Hot Tubs, Who You Buy From
copyright 1999 through 2013, Havenmade Inc.
Spa Shell Structure
There are still a lot of people buying inferior made
shells on their spas. There are companies that
are so proud of their "profit margin", touting :
"We have the highest profit margin because of our low
There should be a law that all spa stores show a sample of the shell structure of the spas they sell. Or at least have to explain how cheaply they are made.
This company referred to above is on my hit list of
spa companies that need to go away. Their
customers are victims of their own ignorance.
Anytime the word ABS plastic is used in the same sentence as the word spa shell, walk away.
Anytime the word ABS plastic is used in the same sentence as the word spa shell, walk away. Unless the spa sells for less than $2500, and all you want is a throwaway item. Unfortunately, the marketing department of this company tells everyone that these spas are the best of the best. Better than any other spa brand. There is no law about what a sales person may deem to be the best or whether or not he may believe these spa are the best. The best spa as far as he is concerned is the one with the most profit!
Driven by the lust for money, the companies making
these types of spas keep fooling the public. The
brochures are beautiful pieces of art, depicting the
spas in a wonderful light.
These spa companies are now putting the fact that the shells are made from ABS in very tiny print......Run!
Even if they have great therapy, and some do, the spas will not last. Some have "lifetime warranties" they never honor, because the fine print negates the warranty. You can invalidate the warranty by normal use.
I always like to tell this story about my experience:
When I first got into the spa business, I was ignorant about what was involved in spa quality. Most spas looked good to me. I had owned an antique, inground, custom installed spa from the 1970's and that was all I knew. That tub had no air jets, four water jets, had a swimming pool heater on it . The pump was a swimming pool one speed model and filter system was an adapted pool filter. There were no spa pumps available at that time.
I can remember the first day at the job. I was standing in front of a Ca$de@a spa that looked really good to me. It was acrylic with lots of nice jets, and a good looking cabinet. Modern looking and sleek. I thought is was really beautiful. While I was standing there looking at it sort of smiling, one of the delivery guys stopped by to introduce himself. I said I thought the spa "looked good" to me. He said : "That spa is a piece of s$it and we are getting rid of them. They have leaking problems, and the shells and wood are crap." I was a little confused to say the least. That was my first lesson in ABS shells with acrylic. The spas were referred to as "Crapderas". ( The company hasn't changed much in their manufacturing, except they are not as good of a lawn sprinkler as they used to be.)
I went to work as the service manager in this large
spa store in Denver. We had thousands of
service customers, and I oversaw each and every
service ticket. We also did warranty work
for five different spa brands. I saw a lot of
manufacturing defects in action. (Since then we have
done warranty work for 16 differernt spa brands.)
Do not buy a spa with ABS in the shell!
I can remember calling up the service guy at the
Wi$d Riv%r factory several times over cracks in the
shells of these relatively young spas, one to three
years old. Each time I was presented with
the same denial garbage. The factory
representative would say: "The spa must not be
sitting on a solid flat platform". After a
while I got really tired of this. I would
say something like this. "Well! It seems
like all those spas with the cracks in exactly the
same place must all be on warped concrete." Then
I would very politely ask him to start honoring the
warranty, which as far as I know he never did.
It was always deemed owner "abuse". Do not buy a
spa with ABS in the shell!
to engineering specifications from the
manufactures of ABS and Acyrlic, ABS expands 1.333
times more than acrylic.
Every C2L Spa owner from the last few years has told
me. They "love their spa", but when I ask them
if they have had any warranty problems, They all
talked about cracks in the shell, particularly all
over the upper lip. When ever we
take one in as a trade, we set it outside and put a
"FREE SPA" sign on it.
ABS will expand and pull apart the surface of the acrylic.
Using ABS plastic in a spa shell invites cracks. The acrylic is a very hard plastic, and the ABS is relatively soft. When the two are bonded together very tightly, we have what is know as dissimilar materials manufacturing, which is not good. The expansion rate of ABS is faster than acrylic. As the spa shell is subjected to normal use, the materials expand and contract. Because they are bonded so tightly together, the ABS will expand and pull apart the surface of the acrylic. Something has to give. The harder and slower expansion rate acrylic is literally ripped apart over time.
this day, the best method is acrylic with a
sandwich of vinyl ester resin, then hand rolled
So what is the best method?
To this day, the best method is acrylic with a sandwich of vinyl ester resin, then hand rolled fiberglass. The vinyl ester resin seals the acrylic and creates a bond four times stronger than acrylic and fiberglass alone. This method is also used on expensive boats. After fifteen to twenty years of normal care and use, the shell will have a few, easily reparable, surface cracks.
Although nothing is perfect, this is the best method known to make a spa in a reasonable fashion. The problem is it costs more to make a good shell, so human nature and greed keeps people making cheap crummy shells because of the consumer ignorance.
When some scientist comes out with a better shell
material, I will have it in my
showroom. I believe that the next
generation will be a "space age" ceramic, one piece.
When someone comes into my showroom and asks almost immediately how our spa shells are made, I know they have been burned and are prior owners of poorly made spas.
I place these manufactures in the same category as phony medicine vendors. People are seeking relief from everyday stress, and are easy victims to these cheaply made over priced spas. Some of these spas are sold for as much as $9,000.00 (13K in 2005) by an amazing calculated and psychologically predicable sales pitch, designed by high paid "masters of marketing". Their showrooms are set up in a certain way to control the sales. They bring you through a complete well designed path through the store, to gain "control" of you. The spas are presented in a fantasy show room, with the cheapness of the product well hidden.
We have a converted warehouse, We show the spas with the cabinets open, so you can see the insides. The framing, the insulation, the equipment. We are very different.
Our corporate policy is to educate our customers and to give the best possible service, without losing money. If we go out of business, how are we going to help our customers?
I have another bit of news. Our spas are not cheap! However, the prices we have for this level of quality is not attainable by most other spa companies because of our exceptionally low marketing overhead. We have no marketing department. We have no " district sales people"; no "regional sale managers", Just me and our web site and about 600 to 3,000 hits a day. We now have spa owners from coast to coast from north to south, east to west. Northern Washington, to Southern Florida. From Vermont to southern California.
People often ask me when I tell them of our internet success: " Don't they make spas in Florida?" " Why are people ordering spas from Colorado?"Our customers get an education, they buy from us with knowledge. We have customers fly in on excursion flights just to see and wet test the spas. So far, all have purchased. Our spas are that much better for a real bargain price. Quiet, powerful, exceptionally energy efficient, with real massage and strong shells! They are also beautiful!
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