When imagining your perfect outdoor escape, you might picture a spacious deck, a private fenced in yard, and ultimately rest and relaxation. Instead of vacationing hours away for your own slice of heaven, it’s possible to bring the “resort life” to your very own backyard! After all, what’s more enjoyable than a cup of coffee or glass of wine in your very own hot tub or spa just outside your doorstep? When COVID hit in 2020, sales for pools and hot tubs skyrocketed when homeowners were looking to upgrade their backyard space with “staycation vibes.”
Along with the physical benefits like soothing sore or aching muscles, hot tubs can also help your mind rest, boosting your mood and emotional well-being. If you’re considering a hot tub for your own backyard, you’ll definitely want to choose the best space for it. Installing a hot tub on your deck will help you get the most out of your investment — the closer the hot tub is to your house, the more likely you are to use it. Before you rush to purchase a new hot tub or spa to plop on your deck, there are important details to consider for safety and ease of use.
Age of Deck – Do You Need a New One?
The structural integrity of a deck changes as it weathers and ages, which can impact its ability to hold the weight of a hot tub or spa. Rotting joists or damaged decking are often not strong enough to support the weight of a hot tub. It’s crucial to have a professional and trusted deck contractor inspect the condition of the decking, joists, hangers, bolts, and screws to make sure they are in good enough condition to hold the added burden of a hot tub. While repairs or structural additions may be suitable, sometimes it’s best to start from scratch and construct a new deck to get the best return on investment. It can be fun to design a new deck with all of the color, lighting, and accessory options, and you’ll rest easy (in your new hot tub!) knowing that your deck will last for years to come.
The Deck Surface — What’s the Best Decking Material for a Hot Tub?
The addition of a hot tub on your deck means you’ll have more people walking around on the surface without shoes on. If you have a wood deck that has been around for quite some time, it may have splinters, or loose nails or screws that would be dangerous for bare, wet feet. If you choose to keep your wood deck instead of replacing it, it’s definitely wise to commit to regular maintenance and upkeep — repair any loose boards, screws, etc. It would also be a good time to refinish the surface by washing, sanding, and sealing with a fresh coat of stain to protect it from water that’s bound to splash outside of the hot tub.
For a more barefoot friendly space, many hot tub owners choose to install new decks using more maintenance-friendly composite decking from trusted brands like Trex and TimberTech. In general, composite decking offers more slip resistance than the majority of pressure treated wood decking. In addition, you won’t ever need to worry about sanding, staining, or painting! Composite decking comes in a variety of price points and hues, so you can choose a space that fits within your budget and your house’s unique style.
Size & Available Space — Do You Need More Room on Your Deck?
While a spa or hot tub may be a welcome addition to your outdoor living space, installing one requires sacrificing a good chunk of your deck space. Before purchasing a hot tub, plan for its size. Using the dimensions of the hot tub you’re considering, create a cardboard representation to test out where you might place the tub, or use painter’s tape to mark out a space on the deck. Pay attention to how the hot tub will affect the flow of traffic on the deck, house and deck entrances, and if it will allow space for outdoor furniture.
If it seems like a new hot tub will take up too much space on your current deck or patio, it’s probably wise to choose a smaller hot tub OR invest in a larger size deck. The space surrounding the hot tub should be used for other activities as well, such as socializing with friends and family, grilling, outdoor dining, and playing in the sun!
Deck Layout & Accessories
Purchasing a hot tub and building a new deck simultaneously is truly the best return on investment, if your budget allows for it. There are multiple aspects of the design to consider, including the layout itself, as well as any additional deck accessories such as custom benches, railing and step riser lighting, and pergolas. By including a lighting package within the deck’s post caps and risers, homeowners have the benefit of a lovely nighttime and an additional safety feature. You definitely don’t want to be entering or exiting a hot tub in the complete dark! Benches near the hot tub provide a useful space to place towels, drinks, or party guests. You also might want a pergola installed over the hot tub for extra shade or a place to drape fabric or globe lights for an elevated look.
If you’re concerned about your elevated deck’s ability to support a hot tub or don’t like the look of a hot tub sitting on top of a deck, then consider the idea of installing a recessed hot tub. With this type of installation, the hot tub surface sits nearly flush to the deck, giving it an in-ground look. This frees up more room for other activities on your deck. You’ll want to make sure you have enough room between the decking and the hot tub unit to access the control panel for adjustments or any necessary repairs.