For many homeowners, their deck seems like the perfect place to install a new hot tub. After all, it provides a level and stable surface in an all-natural environment designed for entertaining and enjoying the outdoors. But before you take on such a project, stop to ask whether your deck can actually support the weight of a hot tub.
Although building codes require decks to support a minimum of 50lbs per square foot, most modern decks can support up to 100lbs/psf. This is generally sturdy enough to support the weight of a hot tub but there are other considerations you must make before starting the process. For example, whether you want an in-set tub or one that sits on top of the deck.
Installing a hot tub on your deck won’t be an easy project but with some patience and the right team of contractors, you’ll soon be enjoying cold nights from the comfort of your new bubbling tub. Continue reading to learn more about your deck’s weight restrictions, as well as other considerations you’ll have to make before installing a hot tub.
How Much Does a Hot Tub Weigh?
The average hot tub weighs around 2,000-3,000 lbs when filled with water. When empty, most hot tubs weigh around 500. So, if your deck can support 50lbs per square foot, it should be able to support a hot tub that weighs up to 5,000 pounds. However, if you have a larger hot tub that weighs 10,000+ lbs, you may have to find a new home for it.
To help you figure out how much your new hot tub will weigh, we’ve prepared the following equation based on standards weights and figures:
- [( X Gallons of Water x 8.34 lbs) + (Maximum Seating Capacity x 185 lbs) + (Weight of the Hot Tub)] / Square Footage
If we assume that the average person weighs around 185 lbs and that most home hot tubs seat 4 people, expect to add around 750 lbs of weight to your tub. Additionally, the average home hot tub holds around 300 gallons of water—weighing 8.34 lbs each—which comes out to around 2,500 lbs.
So, if you have a 500 lbs fiberglass tub full of water and people, it will weigh nearly 3,750 lbs. To support that much weight, your deck would have to be at least 40 square feet. Considering that the average deck is between 300 and 400 square feet, you shouldn’t have to worry about your deck supporting a hot tub.
In-set vs. On-top Hot Tubs
If you’re planning on installing a hot tub on your deck, you have two main options—in-set or on-top. In-set tubs are installed flush with the deck surface and can be made from a variety of materials, including concrete, stone, or tile. On-top tubs, on the other hand, sit on top of the deck and are made from acrylic or fiberglass.
In-set tubs are generally more expensive than on-top tubs but they offer a few advantages, including:
- They’re less likely to leak than on-top tubs.
- They offer more stability since they’re installed flush with the deck surface.
- They can be customized to match the look and feel of your deck.
On-top tubs, while not as expensive as in-set tubs, are easier to install and offer their own advantages, including:
- They can be installed on any type of deck.
- They’re less likely to damage your deck since they don’t require any cutting or drilling.
- They can be moved around your deck more easily than in-set tubs.
Best of all, if you place a hot tub on top of the deck rather than recessing it into the wood, you won’t have to lay a concrete slab to prevent the tub from settling into the ground.
In addition to weight restrictions and installation options, there are a few other things you need to consider before installing a hot tub on your deck, including:
- Electricity: Most hot tubs require a 240-volt electrical connection. This means you’ll need to hire an electrician to run a new line to your deck. The cost of this will vary depending on the length of the line and the complexity of the job but you can expect to pay at least $500.
- Water supply: You’ll also need to run a water line to your deck. This is generally less expensive than running an electrical line but it will still add to the overall cost of the project.
- Permits: Depending on your municipality, you may need to obtain a permit before installing a hot tub on your deck. The cost of the permit will vary depending on your location but you can expect to pay at least $100.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider before installing a hot tub on your deck. However, if you take the time to do your research and plan ahead, you’ll be able to enjoy your new hot tub in no time.
Should You Install a Hot Tub on Your Own?
Installing a hot tub on your deck is a big project. Not only do you have to worry about the weight of the tub, but you also have to worry about running electrical and water lines to your deck. As a result, it’s best to leave the installation to the professionals.
While it may cost more to hire a contractor to install your hot tub, it’s worth it to avoid any mistakes that could damage your deck or hot tub. Plus, a professional installer will be able to hook up your hot tub to the electrical and water lines, as well as obtain any permits that may be required.
If you’re planning on installing a hot tub on your deck, contact your local hot tub dealer. They’ll be able to put you in touch with a qualified installer in your area.
Before installing a hot tub on your deck, do your research. Not all decks are built to support the weight of a hot tub, and you don’t want to damage your deck or void your warranty. When in doubt, it’s always best to hire a professional to install your hot tub. They’ll be able to properly hook up your tub and make sure it’s installed correctly.