Restore or Replace your Spa Skirt?
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The spa skirt, also known as the spa cabinet or spa surround, is traditionally made of redwood or cedar for long life and resistance to rot and insects. Nowadays, composite materials are also common. These are mixtures of wood pulp and plastics, which resists rot and fading better than real wood.
In either case, there will come a time when your spa cabinet, or spa skirt, doesn't look so hot anymore. It may be faded, stained or rotting near the base. Moisture from overgrown plants or splattering rain or sprinklers can really damage the finish and appearance within a few short years. If left untreated, the spa skirt will begin to fall apart, much like an old barn.
If your spa skirt is stained or faded, but the structure is intact with very little wood rot, you can refinish your spa cabinet in the same way you would for any outdoor wood furniture or decking.
Restoring a Wood Spa Cabinet
- Remove the Panels: Use a cordless drill with a properly sized Phillips head to remove panel mounting screws. If you have full access all around the spa, you could leave the panels on, but you can sand and finish the panels more easily when they are horizontal.
- Clean the Panels: Use a mild all purpose spa cleaner and a brush or textured sponge. Scrub the entire panel to remove dirt, grime and oils. Rinse clean and use an old towel to scrub them dry.
- Sand the Panels: You'll need a belt, orbital and/or block sander for this step. Start with about 50 grit sandpaper, and sand the entire surface. Remove wood dust with a shop vac, then sand again with 100 grit. Clean again and finish with a fine grit, around 150. Clean very well to remove all dust from cracks and edges.
- Stain the Panels: Using a brush, rag or spray, apply your chosen outdoor stain according to directions. Minwax makes some nice products for staining hot tub cabinets.
- Seal the Panels: Unless your stain is a 1-step product with polyurethane, apply a wood sealer or waterproofing over the dry stain to protect your panels from moisture and dirt.
Replacing a Spa Cabinet
If you have advanced wood rot that a simple patch won't repair, or if you want to change the look of your spa cabinet, you could consider replacing your spa skirt. Here's a few spa cabinet ideas that you can do yourself - DIY.
- Wainscoting: Sold in various size panels, or in more expensive packs of pre-cut cedar or pine tongue and groove boards. Just as you would use them on the bottom half of your dining room, you can apply this to the outside of your spa. Add a pressure-treated base board and moulding around the top and sides of each panel.
- Replacement Spa Cabinet Kits: Available in three colors, these kits are a quick solution for a long-lasting replacement spa skirt. Made of composite materials, our spa cabinet kits make spa cabinets with rounded corners easy to renovate. They will fit radius corners of 5" to 12" and any spa up to 96" wide.
- Faux Stone or Brick Panels: This option offers a unique, updated look for your spa or hot tub. Choose from hundreds of patterns of wood, stone or brick. These panels are interlocking and join with corner stacks that work well for square spa cabinets. Carry the design to surrounding walls, or add faux boulders around the spa.