Leveling A Hot Tub
No matter what type of hot tub you have, resting on level ground is crucial for its structural integrity and longevity. Luckily, whether the ground below your hot tub was level at one point, though shifted over time, or it was never level to start, we're here to help you level out your hot tub with ease.
The two typical methods include using plastic shims to level out hot tubs one inch at a time, or adding additional material to the foundation.
Continue reading to find out all of the different solutions that you can use to level a hot tub.
Does My Hot Tub Need To Be Level?
Yes, you need to level a hot tub before you can use it. Your hot tub should be as level as you can possibly get it, as this will provide a way for the water to rest evenly within the hot tub, rather than pooling to a single side.
However, the more important thing when it comes to leveling is that there is thousands of pounds of pressure on your hot tub at any given time, including the equipment, the water, and the people.
If you don't have your water evenly distributed throughout your hot tub, it can put unnecessary stress on one side.
If you have an unleveled hot tub, it can put unnecessary weight on a single area of the acrylic shell or frame. When this happens, your hot tub can suffer from stress fractures or cracks, causing it to become very damaged over time. If you've noticed this happening already, see our Hot Tub Restoration guide.
When it comes to outdoor hot tubs, the best place to lay them down is on a level surface that is already even, such as a patio or deck that is either made out of brick, concrete, or wood. Hot tubs can truly be placed on just about any level surface, though you should stay away from grass, as your hot tub will end up gradually pushing into the ground, causing an uneven surface that is best to avoid.
If you decide to place your hot tub level on a wooden deck, it is important to consider the weight of your hot tub when it is filled with water and people, as not all wooden decks are able to hold thousands of pounds of weight. Make sure that the deck you are using is made with pressure-treated lumber as this will provide the most support, necessary for the thousands of pounds of weight that it will be holding. Read How To Determine If A Deck Can Support A Hot Tub to learn more.
If you're placing an indoor hot tub in your home, it is crucial to stick with code-compliant flooring. You may also consider putting your hot tub in the basement on poured concrete. Whatever you decide to do, it is imperative that you make sure your hot tub is sitting at ground level. Placing your hot tub upstairs, whether it is level or not, is a huge no-no. Typically, this completely goes against housing codes as well.
What If My Hot Tub Isn't Leveled?
Your hot tub can end up breaking if it is not perfectly level due to excess stress. Not only will your tub not be level, but the water in the tub won't be level either. If you put your shell and wood frame through this kind of stress, it can end up breaking over time. Even the slightest bit of concrete concrete can cause cracks to form in your hot tub.
You'd be better off spending money to create a stable surface for your new hot tub than to spend thousands of dollars repairing it once it cracks.
Level A Hot Tub With Shims
One of the best ways to level a new hot tub is with shims. However, you need to make sure that the slope on the ground is no larger than one inch before you decide to use shims.
For slopes greater than one inch, the shims could end up putting further stress on the shell of your hot tub, leading to cracks later down the line.
If you can't afford to create an entirely new foundation for your hot tub, then using shims might be your best option.
In fact, most hot tubs on the market today come built with shim points. Make sure to refer to your hot tub manual to see whether your hot tub has these shim points or not.
Your manual should tell you if it does and tell you how you can use your shim points to make sure everything is level.
Some big brands do not have shim points. One of those brands is Jacuzzi.
While these hot tubs don't come with shim points, you can still use shims to level them. However, you might end up voiding the warranty if you do so, so it might not be the best idea.
We highly recommend that you stray away from using wood shims, as wood shims tend to get wet and rot over time. There are plenty of heavy-duty and cost-effective plastic shim products on the market today.
How To Level A Hot Tub On Sloped Concrete
When shimming your hot tub on uneven concrete, you will want to start by tapping your shim into place on the lower side. When tapping it in, take note as to how it is providing support across the shell and frame of the hot tub.
Once again, we highly recommend going the plastic route when it comes to shims, as shims made out of wood are susceptible to rot.
We recommend emptying your hot tub prior to shimming it, as it will be much lighter to work under and far easier to maneuver. Our how long can a hot tub sit empty article explains how to properly drain a hot tub prior to repairs.
However, do note that if your uneven concrete is creating a slope that is greater than an inch, you should not use shims. Instead, move your hot tub from that uneven surface to an even surface where there is a level foundation, then add a bit of packed down gravel or sand before placing your hot tub back onto the original concrete pad.
Level Your Hot Tub With Pavers
Say your concrete pad is throwing your hot tub more than one inch off kilter, and you do not want to risk the damages that could result from shimming it, and adding packed sand or gravel is not an option.
Alternatively, you could be here researching surface options to place your brand new hot tub on.
In either case, creating a brand new hot tub base out of pavers is a good idea.
There is a surprisingly wide variety of pavers to choose from, including rubber, flagstone, brick, cobblestone, and concrete. When using pavers, there are a few factors to consider.
Never use pavers that have ridges in them, as they can create stress for your hot tub's shell.
For this reason, you should only use pavers that have interlocking shapes and that are smooth, creating a flattened surface for your hot tub to sit on, all while mitigating any potential stress threats.
Pavers are made out of high-density materials, providing more support than that of standard concrete pads or a wooden decks.
The beauty of pavers is that they also have a very low absorption rate. You won't ever have to deal with the salt scaling or efflorescence that many hot tub owners battle with on their concrete pads. Salt scaling or efflorescence is when salt rises to the concrete's surface and begins flaking.
If you already have pavers put down and your hot tub is resting on them, though you notice it is not perfectly level, the best thing that you can do is to use shims atop your pavers.
Again, make sure to refer to your owner's manual before trying to install heavy-duty plastic shims underneath your hot tub to create a level foundation.
Leveling Out Your Hot Tub
Whether you choose to use a hot tub pad, a spa pad, a concrete pad, pressure-treated lumber, raised pavers, a new concrete pad, or shims, there are plenty of ways to level out a hot tub. Shims can be a great spa leveler solution for those who don't want to spend tons of money.
Of course, we recommend going with a more permanent solution, such as set pavers, a concrete pad, or a deck, though it is really up to you and your budget.
The takeaway here is that your hot tub should always be perfectly leveled. If it is not, you risk cracks and fractures appearing later down the line, especially once your hot tub is filled with people and water.
If you're in the market for your very first hot tub, make sure to check out our Best Hot Tub Brands article here on Yardsharing to learn more.