While almost everyone dreams of having a hot tub in their backyard, but not everyone has the perfect place to put one. Here are some things for you to consider.
Your first consideration is what it means to have a giant tub full of water. A dry hot tub only weighs a few hundred pounds and on its own could sit just about anywhere. The problem arises when you fill it with water. Filled, your tub could weigh up to 4000 lbs.
The weight of the water puts a lot of pressure on the shell, so it’s very important to make sure it is 100% completely level. If the level of the hot tub is off, the force of the water will cause the shell to stretch and warp over time, and this can cause serious damage to the unit. So how do we make sure our beautiful hot tub does not warp and crack? Be sure your hot tub is installed by certified professionals. This is NOT a DIY job for several reasons.
Placing a hot tub on a deck
The easiest way place to install a new hot tub is on an existing structure that is already perfectly level like a well-built wooden deck. People often worry about the structural integrity of their deck and if it can support the tremendous weight of a full hot tub.
If you have a standard wood deck with 2”x8”’ joists 12” off center with proper supports you are good to go. Even though the hot tub weighs up to 4,000 lbs full, when it is level the weight is evenly distributed over the bottom surface area of the tub at about 100 lbs per square ft. This even weight distribution allows the deck to support the weight easily.
Of course, Murphy’s Law is still in full operation, so be sure to have a trained professional check out your deck before delivery day.
Existing ground-level patios
A patio can be the perfect place for your new hot tub. It’s on the ground and made of concrete blocks. Just like a deck this works great as no additional construction is needed. Unfortunately, often patios are pitched for drainage or maybe your patio has buckled over the years and is no longer level.
Poured concrete hot tub pad
A new poured concrete pad is great because you can get it to set perfectly level and it creates a nice solid foundation for the hot tub. A new pad can be sized to order and made level during setup.
Paver Patio Installation
Pavers are popular for a hot tub foundation as the materials are portable and come in many styles. Using a solid foundation material, you could install a complete concrete paver bloc patio. Generally this patio is much larger than just the hot tub foundation to make room for other back yard components. In this case make sure the area where the hot tub is placed is perfectly level, and then pitch the rest of the patio to allow for rain runoff.
A prefabricated hot tub pad
Finally another available option is a pre-made plastic hot tub pad. These usually come in kits that you buy to fit your size hot tub. However, don’t assume these pads require no site prep. You will need to prep the space just like you would the crushed stone pad above. Dig up the top soil and level it out before you put the pad down and place the hot tub.
Due to the cost of these hot tub pad units and the worked required we would recommend having a cement pad poured instead for not that much more.
It is very important to plan for your foundation before buying a new hot tub. Choose a dealership that provides an on-site survey to help you with their expert advice to find the best place to put it and what material will work best for your yard.