You want to transform your backyard into an entertainment oasis, and you’ve decided the best way to do that is with a hot tub. But placing a hot tub somewhere on your lawn isn’t going to give your home much visual appeal. Instead, you can transform your yard by giving your hot tub a place to stand with a deck. Specifically, you’ll find the benefits of composite decking for hot tubs make the material a smart option for your home.
If you’re considering installing composite decking for your hot tub, you probably have a handful of questions. Can composite decking support a hot tub? Is it worth the installation? Learn the answers to those questions and more in this guide to composite decking for hot tubs.
Should You Install a Composite Hot Tub Deck?
Composite decking for hot tubs provides numerous benefits, so you should consider installing one. A new deck can transform your backyard more than just adding a hot tub would. Experience these advantages of composite decking when you add one to your home:
- Convenience: Having a deck that leads to your hot tub and surrounds it is convenient. You won’t have to walk barefoot over grass or rocks. Instead, you’ll have a comfortable composite walking surface.
- Entertainment space: Depending on the size of your deck and hot tub, you may have extra space for entertaining. Add seating for others to enjoy time out on your new deck.
- Return on investment: When adding features to your home or remodeling, consider the return on investment (ROI) of your projects. The ROI represents how much you get back in increased home value compared to how much money you put into a project. According to HomeAdvisor, a deck adds a 75.6% return, meaning you could add three-quarters of the cost of your deck back into your home’s value.
- Style: Part of the reason a deck adds a significant ROI to your home is its benefit to your home’s appearance. Even if your hot tub and deck are in the backyard, they’ll transform the back facade of your home. You’ll change the profile and, with eye-catching and natural-looking composite decking, you add a visually appealing component to your home.
Why Use Composite Decking for Hot Tubs?
So why use composite decking for hot tubs? While your other options include aluminum and traditional wood, you’ll find that composite comes with more advantages. Using decking under a hot tub means you’ll want something durable. It should withstand the weight of the hot tub and water from when you get out. Luckily, composite can do that and more. Install a composite deck under your hot tub, and you’ll benefit from these features:
- Durability: Composite decking material is resistant to sun, weather and pests. It’s manufactured with a protective polymer seal to help prevent rotting, fading, splintering and cracking. That makes composite decking suitable to use under a hot tub, which will have exposure to water.
- Low maintenance: Composite decks are easy to maintain, especially compared to traditional wood options. You need to sand, seal and stain most wood decks every other year. With composite decking, your only maintenance involves scrubbing with cleaner and water. If anyone spills anything on your composite decking, all you have to do is wipe off the surface. Spills won’t sink into the material or stain as they would on a wood deck. That little required maintenance gives you time to enjoy your new deck and hot tub.
- Comfort: Composite decking is smooth and more comfortable to walk on than other outdoor flooring and path options. You won’t have to worry about potential splinters or other issues if you choose to walk to your hot tub barefoot. That makes composite decking an excellent choice for any hot tub deck, but it’ll be especially beneficial if you have kids who like to go outside barefoot. You won’t have to worry about them getting splinters with a composite deck.
- Cost-effectiveness: The initial cost of composite decking may be higher than wood alternatives. But over time, you’ll have a better value since you’ll spend less money on maintenance. Also remember that the more you put into a deck, the more you could get back in your ROI.
- Visual appeal: Perhaps you’re wondering, “Are composite decks good for hot tubs?” based on how you think the material looks. Composite decks in the past used to look more like plastic than wood. But composite decks are good for hot tubs because they now have natural appearances and finishes. Composite wood grain patterns mimic real ones, and you can select from an array of colors that reflect different wood types and stains. As manufacturers continue creating new composite options, the resemblance to real wood will only grow stronger.
- Sustainability: Use composite decking for your hot tub to enjoy a sustainable addition to your backyard. Manufacturers produce composite decking with wood scraps and recycled plastic. The material is environmentally friendly because it saves trees and prevents deforestation. It keeps scrap plastic and lumber out of landfills, helping you feel good about your decision to go with composite decking.
What to Look for When Buying a Hot Tub
If you can, you should try to pick a hot tub before building a deck rather than adding a hot tub to a composite deck. You’ll have a bit more flexibility with your options in terms of the hot tub’s size and dimensions. You can then build a custom deck that better suits your needs. As you’re looking for hot tubs, keep these factors in mind to help you choose one:
- Your budget: Calculate the budget you have to spend on a hot tub. Hot tubs can range from $3,000 to $16,000, but that’ll depend on where you shop and what you choose.
- Hot tub capacity: When you’re buying a hot tub, consider the capacity you need. Consider whether just you and a partner will use the hot tub or if you plan to entertain guests in it.
- Hot tub features: You may want certain massage jets, spa lights or controls from your hot tub. You could also consider cooling systems that make a hot tub comfortable to use year-round.
- Hot tub appearance: Hot tubs come in a variety of materials and designs. You’ll find acrylic, vinyl and plastic, which manufacturers can make look like natural wood or other patterns, textures and colors. Complement or match the appearance to your home or the composite deck you want to get.
- The location: Consider where you want to put the hot tub as you’re buying. That’ll help you choose the best size and shape for your hot tub.
- Building codes: As you select a hot tub for your home, be aware of your local building codes and requirements. You may need a particular power receptacle or a certain deck construction to support your hot tub.
What to Look for When Buying Composite Decking
Now that you know what to consider when getting a hot tub, it’s time to turn your attention to the decking. Since this structure will be the base for your hot tub and a major addition to your home, you want a stylish and sturdy material to make the deck. You already know that composite is a durable, low-maintenance material, so now you have just a few other features to consider when you select your composite decking:
- Caps: To protect the composite material, manufacturers sometimes add PVC shells to the boards. Manufacturers make composite decking that is non-capped, capped with wood powder, capped halfway, completely capped with a routed groove or capped 360 degrees. Boards that are capped all the way around are the most protected.
- Appearance: Think about what color and texture you want in your composite decking. You may choose something that complements or matches your home or hot tub. At NewTechWood, we have an array of colors to select from, letting you find the perfect addition to your home. Consider Peruvian teak, Brazilian ipe, Spanish walnut, Hawaiian charcoal, Westminster gray and Roman antique.
- Boards: Composite decking boards are sleek and classic. They suit anything from traditional styles to modern homes. At NewTechWood, we offer a handful of composite board options. You’ll find deck boards that are solid, solid with grooves, circle hollow with grooves and ones with grooves on the side and underneath.
- Tiles: If you don’t plan to build a raised deck, instead opting for a concrete slab, consider using composite deck tiles to transform the area and provide a sturdy base for your hot tub.At NewTechWood, our composite deck tiles come in a wide array of colors. We also offer options with a combination of colors to add even more detail to your decking.
- Installation methods: If you plan to install the decking material yourself, consider an option that will be easy to install. At NewTechWood, you can install our composite boards with either common screws or hidden fasteners, depending on the type of board you select. Our tiles snap together, and you can turn them any way you’d like, thanks to their four-way interlocking abilities. For installation, you’ll have to choose what direction the decking goes. Boards could go diagonally, vertically or horizontally in relation to your home, and tiles could go all the same direction or alternate.
- Railings: Think about the setup of your deck and what you’d want along the edge of the structure. Our composite deck railings are durable and come in colors that complement our decking materials. Adding a railing completes your deck, giving it a finished look that ties everything together. It also makes your deck safer, especially if it’s raised off the ground at all. You can also add railings to stairs if your deck has them, providing safety and style all in one.
Where to Put a Hot Tub on a Composite Deck
As you’re selecting a hot tub and considering deck plans, you need to know where to put the hot tub. Because you’re making an investment for your relaxation and entertainment, you should carefully consider the best location. To decide where to put a hot tub on your composite deck, think about these variables:
- Maintenance: Remember to leave easy access to the hot tub’s motor and other components for maintenance in the future. You don’t want to struggle to service your hot tub just because you placed it in the wrong spot.
- The cover: You want enough space around the hot tub to flip up the cover when it’s time to use it. How much space you need will depend on the size of your hot tub and its cover.
- Walkways: Ensure the hot tub doesn’t block any walkways along your deck. You should also ensure the cover doesn’t block any pathways when you take it off.
- Convenience: If you live in a colder climate, you don’t want to have a long walk to get to your hot tub. Place it close to the door you’ll use to exit onto your deck. That’ll give you a shorter walk, and you’ll be more likely to use your hot tub even when it’s cold out.
- Power: Remember that you need to power your hot tub, and the receptacle will likely be on the exterior of your home. You can save money on electrical wiring needs if your hot tub is closer to your home rather than all the way across the deck.
- Sun and shade: Carefully consider how much sun and shade a certain spot gets. Take the trees and your home into account, and think about how the sun moves throughout the day. Also note whether the trees shading the area will lose their leaves in the fall, as that will affect how much shade and sun you have throughout the year.
- The wind: Ideally, your home or any privacy walls will help shield your hot tub from the wind. You don’t want to get out in cold weather with the wind blowing around you. Putting your hot tub at the edge of your house may not be the best spot since wind could blow around the corner.
How Much Support Will You Need?
A shorter deck — about 2 feet high — can, on average, support about 100 pounds per square foot. Taller decks may require support posts, and if you have a heavier hot tub, you may need closer joists and a strong, sturdy base below the deck. So can composite decking support a hot tub? It can if you make the right considerations as you buy a hot tub and build a deck. Ask these questions as you or a professional evaluates how much support you will need:
- Where will you put the hot tub on the deck? Depending on where you put the hot tub, you may need extra support from the deck. You don’t want to put extra support somewhere on the deck only to move the hot tub later on.
- What size hot tub are you getting? The size and weight of the hot tub when it’s full will determine how much support you need. To determine the weight of your hot tub, take its dry weight plus the weight of water you’ll add to it plus the maximum capacity of people who can use it. A gallon of water weighs about 8.3 pounds, and the average weight of a person is around 180 pounds. Multiply 8.3 by how many gallons your hot tub holds. Multiply 180 by how many people can use the hot tub at once. Add those numbers to the weight of your empty hot tub.
- What else are you putting on the deck? You may add a grill or furniture to your deck, meaning you’ll have to consider the weight of everything going on it. Think about the spacing and weight of these additional features and incorporate support where necessary.
Complete the Build Process
Once you have the type of composite decking and hot tub you want for your home, you then move onto the build process. Before you begin plans for your deck, you should consider whether you want your hot tub on top of the deck or built into it. Experts recommend raising the deck to come up about 20 inches from the top of the hot tub. That makes it easier to step in. You shouldn’t install the hot tub so it’s flush with the deck flooring as that could be hazardous.
With those details in mind, follow these steps to complete the build process for your hot tub deck:
- Consult with professionals: Unless you’ve built decks before, it’s best to leave this to the professionals. They’ll ensure the calculations are right for your structure and know local codes to follow. While you could handle installing the composite decking yourself, trust a professional for the joists and other structural components. They can also advise you on the best layout for your deck, like building up a section for the hot tub.
- Start with a flat, level surface: You want to add a deck to a solid surface to avoid it sinking or damaging the ground below. Experts recommend a 4-inch slab of concrete, poured and formed the same time you have footings put in. If you have a heavy hot tub, you may need a thicker surface. With electrical needs for your hot tub, you’ll have to have wiring run through conduit before professionals pour the concrete.
- Add power: You need a power receptacle for your hot tub to work. Again, a professional is best here. Hire a licensed electrical contractor, and they’ll likely recommend a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GCFI). A GCFI is a circuit breaker designed to be fast-acting. It’ll shut off power to your hot tub with any change in current flow. You may also need an emergency shut-off.
- Build the structure: A professional will know the proper way to build a structure for your composite deck. They’ll know how tall it can and should be along with the necessary distance between the joists. In general, we recommend somewhere between 12 inches to 16 inches between the joists, but that will depend on your specific needs.
- Install the decking: Once the structure is together, it’s time to bring your deck to life with stylish composite decking materials. As you install your selection, ensure that the composite boards have the proper space between them for adequate airflow. That’ll help the boards maintain their resistance to mold, especially on their sides.
- Add a privacy screen: If your neighbors have a view of your backyard, incorporate a privacy screen into your deck’s layout. Choose a style that complements the decking and the railing. You’ll then feel comfortable when you go out to use your hot tub.
Find the Right Composite Decking With NewTechWood
When you’re adding a hot tub to a composite deck, choose NewTechWood UltraShield® composite decking boards and deck tiles. Since our beginnings in 2004, we’ve been providing composite decking solutions for beauty and practicality to spaces worldwide. Transform your backyard with NewTechWood kits, perfect for any homeowner looking to install a new deck.
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