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HOT TUB CABINETS

Since the first thing people notice when they see a spa is the cabinet, it is best to use a high-quality wood to enhance the overall look of your hot tub. The appearance of an elegant, textured cabinet will not only add to the aesthetic appeal of the spa, but will also add to the feeling that the spa is quality furniture.


When choosing a material for your cabinetry, take into consideration its quality, structural integrity, and its ability to withstand normal customer abuse and wear and tear.


Over 95% of all major hot tub manufacturers use at least one or more of the following four types of materials in constructing hot tub cabinets.

 

Redwood Redwood is the most commonly used wood in the hot tub industry. Most hot tub manufacturers are located in California, where redwood grows in abundance. It is therefore the predominant material used in spa cabinetry. However, the quality of redwood varies greatly among lumber mills. Check with the manufacturer for information about the grade of redwood that is used in the construction of the hot tub.

 

Western Red Cedar It is grown in hostile environments (i.e. colder climates, coastlines, etc.), where it fights to survive with other plant life and vegetation. This helps it to build tremendous strength, while also developing into a very durable and weather-resistant wood. Many up-scale home builders use western red cedar because it easily stands up to the abuse from nature's elements, while still providing an elegant appearance.


Inland Cedar Inland cedar is a light, blonde wood, absent of the deep, rich tones present in western red cedar. Since it is grown in milder, non-threatening climates, inland cedar does not have the strength and integrity as does western red cedar.


Synthetic Cabinetry A common myth about spa ownership is that it requires a substantial amount of maintenance, and therefore is a time consuming investment. Fortunately, this is no longer the case-recent technological advancements have made spa maintenance a breeze. One particular area of improvement is the spa cabinet. When shopping for a spa you might want to consider one that features a synthetic cabinet rather than conventional redwood so you can spend less time caring for your spa, and more time relaxing in it. Redwood cabinets often require frequent cleaning and staining to keep your spa looking fresh and new. Synthetic cabinets, however, are virtually maintenance free. To clean, simply spray the surface with a mild soap and water solution, then rinse with water. No scrubbing is necessary. The cabinet may be touched-up or restrained every three to four years, if needed (this will vary according to the environment).


All alternative cabinets are not alike, however. Be sure to select a synthetic cabinet which combines the natural warmth and beauty of redwood with the low maintenance and high durability of rigid polymers. The cabinet should have an embossed wood grain and rich color to ensure a natural appearance. Cabinets constructed with polymers won't crack, peel, blister or delaminate, even after prolonged exposure to the elements. And be sure to inquire about the cabinet's warranty.

CABINET CONSTRUCTION

Just as important as the type of material you choose for your cabinetry is the way in which the cabinet is constructed. The following are four features to look for in a quality cabinet:

  • Removable Walls. Removable wall panels give the owner the ability to remove the walls from the hot tub in case repairs are needed. Just imagine trying to repair a car without having the ability to lift or remove its hood. The repairing process becomes nearly impossible, extremely time consuming, and expensive. With this design, your spa can be easily checked and serviced when needed. An additional benefit of removable wall panel design is improved quality control during the manufacturing process. In particular, manufacturers check thoroughly for leaks during the water testing procedures. With removable wall panels, a leak can be found easily. Without it, the process of checking for leaks becomes dramatically more difficult.
  • Interior Frame Construction. Having removable wall panels is only part of the solution to your spa's "serviceability". Your spa must possess the strength to hold 200-550 gallons of water (between 1,600 and 4,600 lbs.) when the wall panels are removed. To convey this strength to your hot tub, some manufacturers employ a 2x4 frame, while other manufacturers use standalone shells or metal bracing as alternatives to 2x4 wood framing.‚Ä®Many manufacturers save money by only using 1x2's or 2x3's to construct their frames. This dimension stock may not provide the adequate strength required to support a spa full of water. When the wall panels are removed, stress is added to an already weak frame. Some manufacturers tout having removable walls, but that benefit is compromised if the construction cannot support itself. Ultimately, you want to be sure that your interior frame is up to the task of supporting a spa full of water, even when the panels are removed.
  • Pressure Treated Base. Wherever you choose to install your hot tub, it is strongly recommended that your spa have a pressure treated base - a critical requirement if your spa is outdoors. Since an outdoor spa is subjected to harsh elements detrimental to any type of wood, a pressure treated base will prolong the life of your spa's cabinet.

CABINET FEATURES

There are many cabinet features available to make your hot tub experience safer, more enjoyable, and convenient. Some of these features listed below are more important for full spa enjoyment, while others are optional.

Step Packages. The safest way to get in and out of a spa is to sit on the edge and swing your feet around. If your spa is taller than 28", a step package will make entry and exit easier. Some manufacturers offer step packages to match the spa cabinet which add to the aesthetic quality of your spa.


Steps are commonly available in sizes between 24" and 36" wide. Some manufacturers also custom build wider steps, as well as steps to wrap around the perimeter of the spa. This adds an elegant, dimensional look to the hot tub environment, while also providing great safety. With this type of step package, no matter where a person enters or exits the spa, there is a step available.

SPA OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES

Chemical Storage Cabinets.A locking chemical storage cabinet provides a convenient, safe location for your chemicals adjacent to the spa. From less expensive plastic materials to the more costly wood, there are a wide variety of chemical storage cabinets from which to choose.


Planter Boxes.Planter boxes are available from several different manufacturers to enhance the spa environment. Consider spa location (indoors vs. outdoors) and climate before purchasing a planter box. Planter boxes are recommended more for indoor spas, or outdoor spas in temperate climates. Look for manufacturers that custom build planter boxes to match the spa cabinet and step packages.


Safety Rails. For those safety conscious individuals who need a little assistance, or who are suffering from an injury, safety rails can aid in the entry and exit of a hot tub. These rails make for safe and easy entry and exit, and will not interfere with the removal and replacement of the hot tub cover.


Cover Lifters. Covers may be very cumbersome to handle alone due to their weight and bulk. A cover lifter is a mechanism attached to the spa cabinet and the cover, making it easy to maneuver. These devices allow people to take the spa's cover off or on, often with just one hand. This also helps to extend the life of the cover, which can be an expensive item to replace. Since 1998, cover lifters have become the most predominant add-on feature sold on spas after purchase.

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