Last Updated on December 1, 2020
Placing an inflatable hot tub on a wooden deck has always been a concern of mine. I feel like so much can go wrong due to the slightly delicate nature of the inflatable tub and the wooden structure of the deck.
So I decided to dig deeper to know if I can put an inflatable hot tub on my deck and this is what I found out.
Yes, you can place an inflatable hot tub on the deck. However, you need to take into account a few factors such as the strength of the deck, the condition of the deck, and you need to calculate how much weight your deck can support.
Though inflatable hot tubs aren’t as heavy as the normal hot tubs, they can still weigh over 3500 pounds when filled to the full capacity of water and bathers. That weight can be too much for a wooden deck to carry.
Is a Wooden Deck the Best Base for an Inflatable Hot Tub?
To be honest, a wooden deck isn’t the best base for an inflatable hot tub but it can still work pretty well. If your deck was installed 2 feet above the ground level, then it can support even the heaviest inflatable hot tub.
A wooden deck installed 2 feet above ground level is capable of supporting up to 100 pounds per square foot of pressure. The heaviest inflatable hot tub would be a bit shy of 3700 pounds and have a square foot weight of about 96 pounds.
A wooden deck installed 2 feet above ground level is very much capable of supporting that weight. If the deck was installed above 2 feet from the ground, then you might need to reinforce the deck so it can support the weight of the inflatable hot tub.
But that’s not all. How do you calculate how much weight your deck can support? How do you figure out the weight per square foot of your hot tub? And what factors should you consider before placing an inflatable hot tub on a wooden deck? You see there is a lot more to know about inflatable hot tubs and placing them on decks. So, let’s discover more.
What is the Weight of an Inflatable Hot Tub?
There is no specific weight for all inflatable hot tubs. The weights vary based on the model of the tub, the size, the capacity, and sometimes the material used to make the inflatable tub.
On average, an inflatable hot tub weighs about 2400 pounds when at full capacity. When empty, inflatable hot tubs weigh nearly nothing but when at full capacity of water and bathers, a 2-3 person inflatable hot tub can weigh up to 2000 pounds, and the larger 6-person inflatable hot tub can weigh about 3700 pounds.
Again, the size and model play a significant role in the overall weight of your hot tub. You will be surprised to know that some 6-person models do not even weigh up to 3000 pounds.
The weight of the tub will determine if it can be placed on the deck or if the deck would need a few changes.
Can You Put Inflatable Hot Tubs on Decking?
Yes, you can. The weight of an inflatable hot tub when compared to that of a normal hot tub is considerably lighter. This makes it possible for an inflatable tub to be placed on just about any base including a wooden deck.
But there are a few factors to consider before going ahead with the task such as:
The Condition of the Deck Plays a Big Role
To put an inflatable hot tub on a deck, you have to ensure the deck is in good condition. A broken deck, old deck, rotting deck, or one with splinters and cracks would not be a good choice for an inflatable hot tub.
Though most inflatable hot tubs are made to be puncture-resistant, you shouldn’t test the resistance level by placing them on a foundation with cracks, splinters, or pointed wood.
If the deck is also damaged or rotten, it can crumble under the weight of the hot tub thereby causing damages.
Inflatable Hot Tubs Need to Be Near a Water Source
Hot tubs, be it inflatable or not need to be placed close to a power source and constant water supply for times when you want to drain and refill the hot tub.
Check for pest infestation
You will most likely have some type of pest activity underneath or in your wooden deck. Ants, rodents, termites, bugs, and even snakes might have inhabited the space and shelter provided by the hot tub.
These pests can damage and shorten the lifespan of your inflatable hot tub.
Determine if the Deck Can Support the Weight of the Hot Tub
We saved the best for last or in this case, the most important. Before your inflatable hot tub goes on a wooden deck, you need to determine if the deck can support the weight of the tub.
If the deck was installed at about 2 feet above the ground, then you shouldn’t have any problems provided the deck was installed perfectly the first time. If the deck was installed above 2 feet from the ground, then you might need to reinforce the deck.
As extra insurance, I would advise you to reinforce your deck regardless of if the deck can fully support the weight of your inflatable hot tub or not.
This is because you may decide to vie for a permanent or heavier hot tub sometime later. If you reinforce the deck now, you wouldn’t need to do so later. So what kind of deck can support a hot tub?
What Kind of Deck Can Support an Inflatable Hot Tub?
A deck installed at ground level or below 2 feet above the ground level can fully support an inflatable hot tub. Such a deck will be set with support beams that will be fixed a few inches or feet apart.
The beams are poles beneath the deck that keep the deck standing. If you have such a deck, then you shouldn’t have any problem placing your hot tub on the deck even if it’s a 6 person hot tub.
This is because such decks can support up to 100 pounds per square foot of weight and your 6-person inflatable hot tub doesn’t weigh up to 100 pounds per square foot.
You just need to pick out a part of the deck where you want the hot tub placed and go ahead with the process unless you decide to get extra reinforcement which is a good thing.
However, if your deck was installed higher than 2 feet above ground level, it’s best to modify the deck so it can bear the full weight of the tub.
A deck installed about 3 feet from ground level can barely support about 70 pounds per square foot which means it wouldn’t be strong enough for most inflatable hot tubs.
Related Read: Inflatable Hot Tubs vs Regular Hot Tubs?
How to Determine if a Deck Can Support an Inflatable Hot Tub
To determine if a deck can support an inflatable hot tub, you need to figure out how much weight your deck can support. To figure that out, you need to first know how high the deck is off the ground.
The higher the deck is off the ground, the lighter the weight it can support.
If your deck is installed 2 feet or below, you are good to go. If it is higher than 2 feet, then you might need reinforcements depending on the weight of the tub.
When you have gotten the height of your deck from the ground, then you need to calculate how much your inflatable tub weighs.
The weight of the tub per square foot and the height of the deck will help you determine if you need reinforcements or not.
Related Read: How Much Weight Can My Deck Support?
How to Calculate the Weight of Your Inflatable Hot Tub
You need to know the complete weight of your hot tub when at full capacity of water and bathers. Then you divide that weight by the square feet of the hot tub.
Let’s take a large 6-person inflatable hot tub for instance. The 6-person inflatable hot tub can accommodate 6 grown adults (or bathers) and the average weight of one bather is 185 pounds. That gives you a total weight of 1110 pounds of bathers.
The 6-person inflatable tub can also contain about 290 gallons of water. A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds. When you multiply 8.34 pounds by 290 gallons of water, that gives you 2418 pounds.
Add the weight of the bathers (1110 pounds) to the weight of the water (2418 pounds) and you get a total weight of 3528 pounds. That’s the weight of the 6-person inflatable hot tub at full capacity of water and bathers.
That’s not all. You still need to divide the total weight of the inflatable hot tub (3528 pounds) by the square feet of the inflatable hot tub which is usually 38 for the 6-person models.
That gives you a total weight of 92.8 pounds per square foot. If your deck was installed below 2 feet above ground level, you shouldn’t have a problem with such weight on the deck.
But ensure the deck was installed perfectly the first time. Now, if your deck is higher than 2 feet, 92 pounds per square foot of pressure will be too much for the deck to bear so you will need to reinforce the deck.
Do I Have to Reinforce My Deck for an Inflatable Hot Tub?
If your deck is higher than 2 feet above the ground level or you suspect it is getting weaker due to its age, then you have to reinforce the deck unless you have a “damage my inflatable hot tub and deck agenda” which I highly doubt.
Reinforcing your deck before placing an inflatable hot tub on it will ensure that,
- The deck is strong enough to support the weight of the tub
- The deck is in good condition for an inflatable hot tub meaning that there are no cracks, breaks, or splinters.
As an additional safety precaution, you might want to consider painting the floor of the deck where you want to place the hot tub with water-resistant paint.
A hot tub space tends to be constantly wet due to the water that drips from your body when you get out of the tub and other activities such as when you splash the water in the tub and when you drain the water from the tub.
By painting the floor of the deck where you want to place the tub, you are protecting the deck and avoiding early rot or damage to the deck.
You can use water-resistant paint to cover the floor. Just ask a painter for which paint to get. If you need something temporary, consider using duct tape.
Most duct tapes are water-resistant but only for a short while and removing the tape later might prove difficult, so only use duct tape as a temporary provision.
Related Read: How to Refill a Hot Tub in the Basement?
Will the Water From an Inflatable Hot Tub Hurt a Wooden Deck?
From my experience with having my 6-person hot tub placed on my deck, I have experienced firsthand what the water from the tub can do to the wooden floor of your deck.
The treated hot water from the tub can damage a wooden deck over time. Wood and water do not go well together especially if the wood is exposed to water frequently as will your deck with a hot tub on it.
Water can get underneath the deck easily and if care is not taken, consistent exposure to water will damage and weaken the deck. The chemicals and sanitizers you use in treating the water such as chlorine and bromine can also damage the wood.
If you start to notice discoloration on the deck or you notice the wood looks waterlogged, you need to repair that spot as soon as possible.
Though the water from your hot tub can damage the wood, there are a few precautionary measures you can use to minimize and even eliminate that damage.
- Cover the spot on the deck where you placed the hot tub with water-resistant paint. Water-resistant paint costs a bit more than regular paint but they will do your deck a lot of good.
- Use artificial grass. Cover the area where your hot tub is with artificial grass. The water from your tub cannot damage artificial grass since the grass is synthetic. You can even do this after painting the floor with water-resistant paint. It will give your deck additional protection.
- Clean the area regularly especially after a dip in the tub. After a hot tub dip, water is sure to get on the deck either from your body or from your activities in the tub.
How Do You Reinforce a Deck for an Inflatable Hot Tub?
Reinforcing your deck means making it stronger so it can support the full weight of the inflatable hot tub.
The most common way of reinforcing a deck is by adding extra support beams or poles beneath the deck. If you are not a professional carpenter or deck builder, I wouldn’t advise you to take on this task by yourself.
It is best to contact a professional to make recommendations and help you out. Better safe than sorry.
To add extra poles, you need to:
- First, decide on where you want to place the inflatable tub. Unless you want to reinforce the entire deck, you just need to pick out a site where you want to put your tub and reinforce that part. Before you pick a site on the deck, ensure the site is close to the power supply, a water supply, and it is convenient.
- You would need to get wooden poles or beams. The size of posts needed varies based on different factors such as the distance between the posts. Usually, 4×4 wooden posts are used to reinforce decks.
- The posts would be placed at least 1 foot in the ground. To do this, holes will be dug in the ground. Your contractor might recommend pouring a concrete mix into the holes after putting the poles in them to further strengthen the base. While using concrete would be a tad more expensive, it is worth every penny because the deck will be even stronger.
- While reinforcing the deck with posts, you should use that opportunity to fumigate the base of the deck and get rid of any pest that can pose a threat to your inflatable hot tub. You should also inspect and repair the worn-out, rotten, cracked, or broken parts of the deck so it wouldn’t damage the tub.
I hope you found this article useful. If you have any hot tub related question, be it hot tub care, reviews, or installation, leave them below in the comment section and I’ll answer them as soon as possible. Do have a splendid day.