Spa covers, like their pool counterparts, eventually wear out and need to be replaced.

When this happens, John Mosher tells customers to measure the dimensions and send him the specs. In addition, he asks for the manufacturer and the model.

“I’ll generally order it per the manufacturer’s measurements,” says Mosher, owner of Central Iowa Pool & Spa in Des Moines. “But I make the [homeowner] measure it because I want to double-check.”

He takes extra precautions because once he orders the cover, he can’t return it. Sometimes the manufacturer no longer carries the model or it’s a nonstandard product. He then needs to go on location and custom-fit the new cover.

It takes about two to three weeks to order a new cover. But when a problem arises in shipping, there’s little the retailer can do other than let the customer know that the order has been delayed.

“A lot of spa covers get damaged,” Mosher says. “All you can do is file a freight claim.” Depending on the damage, sometimes he has to reorder it.

What’s the moral of the story? Get the right fit the first time around.