One of the best ways to enjoy a cedar deck installation throughout the year is by giving yourself a good excuse to go outside. A hot tub is the perfect excuse. No matter how cold or rainy it is, a hot tub always feels great. Whether you’re adding a hot tub to a new cedar deck or an existing structure, there are basic steps you need to follow.

Considering Your Design Options

Before you get a hot tub, one of the major decisions that you have to make is about its placement. Is the tub going to be on top of your cedar decking? Or will it have an in-ground look where only the top portion of the hot tub is exposed above the cedar deck design? Regardless of where you place the hot tub on your cedar deck, you need to remember to do the following:

  • Place the hot tub on a level surface.
  • Prepare a drainage system so rainwater doesn’t pool around the tub.
  • Consider how you will access the circuit panels and other features that may be on the side of the hot tub.
  • Create a cedar deck design that allows for proper ventilation so excess moisture is able to escape.

Before You Buy

Water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon. So if a hot tub holds 400 gallons of water, for example, the water will weigh about 3,338 pounds. In addition to the weight of the water, you need to consider the weight of the hot tub itself and the occupants within it. As you shop for a new hot tub, learn about the total weight of each design you like.

If you’re adding a new cedar deck installation onto your home, it’s a good idea to consult a decking contractor if the deck is a DIY project. A decking contractor can tell you about the adjustments you need to make to your cedar deck design so the new addition supports the hot tub’s weight. If a contractor is building your deck for you, make sure he knows you want to add a hot tub so he builds the deck accordingly.

If you’re adding a hot tub to an existing cedar deck design, it’s a good idea to consult with a structural engineer. This professional can tell you if your cedar deck can support the tub’s weight or if you need to modify the structure.

While the extra steps needed to add a hot tub to your cedar decking might seem unnecessary or frivolous, they will ultimately save you time and money. The extra time and cost is nothing compared to the cost of a broken deck, damaged hot tub and the resulting bad mood.

Installing a Hot Tub on a Deck

1. Prepare the surface on which the hot tub will sit. If you’re placing the hot tub on the ground so the deck surrounds it, the ground must be completely level and remain that way through the years.

2. Carefully move the hot tub into place.

3. Create a way to access the equipment within the hot tub’s frame. Some hot tubs come with a prepared access panel, or you may need to make your own.

4. Take care of the hot tub’s initial electrical and plumbing needs. If you don’t have experience with wiring or plumbing equipment, hire electrical and plumbing contractors who specialize in hot tub installations. Most hot tubs need a 220V to 240V 50-amp circuit connection, as well as a manual disconnect device that’s at least 5 feet away from the tub and within the line of sight. Keep in mind that some hot tubs have simple plug-and-play systems that don’t require special wiring.

5. Finish the construction of your cedar decking.

6. Connect the hot tub to a hot water heater, if necessary. Work with a contractor if you are using a propane-powered water heater so the copper tubing is installed properly.

Incorporating a hot tub into your cedar deck design can be hard work, but the ability to unwind in your backyard makes the project worthwhile. Talk to a decking contractor about adding a cover over your hot tub so the rain is never an issue.