Your hot tub cabinet is icing on the cake; if it doesn't look right, then it doesn't matter how much you enjoy the inside. Looks matter when it comes to hot tubs, and that's why it is important that you set the right mood by making it inviting and warm. If your hot tub's cabinet is looking dated or worn, then you need to take action to renew it by refinishing or replacing the cabinet. Here is what you need to do:
Decide if you want to refinish or replace
In order to decide whether to refinish or replace your hot tub cabinet, you need to answer several questions:
- Is your hot tub cabinet constructed from wood, fiberboard, plastic, metal or some other material?
- How old is the hot tub's cabinet?
- How dated is the cabinet's styling?
- Has the cabinet been refinished before?
- Does the cabinet have any damage from insects, mold or other agents?
The answers to these questions will help you determine the feasibility of refinishing. Plastic or metal cabinets will likely need to be painted; if they are dented, then those areas will have to be disguised or covered with body filler. Wood cabinets offer more options in terms of refinishing such as stain or varnish, but that will require you to strip the old layer of finish to expose bare wood. In addition, rotting or damaged wood will need to be fixed or replaced with new pieces.
Sometimes, a cabinet's age might make refinishing a less-than-desirable option for many hot tub owners. If the cabinet is dated and out of style, then you will either be forced with retaining the overall look or remodeling it to make it more up to date. In addition, a very old cabinet might just not be worth the overall effort and expense to refinish if it will involve extensive reworking of the material.
Should you decide to refinish the cabinet, adhere to the same best practices as you would with any other home improvement job. Match your materials with your finishing products by using appropriate paints or stains, and always take your time to do the job right. If you have questions, consult with a local home improvement professional from a company like Rick's Pool & Spa or retailer to determine how to go about refinishing.
Your options for replacement
Should you decide to replace a cabinet, then you have options available to you:
- Third-party replacement - kits are available that are designed to fit most hot tubs. They are constructed of various materials, such as synthetic wood, and they usually include enough pieces to cover an average home-sized hot tub. However, kits will require some cutting to fit the height of your tub, and you may have to make other alterations depending on the specific circumference of your unit.
If you are considering a replacement kit, be sure to carefully measure your hot tub's length, width, circumference and corner-to-corner size. Contact your local hot tub supplier with questions about kits before purchase; once you make any cuts or alterations, you won't be able to return the kit should it not fit properly.
- Wood panels - if you feel confident in your carpentry abilities, then you can readily use lumber to form custom panels. You can align the panels either vertically or horizontally, or even a combination of both. The hardest part of the job will probably involve the corners, and you will need to make careful plans so that your panels fit without gaps.
If you choose to make your own panels, select a wood that is resistant to water and insects, especially if you have an outside tub. Here are some possible wood choices that you might consider:
- Teak - this is an extremely hard wood that is resilient against moisture and insects. It is difficult to cut, though, and you need to exercise skill and patience to work with it effectively.
- Mahogany - this wood is tough, beautiful, and also very hard. It is also quite pricey, and its cost may make it prohibitive to use for rebuilding your cabinet.
- Cedar - this is a less expensive option, and it has added benefits of a pleasant odor along with natural rot resistance.