Finding a scratch or crack on your hot tub is a lot like finding a scratch on your new car—it’s disheartening. Even a little damage can be a big disappointment. Fortunately, fixing minor cosmetic damage to the acrylic shell usually isn’t difficult; it might take an hour or two and should require only a few inexpensive and easy-to-find supplies. But cracks and scratches are very important to address. Left untreated, cracks can grow, extending the damage to the layers underneath your shell. Eventually, water can seep into your hot tub’s internal workings.
Here, you’ll discover how to repair hot tub cracks or scratches to stop damage from spreading and extend the life of your spa.
DIAGNOSE YOUR PROBLEM
Before you make an attempt to repair your hot tub, take a close look at the damage. Is it a surface scratch, or a deeper gash into the fiberglass or ABS-backing material beneath? Also, be sure to check if the damage is covered under warranty before taking any action. If you attempt to repair covered damage on your own and fail, the warranty will no longer be valid.
Once you assess the issue, decide if it’s something you feel comfortable repairing. If a gash or crack is large, or if there’s damage to the fiberglass or ABS-backing material, strongly consider contacting your local dealer for assistance. Experienced and licensed hot tub technicians should be available to help you handle any repair.
PREPARE YOUR WORKSPACE AND SUPPLIES
It’s never fun to get halfway through a repair and then realize you lack some of the specific materials you need. Before you start the job, prepare a workspace that’s clean and safe, and gather the right tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need:
- An Acrylic Repair Kit. Your local spa or pool dealer will likely have a kit specifically designed for your hot tub repair. If you’re unable to find a spa-specific kit, it’s okay to use an acrylic repair kit designed for automobiles.
- A Drill and Rotary Bit. You’ll only need a drill for larger cracks. It should have a rotary bit, so you can grind down the edges of the crack.
- Hot Tub Cleaner. As a hot tub owner, you likely have a cleaner from your local dealer on hand. If not, a comparable acrylic cleaning product from a hardware store will do.
- A Soft Towel. The softer the towel, the less abrasive it will be to the surface of your hot tub shell. Microfiber towels, like those used in automotive repair, are good examples of low-abrasion towels.
- Sandpaper. You’ll probably be able to repair your shell with the most common sandpaper grains in stock at hardware stores. If you’re looking for a greater degree of control over the results, have a range of grains on hand.
These supplies should be adequate for repairing scratches and cracks in the acrylic shell. However, if the damage extends to the fiberglass or ABS-backing material beneath the acrylic layer, you’ll need fiberglass repair equipment, as well as protective glasses and gloves.
Drain your hot tub and disconnect it from its power source. Even though you won’t be repairing electrical components, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to water and electricity.
PERFORM YOUR REPAIR
With your tools and materials at the ready, and with your hot tub drained and unplugged, you’re ready to start your repair. Just follow these steps:
- Dry the damaged area with the soft towel.
- Clean the area with your hot tub cleaner. If you’ve got the time, this is a perfect occasion to clean the rest of your hot tub, too. This will ensure a more sanitary and pleasant work experience.
- Apply the patch material from the repair kit, following the package instructions. If repairing a small scratch, you may not need the whole kit. If it’s a larger crack, use the drill and bit to grind the edges into a “v” shape, and then fill it with patch material. The bottom of the “v” should be the base of the crack, with the sides sloping out to provide a seat for your plaster material. Apply only enough material to fill the crack.
- Allow the patch material to dry according to package instructions.
- Sand the rough edges and bumps once the patch material has dried completely.
- Buff the area with the towel.
- Clean the area again to remove any residue.
- Refill your hot tub with water, checking for leaks around the repaired area. If you find a leak, you’ll have to drain your spa and start over.
- Enjoy your soak!
Repairing a scratch or crack in your spa’s shell is typically a quick and relatively simple task. In fact, the part that will likely take the longest is draining and refilling your hot tub. But once it’s refilled, you’re done, and you can spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in your freshly repaired spa.
Hot tubs from Hot Spring® Spas are renowned for their design, performance, and energy efficiency. If you’re interested in seeing how a hot tub can enhance your lifestyle, or if you’re already a hot tub owner and are considering an upgrade, visit your local dealer. You can also download a brochure or request a price quote.