Congratulations on your decision to buy a swim spa! As you probably well know, swim spas are becoming more and more popular these days due to their compact size, relatively low maintenance and flexibility compared to full-sized swimming pools. The ability to soak and swim in a small space makes this economical investment a preferred choice among urban dwellers and busy professionals alike. When it comes to installing a swim spa we often get asked, “Do I need a concrete pad for swim spa?” The fact is that it’s not completely necessary. This article will go over the reasons why a concrete pad is often preferable as well as some of the alternative bases that can be used.
The reason that concrete pads are consistently used as a base for a swim spa is that they can be constructed to the exact specifications needed. A swim spa must be placed on a flat, stable and level surface. If it isn’t completely level, the resulting water pressure will, over time, cause the walls of the swim spa to collapse. Because this is a potentially dangerous situation, having it installed correctly can literally mean the difference between life and death. The preciseness at which concrete pads can be laid makes them very attractive bases for swim spas.
Often, we come across new swim spa owners who already have a stone patio laid in their backyard. If the conditions are right, these can make an effective base for a swim spa. However, most patio paving stones are pitched to allow water to drain away properly. If this is the case, that pitch must be rectified before the swim spa is placed on them. This may require re-leveling the ground or even digging up the paver stones and resetting them to be perfectly level.
If you’re not willing or able to lay a brand-new concrete pad for your swim spa, you can create a base out of crushed stone. You’ll need to do some prep work beforehand to create the flat and level space required for swim spa installation. This means removing any grass and digging down about four to five inches into the ground before leveling it out. From there you add and pack down the crushed stone to create the surface on which the swim spa will sit.
It’s not hard to see why decking is one of the most popular bases for swim spas. Beyond all the home and gardening magazines that feature hot tubs and swim spas perched on wooden decks, there is a lot of appeal in having a smooth and uniform surface surrounding your new installation. Not only does it make the water easily accessible, but it also provides protection from dirt and debris ending up in the water. That said, most decks aren’t built to withstand the weight of several hundred gallons of water. A swim spa weighs a whole lot more than what most people expect. If your deck can’t hold several thousand pounds of weight, you’re looking at a potentially dangerous situation. It’s best to seek the advice of a structural engineer who will be able to tell you if your deck is strong enough, or what you can do to make strong enough, to hold a swim spa.
To find out more about swim spa installation, download a swim spa buyer’s guide.