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What are the Different Options for in-Ground Hot Tubs?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Homeowners or business owners looking to build a permanent structure for leisure might consider in-ground hot tubs. These structures are typically made from concrete poured into a large hole dug in a yard or other open space. From there, the method of installing in-ground hot tubs from there varies depending on what type of tub the owner chooses, how much space is available for the tub, and what kind of wiring and plumbing system the owner will build. In many cases, an acrylic shell is installed into the concrete to allow the plumbing and wiring to be accessed should a problem arise, and to make installation easier.

In-ground hot tubs are most commonly found at hotels, gyms, and fitness centers. These permanent structures cannot be altered once installed without significant construction being undertaken. The planning for these in-ground hot tubs should include easy access to all plumbing and electrical components to avoid excavation in the future. Many tubs are simply poured concrete tubs that are waterproofed and decorated with tile or other materials. The jets, filters, and heating elements are constructed directly into the concrete. Other versions use an acrylic shell installed into the concrete foundation to allow more color options, maintenance options, and access to key components. The shell also protects the concrete foundation, preventing it from cracking and causing severe problems down the line.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Once the shell is installed in the concrete shell, many builders choose to pour more concrete around the perimeter to secure the tub. The concrete needs to be poured on a downslope away from the tub to ensure proper drainage and prevent damage to the tub. The shell can be secured in other ways and surrounded with wood decking as well, though concrete is the best way to secure the tub. The area surrounding the tub can then be finished in several ways; many builders choose to finish the area with stone, brick, or wood to enhance the aesthetic of the tub.

Another way to build in-ground hot tubs is to dig down into the earth, pour a concrete foundation, place a prefabricated hot tub unit into the hole, and install decking around the edges of the tub. This allows for easy access to key hot tub components, and it cuts down on installation time and effort. This option is aesthetically pleasing and convenient, but installing the prefabricated tub into the concrete shell can be difficult since portable units are quite heavy. Once the unit is inside the shell, removing it can be extremely difficult. The prefabricated tub should at this point be considered permanently placed.

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