How do I Build a Hot Tub?

Dan Cavallari

If you are considering building a hot tub, there are essentially two routes you can take: you can buy a hot tub kit, or you can build a hot tub from scratch. A hot tub kit is significantly easier to build than one from scratch, but that does not mean it will be an easy project. Certain steps in the process may require electrical and plumbing knowledge, so if you are unprepared to tackle such tasks, you may want to hire a professional to take care of those steps. Otherwise, the first step you must take to build a hot tub is to research what kind of tub you want, and what the electrical and plumbing requirements for that tub are.

A hot tub needs a sturdy bottom and close enough to the house for electrical power.
A hot tub needs a sturdy bottom and close enough to the house for electrical power.

You will then need to decide if you want to buy a hot tub kit or build the tub from scratch. Hot tub kits come with all the necessary parts to build a hot tub, and many of the parts are pre-assembled. If you are going to build a hot tub in the ground, it is important to decide how you will get the hot tub into the ground. Above-ground hot tubs will need to be placed on a solid flat surface, and most are heavy enough to require a concrete slab underneath. You must prepare the surface on which your hot tub will be placed before building the tub itself. Don't forget to consider drainage.

If you plan to build a hot tub from scratch, it is time to decide what materials you want to use for your tub. Concrete tubs are a permanent fixture, so if you plan on moving away from your current home at some point in the future, this may not be the best option. Wood tubs are more portable, though they require more maintenance than acrylic tubs, which are usually larger and heavier but also portable to some degree. Concrete tubs will require more planning for plumbing and electricity, as all plumbing must be laid out before the concrete is poured.

You may also want to consider building a structure around, over, or near the tub. Be sure to plan this out ahead of time, as it will affect the installation process. A deck built around the perimeter of the tub, for example, will have to be built to certain specifications, particularly if the deck is acting as a support for the tub. Some hot tubs are enclosed inside a wooden structure, and the right wood will have to be chosen to deter mold and rot. These are only the basic steps of planning and building a hot tub, and if you are planning to build one yourself, be sure to look for more specific directions. Most do-it-yourself kits come with specific instructions, so if you are new to such projects, this may be your best option.

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