Which Foundation is Best for a Hot Tub?

Congratulations – the days of only dreaming about relaxing in your own hot tub are over. The time has finally come to install one in your backyard.

But before moving forward, there’s one critical step to complete before having it delivered and hopping in for a soak. We need to discuss the proper foundations you should use for your hot tub and which option is the best for you.

Choosing the Right Foundation

Before we get into the types of foundations, let’s talk about why a solid and level base is essential to your hot tub’s longevity and safety.

Hot tubs are heavy; that’s no secret. When you fill them full of water, they can be between 3,000 to 6,000 pounds.

With that kind of weight, if you place your hot tub directly on the ground, it will eventually start to sink. This can result in damage to your lawn and hot tub and just plain looks bad. A proper foundation will support that amount of weight and ensure that your hot tub won’t settle unevenly over time.

It’s also a matter of safety for you and your friends and family. A proper foundation won’t become unstable due to moisture or weight. It can last for decades without the risk of collapsing.

Types of Foundations

Now that you understand the importance of having a stable base let’s explore six of your best options.

Concrete Base

A concrete base is one of the most common and reliable choices for a hot tub foundation. They’re incredibly durable, require little maintenance, and will last for years. You can also use colored concrete to complement the design and decor of your space.

Installation

If you’re pouring new concrete for the base of your hot tub, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Make sure the concrete slab is at least 4 inches thick
  • Reinforce with rebar to prevent cracking over time
  • It takes roughly 28 hours for the concrete to cure before you can place your hot tub

If you already have a concrete surface you’d like to use as a base, that will work too. You just need to ensure its level, free from damage, and no less than 4 inches thick.

Cost

Installing a new concrete slab will cost between $800-$2500, depending on the size of your foundation and if you opt for a colored mix.

Deck

You likely spend a great deal of time on your deck relaxing and entertaining friends and family. Adding a hot tub will enhance the space and create a more welcoming atmosphere; after all, what’s more inviting than a deck with a hot tub?

Beyond the added visual appeal and way to entertain, installing a hot tub on your deck will also increase the overall value of your home. Potential buyers almost always see a hot tub as a positive feature of a property.

Installation

If you’re adding a hot tub to an existing deck, have it evaluated by a professional to ensure it can handle the weight. If it was built to code, then you shouldn’t be any issues. However, things can get a bit more complicated if your deck is more than a few feet off the ground. Depending on the weight capacity, you may need to have it reinforced with additional framing.

Are you building a deck for the sole purpose of installing a hot tub? In that case, you have several different design options; you aren’t just limited to placing your new hot tub on the surface.

You can also design your deck to be built around your hot tub. This way, it’s built down into the deck and is an excellent choice if you don’t want the hassle of stepping in and out over the edges of the hot tub.

Costs

A deck built from scratch can run you about $4,000 – $10,000, or between $15 and $30 per sq. ft. Keep in mind that these costs can vary based on your location, time of year and how in-demand materials are.

Patio

Like a deck, a patio makes an excellent foundation for your hot tub. Their convenience of being built close to the home makes hooking up your water source much more accessible.

Patios also come in many different styles and materials, allowing you to customize them to your yard.

Installation & Cost

The biggest concern when installing a patio is to watch that your patio materials are level and free of any damage that can impact the stability of your hot tub.

If you already have an existing patio, you may need to do some maintenance work to get it up to par for your hot tub. Once that is done, you’re in the clear to move forward with the installation.

Are you building one from scratch? Here’s a list of the most common materials used and their associated costs:

  • Concrete ($6-$13 per sq. ft)
  • Concrete Pavers ($13-$20 sq. ft)
  • Brick ($14-$20 sq. ft)
  • Stone ($14-$28 sq. ft)

As mentioned before, the cost of certain materials, labor and installation can vary based on the company you are working with, location, time of year, and even how in demand the materials are.

Paver Stones

Many homeowners favor using paver stones as a foundation because of the many design options they present. They come in a wide range of colors, styles, sizes, and materials, perfect for customization.

The three main types of paver stones you’ll see are:

  • Natural stone
  • Brick
  • Concrete

Any one of these is a good choice for the foundation of your hot tub. The materials are highly durable and stand up well to water and heat. Also, unlike solid concrete slabs, you can place your hot tub on the pavers the same day you install them.

Installation

There are a few precautions you must be aware of when you opt for this foundation. Before laying down any stones, place a concrete, sand, or gravel base underneath them to properly support the weight of the hot tub after it’s filled with water.

Once it’s time to place the pavers, use smooth stones that can be interlocked at the same height to create a solid, level base. Lastly, sand needs to be swept into the joins of each paver to keep it secure in place.

Costs

On average, you can expect to pay between $10-$17 per sq. ft to have paver stones installed by professionals. If you’re going the DIY route, then materials are approx. $4-$6 per sq. ft.

Crushed Gravel

Are you’re looking for a foundation that complements any yard, is budget-friendly, yet is still practical? Then crushed gravel is the way to go.

Water spilling over the edges of a hot tub is normal, and that’s where gravel excels. It’s highly effective at draining water, so you never have to worry about pooling, causing damage to the foundation.

Despite its excellent draining capabilities, gravel is still sturdy enough to support your hot tub’s weight. It molds around it to create a firm hold, keeping it in place.

Installation

If you decide to go this route, it’ll be a quick and cost-effective way to create a base for your hot tub. We recommend adding a few extra feet to your measurements to make the crushed rock foundation larger than the hot tub. This choice allows for the best drainage and adds to the beauty of the design.

It’s also essential to make your rock bed between 4 inches and 6 inches deep and compact it before placing your hot tub. This depth is ideal for allowing proper drainage while still solid enough to support all of the weight.

You can use medium-grade gravel because it compacts very well, but it’s not the most pleasing to the eye. Alternatively, you can go ahead and fill the first 4 inches with medium-grade gravel. Then use pea gravel for the remaining 2 inches to finish it off with a more aesthetically pleasing look.

Costs

On average, here’s the kind of pricing you can expect:

Medium-grade gravel:  $0.60-$0.80 per sq. ft.

Pea gravel: $1.00 – $3.19 per sq. ft.

Labor costs: $45 per hour

All of these options will make a solid, long-term foundation for your hot tub that you can enjoy for years to come. When deciding what the right choice is for you, you should consider the layout and design of your yard, where the electrical connections are, and of course, your desired budget.

Contact Mountain Leisure Hot Tubs Today

We hope you found this article helpful and feel confident in choosing the best foundation for your hot tub. Feel free to visit our installation gallery to get inspired by what other hot tub owners have chosen and what they’ve done with their yards.

You can find more helpful information and tips about hot tubs in our blog and our FAQs. Of course, our experts at Mountain Leisure Hot Tubs are always here to help as well. Contact us today if you have any questions, need to service or relocate a hot tub, or are ready to find the perfect hot tub for your backyard.

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