Hot tubs are a great way to relax and entertain in all year round, and by having one on your deck you are able to access it and enjoy I when you want. However, it’s important to keep in mind that deck framing for a hot tub has to have the ability to support much more weight than that of a regular deck framing.

When considering a hot tub, it’s important that your deck is specifically designed to have the ability to support a hot tub or be reinforced accordingly. Some of the most common solutions include closer spaced footings, additional support beams and narrower joist span and spacing below the hot tub placement. Another recommended solution would be to set the tub on a concrete pad at ground level and build a deck around that.

First and foremost, a deck needs to be designed or reinforced to have the capacity to support the weight of a hot tub. Hot rubs range from 3,700 pounds to approximately 7,300 pounds when considering between a inflatable four person tub or a 8’x8’ tub full of water and people. When building a deck, building permits are required especially when building for a hot tub.

The consensus is that most wooden decks are built to support approximately 40-50 pounds per square foot. Both attached decks and freestanding decks need to be built differently to carry the additional weight.

There are a few types of decks where hot tubs can be installed.

First, a hot tub can be installed on a ground or low-level deck. These are typically decks built within three feet of the ground or placed on a concrete pad where the deck would then be built around it. The deck can then be built to be level with the top of the hot tub or lowered to provide a step up.

Secondly, a hot tub can be placed on top of the deck. Placing a hot tub on a reinforced, up-to-code compliant deck is a common practice. When building a new deck, the deck area that will support the hot tub is usually framed separately to better support the additional weight whereas the rest of the deck frame will be built accordingly.

Something to consider is that when a deck is slightly above that of the hot tub, tripping and fall hazards can become more common. Another thing to consider is the hot tub location. Its location determines where the deck is built because once it’s placed, it’s hard to relocate them. It’s important to understand that there needs to be easy access to panels for service and space for the mechanics of the tub. Additionally, the location of hook-ups for the power and heater may affect the location and orientation of the hot tub.

Place the hot tub to take advantage of any views you’d like and if you feel like obtaining additional privacy, consider a privacy screen, an enclosure, or a pergola.

Lastly, many contractors should be aware of local building codes, but some of the questions you can ask are to clarify footing, post, beam, and joist sizing. Also, span, and spacing are required structural information when building or reinforcing a hot tub deck.