Hot Tub Pad Requirements
After spending thousands of dollars on a hot tub, the last thing you want to do is get the installation process wrong, which could potentially cost you more in damages and repairs later down the line.
So the question becomes, what is the proper foundation for your hot tub?
Continue reading, as we'll explain everything you need to know.
What To Consider Before Installing Your Hot Tub
The very first thing that you need to consider before installation is your hot tub's weight.
Regardless of the decision to use a concrete slab or a wooden deck, every surface has a limit when it comes to weight per square inch.
When filled with water and people, hot tubs can weigh thousands of pounds.
If you end up using a spa pad or concrete slab, you need to ensure that it can support the weight of your hot tub.
So, how much does a hot tub weigh exactly? Find out by clicking the link!
How Thick Should My Concrete Slab Be?
If you end up using a concrete slab as your spa pad, it should be at least four inches thick. The larger the hot tub, the more inches you should add to the foundation.
You should also make sure that the concrete has the ability to withstand 115 pounds of weight per square foot. When it comes to smaller hot tubs, such as two-person models, you may be able to get away with less. However, for four-person or greater hot tub models, using this average is key.
Before placing your new hot tub down, you should also ensure that the concrete is cured.
What Is Concrete Curing And Why Does It Matter?
Concrete curing is simply the process that takes place when water meets cement. During the curing process, you must keep the concrete moist.
Once you pour your concrete for your foundation to your desired shape and thickness, you must wait for it to cure for at least 28 days prior to placing your hot tub on it.
Placing your hot tub on your concrete foundation any sooner than that could leave you with cracks in the concrete, as concrete needs time to dry and bind before it can be put under stress.
One of the ways to help your concrete spa pad cure nicely is by watering a few times per day with your garden hose. You should only do this for the first week, as it will allow the water in the concrete to evaporate at a slow rate.
This method can increase the strength of your concrete by up to 50%, so we highly recommend it. The only exception to this method is if the weather is cold, as water can freeze and put cracks in the concrete.
Now, you might be thinking,
I'm working away from home every day from 9-5, and there is no way I'll be able to make time to wet down the concrete multiple times per day.
Luckily for you, another popular, less labor-intensive option for curing concrete is installing a cover. Covers, such as insulating blankets (typically made out of Polyethylene sheeting), can trap moisture in the concrete and slow down the evaporation process.
What Are Some Alternative Options to Spa Pads?
If you don't like the idea of pouring concrete in your backyard due to it's permanent nature, or the labor-intensive requirements involved, you may choose to go with an alternative method for your hot tub installation.
Here are a few ways you can install your hot tub safely without having to deal with concrete.
Pavers are an excellent alternative to concrete, as they are easy to install, very cheap to purchase, and can be easily removed if you ever decide to sell your house.
When selecting pavers for the job, it is crucial that they are flat and do not have any ridges.
Beyond that, you can choose from a wide variety of design materials based on your preferences, including rubber, flagstone, brick, cobblestone, and concrete.
Pavers should never be installed directly atop grass or dirt ground. Instead, you must create a small hole that is at least 4-6 inches deep and larger than the dimensions of your hot tub. In this hole, you can pour sand or gravel so that the pavers can sit firmly and act as a durable base without slowly sinking into the Earth over time.
The last thing you want is for your hot tub to be six inches deeper in the ground after a month.
Can you put a hot tub on a deck? Absolutely! If your backyard has an existing deck, you may consider placing your hot tub on it.
Decks are great choices for hot tubs, as they provide total support and present a gorgeous aesthetic for your outdoor space.
However, you must be cautious when installing your hot tub on a deck, as there is a chance your deck may not be able to support your hot tub when it is filled with water and people.
There are some golden rules to follow:
If you want to read more about whether or not you should have your hot tub installed on a deck, make sure to check out our recent article:
How To Determine If A Deck Can Support A Hot Tub
Final Thoughts - Creating The Optimal Surface For Your Hot Tub
Let's be honest, the thought of taking on a potentially time-consuming backyard project solely to create a solid surface for a hot tub to sit on is not something that we can all get behind. Furthermore, with school, work, and general life, this project might not be cost-effective.
The good thing is, there are great alternatives out there.
We highly recommend checking out EZPads. This company manufacturers a wide variety of prefabricated portable hot tub pads made out of high-density polyethylene material. Their pads are made to support 5000 pounds of weight per square foot, which is pretty impressive. Plus, they are extremely durable, impact and abrasion-resistant, and can be placed on just about any level surface in your backyard, whether it is sand, gravel, grass, or dirt.
These EZpads only come in a few pieces, making the installation process incredibly easy.
If you're ready to start enjoying your spa today, then make sure to scan the EZpads site for a product you like. If you want to go the DIY route, follow our hot tub installation recommendations above to get started. Happy soaking!