What is The Best Hot Tub Base? A Comprehensive Guide 2023

A step-by-step guide to choosing the best hot tub base. Costs, installation complexity, durability, and appearance are all factors to consider.

best hot tub base


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Which is the best hot tub base for you?

It all depends on your budget, style, and lifestyle. And don’t worry, there’s an affordable, durable base for everyone. Let’s find the one that’s perfect for your backyard retreat!

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Planning your Hot Tub base

A hot tub is a great addition to any backyard, but choosing the right base can make all the difference in the world.

Here’s what you need to know about selecting the right base for your hot tub:

  1. Hot Tub Placement
    Consider the size and shape of the hot tub you want to buy—or already own. If you’re purchasing a new spa, make sure it will fit in the available space, including the space needed for safe access.
    If you already have a spa, consider upgrading the foundation to make it more level and stable if necessary.
  2. Climate and Soil Considerations
    Choose a base according to your climate and soil type. For example, if you live in an area with poor drainage, choose a concrete hot tub base instead of a wooden one.
    Consider an aluminum or concrete base instead of wood if your yard floods during heavy rains.
  3. Expert Advice
    Consider consulting an expert before making any decisions if you have any doubts about local building codes, or construction methods.
    Building hot tub bases is not difficult if you have basic building skills, but if you are concerned, there are prefabricated units with built-in bases.

Measure the weight of your hot tub.

Hot Tubs Are Heavy

The reason why hot tubs are so heavy is because they’re filled with water — usually between 110 and 130 gallons (400-500 liters). That’s more than twice as much as most other types of furniture, like patio chairs and tables (which weigh about 25 pounds).
We have a guide on how to move a hot tub which has a guide on how to work the total weight of a hot tub.

If you have a wood deck or patio, make sure it can support the weight of your hot tub. You may need to install a stronger beam or reinforce an existing one before adding a hot tub. If you have an outdoor floor that isn’t made of concrete or tile, like wood or carpeting, make sure it can handle the added weight of the hot tub by having it inspected by a professional before installing your hot tub there.

Make a drawing of your hot tub base area.

Make a drawing of your hot tub base area. Make sure that there is enough space for the base to fit properly.

Measure the space available for your hot tub base and measure the width and length of your frame. The measurements will help determine how large of a hot tub you should buy

Decide whether or not you want an electric or gas powered hot tub, then look at different models until you find one that suits your needs

best hot rub base ideas

Best hot tub base ideas – Materials

There are a variety of options to consider when deciding on the best hot tub base. The best option will depend on your specific situation and personal preference.

Concrete Hot Tub Base

Concrete slabs
Concrete is an excellent choice if you want a more permanent foundation for your hot tub. Build a concrete patio around your hot tub base to match your home’s style. A concrete slab should have a minimum thickness of 6 inches and should be poured on level ground with good drainage. Make sure that whatever type of grout you use can withstand the heat from the jets and chlorine in the water. Some types of grout will absorb moisture, which could cause mold growth in your hot tub chamber. The grout should also be compatible with any other materials used in construction such as tile or stone, so it won’t crack or crumble over time.

Slab-on-grade foundations
Slab-on-grade foundations are another common choice when building a new deck or patio around your existing home or building addition. This type of installation involves pouring concrete directly onto the ground surface and then covering it with gravel and sand before topping it off with another layer of concrete for added strength and stability. Slab-on-grade foundations can be either portable or permanent depending on what type of materials you use during construction

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Decking as a hot tub base

Ground Level Decks
If you are just looking to put in something quick, a wooden deck is probably your best bet. Decking can come in many different styles and colors, and it also provides insulation against heat loss from the ground beneath. Most decks are built with pressure-treated wood, but there are other options available as well.

Raised Decks
Raised decks are great because they help keep the water temperature higher than if it were sitting directly on the ground or concrete pad. They also provide better drainage than decks that sit right at ground level because there isn’t any standing water around the spa after a rainstorm (or snowfall).

Premade hot tub base

There are premade bases you can use that are durable, easy to install and clean, and can withstand varying weather conditions.

Premade bases are usually made from a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) material. This material is strong and durable, but also flexible enough to withstand the weight of your hot tub.

They can be placed under your hot tub and help provide stability in the event of an earthquake or heavy winds. If they’re waterproof, they’ll also protect your floor from any water that may leak from your hot tub over time.

premade hot tub base

image courtesy of amazon

Bare Decor EZ-Floor Interlocking Flooring Tiles in Solid Teak

The Bare Decor EZ-Floor is a set of interlocking flooring tiles made of solid teak wood. The tiles come in an oiled finish and can be used for indoor or outdoor settings. They are easy to install – no glue or tools required.

Patio hot tub base

Using an existing Patio as a hot tub base.
Placing a hot tub on an existing patio or block pavers seems like an obvious answer, saving money and labor. However, a hot tub base needs to be level and patios are designed to have a fall to channel the water.

One way around this is to remove the section of patio or block pavers where the hot tub is to be placed and level the area. You will have to form sort of edging where the hot tub base is higher than the original patio.

A New Patio base.
Creating a new patio area for your hot tub base can look stunning.
It is best practice to place your hot tub on a level surface.

While this is achievable, building an elevated patio that is hidden by your hot tub is somewhat counterintuitive.
It may be better to create a raised, level concrete pad for your hot tub and then pave up to it.

Gravel (Crushed Stone) Base

Gravel is a great alternative to traditional concrete hot tub bases. Unlike concrete, it doesn’t crack or chip and it is fairly easy to install.

Although it is often called a gravel base, gravel is not the ideal base for a hot tub.
Actual gravel is smooth and rounded and will not lock into place correctly under your spa.

Your base should be crushed stone rather than pea gravel or river stone.Crushed stone is jagged and rough, which aids in the formation of a firm foundation.

It’s important to know that gravel is not a perfect solution for every application. For instance, if you have a large hot tub, you’re going to need more than just gravel in order to support the weight of the water and the people who are using it.

The first step is to excavate the area so that it is level. You will need a good amount of gravel to fill in the area, and you should also have some base material on hand.

Once you have your frame in place, you can start filling in the area with gravel and then attach the underlayment material.

Plasticinehouse.com has a useful guide on how to build a gravel base. Although the example is for a shed, the same principles apply.

Direct to Grass or Dirt

Not Recommended unless budget or portability dictates.
A hot tub can be placed directly on the ground, but it is not recommended. When a hot tub is placed directly on the ground, it will not be level enough to support your spa evenly. This can cause the spa to wobble and become unstable. It is best to place your hot tub on a platform or deck.

An inflatable spa does not require a frame, which means you can place them on a slighty uneven surface such as grass. This also makes it easy to move around, so you can place it in a sunny spot one day and a shady spot the next.

Does a Hot Tub Base Need To Be Level?

Ideally, your hot tub base should be level so that the water flows evenly throughout the base. Hot tubs are heavy objects, and an unlevel base can put extra strain on the body of the hot tub.
However, if you’re adding a hot tub to an existing deck or patio, this will probably have a run.
If the slope is not steep, you can try to level the area as much as possible before placing your hot tub on top.
Keep the area clear of furniture and other objects so that the water can flow freely above and below the hot tub.

hot tub base ideas – conclusion

This article has looked at the different factors to consider when building the right hot tub base. By choosing the right materials and taking into account the climate and surroundings, you can create a base that will be long-lasting and provide you with years of enjoyable hot tubbing.

  • Don’t waste your time or money on a hot tub base that won’t work for you.
  • While installing a base for your hot tub may seem like a time-consuming and tedious task, this is not necessarily true.
  • Building the right hot tub base is critical to ensuring that you can enjoy many years of happy hot tubbing.