Looking to enhance your deck? A hot tub is the perfect addition.
Of course, it’s never as easy as simply plopping a hot tub on any surface, and an existing deck is no exception. A full hot tub weighs thousands of pounds, so you must consider every aspect of the base.
Here we’ll list our six top tips for placing a hot tub on your deck:
- Learn the deck’s weight capacity.
- Inspect the strength of the wood.
- Treat the deck surface.
- Select a location that suits traffic flow.
- Consider electrical access.
- Determine how to get the hot tub on the deck.
1. Learn the Deck’s Weight Capacity
A properly built and used deck is typically designed to bear 50 pounds per square foot (psf). So to learn how many pounds your deck can handle, multiply the square footage by 50.
If you use your deck for typical things like outdoor furniture, plants and people, multiplying total square footage by 50 psf should tell you the maximum weight your hot tub can be.
Once you know the deck’s weight capacity, refer to it when selecting you hot tub. Remember, a small hot tub full of water and bathers can weigh more than 5,000 pounds, so the deck should be at least 100 square feet.
Talk with a professional about adding any needed joists or supports on the underside of your deck.
2. Inspect the Strength of the Wood
Ensure the wood of your deck is in good condition–not mushy from moisture or crumbling from decay or infestation. Look at the boards above as well as the posts and joists below.
Take a flathead screwdriver to any cracks or holes. If the screwdriver easily goes more than a quarter-inch into the wood, this could indicate rot. Mushiness or easy breakage–especially without splintering–are also concerning. Check holes for signs of insects, too.
If your deck is made of composite material it is far less likely to have these issues as it’s plastic-based. However, you should still inspect any cracks or holes to ensure the deck’s structural integrity.
3. Treat the Deck Surface
A nice soak in the hot tub can be ruined by a nasty splinter or fall. Sanding, treating and properly cleaning can go a long way toward preventing these things from happening.
Every year or two, you should sand, clean and refinish natural wood decks to keep the surface smooth. Sandpaper, a power washer and a couple coats of sealant will work wonders. Apply an appropriate wood filler to gouges and knicks.
Composite material decks won’t need the finish maintenance, but they must be kept clear of mildew.
Regular sweeping will inhibit mold and mildew growth from leaves and other organic debris, and minimize fall risks for bathers on wood and composite decks.
4. Select a Location that Suits Traffic Flow
Assess how you use/want to use your deck, and place the hot tub where it’s accessible but doesn’t inhibit regular movement or block views. Put something large in the space to test it out, and stand where bathers will sit to get a sense of what they’ll see.
Look above the hot tub space and check for trees and other things that will increase debris in the spa (a hot tub cover can greatly reduce debris in the spa). Also think about wind gusts, which can lift unsecured covers from hot tubs.
Finally, you may want a door nearby. If you use the outdoor hot tub in rainy or cold weather, how far do you want to walk between the house and the tub?
5. Consider Electrical Access
The hot tub will need electrical power–is a suitable outlet nearby? You’ll also need to be able to access the internal components of the hot tub from its side panels, so don’t squeeze it into a space that blocks the sides.
Avoid running electrical cords over the deck where people walk. Not only is this a tripping hazard but it’s also not good for the cords themselves and the electrical components they hold.
6. Determine How to Get the Hot Tub on the Deck
Have a plan well before your hot tub’s delivery date. We recommend hiring a professional team for moving a hot tub, especially if it’s going to an upper level deck.
Getting the hot tub onto the deck may involve a crane or ramp, depending on the weight of the tub and the height of the deck. Ensure there is plenty of room for the people and equipment involved in the process.
No matter what, it’s best to have the deck inspected by a professional who can gauge its structural integrity and capacity. They can alert you to any concerns and make suggestions on what to purchase.
Hot tubs can make great additions to all types of housing structures and spaces. As long as you know what you’re working with, you can make the best decision for your investment. Get ready to enjoy your deck hot tub for years to come!