Many people love hot tubs but don’t always have the budget for a portable or in-ground hot tub. But if you’re considering a budget-friendly inflatable hot tub, you might be wondering can I put an inflatable hot tub on my deck?
Here’s what I know from having 2 of my 4 hot tubs on decks:
Yes, any kind of hot tub, including inflatable hot tubs, can go on a wooden deck. However, if the deck is more than 2 feet off the ground, it will likely need additional support to hold the weight. Even inflatable hot tubs can still weigh up to 3,700 lbs full of water and people.
But that’s just the beginning! So let’s dig in further.
As I mentioned, wooden decks that are 2 feet off the ground or lower, can usually support weights of up to 100 pounds per square foot. Typically an inflatable hot tub, even full of water and people, will be less than that.
But in this article, we’re showing you how to confirm your hot tub’s weight, and how to modify your deck if needed.
Let’s get going!
Can you put inflatable hot tubs on decking?
The short answer is yes, you can put an inflatable hot tub on your deck.
If you decide to go with an inflatable hot tub over a permanent one, you should follow these directions:
- Make sure your deck is lower and closer to the ground; under 2 feet off the ground and you likely don’t need additional support
- The higher your deck the more additional support you may need for your hot tub.
- Inflatable hot tubs weigh about 2,000 pounds less than the permanent ones do with water.
- Should you reinforce your deck anyway? Keep in mind that even though inflatable hot tubs are easier on your deck, it may be a good idea to go with a permanent hot tub later. So it may make sense to reinforce yours now.
An inflatable hot tub could be the gateway to a permanent one, later. So as I mentioned above, if that’s the case, it might make sense to reinforce your deck now.
However, just having an inflatable hot tub is ideal for some; especially renters, or if you are likely to move in a year or two.
If you cannot make modifications to your deck or you have one that is slightly higher, an inflatable hot tub could be the way to go for you.
If you have a deck that is high off the ground, regardless of the type of hot tub, you will need some type of support.
This is due to the weight of the water, the more water in the hot tub, the heavier the hot tub becomes. So, make sure you gauge what will work for you best before buying a new hot tub.
Hey just wanted everyone to know my buddy bought an inflatable hot tub and it looks pretty dope honestly pic.twitter.com/Yj8YMOWgrC
— David Ruff (@dcarterruff) November 11, 2019
Still on the fence as to whether an inflatable hot tub is worth it or not?
They are great on the wallet given you only need hundreds of dollars instead of thousands. However, some are cheaply made and may not last more than a year or 2.
But some are actually really well made and could easily last 5 or more years. Check out this recent article to learn the differences and avoid a lemon.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
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What is the inflatable hot tub weight?
How tubs weigh all different weights.
This is based on size, shape, and yes; whether or not it’s inflatable. With water and people, an inflatable hot tub will weigh at least 2,200 lbs and could go as high as 3,700 pounds for a large one full of 4-6 people.
But that’s just a ballpark. If you would like to know exactly how much a hot tub weighs in every size and category, read this recent article for more information.
I break it all down, empty, with water, and with water and people. What really surprised me was how some hot tubs can get up to almost 6,000 lbs!
Just click that link to read it on my site.
If you get an inflatable hot tub, on the other hand, it will weigh a lot less than a permanent hot tub. This is important to note when you are deciding between the two options.
If you need something lighter you should go with inflatable, however, if the weight does not matter then a permanent one will add more value to your property and last a lot longer.
Here’s how to calculate the weight of your inflatable hot tub:
- An inflatable hot tub weighs practically nothing while empty.
- Add about 290 gallons of water and times it by 8.35 pounds (which is the weight of a gallon).
- This number is 2,418.60, which needs to be added to the hot tub’s weight, which is 0.
- Then add the weight of who will use the hot tub together.
- If six people weigh about 175 lbs. you will get 1,050 lbs.
- Then add the people’s weight to how much the spa weighs without people, so 1,050 + 2,148.60.
- Finally, you divide by the square feet of the deck, for example, 38.37.
- The total is 90.40 pounds per square foot of pressure.
The average well-made wooden deck that is no more than 2 feet off the ground can take up to 100 lbs per square inch.
So, as you can see, having a hot tub that is inflatable at ground level will not need any extra support at all.
However, if it is higher than 2 feet, you probably need a little extra support for your hot tub. So, the higher your deck is, the less weight it can take per square foot. And if you add more people to the hot tub, of course, it will weigh even more.
Here’s a chart showing an estimate of most sizes of hot tubs, and how much they weigh (roughly) empty, full, and at capacity with occupants:
|Type of Hot Tub||Empty||Water Only||People & Water|
|Small 2-3 person hot tubs||600 lbs||2,575 lbs||3,000 lbs|
|Medium 4-5 person hot tubs||750 lbs||3,700 lbs||4,420 lbs|
|Large 6-8 person hot tubs||800 lbs||4,300 lbs||5,500 lbs|
|Inflatable hot tubs (2-3 people)||n/a||2,200 lbs||2,700 lbs|
|Inflatable hot tubs (4-6 people)||n/a||2,700 lbs||3,700 lbs|
Will hot tub water hurt a wood deck?
Hot tub water can harm a wooden deck, so you need to be careful if you decide to put one on there.
But all decks are exposed to wind, and in some cases hail and snow too. So as long as you used pressure-treated lumber, and especially if you applied a stain or sealer on it, it really should be fine.
Obviously don’t drain your hot tub on your deck. But a little splash each time you use it won’t cause any long-term damage.
Here are some general cautions though just to be extra careful and get the most life out of your decking possible:
Moisture can get trapped
- This can end up underneath the hot tub, which is the most difficult area to protect.
- Eventually, the boards around and under the hot tub will deteriorate.
Chemicals and Salt
- The stuff you put in your hot tub to keep it clean can cause harm to your deck.
- Saltwater will form salt crystals that interrupt the wood’s cells.
- Chlorine can alter the color of your deck because it breaks down the wood’s proteins.
- However, an ozone type of cleaning system is the least harmful to your deck.
Weight of hot tub
- A hot tub alone can weigh a lot, and once you add in water and people it weighs a large amount.
- Reinforce your deck to help hold all the weight of your hot tub, as mentioned above.
- Make sure the structure under your deck will hold up under the hot tub.
- Check for wood rot under your deck annually
You can use a hot tub on your deck, but you need to make sure you are aware of the issues it may cause. Also, you can learn how to protect your deck, so you do not need to worry as much.
Wondering if other surfaces might be better for your hot tub?
In some ways, a concrete pad is the most ideal surface for a hot tub long-term. But pouring a large concrete pad can be expensive. You also have to let it cure before putting your hot tub on it.
Check out all the options hot tubs can go on, including some really inexpensive ones, in this recent article. Just click that link to read it on my site.
We’ve teamed up with Lay-Z-Spa, one of the nation’s favourite premium inflatable hot tub brands, to give one lucky winner a Helsinki AirJet hot tub!
— Your Home Magazine (@your_home) June 10, 2019
Do I need to reinforce my deck for an inflatable hot tub?
First, determine if your deck can hold up a hot tub without modification.
I’ve already talked about how decks less than 2 feet off the ground can hold up to 100 lbs per square foot. But in this recent article, I get into all the specific calculations to you can be certain.
I also show you the exact blueprint used for reinforcing the deck at my house for my hot tub. So just click that link to read it on my site.
In the end, you may need to reinforce your deck for your hot tub.
Yes, even an inflatable one. The weight of the people and water in your hot tub will cause a lot of heaviness on your deck. So, make sure you take precautions to reinforce it.
You may also want to treat your deck to protect it from the water by using sealants and paint that is specially designed to protect your deck.
You need to do this before you get your hot tub though, so you do not have to worry about underneath the hot tub becoming an issue.
How do you reinforce a deck for an inflatable hot tub?
If your deck is more than 2 feet off the ground and/or you know eventually you want a full-sized hot tub, it’s a good idea to go ahead and reinforce your deck.
Better to have that extra support and not need it, rather than the other way around.
Ultimately, it’s always better to get a deck builder or contractor to take a look at your deck and make some official recommendations and possibly do the work.
But if you’re handy, and want to take on this project, here are the steps involved:
- Add additional support posts under the area where the hot tub will be
- The added support posts are 30″ apart from one another.
- Posts ideally would be placed in poured concrete and run at least 1 foot below the frost line.
- But using concrete deck blocks is an inexpensive and easy alternative.
Here is a chart of the added support under my deck:
These steps are just a few of the ways you can reinforce your deck.
It will help hold your hot tub with all the people and water in it. This way your deck will be protected, and you will be safe in your hot tub.
You should also treat your deck wood with paint or special sealants as mentioned above. This will help protect the top of your deck from being affected by the water and the weight of the hot tub.
Did I cover all you wanted to know about whether an inflatable hot tub can go on a deck?
It is important to keep in mind that doing all these steps mentioned will help keep your deck sturdy and healthy.
Always make sure to reinforce your deck if needed and ask for professional help if you are unsure. An inflatable hot tub may weigh less than a traditional hot tub, however, once you add in the water and people it will still be thousands of pounds.
Take precautions and treat your deck, so it will last a long time and stay healthy.
Water from the hot tub can harm your deck, so you need to treat it properly to prevent future issues. An inflatable hot tub may just be the hot tub for you, so follow these steps and you will have a nice, warm hot tub in no time!
Always remember, I am not a general contractor, builder, inspector, or anything other than a guy who has owned 4 hot tubs and learned a lot along the way. So I’m sharing my knowledge and opinions of what has worked for me. This should not be taken as professional or contractor advice. If you need professional advice from a general contractor or other building professional, you should seek one out in your area.
Photos which require attribution: