What is a Hot Tub Pad (and do you need one?)


what is a hot tub pad?

So you have placed an order for a Hot Tub, or you walked into a store and brought a Hot Tub that you liked. Great! You’re now eagerly waiting for the hot tub to arrive home. You have bought all your hot tub accessories, chemicals, goggles and have sorted out the electric works. However, you haven’t decided on a base for your hot tub. It’s okay – this is something many potential owners would overlook. It is surely not the first thing that will come to anyone’s mind when they think of purchasing a hot tub and all the accessories to go with it!

If you think that you have a huge sprawling lawn and you can plop your hot tub anywhere on it, think again! That would be a massive and messy mistake!

Why does a hot tub need a study base?

Well, there is the weight of your hot tub to consider. Even a small hot tub will weigh thousands of pounds with water added to it and the number of people it can hold. So, you need to have a base that is sturdy enough to support all that weight. A traditional 400 gallons capacity hot tub will come to around 3500 pounds. Can you imagine that just a gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds?

It goes without saying that a hot tub weighing thousands of pounds will not sit evenly on a grass surface. Or a dirty or muddy surface for that matter. A hot tub placed on such a surface will eventually sink to a great extent, making your yard messy and worse, ruining your hot tub.

You must also take into account the damage that the hot tub will incur if placed on a grass or dirt surface. During chilly weather, and even during warmer weathers, the moisture from the ground will trickle through the hot tub material and wreak havoc.

When this happens over a while, the structural integrity of your hot tub will break apart and cause permanent or devastating damage. Hot tubs can hold hot water, but their exterior wall surfaces cannot withstand continuous water exposure.

Now that you know how important it is to have a good hot tub base, let us look at some of the best foundations for your hot tub to sit on.

Concrete is the first thing that comes to mind. This is an excellent and popular choice for hot tubs. But no, concrete isn’t the only foundation for your hot tub so sit on.

  1. Wooden decks
  2. Gravel
  3. Paver stones
  4. Patio
  5. Concrete/cement
  6. Spa Pads

These are all some of the options available for you. You need to know the pros and cons of each and make a selection depending on the hot tub you have at home or one that you are going to purchase.

Wooden Deck for enjoying a stunning view

We have seen both in lifestyle magazines and landscaping magazines of people blissfully enjoying a soak in their hot top surrounded by the most stunning scenery you can imagine. The good news with wooden decks is that the surface is already there. All you need to do is ensure that it has the structural integrity to support the huge weight of a hot tub.

Have your contractor or carpenter inspect your deck and give you the go-ahead that it is stable and level. If not, you may need to reinforce your deck with additional framing, structures and joists.

Be mindful of properly sanding your deck and getting the finish right. You don’t want to deal with splinters when all you want to do is take a dip in your inviting spa and unwind!

Crushed Gravel

Crushed gravel is an affordable and versatile choice. It will conform to the hot tub base, hugging the hot tub unit entirely and securely holding it in place. Although it is easy to apply, it is still better to call a professional to do it perfectly because you cannot simply throw the gravel onto your lawn and sit a hot tub on it! Once you dig the area for gravel foundation, ensure that the bottom is level and smooth. This can be a great option provided the gravel is level, deep and perfectly compacted.

Paver stone for a quick solution

If you are not too keen on concrete, Pavel is the way to go. They are versatile and cheaper than concrete. But be mindful that they are not as durable or strong as concrete. It may not be great for hot tubs with curved or angular bottoms since the whole bottom surface of your hot tub needs support. For hot tubs with flat bottoms, go for paver as a base.

But ensure that the paver stones are installed properly and are completely level. If there is some space between the hot tub and the paver stones, you could use a layer of cement between the paver stones and the spa’s bottom. This will make sure that your hot tub will remain in place with a solid and secure foundation.

If you go for pavers, it will interest you to know that they come in a variety of shapes, colours, sizes and textures. So, consider how you want the hot tub space to be from the decor and aesthetics point of view.

And the best part? You don’t have to wait around for an entire month as you have to do with concrete. It can be done within a day!

Patio/Terraces

These can be perfect as long as they are level. Just with other options, you need to make certain that the base is secure. Ascertain that the patio slabs are not standing on flimsy sand covering or laid directly on the surface of the earth. Otherwise, they will crack and move underneath due to the weight of the hot tub. A well-laid patio or a terrace with a proper foundation is fine.

Concrete/cement

Cement is just one of the ingredients that go into making concrete. Mix cement along with water and a mix of rock, gravel or sand and voila! You get cement. While concrete may be more expensive than other options, say gravel, it is still a great choice. It is extremely durable and long-lasting. Once your concrete base is well laid out, you won’t have to worry about it for years! It provides awesome support to your heavy-weight hot tub!

A professional can easily set up a concrete base for you. It requires very little maintenance too. The base of the concrete slab should be 4 to 6 inches thick and should be able to withstand a weight of 100-120 pounds. Don’t forget to leave the freshly poured concrete to be fully cured; only then should you place the hot tub down over it.

Curing is the process which binds the cement, the sand and the gravel with the water to make concrete. It is a chemical reaction that takes place between the cement and water to give concrete.

Spa Pads:

 I bet you have never heard of spa pads. They are made of plastic and are used in the place of concrete or pavers, but they are so much cheaper! They are also much easier to lay than a concrete pad or a gravel bed.

For using spa pads or hot tub pads as a foundation, you will have to dig an even level surface on the ground and then thoroughly compact the earth’s surface. The pads will then interlock together and assume the shape of the hot tub footprint. You will then have to fill the cavities in the pad with gravel, sand and compact it again. And there you have it! A solid level surface for your hot tub!

Spa pads provide support for your hot tub and can be portable from one location to another, should you need to move it around.

Hot tub owners who own indoor hot tubs prefer hot tub spas, but you can install them outdoors as well.

You can also purchase Prefabricated pads that usually come in kits. They are made of plastic and can be customized to match the size of your spa.

Best Picks for Best Hot Tub Pads

Handi-Spa Pads from Confer Plastics

This Spa Pad comes in a set of 6 modular pads to create an 8-by-8 foot area. These mats are durable, can be installed within minutes and eliminate the need for concrete and other time-consuming and expensive options.

Features and Specifications:

  • Each mat measures 32 x 48 inches; 6 pads create an 8 x 8-foot pad.
  • Features additional modular pads. So it can accommodate bigger-sized spas.
  • It is made with high-density polyethylene.
  • Available in 2 enduring colours – black and grey
  • It can withstand 300 pounds per square feet
  • Comes with a one year warranty.

Pros:

  • Can be used as a base for any hot tub, whether big or small
  • It is durable and weather-proof.
  • Easy and quick to install
  • Very easy to clean and maintain

Cons:

  • It is delivered as a partial kit with just 3 mats when you need 6. So ensure you get the whole kit.
  • The clips are a little difficult to work with to hold or lock the pads together.
  • Snap-in connectors don’t securely fasten the 6 pieces of a handi spa together. So you cannot pick up the Handi Pad in one piece and move it.
  • 40 pounds of sand is required to install it

If you are looking for a reasonably-priced spa pad that is easy to fit and maintain, and which can last a long time, go for this spa pad. Particularly, if you have placed an order for a larger hot tub(one that accommodates 6 people or more), then get this one without fail.

EZ PAD FROM EZ PADS INC

The EZ Pad hot tub/spa pad provides a solid level foundation for your hot tub to sit on. It evenly distributes the weight of your hot tub so that the jets and filtration systems perform seamlessly and at an optimal level. EZ pads are ideal for portable spa tubs, hot tubs and swim spas.

Features and Specifications:

  • Made with heavy-gauge plastic, so they last longer.
  • EZ Pads are made from HDPE (high-density polyethylene. 
  • It is tested to a whopping 5000 lbs. per square foot. It can support any hot tub, however big the size and capacity.
  • Comes with an impressive life-long guarantee.
  • They come as a set of 4 pieces; they are super stable.
  • It features large connectors secured by screws. This means the EZ Pad will not come apart when moved. Assembled EZ Pads can be carried as a unit.

Pros:

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Comes with a life-long warranty
  • Does not crack and are chemical-resistant.
  • Fast and easy to install. Affordable as well
  • Environment-friendly
  • Can be easily portable from one place to another
  • Does not require and to install; less messy, time-consuming and fewer efforts
  • Comes in 5 convenient sizes

Cons:

None that we could figure, to be honest!

EZ Pads are, without a doubt, the best hot tub pads in the market. When it comes to quality, stability, assembly, performance and guarantee it stands out and apart!

Final Wrap

There is no one best base when it comes to a foundation for a hot tub. You can go for a gravel bed, pavers, decking, concrete slabs or hot tub spas. Each has its pros and cons. Concrete is a great choice, but it is expensive and almost impossible to move. You need to wait for a month to cure before you put your hot tub over it. Spa Pads are a great alternative and come with a host of benefits.

We hope this guide will come in handy to help you make a choice!

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