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guster

Concrete Vs. Pre-fab Pad

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Hello,

I'm in the beginning stages of installing a hot tub in my back yard. While looking at options for the base (laying a concrete pad), a salesman showed me some type of pre-fabricated pad that would take the place of concrete. Anyone have any thoughts on this as compared to concrete?? Seemed like a fairly affordable way to bypass the work of laying concrete. Plus it would be easy to pick up should we decide to move.

thanks for all your help!

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Tne prefab thing works. You still need to dig out the ground a few inches, and lay some sand/gravel down. I put mine on pea gravel, and it is perfectly level.

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Hi there,

We just had our spa installed on Handi-Spa pads. These pads have grids underneath that help to secure them to the ground. We installed ours after digging about 4 inches, leveling and basically making a big sandbox with packed sand. The frame of the sand box is pressure treated 4x4's.

When we purchased our pads, which was also recommeded by our dealer, the dealer told us there was another type on the market that doesn't have the grids on the bottom. He told us that the grids were preferred as it will secure the backs into the ground better.

It was perfectly level and the dealer pre-installation inspection was very positive.

Good luck and enjoy your spa! We have had 4 glorious days of enjoying our brand new spa!

pmj

Hello,

I'm in the beginning stages of installing a hot tub in my back yard. While looking at options for the base (laying a concrete pad), a salesman showed me some type of pre-fabricated pad that would take the place of concrete. Anyone have any thoughts on this as compared to concrete?? Seemed like a fairly affordable way to bypass the work of laying concrete. Plus it would be easy to pick up should we decide to move.

thanks for all your help!

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Another option the We did wa to use 5/8 minus crushed rock with fines(sand) after we removed sod and leveled area. After the roch was leveled and compacted, we then used 16x16 pavers and that was about $250.00 versus $400.00 for a plastic pad. Either way, you need to get a solid, level area for your pad.

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I debated the same thing and did the cost comparison and this is what I came up with; The cost (at least here) for a pre-poured pad (not delivered) 8' X 8' was $362.00 I bought the 2 X 6's and 2 X 4's and screws for $63.00 built the form about 2.5 hours and a 12 pack later I was ready for concrete, next morning I paid $118 for 1.25 yards of concrete and about another hour later I was ready for 5 days to be gone so I could set the tub, 5 days later I set the tub and filled it and about 7 hours later I was soaking!

My situation was to pour my own pad.

Good luck!

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OK; Here is the deal. Concrete or a concrete reinforced deck with concrete caissons.

A spa has thousands of pounds of water in it and it is like a "slow hammer" pounding itself into the ground at the deepest part. It will eventually get lower and lower in the foot well area and then crack the outer rim of the shell.

Every spa warranty on earth states that the spas must be on a solid concrete platform or the equivalent.

Sales people will tell you anything out of ignorance to sell you a spa. How may friggin spa salesmen know anything about physics? I wonder if any of them have even read the warranty from the spa they sell?

I have stories about people who lost their warranty because they put a spa on one of those flimsy things.

Don't be a sucker and a believer in fairy tales from a commissioned spa salesman, who needs to pay their mortgage this week. They will tell you whatever you need to hear to get that spa delivered so they can get their money.

Just because this "spa pad" exists does not mean it is any good. It is crap. Pretty much any spa salesman who recommends placing a spa on the ground has no clue about the earth, spas, and the nature of reality.

http://www.soundclick.com/havenhead

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Different makers have different ideas about this. HotSpring is the brand I am most familiar with. They want a slab for the two largest tubs, but the rest can go on a variety of surfaces just fine.

Caldera wants a slab under all of their tubs.

Here is an excerpt from the Pre-Deivery instructions for HotSpring tubs - Tiger River says the same.

GROUND PREPARATION

Your Hot Spring spa has been engineered to perform on all kinds of

common yard surfaces. While a concrete slab is best for long-term

use*, other foundations are acceptable so long as a level base is

prepared prior to delivery. Three foundation base pictures, shown at

right, represent examples of alternatives to a concrete slab for spas

installed without gazebos or other accessories.

*NOTE: A reinforced concrete pad at least four inches thick or a deck

that is able to withstand more than 115 lbs. per square foot is

required for the Vista® and Grandee® spas , and recommended for

the Envoy®, Vanguard®, Sovereign®, Accolade™, Prodigy® and

Jetsetter® spas.

I have done a lot of slabs. It is not that big of a deal, and if you want to remove the slab later, rent a breaker hammer or jack hammer and have at it. Hire a handyman to haul it off.

B)

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I just purchased a Dimension One spa. I don't have a big patio so I decided to install it in my backyard next to the house. I live in South Florida where houses are built on a foundation of crushed rock. They then put down a layer of sod. Over the years the soil from the sod merges into the top layer of crushed rock. The spa is around 8x8 so using a powered lawn raker, I removed most of the grass. I was then left with a muddy mess. I then put down about 16 bags of crushed rock. I tamped that down into the soil until it was next to the foundation. I then put down 24 bags of paver base sand. I tamped that down until it was firm. I then laid out 110 12x12 concrete pavers each about 2 inches thick. I put a plastic border around the whole thing that was attached to the ground using 8" spikes. After that was done, I spread fine finishing sand onto the pavers to fill the cracks. All told this took me the better part of the weekend plus yesterday afternoon. I spent about $400 in total and too many back breaking hours trying to put down something that would be stable enough to hold the weight of the spa. I am very concerned that this won't be stable enough and the spa will sink down. When I walk on the pavers they move slightly. I am concerned that the spa will crack the tiles under pressure and that since I created an deck that is 10x11 (110 pavers) and the spa is 8x8, that some pavers will sink and others will remain at their present height.

In retrospect, I should have had a slab poured but I thought it would be much more expensive plus I have very limited access to my backyard due to fences and other houses very close to mine.

I welcome your thoughts and any suggestions before I take delivery on Thursday.

Thanks.

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OK; Here is the deal. Concrete or a concrete reinforced deck with concrete caissons.

A spa has thousands of pounds of water in it and it is like a "slow hammer" pounding itself into the ground at the deepest part. It will eventually get lower and lower in the foot well area and then crack the outer rim of the shell.

Every spa warranty on earth states that the spas must be on a solid concrete platform or the equivalent.

Sales people will tell you anything out of ignorance to sell you a spa. How may friggin spa salesmen know anything about physics? I wonder if any of them have even read the warranty from the spa they sell?

I have stories about people who lost their warranty because they put a spa on one of those flimsy things.

Don't be a sucker and a believer in fairy tales from a commissioned spa salesman, who needs to pay their mortgage this week. They will tell you whatever you need to hear to get that spa delivered so they can get their money.

Just because this "spa pad" exists does not mean it is any good. It is crap.

http://www.soundclick.com/havenhead

Not "every spa company on the earth", I know for a fact that Arctic does not require any pad, and both Marquis and D1 will allow their tubs to be set on pea gravel. I am sure there are others, but am not familiar with their warranties. Also any respectable dealer will facilitate warranty coverage on behalf of their customers.

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After looking at all the options I felt the easiest and cheapest way to go was pour my own slab (around here you can't find anybody to deliver just one yard of concrete). I bought some 2x4's and stakes and rebar. I made a 8x8' form and staked it, then made a 1x1' grid of rebar used broken bricks to elevate it off the ground. It takes about 36 80# bags of Quikcrete - but Lowe's actually had the 60# bags for a better price so I used those. I rented a cement mixer (a big tow-behind one) for $40 for the day from a rent-all place, although some Home Depot's rent smaller ones. You can rent a bull float from Home Depot as well, which you will need to float the slab once poured. I made the cement in 3-4 bag batches, even though the mixer could have handled more. It is a two person job at this point as one person dumps the mixer and the other shovels the cement into the corners of the form. Make sure you have a long board so you can screed off as you go along. Don't try to pour the whole thing and then screed - you won't be quick enough!

The best thing about a poured slab is the ground can be irregular, just as long as the top of your form is level your good to go. Two day job max and a total cost of $160-180, depending on mixer rental and cost of Quikcrete, rebar, etc. Too bad you can't set up the spa right then because you will need it after lifting all those bags of cement into the mixer!

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Not all pre-fab hot tub foundations are the same. The original, EZ Pad has over 35,000 installed, has a lifetime guarantee, and does not void spa manufacturer warranties. Unlike the competing Handi Pad, that people frequently complain of coming apart when it is time to turn it over or move it to the spa site, the EZ Pad screws together and is easy to move. It comes in sizes 8' x 8' to 8' x 12' to 8' x 16' that will accommodate a swim spa. You can read more about it at http://ezpads.com.

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I leveled out the ground below my tub site in 2009 - and used the EZ-Pad,  just to make sure it's all level.

Seven years no problem there.    Flipped it,  used a level on seven spots.... it was fine,  OK,  guys,  get the tub in here!.

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I already had a concrete patio to put my spa on, but I poured an octogonal slab for a gazebo a few years ago. The concrete company I used had a fee for short loads, so I poured a really thick slab. I used 2x12s for the form and my slab is 7 1/2 inches thick. My neighbor had a  bunch of re-bar he didn't want, so my slab has 200 ft of rebar in it.

The preparation for a slab is the same as the preparation for a poured concrete slab, I think a poured slab is less work than placing pavers.

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A pre-fab spa pad is an excellent option for hot tubs and spas. It is less expensive, faster, portable, and does not require a permit to put in. The best of these is the EZ Pad which has sold over 100,000 units since 1999, with zero  reports of problems. With the exception of spas that are assembled on site, any hot tub or spa can be placed on an EZ Pad, including larger swim spas. I have personally read many warranties from spa manufacturers with the express purpose of finding any reference to requirements for concrete, and have found none. These products exist only because they do not violate spa warranties. If you want a fast, inexpensive way to install a hot tub, an EZ Pad is a great choice.

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