Do you want to install a hot tub in your deck? Carefree Decks and Patio Covers offer these great tips for creating a hot tub compatible deck to help you better understand what you need to set up properly. You shouldn’t install a hot tub in just any existing deck. There needs to be added structural support, and certain electrical requirements must be met to ensure that your hot tub is safe to use.
Choose the Right Hot Tub for You
There are two types of hot tubs, and they actually have different names although most people usually refer to both of them as hot tubs. A unit full of hot water is a hot tub, one with circulating jets is actually a spa. Regardless of which type you choose (or what you call it) each kind and size will have different requirements for building a deck. So, it’s important to settle on a specific hot tub or spa unit before you begin designing your deck.
Hot tubs and spas are not cheap, and there are various models with all sorts of impressive features. While you can have fun picking out one with cool LED lights, a stereo system and integrated cupholders, be sure to take care of the important stuff. For example, be sure to get one with full foam insulation. This insulation between the cabinet wall and the inner shell helps to keep down the noise as well as minimize heat loss. It also helps to increase the overall stability of the unit.
Determine and Build the Necessary Structural Support
Hot tubs are immensely heavy. If you think about it practically the dry weight of the unit, plus the water, plus people inside and you start getting the idea that the deck underneath will have to be pretty strong to handle all that. It is best to place your hot tub on a flat, level surface (like a concrete slab). This slab in most cases can be about 3 ½ – 4 inches thick, although bigger hot tubs might require a thicker slab.
So, how do you find out how heavy your hot tub could potentially be? This is important to know how much structural support will be necessary. You simply add the dry weight of the hot tub, plus its capacity for water using 8.3 pounds for every gallon, and the maximum number of people at an average weight of 185 pounds per person.
Just to give an idea of how heavy a hot tub can be, here’s an example. Let’s say you have a 56-square foot hot tub that holds 420 gallons of water and has space for 6-7 people. The dry weight of the tub is about 855 pounds plus 3500 pounds for the water and 1295 pounds for the people. That’s a whopping 5655 pounds! Now you probably understand why proper construction and structural support is so important. You really can’t skimp on it.
Determine the Best Location
There are a few factors you can take note of that can help you determine the best position for your hot tub. If your deck is small, you want to make sure that there is sufficient space to open the cover and also allow for airflow around the unit. These are pretty much the only factors that are necessary, but there are a few others we can mention that will help ensure that your hot tub is easy to keep clean and maximizes your comfort.
For example, try not to put your hot tub under trees, or you will be always cleaning out the tree debris. Think about privacy and put it in a spot that isn’t easily seen by the neighbors–or put up a privacy screen or other design element to block their view. Take advantage of your scenery, if you have it, but be aware that you don’t block your view from the house with the unit itself. Finally, place it near an entrance to your home so you can make a mad dash into your home on chilly evenings without getting too cold.
Electrical Safety Considerations
When creating a hot tub compatible deck, it’s imperative that you take into account electrical safety when installing your hot tub or spa. We’re talking about putting water and electricity together, and we all know that these two elements are not friends. You don’t want yourself, family or friends to get caught in the crossfire.
First, you will need a power source nearby the hot tub’s location. Always hire a licensed electrician to set this up. You don’t want to make mistakes here. There should also always be a ground-fault circuit interrupter installed and ready to cut the current if it detects something fishy with the current’s flow. There should also be an emergency shut-off positioned close by, usually within 5-15 feet of the unit.
Other Safety Considerations
You might like the look of a hot tub recessed flush into a deck, but this can be a safety hazard as it is easier to fall into. This is especially important if you are going to have small children in the area. Instead, many experts recommend installing the unit, so it’s edge is 17-24 inches above the deck. This is safer, and makes it easier to enter the hot tub as you can sit on the ledge and swing into the tub rather than trying to climb down into it. Of course, if your unit is to sit on top of the deck, then you will need stairs for easy access. At Carefree, we’ll walk you through the best ways to construct a safe deck.
Eventually, your hot tub will require some maintenance. If you install your hot tub so that there is no easy access to the motor, you will find yourself with a big headache later. Either install your tub so one side is accessible or provide an access panel for recessed tubs.
A hot tub is a wonderful, relaxing addition to any backyard oasis and creating a hot tub compatible deck is not that difficult. It becomes even easier when you rely on the expert tips and advice offered by the professionals at Carefree Decks and Patio Covers. Give us a call today to get started and have your tub ready to relax and enjoy all year round!