Can a Hot Tub Sit on a Deck?

Very few home improvement purchases can bring as much enjoyment to your life as a hot tub can. Landscaping magazines are filled with images of elaborate decking with built-in hot tubs and the perfect outdoor living area. While it’s true that having a hot tub on your deck will be a fantastic place for you and your family to relax and enjoy your time outdoors, it is absolutely essential that you ensure that your deck has adequate support for your hot tub.

If you already have a deck, it may not be strong enough to support the weight of a hot tub. Most decks are built with the intention of being able to support a number of people, some patio furniture and perhaps a BBQ or outdoor kitchen area – not a hot tub that can weigh several thousand pounds. It goes without saying that when installing a hot tub, you should only use qualified, licensed professionals and to make safety a top priority.

In the article below, we will review the important factors that need to be considered in order to calculate the necessary structural support that your hot tub will require.

What Is Required?

A sturdy, flat surface such as a concrete slab is the ideal type of location for your hot tub. For those that have decided to build a new deck to place their hot tub on, a slab will need to be made and poured along with the concrete deck footings. For most hot tubs, a slab approximately 4” will suffice, however, if you are purchasing a very large hot tub, you may require something thicker.

Structural Support

To determine the necessary structural support your hot tub will require, you must calculate the load value. This can be done by adding the weight of the empty hot tub, plus its water capacity plus the weight of the maximum number of occupants. (For water capacity, 1 gallon of water is approximately 8.34 pounds and an average weight of 180 pounds per person can be used.)

For example, a 4 person, 42 sq foot, 278-gallon hot tub filled with water and bathers would weigh approximately 3,710 pounds. The weight then needs to be divided by the square footage of the hot tub to determine its load, which would be 88.33 pounds per square foot that the deck framing needs to be able to support.

In many cases, a structural engineer will be consulted, and most municipalities will require an engineered design.

Other Factors

Other than ensuring that your deck will have proper support there are a few other factors that you should consider which can influence your hot tub enjoyment.

  • Make sure that there is plenty of space around the hot tub to be able to remove the cover and for bathers to easily be able to get in and out of the tub.
  • Consider how windy the area is. Often, a corner location is preferred.
  • While you want to have a nice view while soaking, make sure that your hot tub doesn’t block your view when looking outside your home.
  • Make sure the path from the hot tub across the deck to your home is well lit and has slip-resistant mats for safety.
  • If you feel exposed to neighbors, add a privacy screen or incorporate a pergola design into your deck.

Finally, make sure that your deck is properly sanded and finished. No one wants to get a splinter from walking barefoot on the wood.