Every week I get a call from someone wanting to know if we can build a custom spa cover. The answer is yes with a qualification. Not every spa can be covered. Before you let work begin on that custom spa idea you should consider how you plan to cover it. After the spa is built it will often be too late.
Spa manufacturers are building all sorts of shapes and sizes these days that can be purchased and delivered to your home and covered easily. But for high end custom built spas, that often cost six figures it is not so easy. Unfortunately far to often it is after the spa is complete and the owner gets their first heating bill that they think about a cover.
These spas are often featured in spa magazines and truly look amazing. Who would not want one? They look like theme park attractions you can own. They often feature natural looking rock walls and water falls, spill ways and infinite edges so that while you sit on the spa you can see the landscape beyond. All very impressive and expensive. Unfortunately heating and keeping debris out of such a work of art can also be an expensive proposition.
If you ask the designer of one of these spas how they intended it to be covered when the spa was not in use, the answer is they do not want it covered. That may not seem so bad if the spa is in southern California or some tropical island. However even these places need to keep rain water and blowing debris out of the spa. In snow country it becomes even more important to cover the spa when not in use.
If you are considering having one of these spas built, make sure the designer is including a cover into the process and that it does offer insulation. Just having a safety cover anchored over the spa is not going to keep heat in or debris out. To insulate the water when the spa has different heights around the edge such as a spillway, the spa cover should actually rest on the water. By coming in contact with the water the insulating cover will cut down evaporation and chemical consumption too.
In order for the cover to be easy to attach and remove you also need to consider access around the spa. If you have one side of the spa hanging off in space it may be attractive but fastening any cover on that side would be precarious without some consideration of how to safely maneuver around outside of it.
Likewise a spa buried in a rock wall. If a wall of any kind rises up vertically, although beautiful will always be problematic for fastening and keeping stuff out of the spa. Planning on a cover before built is the only way I know of to deal well with this.
There are solutions available to cover almost any spa if the cover is built into the initial design. It will most likely be a costly spa cover and pricey to replace however not as expensive as leaving the spa uncovered. The reason for the cost is that each time it is built is basically a one off production. This is why most concept cars go straight to a museum. If anything breaks on it there are no replacements sitting on a shelf somewhere.