Worrying about if a hot tub is capable of being placed on your deck is a logical concern that many people have. It could go terribly wrong, resulting in your hot tub or deck being damaged from an incorrect installation.
So, can you put a hot tub on a deck?
Yes! However, you must proceed with caution, as there are many things you need to consider prior to installation. This is not your everyday DIY project and we recommend speaking with experts to get some help along the way.
We’ve laid out the recipe for success below.
How Much Does An Average Hot Tub Weigh?
Before we go any deeper, let’s talk about the average weight of a hot tub. Of course, there are many different kinds of hot tubs out there that come in different shapes and sizes. From smaller two-person hot tubs to larger nine-person hot tubs to inflatable hot tubs, the weight can change pretty significantly.
The average empty hot tub has a weight of around 500 lbs. You can usually check with your manufacturer if you’re curious about the weight of your hot tub. As you move up in size, empty hot tubs can easily weigh over 1,000 lbs.
On average, a tub that holds six will have anywhere from 325-475 gallons of water depending on the size.
Once you have people and water in the hot tub, the average weight skyrockets to 4,000 lbs for your average 4-man hot tub.
Can My Deck Support A Hot Tub?
So as you can see, hot tubs, especially when they are filled with water and people, weigh quite a bit. When you think about how small hot tubs are from a comparative standpoint, you realize that you have a ton of weight concentrated in a single area.
While it’s easier for decks to handle weight that is dispersed, it is not as easy for them to handle this much weight in one spot.
How to determine if a deck can support a hot tub: your average deck is a few feet off the ground or more. Your deck likely has support beams every six feet or so. If the deck does not have support beams or support posts in the right places, it won’t be able to handle the weight of a spa.
Luckily, adding support posts or beams can be pretty easy if you have the ability to get underneath your deck. For decks that sit directly above ground level, no additional support is needed.
It is always a good idea to have a contractor come and take a look at your decking.
On average, decking that sits just above ground level can hold around 100 pounds per square foot. With 100 pounds per square foot, you’ll be able to support a mid-sized hot tub filled with people and water.
Of course, if your deck sits higher off the ground, it won’t have the ability to support as much weight. Let’s break down a scenario by calculating load capacity.
Calculating Load Capacity
To calculate load capacity, we’re going to look at an average 8-person hot tub that weighs 800 lbs.
- 600 gallons of water x 8.34 lbs (the weight of a gallon of water) = 5,004
- 800 + 5,004 = 5,804
- Number of people (8) x average weight (175) = 1,400
- 1,400 + 5,804 = 7,204
- Divide 7,204 by square feet (64) = 112.56
So as you can see, in this particular scenario, the hot tub is greater than 100 pounds per square foot. Of course, you may not ever have this hot tub at full capacity or you might have a smaller hot tub. Of course, it is something to keep in mind when determining whether or not it is fit to put atop your deck.
How to Choose The Right Hot Tub For Your Deck?
There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing the best hot tub for a deck.
An inflatable hot tub is an excellent choice, for example, as it weighs next to nothing when empty.
If your worried about whether your deck can hold 100 pounds per square foot or not, you might want to consider going with an inflatable hot tub.
Plus, you won’t have to get underneath your deck and make any structural changes that could require hiring a contractor. Installation costs with inflatable hot tubs are far less, though you still get to enjoy all of the same benefits that you’d expect from a traditional spa.
What To Consider When Installing Your Hot Tub On Your Deck
The Weight Of Your Hot Tub
First thing’s first. When deciding whether or not your existing deck can hold a hot tub, you need to figure out the weight of the empty hot tub and the hot tub when it is filled. To do so, you’ll need to gather information on how many gallons of water your specific model holds.
You can usually get in contact with people from the hot tub company or retailer to get this info.
If you’re planning on installing your hot tub on your deck, you need to consider how old it is. This is especially true if you’re dealing with a wood deck, as it may have suffered from rotting or warping over the years. Older decks often need maintenance or replacing after a certain period.
Decks that were placed down thirty years ago used different types of standards and construction techniques than what we have today.
Access or Location
You need to determine the location of the deck in relativity to your house. Do you have easy access to it from your house? Do other people have access to it from the street? If it’s in your front yard, you may want to consider putting up a privacy fence of some sort.
You also need to consider whether or not there is space for the delivery and hot tub installation process. If people can’t get to the hot tub with ease, it might be worth considering something else, such as installing your spa on a concrete slab.
Who doesn’t want to be able to walk out on their deck and enjoy a nice soak in a spa?
Of course, if the spa takes up too much room and doesn’t allow for any other activities on the deck, then it might not be worth the trouble. What kinds of accessories or furnishings do you want to have around your hot tub? Maybe some chairs, couches, or a fire pit?
You also need to consider whether or not you are leaving enough space for maintenance. Once in a blue moon, your spa will require some work. If you or a technician can’t get to the right place to open up the panels on your spa, it will be a serious issue.
If your spa doesn’t have water in it, then it’s not really much of a spa, now is it? If you have a high deck, you need to consider how you are going to drain and refill your spa. Draining your spa is something you’ll need to do every 5 months or so, meaning it’s a common routine that you’ll need to prepare for.
You should check if you have a spigot in close range of the deck footings and if you have a hose that is long enough to reach the inside of the spa from the spigot.
You will also need to consider where that water is going. You can’t simply dump hundreds of gallons of water into a random spot. Remember your spa is likely filled with chemicals, which can be detrimental to a garden or other types of landscaping.
Need a Hot Tub?
If you don’t already have a deck attached to your home, you always have the option of hiring a contractor to come build one. This is not a job that you should attack from a DIY perspective. We will reiterate, building a deck that can support a hot tub requires careful planning and preparation.
If you do hire someone, you’ll need to consider the costs of the project. Paying for raw materials, reinforcing, and labor can easily cost upwards of $5,000 or more. Installing replacement boards or railings can easily costs a few hundred dollars. Many people are surprised to find this out.
Of course, you should let the cost of a project like this ruin your spa dreams. There are plenty of ways to get around it. you may consider installing your hot tub on a concrete slab or another type of level surface that has the ability to support all of that weight.
You may even consider recessing your hot tub into your deck if the idea of reinforcing it costs a lot of money or takes too much effort. Reinforced decks with recessed spas provide the appearance of in-ground spas, all while giving you access to hydrotherapy from the minute you walk out of the house.
Should I Perform a Recessed Installation?
If you aren’t able to put your hot tub atop your deck, you may consider having a recessed installation instead.
In this scenario, you get an upgraded structure without having to deal with reinforcements.
You’ll have your tub in a prime access point and the style of a spa that you’d find at a resort.
To do this, you will need to cut a section large enough for your tub out of the deck.
You will then build a miniature platform on the underside, complete with new footings, to absorb the weight of the tub.
You should also consider whether you want the surface of your spa to sit level with the decking or if you want the lip of the tub to sit a few inches higher. If it sits a few inches higher, you’ll have a bit more room for seating or entertaining. If it sits completely flush, it will provide a luxurious, built-in aesthetic.
Figuring out whether or not your decking can support a hot tub requires quite a bit of planning and research. We recommend inquiring with local contractors who can help you determine whether or not this type of installation is the right type for you.
If not, there are plenty of other ways that you can install a spa around your house. We hope this article was helpful in covering everything you might need to know about deck support and happy soaking!
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