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Outdoor Hot Tub Base Of Gravel And Wood?


yesterdayze
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Hey guys, My name is Jason, I am new here and am hoping to get some feedback on my plans to place my beachcomber hot tub.

I will be putting the hot tub outside - wiring is all set but I am going back and forth on the base. I live in a VERY sandy area and my yard rarely ever shifts. I have plenty of things to prove it, including my deck and a motorcycle shed and none of them have moved at all over the last several years. The garage foundation is uncracked and still level as well.

I prefer to avoid a concrete slab for the hot tub as that will require jumping through permitting hoops. To that end I checked with the manufacturer who stated that the tub can be put on a crushed gravel base without any problems at least as far as they are concerned and that doing so is one of their recommendations.

I had thought to dig down into the sandy soil about 6 - 8" and put down weed blocker fabric and then edge the hole with pressure treated or railway ties and fill it with shurpak or some other form of crushed gravel compacted with a compacter and topped by 24"x24" concrete pavers with the tub on top.

My question is multi-part (and I appreciate the help). First would shurpak be too dense? I was concerned that perhaps I need gravel that is better at allowing water through then shurpak. Secondly, does anyone here have experience with bases like this? I read through a lot of comments in the forums here with a lot of people saying they were going to do it but no follow-up on how things worked out that I could find. I would of course never try this on clay filled soil!

Lastly.... not to use up everyone's question answering patience.... :) I do have a pt 8'x8' platform I made to transport the tub. It is made of 2"x6" pt stringers 12" on center with 2"x6" decking. I contemplated setting this directly on the pavers with the tub on top but was unsure if this would be wise. The thought behind doing that was that if anything did shift the wooden platform would help bear up some of the load a little more evenly. I know 2"x6" is not sufficient if I tried to just support it off the ground but figured if the stringers are sitting on the pavers and supported their entire span it would be fine.

Any useful input is very much appreciated :)

Thanks!

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I don't really see how using the shipping platform would help things. As long as the pavers are even the wooden platform wouldn't help with evening out the load. It'd just make your spa higher and a bit harder to get into and out of. Plus it might prove to be a tempting home for various critters.

Everything else sounds like they would be fine, but they all sound like a lot of work. A concrete pad might be simpler in the long run.

There's also pre-fabricated pads, like the EZ PAD. I used one under my new spa. However, my spa is recessed into a deck. I think if it were out in the open I would have gone with a concrete pad.

Which ever way you go take some pics and post 'em.

Best of luck with it.

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....As long as the pavers are even the wooden platform wouldn't help with evening out the load.....There's also pre-fabricated pads, like the EZ PAD......

Which ever way you go take some pics and post 'em.....

Thanks! I hadn't thought about critters. Good call!

I will be sure to take pictures and throw them up. Will probably be a week or two as I now have to save to afford the 70' of 6awg wiring.... fun stuff :)

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Hey guys, My name is Jason, I am new here and am hoping to get some feedback on my plans to place my beachcomber hot tub.

I will be putting the hot tub outside - wiring is all set but I am going back and forth on the base. I live in a VERY sandy area and my yard rarely ever shifts. I have plenty of things to prove it, including my deck and a motorcycle shed and none of them have moved at all over the last several years. The garage foundation is uncracked and still level as well.

I prefer to avoid a concrete slab for the hot tub as that will require jumping through permitting hoops. To that end I checked with the manufacturer who stated that the tub can be put on a crushed gravel base without any problems at least as far as they are concerned and that doing so is one of their recommendations.

I had thought to dig down into the sandy soil about 6 - 8" and put down weed blocker fabric and then edge the hole with pressure treated or railway ties and fill it with shurpak or some other form of crushed gravel compacted with a compacter and topped by 24"x24" concrete pavers with the tub on top.

My question is multi-part (and I appreciate the help). First would shurpak be too dense? I was concerned that perhaps I need gravel that is better at allowing water through then shurpak. Secondly, does anyone here have experience with bases like this? I read through a lot of comments in the forums here with a lot of people saying they were going to do it but no follow-up on how things worked out that I could find. I would of course never try this on clay filled soil!

Lastly.... not to use up everyone's question answering patience.... :) I do have a pt 8'x8' platform I made to transport the tub. It is made of 2"x6" pt stringers 12" on center with 2"x6" decking. I contemplated setting this directly on the pavers with the tub on top but was unsure if this would be wise. The thought behind doing that was that if anything did shift the wooden platform would help bear up some of the load a little more evenly. I know 2"x6" is not sufficient if I tried to just support it off the ground but figured if the stringers are sitting on the pavers and supported their entire span it would be fine.

Any useful input is very much appreciated :)

Thanks!

Hi, I did something very similar about 3 years back. I dug down about 6 inches, then filled it with compacted pea gravel, bordered by treated wood. I then created a 10x10 floating deck, very similar to your description, using 2x4s, bolted 12 inches on center, topped with 5/4 decking. (Since the wood joists are totally supported by the gravel with absolutely no span, it does not matter what size wood you use for joists). I then laid this directly on the gravel base, no pavers used. It has worked out just fine and has stayed perfectly level, is rock solid and is very quiet. My dealer thought it was an excellent idea and says he has recommended it to several of his customers, since. Think of it as a large single piece spa pad, but much cheaper to build and a lot better looking. Thanks, Randy

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I live in central MA and have had a hot tubs on pavers for 7 years. I dug down about 6 inches, filled with compacted sand and set pavers in. No problems.

Just make sure the pavers are level. I found after 3 hot tubs, it's nice to have a wide "skirt" around the tub for walking and placing the steps.

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Hi, I did something very similar about 3 years back. I dug down about 6 inches, then filled it with compacted pea gravel, bordered by treated wood. I then created a 10x10 floating deck, very similar to your description, using 2x4s, bolted 12 inches on center, topped with 5/4 decking. (Since the wood joists are totally supported by the gravel with absolutely no span, it does not matter what size wood you use for joists). I then laid this directly on the gravel base, no pavers used. It has worked out just fine and has stayed perfectly level, is rock solid and is very quiet. My dealer thought it was an excellent idea and says he has recommended it to several of his customers, since. Think of it as a large single piece spa pad, but much cheaper to build and a lot better looking. Thanks, Randy

That is good to know! Thank you for posting that. Is there any chance you have some pictures? I am rather curious. My thought behind a floating deck was also that it will raise it up out of any puddles that might form as well. Colo had a good point about critters but I could seal it fairly easily I'm sure.

Price wise since I already have the deck built I would actually end up saving a little over buying the pavers as well.

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When I'm ready to buy my tub I was planning on doing the same thing. Dig out 6" of gravel frame it out with 2x6 pt 8'x8' size. Pack it down with gravel and stone dust and then lay cement pavers down. I am planning on building a deck roughly 1-2' around the tub and bringing the deck right up to the start of the shell roughly 2-3" from the top. I was planning on installing lattice around the deck but making it easy to remove by sliding it up and out to get to the tub especially the control side. I would have some wide steps (2) on one side also . To finish it off I am going to build a gazebo roof over the whole deck and installing a pair of speakers and some 12v recess lighting under the gazebo roof.

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When I'm ready to buy my tub I was planning on doing the same thing. Dig out 6" of gravel frame it out with 2x6 pt 8'x8' size. Pack it down with gravel and stone dust and then lay cement pavers down. I am planning on building a deck roughly 1-2' around the tub and bringing the deck right up to the start of the shell roughly 2-3" from the top. I was planning on installing lattice around the deck but making it easy to remove by sliding it up and out to get to the tub especially the control side. I would have some wide steps (2) on one side also . To finish it off I am going to build a gazebo roof over the whole deck and installing a pair of speakers and some 12v recess lighting under the gazebo roof.

Do check with the local building code. You still might need a permit. Not using concrete pad does not mean you wont need a permit.

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Hi, I did something very similar about 3 years back. I dug down about 6 inches, then filled it with compacted pea gravel, bordered by treated wood. I then created a 10x10 floating deck, very similar to your description, using 2x4s, bolted 12 inches on center, topped with 5/4 decking. (Since the wood joists are totally supported by the gravel with absolutely no span, it does not matter what size wood you use for joists). I then laid this directly on the gravel base, no pavers used. It has worked out just fine and has stayed perfectly level, is rock solid and is very quiet. My dealer thought it was an excellent idea and says he has recommended it to several of his customers, since. Think of it as a large single piece spa pad, but much cheaper to build and a lot better looking. Thanks, Randy

That is good to know! Thank you for posting that. Is there any chance you have some pictures? I am rather curious. My thought behind a floating deck was also that it will raise it up out of any puddles that might form as well. Colo had a good point about critters but I could seal it fairly easily I'm sure.

Price wise since I already have the deck built I would actually end up saving a little over buying the pavers as well.

Here's a few pictures, like you asked for. First one is the platform, others are the deck built around the platform. thanks, Randy

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Thanks for the pics.

Very nice! Now I see why you wanted decking under the spa...so it would fit in with the deck. It looks great.

Oh man, I thought my deck had a lot of angles. It looks like your miter saw got a good workout. I especially like the way you treated the end of the bench with a triangular piece. Clean and tidy.

What kind/color of stain did you go with?

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Here's a few pictures, like you asked for. First one is the platform, others are the deck built around the platform. thanks, Randy

Nice! That looks great! Mine is a majorly budget build and will have a different theme...one that I think is very cool, but no more about that till it is done. I'll be sure to post pics when it is though!

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Thanks for the pics.

Very nice! Now I see why you wanted decking under the spa...so it would fit in with the deck. It looks great.

Oh man, I thought my deck had a lot of angles. It looks like your miter saw got a good workout. I especially like the way you treated the end of the bench with a triangular piece. Clean and tidy.

What kind/color of stain did you go with?

Thanks for all the kind words. It do like the way it turned out. It, (along with the 3 season room you see behind it) was a 3 year project! Lots of angles and cutting, for sure. My goal was no end grain showing anywhere on the deck.

To answer your questions: The stain is actually 3 coats of a 50/50 mix of Pittsburgh Ultra Toner. Half Cedar and half redwood. Actually this was after we first had stained it, and I (along with the wife!) thought it was too dark and too red. Luckily it has faded over the winter to a much nicer color. It looks much better now. The red is far less dominant, and it is now kind of a honey/reddish color. Very similar to the siding on the tub. BTW- the stairs lift out in 2 sections, to allow access to the tub's innards.

The disconnect is mounted on the house. If you look really close, it's hiding just above bird feeder in the last picture. The first picture below is a better picture showing it, (obviously before the stain).

If you are building a new deck, one thing I get the most compliments on and would suggest incorporating, are the deck lights mounted on the planters and steps. It was really simple and only about $100. I included a couple photos of them, one of the stairs that shows the lights during the day, and lit at night. The night photos didn't turn out well, but I think you get the idea.

Again, thanks to all. Randy

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Hey guys, My name is Jason, I am new here and am hoping to get some feedback on my plans to place my beachcomber hot tub.

I will be putting the hot tub outside - wiring is all set but I am going back and forth on the base. I live in a VERY sandy area and my yard rarely ever shifts. I have plenty of things to prove it, including my deck and a motorcycle shed and none of them have moved at all over the last several years. The garage foundation is uncracked and still level as well.

I prefer to avoid a concrete slab for the hot tub as that will require jumping through permitting hoops. To that end I checked with the manufacturer who stated that the tub can be put on a crushed gravel base without any problems at least as far as they are concerned and that doing so is one of their recommendations.

I had thought to dig down into the sandy soil about 6 - 8" and put down weed blocker fabric and then edge the hole with pressure treated or railway ties and fill it with shurpak or some other form of crushed gravel compacted with a compacter and topped by 24"x24" concrete pavers with the tub on top.

My question is multi-part (and I appreciate the help). First would shurpak be too dense? I was concerned that perhaps I need gravel that is better at allowing water through then shurpak. Secondly, does anyone here have experience with bases like this? I read through a lot of comments in the forums here with a lot of people saying they were going to do it but no follow-up on how things worked out that I could find. I would of course never try this on clay filled soil!

Lastly.... not to use up everyone's question answering patience.... :) I do have a pt 8'x8' platform I made to transport the tub. It is made of 2"x6" pt stringers 12" on center with 2"x6" decking. I contemplated setting this directly on the pavers with the tub on top but was unsure if this would be wise. The thought behind doing that was that if anything did shift the wooden platform would help bear up some of the load a little more evenly. I know 2"x6" is not sufficient if I tried to just support it off the ground but figured if the stringers are sitting on the pavers and supported their entire span it would be fine.

Any useful input is very much appreciated :)

Thanks!

I have installed 100's of hot tubs over the last few years and a lot of people are faced with the same question(s). You can put it right on the deck if you want (as long as there are good vertical supports that are positioned under the location of the hot tub or the weight of the tub is distributed vertically to the ground under the hot tub). You can also build a pad out of wood ties (I would recommend 4 x 4 to ensure no flexing even though 2 x 4 would probably still work) and fill it with a material to compact level. With regards to this method, if you are digging 6"-8" down, there is no need for putting the wood in unless there are other reasons it's needed. You only need the "sandbox"/wood ties if the crushed material can wash away. If the whole pad is in the ground, it can't go anywhere. If you are doing it above the ground, that is a different story.

As per the material, you could use pea stone (I haven't). I don't know much about shurpak. I can tell you what I use is limestone screenings aka crushed/pulverized gravel. The reason is because it can be compacted in layers so you can be confident it won't shift but it can also be leveled easily all at once creating a perfectly flat pad. When that is done, you can put down your 24" patio stones or interlock stone like my tub has been on for 7 years. The most important thing when using a filler material is that it cannot wash out the sides and that there is something solid on top (patio or interlock stone) so it cannot slowly wash away from the top either. Doing this will allow any water to remove itself from contacting the hot tub (which is very important for longevity) and it will ensure the level stays correct for as long as the tub is there.

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  • 6 years later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, I have not logged onto this site in over a year, only to have a few moments tonight, and found this request from over 6 years ago! I am on a road trip currently, but if you're still interested, will repost soon. I tried to update my photobucket account to enable 3rd party posting, but it wanted cash!  Any photos that you are specifically interested in?

Thanks, Randy

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Hi, Ok here are a few pics, I used your suggested free site, since this forum has such a small max pic size.

Since this question was originally about the tub base, I started with that. Next pic is the build process, then the finished deck, many years ago. Then a night pic, and finally a recent pic from this spring, about 6 years later. No flowers planted yet, but note the outdoor shower (love that!, used every day) and the privacy fence, (neighbor cleared some trees and wife felt a little exposed! (:)).

Hope this helps....

Thanks, Randy

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've had three hot tubs.

The first was in a pit of stone dust,  with railroad ties,  to hold up a red cedar Snorkel unit.  Got rid of that (sick of the work that needed to be done).

Second was a standard electric spa.  Took out the rail ties,  levelled it with more stone dust.  Took 2  4x8 marine grade plywood sheets, placed them over a cut up pool liner and then covered it with tarpaper and roofing shingles - so it was fairly water-tight.  I figured it would last a number of years - it lasted ten,  when I took it out it was bone-dry.

Third tub - on a level area - I used the E-Z Pad,   The 8 x 8 model ... levelled the bottom with sand,  tested with a level - whamo!  It's been in eight years,  no problem.

Costs a little money but no permits,  two of you can put it together in five minutes,  and your tub will be on solid ground.  Easiest solution although not the cheapest.

http://www.ezpads.com/

 

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14 hours ago, north_of_boston said:

I've had three hot tubs.

The first was in a pit of stone dust,  with railroad ties,  to hold up a red cedar Snorkel unit.  Got rid of that (sick of the work that needed to be done).

Second was a standard electric spa.  Took out the rail ties,  levelled it with more stone dust.  Took 2  4x8 marine grade plywood sheets, placed them over a cut up pool liner and then covered it with tarpaper and roofing shingles - so it was fairly water-tight.  I figured it would last a number of years - it lasted ten,  when I took it out it was bone-dry.

Third tub - on a level area - I used the E-Z Pad,   The 8 x 8 model ... levelled the bottom with sand,  tested with a level - whamo!  It's been in eight years,  no problem.

Costs a little money but no permits,  two of you can put it together in five minutes,  and your tub will be on solid ground.  Easiest solution although not the cheapest.

http://www.ezpads.com/

Cool. Any pics of any of this?

I'm going to be recessing a tub into my screened in porch. The existing deck is 36" off the ground. The tub is 34" high. Has solid bottom, clearwater 5 person tub. My guy is going to make a frame with stone and put cinder blocks in all four corners, then the middle, level with the stone, then I think mix concete on the spot above the stone with mesh, and it should this be level with the deck, recessed. He said it won't be too expensive and it will hold up. 

Thoughts?

Schnarr_HottubWS_300x72.jpg&key=6ce42659

 

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  • 1 month later...
On ‎11‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 12:08 PM, Jason B said:

Any pictures of this?

The e-z pads website (www.ezpads.com) has it ... that's better than any pic I could put up but we do have ours installed...

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