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The Home Depot

How to Prepare for a Hot Tub Installation

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Pool and Hot Tub > How to Prepare for a Hot Tub Installation
How to Prepare for a Hot Tub Installation

You’ve just left the spa store after purchasing a hot tub. The delivery won’t be for a few days. That’s enough time for you to get everything in order so that when the truck comes, you’re ready for the installers.

  1. Whether the spa will be installed indoors or out, you’re going to need to consider that a fully filled hot tub with three people is going to weigh about a ton.

    1.Top Four First Steps

    We’ll go into greater detail, but there are 4 essential things you need to have in line for your new hot tub:


    • The final resting place for your spa needs to be least 10 feet away from any overhead power lines, and at least 5 feet away from the spa panel.

    • A strong, level foundation needs to be prepared to seat the hot tub.

    • Any discharge of water should be routed away from the hot tub.

    • For maintenance purposes, you will need to leave extra space so that a person can easily get to the motor and pump.

  2. 2.The Site

    Before the delivery truck arrives, your responsibility is to prepare the site. Whether the spa will be installed indoors or out, you’re going to need to consider that a fully filled hot tub with three people is going to weigh about a ton. If the area is not sound or uneven, the tub is at risk for damage. And if the damage is caused by bad site prep, the warranty will not be honored.

  3. 3.Outdoor Installation

    On average, most hot tubs are put outside. If that’s the case, there are a few options you have that will give you a firm surface that’s level. Before we get to that, let’s talk about an overlooked matter: a flat foot-friendly path around the perimeter of your hot tub. The reason you want to have enough room in your “grand plan” to accommodate a perimeter walkway is to cut down on small debris that can get tracked into the tub by an unsuspecting foot. You can add it later. Just make sure the additional room is included from the start.

  4. 4.Concrete Slab

    Since your tub is arriving in just a few days, this solution might not be ready in time. However, if you have a week or two before delivery, concrete is a long-term fix for the base. It will cost you, but it will add value to your home. A base made of reinforced concrete should be at least 4-inches thick and be able to support at least 120-pounds per square foot. Before placing the tub on the top of concrete, make sure the material is totally dry and fully cured.

  5. 5.Prefabricated Spa Pads

    Let’s say you don’t have or don’t want the expense of a concrete slab to house your hot tub. A product called a Handi-Spa Pad is one way to go. How it works is that the Handi-Spa Pads are an interlocking system. They join together to create a stiff base for your spa. And the nice thing about pads is that, unlike concrete, the materials can be disassembled and removed if you later decide to relocate the tub.

  6. 6.Deck Installation

    Before you get your heart set on using a deck to house the spa, it would probably be a smart idea to call-in a structural engineer or a building contractor. You want them to test the maximum load your deck can handle. No matter what the hot tub weighs, you are going to have to add the extra pounds of at least three people and the weight of the water.

  7. 7.Gravel Base

    The least expensive solution to create a stable base for your hot tub is to use crushed rock or gravel. Before you import the materials, you’ll need to ensure that the ground has been well-compacted and will be able to drain rainwater and tub spillage.

  8. 8.Indoor Installation

    Despite the added privacy, there are a few warnings you must recognize before installing your indoor hot tub. Is the space properly ventilated? If you’re using the spa for just 15-minutes, from a moisture standpoint, it is the same as taking a 15-minute shower.


    Will the supporting floor structure be able to handle the additional weight? Remember to add together the weight of not only the unit, but how many gallons of water it will hold (consider that 1-gallon of water is about eight-and-one-half pounds). Factor into all that the weight of three adults.


    Will the spa fit through the biggest doorway? What type of drainage do you have in that indoor space? Is the floor water-proofed? These are questions you should think about before installing indoors.

  9. 9.Power

    The big spas are going to need an extra allotment of power. Some are designed to require a hard-wired, GFCI-protected 220-240V 50-amp circuit. Hot tubs with multiple pumps may need a 60-amp service.


    Some smaller units can run off a standard 110V source. Aside from that, the National Electrical Code® states that you must have a manual disconnect device installed at least 5 feet away and it must be easy to see and access. You probably want to talk with someone from your local building department about other requirements for your area. Now that all of your ducks are in a row, the waiting begins. And once installed, let the hydrotherapy begin, too.

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