Should I Put My Hot Tub On Gravel?

You may be wondering where you should put your hot tub when you buy it. Is it okay to put it on gravel? It’s a fairly common question. Honestly, buying a new hot tub and assembling it can be quite the experience!

You will feel so excited when you first buy your hot tub. You may start to dream about the time that you will spend with family and friends enjoying the warmth and vibrations of the hot tub.

It’s enough to make anyone go dizzy with excitement! Of course, buying the hot tub is only one half of the equation. The other question is where are you going to put it?

Ultimately, here’s your answer – you can indeed put a hot tub on gravel. In fact, it’s a very good choice since it allows the water to drain well but the material is also very durable so it can handle the heavy weight of the tub itself.

Most people will think that a patio or a deck is the best place for their hot tub since it’s more convenient and generally looks better. In most cases though it’s generally much better to put it on gravel instead. In this article, we’re going to do a deep dive into the reasons why it’s a fantastic choice to put a hot tub on gravel.

Why Should I Put My Hot Tub on Gravel?

The very first thing to consider is how heavy the hot tub is. For the most part a hot tub and its construction is pretty light, so long as there aren’t any people or water in it. The vast majority of tubs are constructed out of acrylic or fiberglass. These are both lightweight materials and you can move them without much trouble.

As such, many people think that their hot tub doesn’t actually need to have a very strong base because it’s not heavy. Of course, the weight can certainly add up when you add people and water to the tub, so you need to keep that in mind.

When you are putting a couple hundred extra pounds into the tub, it’s crucial that you make sure that the tub has a solid foundation that it can sit on.

Places Where You Can Put Your Hot Tub

  • Deck or the patio. This tends to be where most people will put their hot tubs. This is a very suitable place for hot tubs – it’s easy to access, looks good on the deck and it’s in the best place for social gatherings. It’s important to think about the weight of the hot tub when water and people are included – can your deck handle that weight? The structure needs to be solid enough so that it can support the weight of the hot tub.
  • Flat surface – if you have somewhere in your garden with a lot of grass or dirt, you may think that putting your hot tub here is a good idea. The problem is that the water can cause the ground to become muddy, so the tub may begin to shift or sink after a while. This won’t only damage the ground – it’ll also damage your hot tub. It’s best to avoid putting your hot tub on the ground for this exact reason.
  • Concrete – Concrete is definitely one of the better options out there. You can put a slab of concrete in the yard without much trouble and it usually doesn’t cost a great deal of money to set it up either. Concrete is designed to be sturdy so it can manage large amounts of weight without too much trouble.
  • A hot tub support pad. There are some companies that have actually made surfaces that you can put your hot tub on. This is a good choice since it is especially designed to be used with hot tubs, but it doesn’t always fit in with the general look you are going for in your garden.

The Best Choice is Gravel

It should be clear by now, but concrete comes in second to gravel when it comes to the best choices for a surface for a hot tub. There are a couple of different reasons for this.

First of all, gravel drains water much better. This is important for something like a hot tub that contains water. Many other materials won’t drain as well. Gravel drains well and it drains without trouble. 

In addition to this, gravel also looks good. You can put it in pretty much any yard and it won’t look out of place. It works well for a wide variety of yard designs.

Gravel is also simple to set up. It can be installed quickly – in mere hours, even! Some of the other options that we have mentioned here may take a lot longer to set up. 

The problem with concrete is that it can often crack after a while. This is because the excess water from the tub will simply stay on the surface of the concrete. This won’t happen with gravel, since gravel will drain. The water won’t sit in one place with gravel as a result. It also won’t shift after a while like many other materials do.

Furthermore, gravel will fit the shape of the hot tub. Thanks to this, it’s unlikely that the tub will move or become unstable after a while. It simply molds to the bottom of the tub and this creates a secure surface that you can use.

Finally, it’s cheap! In fact it is actually one of the cheapest options out there for hot tub bases, which is surprising considering just how good it is. It’s powerful and sturdy, ideal for supporting a hot tub.

How Do I Install a Gravel Base for My Hot Tub?

If we have swayed you on using gravel as your hot tub base, you’ve made a choice! Naturally, you will now need to know how to install the base. Here’s a complete guide to installing the gravel base of your hot tub.

First of all, work out the dimensions of the hot tub. You can do this by measuring it/ Ideally it’s important to have a couple of extra feet around where the hot tub is going to be positioned. This area is important for draining and it will also look better in the garden.

When you have done this, you then need to figure out where you are planning on putting the hot tub in the yard. Try to figure out some measurements – you can effectively use spray paint to do this. Create a border where things will go.

You are then going to have to start digging into the earth, as you will need to make space for the layers of gravel to go. 6 inches is the minimum that you are going to need to dig using a shovel. 

One thing that you could also do that isn’t mandatory is you could put one layer of landscape cloth on top of a hole. This isn’t something that you have to do but it can be a good idea if you want it to look better.

When you have dug the hole, you can then fill it up using the gravel. Sometimes people will fill them with medium grade construction gravel, but some people will instead use a top layer of pea gravel. Ultimately the choice lies with you. 

If you would prefer to use pea gravel then simply add around 4 inches of the medium grade gravel. The last 2 inches can then be filled with the pea gravel. 

Using your shovel, try to make the surface smooth. Your hot tub needs to be sitting on a surface that’s totally level. For this reason, you need to ensure that you take plenty of time to make sure that all of the gravel is flat on the corners.

Do not, under any circumstances, put a hot tub on a jagged surface. Your hot tub’s base needs to be level and flat. If you try to make a base on a bumpy, hilly or otherwise deformed surface then you may find that the hot tub doesn’t work the way that it should. It may even be damaged by the base. This is something that’s best avoided if possible. 

Things to Remember

Of course, construction gravel doesn’t look the best aesthetically. Of course, you can fill the whole of the base with construction gravel but you are by no means obligated to do this. If you want something that looks a little better then you can fill the top layer of the gravel up with some pea gravel or other refined gravel. 

You need to be sure that you are digging a maximum of 6 inches for the base – it should not be any deeper than that. If there isn’t enough gravel then the drainage may not be as good. If you have an excessive amount of gravel though, the base can become too soft and after a while it may cause damage both to the hot tub and to the ground underneath it.

You should clarify that there is plenty of room around the hot tub so that there’s room for draining. Ideally there needs to be enough room around the hot tub so that you can step out of the tub and walk a little while before you come back to it.

Before you put the hot tub on the gravel, double check that the gravel is level and flat. Make sure that you level it well using your shovel – there shouldn’t be any high spots present. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How far should my hot tub be from my house?

It’s best to avoid putting your hot tub too close to the wall of your home. This is because the steam can often make its way into the windows, and it can also be dangerous since the water can make your walkway quite slippery.

Instead, make sure that the tub is at least a few feet away from your walls and where you walk. 

Should I put my hot tub in the sun or the shade?

Ultimately this decision is up to you. For the sake of your own comfort though, it’s usually best to put the hot tub in a place that’s shady.

It can get very uncomfortable to sit in a hot tub when the sun is burning so hot, especially if you live in an area that’s already warm. As such, putting it in a shaded area is usually the best option as far as common sense is concerned. 

How many years does a hot tub last?

This depends on the hot tub in question. Usually though, a hot tub can last from 5 to 20 years. It depends on the hot tub that you buy and how well it is maintained. If it isn’t well made then the hot tub naturally isn’t going to last as long.

If it’s a high quality hot tub then it can last significantly longer so long as it is maintained well. 

Conclusion

It can be great to buy a hot tub, but it can often be rather difficult to figure out where it needs to go. It needs to go on a surface that is sturdy and durable, and it should be capable of dealing with high amounts of weight from a hot tub.

You don’t need to worry about putting your hot tub on a gravel surface – it’s one of the best surfaces for a hot tub. Just make sure that it’s all installed correctly though – it should be 6 inches deep, level and flat before any hot tubs are placed on top of it.