Hot Tub Buying Guide
Hot tub foundations
Most hot tubs are outdoors. In order to have your new hot tub up and running for you to enjoy, you will need to prepare your outdoor space for the tub's arrival and installation. Unless you have an existing patio or deck, you will need to decide on your location and prepare it.
You will want to be sure that the space you pick for your hot tub has ample room for not only the hot tub for access to service it. Make sure you keep in mind not only the tub's size, but also its shape. You will want to keep in mind any storage you will want to have nearby. You also want to be sure there is adequate room for a walkway around and to and from your hot tub. You will want to provide a space for safe and easy access into and out of the hot tub.
If you plan to put your spa on the ground, you will need to prepare the ground and provide a pad for the spa to rest on. The hot tub should not rest directly on the ground surface. You will need to make sure the ground area where the spa will be place is level. Depending on the site, you may want to contact a contractor to complete this work for you in getting the spot ready for your hot tub. You can do this work yourself, but you may not want to.
A concrete pad is one way to prepare the area for your hot tub's arrival. The pad must be level. The thickness of the concrete needed will depend on the climate where you live. Reinforced concrete of at least 4 inches thick is recommended to support the weight of the full hot tub. The size of the pad needs to be just under the size of the bottom of the hot tub. However, you may want the concrete area to be larger to accommodate a walkway and access steps. Be sure the concrete has time to cure properly before placing the hot tub and filling it. You will want to factor in this time when you are purchasing your hot tub, so that installation and set up can occur as quickly as possible. You will want to begin using your hot tub as soon as you can.
Crushed gravel or stone are also used in the foundation preparation for hot tubs.
You will need to prepare a compacted foundation of gravel or stone that is at least 4 inches in thickness. You will want to be sure that the loose gravel or stone is kept in place with a frame or natural barriers. You can also use pre-made pavers as your tub's foundation. You will want to level the area out before laying the pavers. You will need to use sand or gravel for this layer. There are many different options of pavers to choose from. You will have your choice of size, shape, and color to make the foundation as aesthetically pleasing as you desire. You will want to choose pavers that are at least 2 inches thick. Be sure the ground is level and prepared to avoid settling.
Another option that is now available is a ready-made synthetic spa pad. These products are a great alternative to poured concrete. The pieces interlock and can be easily removed at a later date say if you are moving or decide to relocate the tub. Since you are interlocking the pieces you can create the pad to the size you need. They are lightweight and are often a less expensive option than poured concrete. This pad system is quick and easy to set up and requires almost no maintenance.
Whatever foundation you choose for your hot tub, be sure your site is prepared correctly. Your foundation must be level. You want to be sure that the hot tub warranty will not be voided due to an uneven foundation. Some time planning this and preparing the site properly will be well worth it.
Another consideration that you do not want to overlook is local permits and approvals. Be sure to look into your community, town and state requirements. Most places do not require permits of approvals, but you want to be sure. And if your tub has an approved locking cover, you will not likely need a fence. Check first and know what is required from you.