How to Restore a Wooden Hot Tub Cabinet

The hot tub cabinet, also called the skirt or surround, can be made from a range of materials, including wood and plastic.

If yours is made of wood, it is likely cedar or redwood as these types are particularly resistant to insects and rot. Still, with time, even the finest wooden hot tub cabinet is going to show signs of age, including fading, rotting, and staining.

Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to restore the wooden panels around your hot tub. Here we’ll share the tools and steps you need to improve the appearance and value of your spa cabinet.

Determine the Look You Want

A wooden hot tub cabinet can be stained or painted, depending on the look you want and how much repair is needed.

In either case, decide what you want the final product to look like. Consider the style of your tub, the other colors in the structure and shell and the decor of the surrounding area. Also think about the elements of moisture, wind, sunlight, etc. and what will hold up best.

Gather the Materials Needed

Before you get started, ensure you have the necessary tools and materials on hand. Most jobs will work with this list, though your project may require additional items.

  • Drill and any other tools needed to take panels off the hot tub
  • Drop cloth
  • Protective gloves, eyewear, and mask
  • Water and all-purpose spa cleaner
  • Brush or textured sponge
  • Sandpaper of varying grits
  • Clean cloth
  • Shop-Vac
  • Painter’s tape
  • Stain/paint (consider products designed for outdoor use if your hot tub is outside)
  • Wood Sealer
  • Brushes or clean clothes for stain/paint/sealer application

Prep the Area and Panels

If you can access every side of the hot tub, you can restore the wooden panels without removing them. However, you may find the process easier with the panels laying down.

  1. Place your drop cloth over the entire work area to protect your patio or deck or another ground surface.
  2. Remove the panels and lay them on the drop cloth.
  3. Wear protective gear to keep pieces of wood and finish from flying into your face or cutting your hands.
  4. Use your brush or textured sponge with water and/or all-purpose cleaner to scrub the surface of the panels. This will remove dirt and grime as well as the big loose pieces of wood and finish.
  5. Allow the surface to dry and then sand with increasingly high grits to get the surface to your preferred smoothness.
  6. Use the shop vac and clean, dry clean cloth to get rid of any dust from sanding.

Finish the Wooden Panels

Once the panels are cleaned, sanded, dusted and dried you can apply your paint or stain.

  1. Place painter’s tape around all edges to protect the hot tub and shell.
  2. With a brush or cloth, apply your paint/stain in the same direction as the grain of the wood.
  3. Apply as many coats as needed to achieve the look and finish you desire. Most jobs will take at least two coats of paint or stain.
  4. If your paint/stain does not have a polyurethane component, consider adding a protective wood sealer over the last coat of color.

In extreme cases of wood damage, you may need to replace the hot tub cabinet, or at the very least use additional products for repair. If you have any questions, feel free to contact your local Aqua Living dealer.

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