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Rachaelk

Putting portable spa in the ground

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Hello! I'm looking for any advice or warnings regarding the idea of hiring someone to create a spa vault for my portable tub. I found someone who will do it for around $3000. He will create a 55 gallon drainage system underneath or i can maybe have him attach the drain to our underground gutter/drainage system. He will make a 8x10 concrete floor of the vault for a 7x7 tub, leaving about 2 feet clear on the side of the access panel. Has anyone done anything like this? Any thoughts? Suggestions? Warnings? I really like the look of a tub sunken a bit like this photo. 

 

 

an-outdoor-spa-is-one-of-those-things-that-could-make-your-backyard-special-775x517.jpg

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Some warnings here: Do Not Install Hot Tubs in a Hole Ever —and— Difficult Hot Tub Removal and Install in a Hole

The other thing is, I think it's more dangerous to step into a tub from on top of it versus swinging a leg over, and there's no barrier to keep someone from falling in. They put steps with the tall looped handrails in pools for making them safer to get in and out of when they are sunken. I imagine people can sit on the side before getting in, but it would seem awkward getting out of at least. I seem to remember the concrete tubs next to pools having steps for walking in and out of them. Portable hot tubs aren't designed for this as far as I know (certainly not diving into, which could happen if you trip)... then again I found a swim spa that has steps, but that's something of a pool. I'm pretty sure any public pool or spa has to have steps and a handrail for safety when it is recessed.

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Having worked for hot tub dealers that perform their own service, all I can say is I would advise against this due to the potential service nightmare it would be.  

It does look really nice, but if there is ever a leak, or any reason to try and access the other 3 sides for service, the hot tub would literally have to be lifted out of the vault to do so.

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Couple of things here. First of all, I agree that it looks very nice but have you ever tried to step into one of these tubs installed like this? It is very awkward since the normal mode of entry should be a step that is equal in height of where you would step into the tub. Stepping down into the tub feels unsafe, especially with nothing to hang on to. 

Secondly, as others have said, the service aspect of the tub is lowered unless the pit has at least 3 ft of clearance on the sides where the control panel and pumps reside. If your tub is 7 x 7 you'll then need a 10 x 10 pit. I suppose you could build a lift out filler made of cedar or similar. 

Lastly, I don't know what kind of cover you have but the easiest to use lift assist mechanisms will not work with this design unless you leave that part of the pit open to accept the cover when the tub is in use. 

I did build a similar design but into my deck with removable parts to access the tubs hardware, and an open area at the back to give clearance for the cover when swung off with the lift. I also only made the depth equal to the first step into the tub, that way you feel balanced when getting in. 

Al

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