How Can I Level my Hot Tub? (Fixes for concrete, pavers & more)

Has the ground below your hot tub shifted over time and your hot tub not level anymore? Or was it never level, to begin with? Have you asked how can I level my hot tub?

Here’s what I know from having leveled one:

Level a hot tub with heavy-duty plastic shims. Some manufacturers do not recommend shims & they could void your warranty. Do not use shims if the hot tub is greater than 1″ uneven from one side to the other. In that case, a new foundation or a bed of framed sand that is compacted & level can be a good solution.

But there’s a lot more to know about leveling a hot tub, especially if you don’t want the frame or shell to crack! So let’s get into all the details!

Ready to Spend Less Time On Maintenance and More Time Enjoying Your Hot Tub?

Let’s face it. Balancing the water, cleaning filters, dealing with rashes, and trying to figure out which chemicals to buy and add can make you feel more like a chemist than someone who just wants to relax after a long hard day!

That’s exactly why The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course is so valuable!

This is from Matt over at Swim University and he developed it for people looking to save money, time, and frustration. His tips on chemicals can save you $100/year just by making sure you buy only what you need.

So if you’re ready to stop being confused or frustrated with your hot tub and start spending more time in it, check out The Hot Tub Handbook and Video Course.

Just click that link to learn more on their website.

Does a hot tub have to be perfectly level?

Yes is the short answer.

You want your hot tub to be as level as possible. This will allow the water to sit evenly in your hot tub instead of pooling to one side. But more importantly, the stress and strain of the thousands of pounds of the tub itself, water, and people, will be evenly distributed across the frame and shell of the hot tub.

You see when a hot tub is NOT level, it can add extra weight to certain areas of the hot tub’s frame and/or acrylic shell. When that happens, that can lead to cracking and stress fractures. Too much of that can ruin your hot tub.

For outdoor hot tubs, it’s common to place hot tubs on surfaces such as decks and patios made out of both concrete or brick.

In fact, hot tubs can be placed on any uniform, solid, level surface.  But, do not place your hot tub on the grass. In general, it should never be placed on the bare ground at all.

When placing your hot tub on a surface such as a wooden deck, you should be mindful of the weight of the hot tub (especially when filled with water and occupants) and the amount of weight that the deck can hold.

For the placement of an indoor hot tub, any regular floor that is code compliant works perfectly fine. Basement concrete floors that are level will also work. If you wish to place a hot tub on a porch, as with a wooden deck, check to make sure that it can adequately support the weight.

Want to dive deeper into why a hot tub leads to be level and what can happen if it isn’t?

I break it down for you in a recent article, including how to level the ground and how to shim it up if it needs help. Just click that link to read it on my site.

What if a hot tub is not level?

Unfortunately, if your hot tub is not level, it could break.

The water level will also be off, with one side of the hot tub holding a higher amount of water than the other.

As I mentioned at the top, hot tubs are built to distribute thousands of pounds (water and people) throughout the acrylic shell. If it is not level, then this is not possible, and the hot tub will break.

Over time, the fact that the hot tub is unleveled will cause stress on the shell or cabinet. If the foundation for your hot tub is inadequate, it may shift or settle after the hot tub has been placed. A dip in the ground will most likely cause your hot tub to crack.

Simply put, you need a solid, level foundation for your hot tub!

Anything other than that will cause you to spend more money on fixing the issues that come with an unlevel foundation.

Speaking of breaking, wooden decks are a typical place to put a hot tub.

But before you go ordering one or placing yours on your deck, it’s crucial to know if your deck can take the weight. Luckily, I break it all down for you in this recent article. Just click that link to read it on my site.

Can I use shims to level a hot tub?

Yes, you can use shims to make a hot tub level.

For many people, tearing up what their hot tub lies on and replacing it with a level foundation is not a financial option. This is where shims come in handy.

The majority of hot tubs come with shim points. A good idea is to read your owner’s manual and it will inform if your hot tub has shim points or not. If it does, it should tell you where they are. It should also tell you how to do it.

There are some hot tub brands, such as Jacuzzi, that do not support shimming.

That does not mean you can’t do it, or that it won’t work. But it may void your warranty, so proceed with caution.

Additionally, there have been incidents in which after a few years the shims rot. So for that reason, I recommend NOT using wood shims.

My favorite shim is these heavy-duty plastic shims from EZ-Shim (click to see them on Amazon).

Believe it or not, they are about 10 bucks on Amazon for a set of 20, qualify for free shipping, and can take the weight of a hot tub. Just click that link to grab a set on Amazon if you need to shim.

Remember to always read the owner’s manual of the hot tub. If you have questions, you can always call the manufacturer and ask them.

Leveling a hot tub on sloped concrete

Some of the most common surfaces hot tubs rest on are level concrete slabs or reinforced decks. But what to do if that concrete slab is sloped?

If you are dead set on using the sloped slab, then it’s really simple. All you have to do is use shims to level your hot tub.

Purchase the shims and follow the instructions from your owner’s manual or the hot tub manufacturer. My favorite shim is these heavy-duty plastic shims from EZ-Shim (click to see them on Amazon).

But any hot tub can be shimmed, with, or without official shim points or the blessing from the manufacturer. Just know that any time you do it, there are some good guidelines to follow. And there is some level of risk.

Ultimately, you’ll want to start on the low side, tapping the shims in place so they provide even support across the frame and shell. I would definitely do this with the hot tub empty. It will be easier for you and less risky due to the reduced weight.

If your slope is greater than 1 inch though, I don’t think shimming it the best option. In that case, I would probably move the hot tub, do something to level the sloped concrete (framed sand and gravel could work well), and then place it back on.

If your hot tub doesn’t support shims, and you want to avoid possibly voiding the warranty, then you will have to pour a new concrete slab.

While ideal in many ways, hot tubs can sit on a lot of surfaces other than concrete.

So if you’re looking for great alternatives, especially inexpensive ones, check out this recent article. I get into all the options, including one I did for almost no money.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How do you level a hot tub on pavers?

There are a few different types of pavers that you can choose from.

These include concrete, cobblestone, brick, flagstone, and rubber. There are a few disclaimers you should consider when thinking about using pavers.

Raised pavers with ridges can cause problems and put stress on the hot tub shell. Choose pavers that are smooth and interlock so there is a flat surface. That should mitigate the issues.

Pavers are a high-density material that offers more support than concrete slabs or wood.

Their low absorption rate makes concrete pavers resistant to common problems that happen with poured concrete, like efflorescence or salt scaling. Basically that’s where salt rises to the surface of the concrete causing it to flake.

Pavers work best to support a hot tub when you first create a bed of sand and then compact it down and level it out. Wooden landscape timbers work great for framing that to keep the sand contained.

If your hot tub is already installed on pavers, but you need to level your hot tub, the best thing to do is use shims. As previously stated, refer to your hot tub owners manual. It should detail how to place the shims

Did I cover all you wanted to know about how to fix a hot tub that is not level?

A hot tub has to be perfectly level. It can be on almost any flat, level, surface. It should not be placed on grass or the earth.

Always ensure the surface you are placing the hot tub on can hold the weight of a hot tub filled with water and people.

If you aren’t sure how much a hot tub weighs or how to calculate yours, check out this recent article.

I break it down simply and show you the easy way to figure out how much your hot tub weighs. Just click that link to read it on my site.

The best way to fix a hot tub that is already installed is to use shims.

Shims will help keep the hot tub level if it is sloped or slanted.

Remember, shims can rot over time, so it’s more ideal to ensure that whatever surface you are placing your hot tub on is level, to begin with. Unlevel surfaces can break your hot tub, costing you more money than you planned on spending.

Where is your hot tub?


Photos which require attribution:

Tub22 by Dave Stone is licensed under CC2.0

 

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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