Hot tubs have become very popular among those with the budget for luxury amenities in their outdoor space. The installation of a hot tub can be a bit tricky, however, and it requires a good amount of space. So, can you install a hot tub on your deck?
Installing a hot tub on a deck is usually possible, but you’ll need to consider the age, height, and material of your deck to make sure it can hold a hot tub. The weight of the desired tub (when full) also needs to be considered. Always hire trusted professionals to complete this job.
Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to install a hot tub on a deck, how to determine if your deck could support one, and some other important matters to consider before proceeding.
Is It Safe to Install a Hot Tub on a Deck?
For the most part, it’s safe to install a hot tub on a deck — but you need to make sure your deck is less than two feet off the ground. Higher decks would need additional support to safely take the weight of a hot tub, and ignoring this stipulation could end in damaged property or an accident later on.
You should also make sure you hire professional contractors to do the job. This can be a tricky installation for someone without the knowledge of what to do, so make sure you hire a team that’ll get it done properly.
In terms of what to look for in contractors, make sure they have the following:
- License (if necessary where you live) and insurance
- Experience with jobs like this
- Good availability and communication methods
- Honesty and transparency when evaluating the situation
- An affordable quote
In terms of the quote, don’t automatically go with the cheapest people, as there may be a reason they’re far less expensive than other places! Consider the quote alongside the other important factors — but the most important thing is making sure it’s fair and affordable for you.
What to Consider Before Installing a Hot Tub on Your Deck
There are a few things you should check out before making the decision to install a hot tub on your deck. Let’s take a closer look at what they are.
The Weight of the Tub and Water!
Hot tubs are extremely heavy. Even so, decks can usually support a tub if they’re less than two feet off the ground and made of sturdy material. Still, you’ll need to check that the weight of the tub isn’t unusually high — some tubs may be heavier than others, and you’ll need to get an exact weight.
Also consider the weight of the hot tub when it’s full of water and people. It’ll weigh hundreds or even thousands of pounds more when it’s set up and in use.
How Many People Will Be Using It at Once?
Eight people in a hot tub will add much more weight than two or three at once. Calculating the maximum amount of people you’ll ever have in the tub at once will give you a good idea of whether your deck will be able to support that, using the calculations below.
It’s important you always go with a generous estimate — it’s fine if fewer people are in the hot tub than your calculations, but not more, as it may end up being too much for your deck.
The Distance of the Deck From the Ground
If your deck is more than two feet off the ground, then it’s not impossible to install a hot tub, but you will definitely need additional support. This will add to the cost and the labor required to get things set up.
The Deck Material
Consider all of the material used to build the deck and make sure it’s sturdy. If flimsy frameworks have been used, then some of this may need to be redone before you can go ahead. If you’re not sure which materials have been used on the deck, you can ask the contractor to inspect it — or contact the person who built it.
The Age of the Deck
If your deck is brand new, it’s far more likely to be strong enough to support a hot tub. If your deck is getting on a bit and you can see some wear and tear forming, then you might want to consider getting the deck fixed up or redoing it before you install a hot tub on it.
What’s the Cost of Installing a Hot Tub on a Deck?
It’s hard to say the exact cost of installing a hot tub on a deck because it depends on many factors. These include:
- The size of the hot tub
- The time of year (some jobs are cheaper off-peak)
- The cost of the hot tub itself
- If the deck needs additional support
The need for additional support could be the biggest cost, as this will usually involve putting concrete slabs under it so it doesn’t collapse with the weight of the hot tub. It’s always best to get a couple of different quotes to see what you’re dealing with, though you should be able to get a good idea yourself of if your deck needs that additional support.
Although it does add to the cost, it’s important not to skip out on the support. Any contractor who will install a hot tub knowing a deck needs additional support is not one you want to go with, and it can lead to damage and injury later when the deck collapses.
Many contractors also offer financing options. This allows you to pay for the installation over time on a monthly installment plan so if you do need unexpected additional support, you can afford it.
Remember, your deck being less than two feet off the ground doesn’t guarantee that it won’t need that support — only that there’s a good chance it may be able to take the weight of the hot tub on its own.
How Much Do Hot Tubs Weigh?
A hot tub built for two or three people usually weighs around 500 pounds when it’s empty, whereas one built for a large group of people could weigh 1,000 pounds or more.
Obviously, as water and people enter, this weight will increase significantly. The water itself can weigh hundreds of pounds, and then you have the weight of the people getting in and out to consider.
The water itself is likely to weigh between 2,000-3,000 pounds when the hot tub is full, so it’s much heavier than the tub itself. That’s why it’s so important to have a professional install it — not just to make sure it works with the deck, but because it can be very difficult to do on your own due to the sheer size and heaviness.
Determining if Your Deck Can Support a Hot Tub
Although the professional will be able to inspect your deck and tell you for sure, it’s a good idea to check ahead of time if your deck can support a hot tub as is. Firstly, you need to make sure it had the qualities required, including:
- No wear and tear or old age
- Good material
- Less than two feet off the ground
If it has all of these, you can proceed to do some calculations to ensure your deck can hold it.
A high-quality deck should be able to hold about 100 pounds per square foot, which is good enough for most hot tubs.
The first thing you need to do is take the weight of the hot tub you intend on buying. Then multiply the number of gallons it can hold by 8.34 (how many pounds a gallon of water weighs) and add them together.
Consider the maximum amount of people you’ll have in your hot tub at once and estimate an average weight (erring on the larger side to be totally sure). Add this number too, and you’ll have the maximum weight of your hot tub when it’s completely full.
Now you want to divide this by the number of square feet on your deck and hope the number is around or under 100. If it’s over, then your deck will need additional support for the hot tub or you may need to make sure it isn’t ever holding the maximum amount of people.
Overall, most decks should be able to hold your average hot tub if they have the right qualities. Decks are built to support a lot of weight, so most people won’t have too much trouble. However, if your deck is old, high off the ground, or your hot tub is particularly large and heavy, you may need to pay more for additional support.
The good news is that that if you’re willing to pay that little bit more, almost any deck will be able to hold a hot tub — it just requires some more work to make sure it’s safe and sturdy.