DECKS AND HOT TUBS
Hot tub! Southern California. What’s one without the other? Each whispers the other’s name. It’s a match made wherever perfect matches are made. After all, we get an average only 36 rainy days in a year. Temperatures are mild. Outdoor living is our way of life. And manners are casual. Decks and hot tubs, California dreamin’. And our design team knows how to make it real.
HOT AND WET
Hot tubs, of course, are full of water. This is beyond obvious. From a deck builder’s point of view, though, a few things flow from this source. A deck that’s going to support a hot tub has to be designed and built around these considerations.
To begin with, water’s pretty heavy stuff. You are reminded of this when you carry gallon spring water bottles from store to car. Well, a gallon of fresh water tips the scales at 8.34 lbs. Thus, a typical 400-gallon hot tub holds almost 1.5 tons of water. Tons. That is, 3,336 lbs. of H2O. Add in the weight of the tub itself, and the total approaches 2 full tons.
Moreover, water is also, well, wet. And of course not all of it that’s in the hot tub stays in the hot tub. Playful hot tubbers splash it out. When (alas!) it’s time to get out and move on, some water comes along. Some of that ends up on the surrounding deck.
DECKS AND HOT TUBS
The upshot of the weight and wetness of a hot tub’s water is that deck builders have to adapt. That is, design, materials, and construction must provide adequate physical strength and water resistance. Good design also addresses the safety concerns a wet deck raises. In a smart way. Leaving bigger gaps between deck boards around a tub certainly improves water drainage. Gaps that are too big, however, invite toes to get wedged between them. Getting it just right is one of many things we’ve mastered through long experience.
Then there’s the matter of the accessibility of a hot tub’s pump and related hardware. These need maintenance and may need repair. The designer needs to provide access for this purpose. Location of the hot tub in relation to railings and other fixed assets is obviously a factor. Removable floor panels in the frame are an option.
LOOKS AND EASE OF USE
In any case, a homeowner wants a hot tub deck to look good and be a pleasure to use. The spa’s location certainly plays into this. It ‘s a “thing” that the closer a hot tub is to the house, the more the residents use it. Perhaps that’s due more to the comfort of the return trip? Finally, there’s the matter of the hot tub’s vertical position. On the deck, or flush with the deck? Or, possibly. Sunk into the deck.
Whatever floats your boat!