What Gravel Is Best For A Hot Tub Base?

Before you start installing your hot tub base, you need to know which gravel is best for the construction. As suggested in this post that gravel is the best base for your hot tub, that doesn’t mean that you can use any type of gravel to construct the base.

Every gravel has a special purpose they serve. So, you need the right type of gravel to build the best hot tub base. A gravel of ⅜-1inch is the best type of gravel your spa base needs. And pea gravel is typically the gravel that suits the spa base.

However, some hot tub owners are still skeptical of the notion of gravel being a good base for their spa. A friend came to me the other day and was asking me to convince him why he should consider a gravel base.

I simply told him, “Dude, the number one reason to go for gravel is that you are poor just like me”. We laughed over it anyway.

Though it was sarcasm, many are yet to understand why they should go for a gravel base, even when they have a limited budget. Now, let’s address some common questions among new hot tub owners.

Is gravel a good base for a hot tub?

The simple answer to that is a big ‘YES’. Gravel is a good base for a hot tub. Depending on your budget, it could be the best for many spa owners with a low budget.

With a gravel base, you don’t need to bother yourself about drainage issues. It tops the chart when it comes to easy drainage capability.

If you’re looking for a cheaper hot tub base that will serve you well, look no further. A gravel base is the best option for you because it is highly cost-efficient.

Unlike concrete pad, it doesn’t require higher technical know-how. Just know how to handle basic hand tools and you are good to go.

Moreover, the gravel base doesn’t crack as other bases do.

What is the best base for a hot tub?

The answer to this question depends on individual preferences and other related factors.

The type of design you want around your house also influences the type of hot tub base you need.

When it comes to aesthetics, patio, pavers, and tiled concrete hot tub bases are the best. With these hot tub bases, you will have no problem walking around barefoot. 

This is so because they have a very smooth surface, unlike the gravel spa base that is rough. Moreover, they add to the beauty of the house.

However, as we discussed above, a gravel hot tub possesses other important features other bases don’t have. But it is mostly for owners with limited budgets.

How do I build a gravel base for my hot tub?

You may have asked, “how do you prepare the ground for laying gravel?” If you have been wondering how to build a gravel base for your hot tub, I want you to know that it’s a simple process.

You can easily build the base yourself. Even if you decide to hire someone to construct it for you, it will not cost as much as a concrete base will cost you.

  • To build a gravel base for your spa, you first need to be sure of the gravel source. You need to make sure that you have the gravel ready. Remember, pea gravel is best for the work if you want to have a less rough base floor.
  • Then site a perfect location for the base. You don’t want it to be on sloppy ground. Find a high area and site the hot tub base. A high area will ensure that the floor doesn’t get flooded when it rains, and more so, it supports drainage.
  • Measure out the area you are working with. If the place is covered with grasses, you will have to clear the grasses to expose the topsoil.
  • Once it’s cleared, level the surface with your hole. Remove debris and dirt, and fill up holes. Make sure it’s not sloppy.
  • Frame the perimeter with strong lumber up to the height you want it to be. The minimum height should be 4 inches. 
  • Calculate the volume of the framed area to know the amount of gravel it will consume. 
  • Tamp the topsoil with a compactor to level it. You can drive over it with a heavy car or tractor to level it.
  • Lay landscaping fabric or weed barrier if weed usually grows in that area. (Optional)
  • Loosely lay pavers on the ground if there is incessant heavy rainfall in the region. This will help to prevent puddles from forming on the base. (Optional)
  • Then fill the frame with the pea gravel and tamp while filling to make it compact and strong. Once the filling is done, tamp and level the surface. Your base is ready to carry the hot tub.

This is a simple run-through of the processes. To get the picture clear you may need to watch this video

Does gravel drain well?

If not for the drainage feature gravel possesses, we might not recommend it to anyone. When you talk about spa bases with the best drainage system, gravel base comes top of the list.

With gravel as your spa base, you may not need special constructions for drainage. It offers you the best drainage system for your hot tub.

Water moves through the gravel base faster than any other base material. Only 3 inches thick of gravel base is enough to deter water buildup. Then imagine what 4 inches or more can do for you.

Unlike other base types, puddles are less likely to form on a gravel base because water drains very quickly through it. However, to improve the drainage system, ensure that the soil and surface are slightly sloped away from the base.

What is the best size gravel for drainage?

⅜ – 1 inch is the recommended range of gravel size for better drainage. There are different travels you can get with that size range. Some of them are;

  • Pea gravel
  • Bluestone gravel
  • River wash
  • Surge gray stone

These gravel types are good for drainage systems. For a hot tub base, we prefer using pea gravel because it has a soft feeling which makes it safe to walk barefoot.

If you don’t have access to pea gravel you can go for others.

Is pea gravel good for drainage?

Yes, pea gravel is a good stone for drainage. Its size ranges between ⅜ inch and 1 inch. Any gravel with that size range is good for drainage.

Moreover, pea gravel is not as rough as most gravels. It offers a better surface finish for walkways.

This makes it a better gravel type for spa base. With it, you can easily walk barefoot without being hurt, unlike most gravels with a rough surface finish.

Do I need drainage under gravel?

You don’t necessarily need any extra layer under the gravel for drainage. But if you always experience incessant heavy downpours, you may need to add an extra layer under the gravel.

The extra layer is to prevent the buildup of puddles when it rains.

Do weeds grow through pea gravel?

Yes, weeds can grow through the pea gravel. That’s why it was stated earlier that you should place a weed barrier or landscaping fabric.

The gravel base is porous for weeds to find it difficult to grow through. If weeds can grow through a more compact base, then growing through a gravel base will not be a big task for them.

What do you put under pea gravel to prevent weeds?

Just as pointed out above, with the use of landscaping fabric or weed barriers you can easily prevent weed from growing through the hot tub base.

Once you have layered the material, fill up the frame with the gravel and you will not have issues with weed growing through it.

Another method you can apply to prevent the growth of weed in the area is the spraying of weed killers. Some chemicals can help you prevent the growth of weed in an area.

Once you spray the chemical, you may not notice any weed growing there again. However, using landscaping fabric is the best option.

Do you need landscape fabric under pea gravel?

If weeds don’t disturb the area you are siting your hot tub, you don’t need the landscaping fabric. But if you always have to weed the area to keep it tidy, then you’d need the landscaping fabric or weed barrier.

What is the easiest gravel to walk on?

Pea gravel base is the easiest I have walked on before. It has a soft surface, unlike other gravels I have encountered.

Can you walk barefoot on pea gravel? This is one of the reasons pea gravel is recommended for a hot tub base. With it, you can afford to walk barefoot without getting hurt a lot.

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