A hot tub is a great addition to your backyard. It is fun as it is relaxing. For some, it is even considered therapeutic. But before the fun begins comes the hard part. Most first-time hot tub owners find installing hot tubs quite tricky. Careful planning and compliance with city codes are necessary when installing a hot tub.
When it comes to installation, one of the most frequently asked questions among first-time hot tub buyers is “does my hot tub need to be level?” Find out the answer in this article and learn the importance of leveling your hot tub. We will also give you step-by-step instructions on how to level a hot tub on your own, and other helpful tips for hot tub enthusiasts to give you help you build your very own backyard oasis.
The importance of installing your hot tub on level ground
Does your hot tub need to be level? The short answer is a resounding YES. Here’s why…
Most hot tubs are made from acrylic and are reinforced with fiberglass, resin, or wood frame. An empty standard-sized hot tub weighs approximately 3,000 pounds but it can easily weigh over 8,000 pounds when filled with water and bathers.
Installing your hot tub on level ground is very important in order to give it adequate support and distribute weight evenly. Setting up your hot tub on an uneven surface will cause stress and compromise the integrity of its structure which may lead to cracks and eventually, irreparable damage to your hot tub. We all know that hot tubs don’t come cheap. Hot tubs are an investment and we protect this investment by making sure that it is built on level ground with a strong foundation.
Hiring a contractor to install your hot tub
If you want to make sure that your hot tub sits on level ground, hiring a contractor to do the job for you is the way to go.
One of the advantages of hiring a hot tub installation professional is that it spares you the hassle of doing the hard labor yourself. It also guarantees that your hot tub is level regardless of the location, whether the terrain is flat or sloped.
Here are some helpful tips if you wish to hire a contractor to install your hot tub:
1. Consider their tenure in the business.
A business won’t last long if they are not good at what they do. When hiring a hot tub installation professional, make sure to check how long they’ve been in the business. Their tenure in the industry speaks a lot about the quality of service they offer. While there is nothing wrong with hiring newbie contractors, it is still wiser to get someone who’s highly-experienced so they can offer you the best solutions and lay the right foundation for your hot tub.
2. Online reviews vs personal recommendations
The internet is ripe with reviews, from products to the most menial services. You may spend time reading reviews of hot tub installation services in your areas or you may want to take into consideration the recommendation of someone you know who has previous experience with hiring and working with a contractor.
Do you know someone who has recently bought a hot tub and had a contractor level the ground where you want your hot tub installed? Try to get their opinion about the matter and ask about their experience. Can they recommend the person they hired or do they know someone who can do the job better? This will narrow down your choice and help you decide who to hire.
3. Take your budget into account
Most of the time, budget consideration is the ultimate deciding factor whether you’re going to hire a service professional or not. Keep in mind that not only you are going to pay for the service but shoulder the cost of materials to be used as well.
Hot tub installation service ranges from $500 to $12,000. For those who see their hot tubs as an investment, this price range sounds about just right. After all, you want your hot tub set on the best spot, whether it’s indoor and outdoor, and for it to last a long time.
Doing it yourself: How To Level A Hot Tub
There is nothing more rewarding and more fulfilling than installing your hot tub on your own. If you have the necessary skills and are up for the challenge then you can go ahead and take on the project.
As stated earlier, it is crucial that you install your hot tub on level ground to give it enough support to hold its weight as it gets filled with gallons of water. Not sure where or how to begin? Here’s a practical guide on how to level your hot tub:
Selecting the perfect location
Before you even think about leveling your hot tub, you need to choose the perfect spot where you want to install your hot tub.
Find a place that gets good drainage but doesn’t block your access to your septic tank, sewer lines, and other utilities.
It is also great to choose a spot away from shrubs and trees. You may start with a level ground upon installing your hot tub but you may find your tub on an uneven ground once those roots grow under your tub.
Install your tub close to a water source so you refill your hot tub easily as needed.
Lastly, make sure that there are no overhead power lines where you plan to install your hot tub and that your chosen location is at least two yards away from the electrical panel or outlet. If you are unsure how to go about the electrical aspects of your hot tub, consult an electrician.
How to level a hot tub
Now that you have chosen the perfect spot for your hot tub, it’s time to get down and dirty and level the foundation where you’re going to set up your hot tub. Below is the step by step instruction on how it is done:
- Mark the area where you are going to install your hot tub with a chalk or paint marker.
- Fill the area with at least six-inch-layer thick sand. Level it out but do not compact it. The weight of the tub, once it was filled with water, will compact the sand underneath it.
- Cut a one-inch thick by six-inch wide board to a length long enough to reach both ends of your hot tub.
- Slide the one-inch edge of the board from one end of the marked area to the other end.
Et voila! You have successfully leveled your own hot tub! Looks pretty easy, don’t you think?
To shim or not to shim?
Let’s face it: some terrains just can’t be leveled or perhaps tearing up that concrete spot just to have it leveled for your tub will cause a dent in your wallet. This is where shims come in handy.
Most hot tub brands have shim points to help keep your tub level when it’s sloped or slanted. Your hot tub’s user manual will tell you whether your hot tub has shim points or not. Some hot tub brands don’t support shimming and insisting on using shims to level your hot tub may void the warranty so it is always wise to proceed with caution.
If you are going to use shims to level your hot tub, use heavy-duty plastic shims instead of wood shims as the latter will deteriorate and rot over time. Heavy-duty plastic shims, on the other hand, don’t rot and can take on the brunt of a water-filled hot tub. Keep in mind, however, that shimming is for minor adjustments only. If the ground is too uneven, it would be best to just proceed with leveling the spot or choose another location where you can set up your hot tub.
Before you even purchase the hot tub of your dreams, start planning ahead. Pick a suitable location and assess if it will need some work or not. This will not only save you time and energy but money as well.
More than the ambiance and the great view of the outdoors, leveling your hot tub is just as equally as important. Having a solid, sturdy, and even foundation for your hot tub will help ensure its longevity and will let you maximize its full potential.
Hot tubs are built to last for up to 20 years but giving it a weak and poor foundation would drastically shorten its lifespan. And just because you have set it up on level ground doesn’t mean it stops there. Check your foundation every few years or so and see if it needs to be leveled again. Proper maintenance, along with a strong, leveled understructure guarantees to extend the life of your hot tub for years to come.