As soon as you have decided to buy a hot tub, your mind starts daydreaming about relaxing in the soothing waters and how much your friends and family will enjoy it along with you. But before you get too far into your visions of hot tub enjoyment, it is important to first figure out where you will install your hot tub as well as what surface you will be placing it on. There are a number of different base options and which one is best can depend on the layout of your yard as well as your personal preferences.
To find out of a hot tub can sit on gravel or other support material, keep reading below.
While an empty hot tub will weigh several hundred pounds, once it is filled with water and bathers that number skyrockets to several thousand. Whatever location you choose for your hot tub has to be able to properly support the weight while keeping it perfectly level. Having a structural engineer or contractor review your layout plans is always a good idea.
Long Term Planning
If you are planning on using a pre-existing base such as a deck or patio, make sure that you inspect the construction and confirm that not only will it provide a solid base for your hot tub at that moment, but for many years to come. If you are considering using an existing structure, this is really where a professional should be consulted If you have any doubts, modify the structure or plan for a different location that is more appropriate.
Installing your hot tub in the ground needs a stable, flat base for the hot tub to sit on. It is not as simple as just plunking the hot tub on your lawn. This can cause problems as the weight of the hot tub will likely cause the ground to shift and sink overtime, which can crack the shell of your spa and cause other serious damage. Not to mention that a hot tub that isn’t properly stabilized isn’t safe for bathers.
Patio Or Deck Installations
Installing hot tubs on decks or patios are one of the most common places that people choose. This is partly because it can be quite convenient to use an existing structure and decks or patios are usually a short distance from your house which makes them easily accessible, especially on cooler or rainy nights. However, you have to ensure that the area is both level and strong. It should be able to easily handle the weight of a full hot tub while providing a stable, even surface for proper weight distribution to prevent the tub from warping or buckling. If you are planning a large entertaining area with an outdoor kitchen where even more guests may gather, you will need to consult a professional to ensure that your structure is up to code.
Premade bases composed of concrete can be bought, which lay on your lawn or a patch of dirt that will provide a stable, flat surface on which to place your hot tub. Concrete pads are typically quite easy to install on your own as long as the surface underneath the pad is already level.
An alternative to a prefab concrete pad is to use a layer of gravel for the hot tub base. Gravel has two main advantages, it is good for drainage and easy to install. First, you will need to remove about 6 inches of soil before lining the hole with landscaping cloth and placing a 4 inch layer of gravel on top. The construction gravel should be topped with another layer of smaller sized pea gravel until it is perfectly even with the edges of the excavated area. So yes, a hot tub can sit on gravel!
To find out more about hot tub installation requirements, download a hot tub buyer’s guide.