Have you always dreamt about adding a luxurious hot tub to your deck? First, you need to find out if your deck can handle such a major addition – in this blog, we’ll explore the different options you have for a hot tub installation.
Proceed With Caution
Before going any further, it is important to note that adding a hot tub to your deck is probably not the kind of project you’ll want to DIY. Instead, we recommend a combination of careful planning and the help of qualified professionals. The last thing you want is for your deck to collapse under the weight of a 1,000+ lb hot tub!
Types Of Hot Tubs for Decks
There are two options when it comes to hot tubs; one that sits atop your deck and one that is set into your deck. The in-ground tub is a popular choice for those that have a view they don’t want to obstruct, or they simply don’t want the hassle of having to climb into an above-ground tub.
The above-ground hot tub is an easier addition to an already existing deck, which makes it a better choice for some. However, you’ll need to take your deck’s weight capacity into account.
Deck Hot Tub Installation Requirements
A solid, flat surface is required for a hot tub. A concrete slab is effective at supporting a hot tub. This must be installed along with the concrete deck footings of your deck. For most, a slab four inches thick should suffice, unless one decides to get a very large hot tub then something thicker should be poured.
Calculate Deck Load Capacity
To ensure you have a structurally sound deck, some calculations need to be made. Here are the general statistics we will use to calculate deck support:
- Weight of Empty Hot Tub = Varies depending on the chosen model
- 1 Gallon of Water = 8.34 lbs
- Average Weight of Person = 185 lbs
- Square Feet of Hot Tub = Varies depending on the chosen model
Using the values above, use the following formula to calculate the weight a hot tub will put on your deck:
[Weight of Hot Tub + (Number of Gallons of Water x 8.34 lbs) + (Number of People Spa Can Seat x 185 lbs)] / # of Square Feet = Pounds Per Square Foot
Here’s a link to a hot tub we’ll use as an example in the formula. It seats four people and holds 195 gallons of water.
[375 lbs + (195 x 8.34 lbs) + (4 x 185 lbs)] / 29.17 = 93.97 lbs Per Square Foot
In general, most decks can withstand 100 lbs per square foot. So if a hot tub like the one in the example is under that weight, the average deck should be able to support it. Of course, this isn’t something you’ll want to guesstimate. It is always wise to contact a professional to get an accurate estimate of what your deck can safely handle.
Choosing the Right Hot Tub
A hot tub is an investment of several thousand dollars or more, so this is a purchase decision that has to be carefully thought out. It’s recommended that you pick out a hot tub before you make any structural changes to your deck or build a new one, so here are some tips to help you pick the perfect tub:
- Do your homework – research manufacturers online and read reviews from hot tub owners.
- Test out hot tubs you like. You may not be able to climb in for a soak, but you can at least have your family sit in the empty tub to make sure there’s plenty of room for everyone to enjoy it comfortably.
- Just as you would with the purchase of a deck, consider the cost of routine maintenance for your desired hot tub and consider warranty coverage.
- Installing a hot tub is no easy feat, so be sure to discuss transportation and installation costs with your manufacturer before you buy to avoid any surprises.
Placing Your Hot Tub on Your Deck
Where and how you place your hot tub on your deck is another big decision, as moving it later can be a hassle. Here are some tips to keep in mind to get the placement just right.
Distance from the House
Placing your hot tub against the wall of the house gives you some extra privacy and blocks wind so that you can be more comfortable on chilly nights. And the closer the tub is to a door, the faster you’ll be able to dash inside and warm up!
If cold weather isn’t a concern and you’d like to place your spa farther out on your deck, make sure you have slip-resistant decking or mats leading from it to the house. Even with mats, it’s also a good idea to keep your wood deck properly sanded so no one ends up with a splinter in their foot when they’re getting out of the tub.
You’ll also want to make sure there is plenty of space around the tub so that you can easily enter, exit, and put on/remove the cover. The engine should be easily accessible for repairs and maintenance. Lastly, if you want to keep leaves out of your hot tub, avoid placing it underneath a tree.
No one wants their neighbors peeping on them when they’re relaxing in the spa – consider adding a privacy fence, foliage, or a pergola to give yourself some privacy.
While a hot tub is a significant investment, it can increase your home’s value and make your leisure time more relaxing. We hope you use the tips above to create the home spa you have always wanted, and if you still have questions, the experts at Decks & Docks are happy to help. Feel free to contact us online or stop by your local Decks & Docks today!