Design For Sunken Hot Tub

 
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:41 AM   #1
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Design For Sunken Hot Tub


I'm currently designing a deck for a customer who has already purchased this hot tub:

http://www.saratogaspas.com/v3/adiro...p?spa=georgian

The tub is 40" high. They would like it to be sunk into the deck. The deck is only 22" off the ground, so I don't have that much room to work with in the vertical plane.

I have seen sunken tubs on existing decks and the "sink" varies. I'm not sure what the "proper" amount of sink I should shoot for is. Does anyone know?

This sucker is over 5,000 lbs wet, so I think it would be best to put it on a slab on grade of some sort. I don't have enough vertical height to frame anything beefy enough to support that weight.

What do you guys think?

I attached a very fast SUP jpeg that sort of shows what I'm dealing with. Right now, I just have a dummy hot tub sitting ON the deck for illustrative purposes.
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Design for Sunken Hot Tub-bolyai-prelim_1.jpg   Design for Sunken Hot Tub-bolyai-prelim_2.jpg  
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Old 05-15-2008, 12:11 PM   #2
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Better do some research!
My partner is "factory authorized
service" for several manufacturers.
At some point all of the panels
will need to come off for
service/replacement issues.
Often the cost to tear-up and
replace the deck on these
"custom installs"
is 4 times the cost of a major repair.
The most reasonable installation
is to surround it with "removeable"
stepped platforms, or completely sink
it to the rim and provide custom removable
cabinet with room for an actual human
to access all of the plumbing and
mechanicals.
The harder it is to gain access the
more likely someone will need to.
There are a couple of brands that
we have had to replace all of the jets
due to manufacturing flaws, for example.
Lastly, if you look at those cabinets
you'll see that they aren't intended
to last if they are any thing but
free air installed.
(And maybe not then...no treated
wood in the frames...light gauge
steel channel....)
Good luck!

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Old 05-15-2008, 01:42 PM   #3
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


The last one I did I built a removable panel that lifted up to gain access to the internals. I tried to load a pic but the filesize was too large i'll resize it and post when I get a chance.

I had about 6" to the top of the tub. Thats how the contractor wanted it.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:53 PM   #4
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Quote:
Originally Posted by curapa View Post
The last one I did I built a removable panel that lifted up to gain access to the internals. I tried to load a pic but the filesize was too large i'll resize it and post when I get a chance.

I had about 6" to the top of the tub. Thats how the contractor wanted it.
It all comes down to who is going
to pay.
We frequently need access to
all four sides on tubs that
are less than a year old, and warranty
doesn't always cover deck work...
that may be on the owner.
Chances are your contractor didn't
know or didn't care how it gets serviced.

Just saying Greg may be the one to
take the blame if things go south later on.
2

(Damn, that soap box needs a guard rail! )
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Old 05-15-2008, 03:52 PM   #5
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


we've done a number of sunken tubs over the years. Dig a hole in the ground large enough to allow access, and deep enough to get the correct height at the top of the tub. Pour a concrete pad for the tub to sit on, and make sure you have weepers and such for drainage.
Build your deck, and make sure you have hinged or removable panels for access.
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Old 05-15-2008, 04:25 PM   #6
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


A method that we have used to combat access issues is to build around the spa on only 2 or 3 sides, so that spa can be slid out to gain access.

This is not exactly what I mean, but all of the steps are individually removable.
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:03 PM   #7
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


John agrees the protables are not really made for ground contact or even to be covered up half way or so I have a steady business replacing the frame/skirting on set ups like that for $ 1800 or so. Some new ones have plastic skirting but the frame behind it is cheepo wood. The one I got the most grins out of>>mice had made their way in,stored up all sorts of goodies and got so fat over the winter they coudent get out so they started chewing on the wires/pipes, many dead dried out mice when I got into the thing and of course the tub had to be repaired<<

Best bet for that look is an inground,that is the tub itself is set low the works/pumps motors are placed in another location. John Mon
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:49 PM   #8
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Quote:
Originally Posted by neolitic View Post
It all comes down to who is going
to pay.
We frequently need access to
all four sides on tubs that
are less than a year old, and warranty
doesn't always cover deck work...
that may be on the owner.
Chances are your contractor didn't
know or didn't care how it gets serviced.

Just saying Greg may be the one to
take the blame if things go south later on.
2

(Damn, that soap box needs a guard rail! )

The contractor on this job was the HO and the tub was from his previous residence so he probably didn't care. I didn't realize there were serviceable parts anywhere other than under the removable panels. If it were me I would opt for the inground version to recess in the deck for a much more finished look.
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:20 PM   #9
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


How low are you looking to sink it? Why couldn't you do 5 footings like a gazebo or something and just lay it on that? You could even leave your footings a foot below grade and then use treated engineered beams with gravel.
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Old 05-15-2008, 06:28 PM   #10
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Just pour a slab, bang bang done, Faster,cheeper,long lasting,easy to slide the tub on, easy to build off of, only way to go with one that low to the ground. J.
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:43 PM   #11
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Quote:
Originally Posted by curapa View Post
The contractor on this job was the HO and the tub was from his previous residence so he probably didn't care. I didn't realize there were serviceable parts anywhere other than under the removable panels. If it were me I would opt for the inground version to recess in the deck for a much more finished look.

Yes, but the "portable" guys have much
better marketing, and they have driven
the best of the regular support system
suppliers out of the business.

Besides, Greg's customer already bought
his system.
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Old 05-15-2008, 07:46 PM   #12
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Quote:
Originally Posted by redwood View Post
A method that we have used to combat access issues is to build around the spa on only 2 or 3 sides, so that spa can be slid out to gain access.

This is not exactly what I mean, but all of the steps are individually removable.
There you go.
That ought to be a start for
Greg's creative gears to grind on!
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:39 AM   #13
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Quote:
Originally Posted by tom m View Post
How low are you looking to sink it? Why couldn't you do 5 footings like a gazebo or something and just lay it on that? You could even leave your footings a foot below grade and then use treated engineered beams with gravel.
I thought about that route. She has a limited budget, so I am trying to "get it done". I may end up having to do a rat slab and that's it.

I'm calling the spa rep today. He sold them a whole line of BS I want to clear up.
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:15 PM   #14
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Di View Post
I thought about that route. She has a limited budget, so I am trying to "get it done". I may end up having to do a rat slab and that's it.

I'm calling the spa rep today. He sold them a whole line of BS I want to clear up.
He may be willing to do the same for you.
If he says no one needs to get to anything
but the pump and spa pack, he's either
stupid or a liar...or both.

Quite a few customers have said that the
salesmen gave them that line, while we are
tearing up their deck to get to a leaking
jet on the back side.
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Last edited by neolitic; 05-16-2008 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:59 PM   #15
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


John< total agrees with Neolitic.
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Old 05-16-2008, 06:13 PM   #16
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


I built mine into the ground 24 years ago with the equipment separate. Never had to access the jets or pipes but I wouldn't do it again.

When one climbs into an above ground spa he/she sits on the edge, swings the feet over into the spa and steps on the bottom before lowering him/herself in.

An in ground spa is difficult to get into. If the jets are on you can't see the bottom. You aren't sitting on the edge, but you step down into the spa. We've had several people fall getting into ours over the years.

The in-ground looks nicer, the portable is safer.
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:40 AM   #17
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


So...... Greg,
Gonna leave us hanging all weekend?
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:08 PM   #18
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Hey Greg, I'm in the process of about the same thing. My father has a hot tub on his patio and wants it to sit slightly lower than the patio. We poured a concete slab. I'm going to build a walk way/steps on three sides leaving the access hatch area open. Sorry no pictures yet, I'll try to get some pics of the what I have done so for for you.
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Old 05-17-2008, 05:30 PM   #19
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Greg, that's how we installed one of my customers also, just dug out 12" adobe soil and formed 2"x6"'s #4 rebar tied off at 12"x12" o/c added 2" sand base and 5 1/2" concrete maybe a little over kill but the spa's levelness haven't moved in over 2 years. Oh yeah we also added some 6" 3/4 and pea gravel rocks for drainage too. Spa access is notched in the 2"x12" joist for future repairs, yeah I'll be working on it when the time comes to replace anything.
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Old 05-17-2008, 07:20 PM   #20
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Re: Design For Sunken Hot Tub


Jerry has the answer, but I have a feeling they are trying to put it into an existing deck. Definitely go with a slab of at least 4" depending on where it is. I used a 12" slab over 24" of gravel compacted as the area was really wet and I didn't want it moving when the ground froze. Be careful on how low you make it to the deck surface. The right party and people will walk right on it. I make sure mine is uncovered at any outdoor barbecue to stop that problem.

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