Have you ordered your hot tub and expect it to arrive a few days from now? You may not need a spa pad if you already have a patio, deck, or paver that can carry the hot tub.
Hot tub pads are great for your spa because they help to maintain its lifespan. If your hot tub is placed directly on the ground it may be affected by soil and microbes in the soil.
Moreover, the ground is not strong enough to carry the weight of a hot tub without sinking. This is why it is important to reinforce the ground with a pad strong enough to carry a hot tub.
What kind of pad do you need for a hot tub?
Your hot tub needs a pad that is very strong and thick to carry it. The pad needs to be able to last for a long time before any maintenance work can be done on it.
If you use a base that is not strong, the weight of the hot tub may end up sinking or cracking it. This will lead to unnecessary maintenance work which would cost extra money.
So, it is better to go for the right pad once and for all. And the best hot tub base pad one can consider, depending on your budget, are; concrete pad, gravel pad, patio, and pavers.
Synthetic spa pads like resins pads are also good, but they are better used as support bases for the aforementioned bases.
What should I put down under my hot tub? Mat, ground cloth, or tiles should be the layer under your hot tub to prevent it from having direct contact with the base.
Do you need a concrete slab for a hot tub?
Your hot tub needs a base so that it can last longer. Like we pointed out earlier, you need a pad that is strong enough to carry the hot tub.
A concrete pad is one of the strongest bases you can install for your spa. It is strong and durable. Moreover, it offers better surface finishing than the gravel base.
However, it is more expensive and requires a higher technical ability to install than the gravel pad. It costs about $5-$10 per square foot to install.
But if your budget is not up to that amount, you can opt for less expensive spa bases like the gravel.
Do you have to pour concrete for a hot tub?
Concrete is one of the best spa bases for your hot tub. However, if you can’t afford to install the concrete pad because of its cost you can easily go for cheaper alternatives.
Concrete spa bases cost nothing less than $500 to install. Not everyone will have that amount after spending a lot to get the spa.
So, you don’t have to kill yourself over it. It is not a must that you will use concrete for your hot tub base. Gravel base is always the best option as it costs less and offers more.
Apart from the surface finishing that looks rough, gravel offers you better drainage. Moreover, it doesn’t crack over time as concrete does sometimes.
But if you already have a patio or strong decking, then you don’t need either of the two. Your patio or deck is good enough to carry our deck. So, you don’t have to spend extra money building a spa base.
How long does it take for a hot tub pad to cure?
If you are done with your hot tub pad, wait for at least 2 weeks for the pad to cure before you can place the spa on top.
However, the curing time depends on the weather condition. Generally, a hot tube base can cure within 2-3 weeks.
But during the cold season, you may need to wait for about 4-5 weeks before you can place the hot tub on top.
How thick of a concrete slab for a hot tub?
If you are using concrete for your hot tub base, you need to make sure that it is thick enough to carry it. A concrete pad with a small thickness is more likely to crack and sink when used to install a heavy spa.
Generally, a concrete slab with a thickness of 4 inches is okay for your hot tub. However, we recommend a 5-inch thickness for your concrete pad.
With 5 inches of thickness, you can mount any size of a spa on it and it will be able to carry it for ages. But you can go for 4 inches if you have a limited budget to work with.
Nevertheless, ensure that the concrete slab is well cured before you can mount the hot tub. If you mount it without the pad curing well, it may crack the base.
How much does it cost to pour a concrete slab for a hot tub?
Like we discussed earlier, the concrete base is a bit pricey. Though it is not the most expensive among hot tub bases, its price is on the high side.
If you consider the amount you spent for your spa plus the electrical installations that would be done and other expenses, you may not like to spend so much on the base.
The least you can get it, depending on the size of your hot tub, is around $500-$1000. For bigger hot tubs, you need to budget around $1500-$3000 to get the concrete slab installed.
Though patio and reinforce deck costs more to install, there are other cheaper alternatives that can serve you well.
A gravel hot tub base is one of the best alternatives. With one-third of the price, you can get a gravel base for your spa. You can even set it up by yourself because it doesn’t require much technical work.
How do you make a gravel hot tub pad?
Before you stat making your spa pad, read this ‘What Gravel Is Best For A Hot Tub Base?‘
Making a gravel hot tub pad does not require much technical work. You only need basic knowledge of hand tool handling and you are ready to go.
The process is easy to follow. Just get you woods, screws, and lumber, and then follow these simple steps;
- Locate a high-level area in your compound. A higher level area ensures that the ground does get flooded when it rains. It also helps for better drainage.
- Make sure it’s not too sloppy. If it is sloppy, level it with your shovel.
- Measure out the area you want to install the hot tub. Remember to give allowances on all corners.
- Scrape the area if there are grasses there and level it with your shovel. You can use a small tractor if you can get one.
- Frame the area with the wood up to the height you would want it to be. The minimum should be 4 inches.
- Then fill the frame with the gravel and level the surface.
- Tamp it as you are filling it up so you can have a compact gravel pad that is firm enough for your hot tub.
You can watch this video to get a clear understanding of the process.
How many inches of gravel do you need for a hot tub? You need a gravel base with a thickness of at least 4 inches. With time the pad will get more compact as the weight of the hot tub will make some of the stones wear off.
As the stones wear off and get more compact, the thickness will reduce a bit. This is why you need to make it a bit thicker from the onset.
Is gravel a good base for a hot tub?
Gravel is one of the best bases you can use for your hot tub. Though it is not the best for inflatable hot tubs as highlighted in this post, it offers a greater feature for the regular hot tub.
- Its strength increases with time as it gets more compact because of the weight on it.
- It doesn’t crack, unlike the concrete hot tub.
- It offers better drainage than the concrete spa base.
- It is far less expensive to install
When you consider these features you can boldly say that it is the best hot tub base. The only drawback with the gravel base is its rough surface. Luckily, you can cover it with a thick synthetic spa pad or paver.
So, gravel is a good base for your hot tub. If you are considering installing it, don’t think twice because it will last long and serve you well. Just follow the instructions and you are good to go.
Can a hot tub be placed directly on the ground?
A hot tub should not be placed on the ground directly as it can affect its lifespan. If you expose the base of the hot tub to the soil, it will get damaged with time.
Always ensure that the hot tub is mounted on a base. We have mentioned some bases you can use. If you have a reinforced deck, you can place your spa on it. A patio is a great option too.
Even putting your hot tub on the grass without any pad is not a good practice as you are exposing the spa to early maintenance issues.
Does a hot tub base have to be level?
Yes, your hot tub needs to be on a level surface to avoid putting tension on its surface.
The weight of a hot tub is high and needs to be evenly spread. If it is not level the weight will move to one side and cause stress on the particular end of the hot tub.
The tension that is created in that area can lead to wear and tear, and more so, it can affect the spa base. Also, if it is too sloppy, the weight can force it to slip off the base.
So, ensure it is level to avoid unnecessary stress on the spa.