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Can a Hot Tub Go on Artificial Grass?

Astroturf Finish

Most of us know not to put a hot tub on grass. It needs a level surface, and grass is often uneven. But what about artificial turf? Can a hot tub go on artificial grass?

I looked into it and found:

A hot tub can sit on artificial grass provided that turf is placed on a completely flat and level surface. Drainable turf is ideal, as is unpadded turf, which helps the hot tub sit more evenly.

The drainage option should be obvious.

But it will allow any water that gets splashed or from the occasional leak to not just sit and pool and collect under the hot tub. That could, at best, lead to mosquitos, and at worst, rot the hot tub frame.

But let’s explore all the options for hot tubs on artificial grass and look at the best options.

Will a hot tub ruin artificial grass?

A hot tub will not ruin artificial grass. However, large amounts of foot traffic to and from the hot tub will naturally wear and tear on the turf over time. For that reason, nylon turf, which is the strongest, will provide the maximum amount of time before needing to be replaced.

First of all, there are different types and different grades of artificial grass ranging from sports grade – better known as Astroturf – to purely decorative garden use.

The primary materials used for artificial grass are: 

  • polyethylene (PE) – The most natural-looking
  • nylon – The strongest but uncomfortable for bare feet
  • polypropylene (PP) – The least expensive and least durable

PE is the most popular because it resembles natural grass in appearance and touch.

Nylon is the strongest in terms of its ability to spring back into shape after being under a heavy load, but it is also prickly underfoot, so not a great choice for use around a hot tub.

PP is the cheapest, but it doesn’t hold its shape well and is easily damaged by people running over it.

Rather than the hot tub ruining the artificial grass, it is more likely those using the hot tub will cause the most damage, especially if you have the cheaper PP turf.

So, to answer the question, a hot tub is likely to cause damage to artificial grass, but is it so important? If you move your tub somewhere else, it’s easy to cut out and replace the damaged area. Just make sure you use the same type.

What does artificial grass sit on to support a hot tub?

Artificial grass should be placed on a completely level and solid surface such as a concrete patio in order to support a hot tub. The artificial grass provides no support at all by itself, so a solid surface that can withstand the weight of a fully-loaded hot tub is critical.

To understand how much support is needed, this is a quick guide on how much weight is involved.

Water weighs around 8.25 lb/gal, and a 76” x 76” x 34” tub holds 300 gallons. The hot tub itself would be about 600 lb, and with two adults and two kids, an average weight of around 500 lb. In total, a full hot tub containing a family of four would weigh 3,575 lbs.

If you want to read more about how much hot tubs weigh, take a look at this recent article on my website. You can see it here by clicking on the link.

Spread this weight over the area of the hot tub, and that works out at around 94 lb/sq ft.

The best base for a hot tub is concrete, but as I explained in a recent article – which you can read on my website by clicking on the link – there are other options.

If you don’t want to sit your hot tub on concrete, then a well-compacted base of crushed stone with a sand bed covered in synthetic turf will suffice. The important thing is to get it level and firm all around. You don’t want it sinking in one corner.

One thing you should never do is lay artificial grass on top of real grass. In fact, you should scrape away the organic layer of topsoil altogether. Otherwise, you will get weeds growing through the backing material.

How do you attach artificial grass?

This is the sequence for laying artificial grass if you haven’t already installed it:

  1. Remove any natural grass – you should take off at least 6” of organic topsoil to get down to the sandy clay subgrade. If you have pavers or concrete slabs, you may get away with leaving these in place if they are stable. Remove any that are loose and wobbly.
  2. Lay a 3” thick sub-base of pebbles or rocks no bigger than 2” diameter. Vary the thickness to get this as consistent as you can with no sudden dips.
  3. Lay a 1” thick base course of sand and work this into all the gaps around the stone to provide a smooth surface. You must get to a level where the hot tub is going to sit.
  4. Roll out the turf over the sand base, starting at the longest straight edge, which might be against your house or a fence. Take care not to drag the turf across the sand.
  5. With each length of turf, make sure the blades are pointing the same way and firmly push the turf, so it abuts the previous length, just like laying carpet.
  6. Use a box cutter to shape the turf to suit your yard. Cut from the underside.
  7. Use seam tape and glue to join the pieces together.
  8. Hammer in 5” turf nails or staples around the perimeter at 6” centers and along the joints at 2’ centers.
  9. Brush the turf to get the blades upright.
  10. Spread the infill material using a drop-spreader over the whole area. The choice of infill material is up to you, but these are your main options:
    1. Silica sand.
    2. Zeolite – a microporous crystalline material often used in pool filters.
    3. Envirofill – an antimicrobial coated infill.
    4. T-Cool – used in extremely hot areas, this will reduce the surface temperature by 50%.

What are the disadvantages of using artificial turf for a hot tub?

The disadvantages of using artificial turf for a hot tub are that, unlike real grass, it will wear out around the perimeter over time. Additionally, nylon turf gets hot quickly and would be hotter on bare feet than real grass. Lastly, the sun will fade the color over time as well.

There are certainly a lot of advantages to artificial turf, one of those is the lack of maintenance it needs. However, there is still a need to look after synthetics to keep them clean and healthy.

PE is better when it comes to cleaning up spills and pet poop because it isn’t porous like the others, so it doesn’t hold odors. Nylon and PP turf must be cleaned thoroughly as spillage and waste gets deep into the base matting.

Nylon gets very hot in high temperatures, but as it’s more resistant to heat, it won’t fade or discolor. Hot, prickly turf is not great for those running barefoot across to the tub.

Some artificial grass has rubber infill added for durability that can stick to your feet and join you in the hot tub. Another thing to be cleaned out before it clogs your filter. If not rubber, it will most likely have sand infill – not as bad as rubber but can still clog your filter.

PP is the least durable and is not suitable for heavily trafficked areas. Sunlight will degrade the blades after a while, so it is not wise to have this where your hot tub will be situated.

If you already have artificial turf, you would be better off taking up an area about 2’ wider than your hot tub and laying concrete pavers on properly prepared ground.

You could also run a path from your house to the tub in the same pavers.

Does artificial grass have a weight limit?

There is no weight limit on artificial grass. Of the three types, nylon is the most resilient, and polypropylene is the least durable and will require replacement more often.

So really, the most important thing is what’s under the turf.

Concrete pavers are extremely strong in compression, but if the base course is weak or uncompacted, you will most likely get a settlement, and this will result in cracks appearing. Similarly, poured concrete will crack if it doesn’t have steel mesh or rebar and the ground beneath is poorly prepared.

Timber decking can probably take an applied load of 20 – 30 lb/sq ft, depending on the supports.

So without strengthening, this won’t take the weight of a hot tub filled with water. I wrote about this in a recent article, and you can read it here on my website by clicking on the link.

The soil in your garden or yard has a variable weight limit depending on the water content. When dry, you feel it’s firm underfoot, but after heavy rain, it is quite spongy.

This is why it’s unsuitable for heavy loads such as that of a hot tub.

When setting your hot tub on the ground, preparing the sub-base is the key to success, and this means compacting it firmly. Rent a vibrating plate compactor if you can and make sure it is level.

For further information on why a hot tub must be level, this recent article explains everything. You can read it here on my website by clicking on the link.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about whether a hot tub can go on artificial grass?

To sum up, you can place your hot tub on artificial grass, but you must make sure the base on which it is laid is firm, well compacted, and level.

You can expect some damage to cheaper artificial turf, but it is easy to replace if you need to. Or better still, remove an area of turf and put down concrete pavers where you want the tub to go.

I hope that covers everything, but if you have any questions, just drop me a line, and don’t forget to check out the links to related articles on my website.

Photo which requires attribution:

Astroturf Finish by monsieuricon is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added

Jeff Campbell