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A Guide to Hot Tub Installation

RESIZEDBy Doug Gillespie

Delivery and Placement

As a general rule of thumb, people like to trust their ‘gut,’ rather than be bogged down in seemingly endless statistics and figures. However, when it comes to hot tub installations, going with your gut can get you in big trouble.

Needless to say, proper hot tub installation is very important. While there are many types of installations to consider (outdoor versus indoor, inground versus onground, in-deck versus on-deck, etc.), the following tips can help you, no matter where you plan to enjoy your spa.

Have a Delivery Plan 

Be sure to measure any entrances to your backyard before ever buying a hot tub. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when special equipment like cranes can cost upwards of $700. In general, gates are 1-m (3.3-ft) wide, sliding glass doors are 2-m (6.5-ft) wide and front doors are 0.7-m (2.5-ft) wide. If you are unsure whether a hot tub will fit, make sure to ask the salesperson to send someone out to your home to take measurements.

Perfect Hot Tub Placement

When it comes to placement, a good rule of thumb is ‘the closer, the better.’ Statistically speaking, if the hot tub is located within 1.5 m (5 ft) of the back door, it will get 50 per cent more usage than one located 4.5 m (15 ft) away. That perfect spot at the far reaches of your property might have a great view of the house, but consider the opposite view. It is difficult to enjoy your hot tub if you don’t even want to travel the distance to get there (especially on a cold winter night).

Esthetics and Sight Lines

Emphasize Esthetics

Consider what the hot tub will look like when it has finally been installed. Will it stick out like a sore thumb or look like an afterthought in the backyard? Also keep an open-mind. An above-ground hot tub on a concrete pad may not sound like the sexiest option, but with a little thought and the right landscaping, these installations can look spectacular.

Consider Your Sight Lines

When you have decided on a particular model, place a picture of the hot tub in the installation plan and determine which way the main seats/loungers will be facing. Many homeowners don’t consider this and end up with a hot tub in which the main seats face the back wall of the house.

Maintenance Access and Base Material

Plan For Maintenance Access 

For example, the average hot tub has more then 3.2 km (2 miles) of plumbing, which is located on all four sides of the tub. As such, in deck installations, consider notching the hot tub in the deck as opposed to surrounding it completely. This will allow for access on all four sides if necessary. For inground hot tubs, be sure to create a service hatch on one side with enough room for a technician to crawl around the hot tub to service it.

At some point, either you or a service professional will have to perform some type of maintenance on your hot tub. Good service access can save lots of headaches in the future (not to mention lots of expensive repair bills).

Choosing An Appropriate Base Material

If you have any doubts about what to use as a base for your hot tub, consult an expert. For an above-ground, standalone installation, a concrete pad or patio stones with 609 to 914 mm (2 to 3 in.) of crushed stone should be enough. On the other hand, if you are placing the hot tub on a third-floor deck that is perched over the main family eating area, don’t take the hot tub salesperson’s word—consult an engineer.

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