; or too small, or the lid would be floppy and not fit well. The original insert turned out to be 42-1/2 inches by 90 inches by 3 inches. I decided to make my insert 42-1/4 inches by 89-1/2 inches. (Since two styrofoam slabs add up to 3 inches, I didn't have an choice there.)
|Of course, I had to put the cover back on the tub while I made the new insert. It was a bit saggy.|
|Now to smear some glue on the long edges of the
styrofoam and glue two pieces together that way. Then do the same with
the other two pieces.
Obviously, this is going to be a very weak join.
|Here are the four panels, being glued two-by-two. You're supposed to clamp pieces together while the glue sets. So how do you clamp styrofoam, anyway? I settled for puting a few books on top.|
|The pieces of styrofoam had to be cut to size. I did
some of the cutting beforehand, but I left the last cuts until later,
because I wasn't sure that I could line up the pieces perfectly.
Here's the best way to cut styrofoam:
|I used up one tube of Liquid Nails, then went to a
store to buy another. However, they didn't have the right kind, and the
guy there recommended that I get Gorilla Glue instead. Good advice!
A word about Gorilla Glue: It's expensive ($13 a jar), and they recommend you wear latex gloves when you use it. Also, you put glue on one side and wet the other. How weird is that?
to glue all four pieces of styrofoam together (they are already glued
in pairs, edge to edge). I didn't pick up one of the two pairs
carefully enough, and it bent along the seam, showing that the Liquid
Nails had not really set well.
After putting a whole bottle of Gorilla Glue on two pieces of styrofoam, I wet the other two pieces and put them on top, "clamping" them together with toolboxes. I also glued some carpet strips on them; one on one side, two on the other.
|After this glueing, I finished the cutting.
At one point I tried a jigsaw on the styrofoam. It cut nice and easily. The bad news is that the cut edge was much rougher than I could do with a knife. The worse news is--styrofoam dust! Highly static, clings to everything, styrofoam dust. (You can see some on the carpet there.)
|I had a twelve-foot piece of this carpet stripping
(which I bent into thirds in order to put it in my car to bring home).
This gave me three decent-size strips, plus a few small pieces which I
thought I might as well use to help stiffen the joins between the long
pieces a little bit.
||I didn't trust the sharp ends of the metal not to damage the plastic I planned to wrap this thing in, so I put plastic tape over all the ends. Plastic tape is great stuff, and very water-resistant. Unfortunately, the 1-1/2 wide tape I use can only be found in older hardware stores.|
|Next, I glued some stair edging on the bottom side
edges. This is the part that's going to be right against the hot tub,
and was the best way I could figure to increase the strength of the
You can see how much the Gorilla Glue foams up. I had to cut off chunks of it.
|So, how do you "clamp" stair edging onto styrofoam?
With string and bungee cords!
|Unfortunately, strings will cut right through
styrofoam, so on the edges where I didn't have stair edging, I had to
put some cardboard protectors.
||Somewhere along the line I bought some Gorilla Tape
(also expensive). I have no idea how waterproof this tape is, but it's
pretty strong stuff, and has a strong adhesive. It occurred to me that
it might help hold the metal strips to the styrofoam (since they are
essential to whatever strength the whole thing has), and even if the
tape came off, it wouldn't hurt anything.
|Now to cover the whole thing in plastic and tape it up
with plastic tape. I have no illusions about actually making it
watertight, but I had to do my best.
||Now for the moment of truth.
Actually, as I expected all along, now for the hour of truth.
Sorry for the picture quality--my flash didn't go off, and I didn't realize it. But what you are supposed to be seeing is the insert completely in, but with the zipper refusing to turn the corner. I had visions of taking it out, taking off the plastic, and shaving off another quarter inch!
Fortunately, it didn't come to that. Twenty minutes with assorted pliers and other tools, plus some blue air, did the job.
Did I mention that I think plastic tape is great stuff?
I hate to think what would happen if anyone tried to climb on this, so you better believe I'm going to be careful about who I let get near it.