New material makes hot tub cover lighter, comes with longer warranty
By Michelle L. Cramer
Let’s face facts: Vinyl hot tub covers aren’t the pièce de résistance of backyard décor. Manufacturer Dimension One Spas, based in Carlsbad, California, knows this full well, and in April 2016 released its response: the UltraLast hot tub cover.
“We were looking for a way to add life to the spa cover,” says Lan Deal, senior product manager for Dimension One Spas, “knowing that this part of the product gets seen more in the backyard than any other part. It was a way to revive the product category and offer our customers an innovative alternative to the boring vinyl options.”
In addition to desiring something more aesthetically appealing, Deal mentions that customers generally aren’t happy about the weight of typical vinyl hot tub covers. Switching the material for the UltraLast cover makes them 20 percent lighter than traditional vinyl covers and, therefore, much easier to handle. The UltraLast also comes with a three-year warranty (compared to the standard two years) and the material is UV-, water- and stain-resistant.
This new material is a solution dyed synthetic fabric similar to that used on outdoor furniture and umbrellas, and in marine applications. This process better maintains color over time. Unlike the surface treatment on vinyl covers, the color is added when the material is in its liquid form, before the textile is actually spun, taking the color all the way through the fabric.
“A common analogy used in the textile business is that a carrot — which is orange all the way through — is like solution-dyed fabric,” Deal explains. “The alternative, yarn dyeing or stock dyeing, is more like a radish, which is only colored on the outside.”
Working with outside firms and doing internal testing, Dimension One received positive feedback when developing the UltraLast cover. “Our consumer test results proved we are releasing a product that provides that same D1 confidence we’ve carried over the years with all our products,” says Jodi Wischerman, director of customer service. “We see backyards as becoming a relaxing haven with new décor, pizzazz and weather-resistant products. We thought a new D1 hot tub cover would be the perfect way to be a part of that trend.”
UltraLast is exclusive to the Dimension One family of brands that includes Dimension One Spas, Sundance Spas and Jacuzzi Hot Tubs. Consumers can get the UltraLast cover with all new models and upgrade their cover for older models going back to a manufacture date of 2000.
John Trzcinka, president of Dimension One Spas of San Diego, charges $50 more for the UltraLast over a vinyl cover in his hot tub store. He showcases a black UltraLast on an Amore Bay hot tub, placing it next to a Nautique that has a standard cover. “I offer it as an optional upgrade,” Trzcinka says. “I would be willing to offer it at no extra charge if it closed a sale, but have not had to do that yet.”
Brian Wasik, owner of Spas of Montana (located in Missoula and Helena) offers the UltraLast as a small upgrade on entry-level hot tubs and includes it with mid- and upper-level hot tubs. “I haven’t had a chance to pitch it as an aftermarket upgrade yet, but it should be an easy upsell,” Wasik says. So far he’s had positive feedback. “Consumers like the longer warranty, but mostly they like the look and feel of the new material.” Trzcinka says the UltraLast matches the high-end look of D1 Spas’ Terracina cabinetry. “Combined, they are far more aesthetically pleasing to look at in the backyard, particularly if our hot tub is the focal point of the yard,” Trzcinka says. “It may give us an advantage over our competition that doesn’t offer it.”