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Buying a new hot tub is an exciting experience, especially if it’s your first one.
It is one of those items that we associate with the height of luxury, we see hot tubs in expensive penthouses and apartments, a place to relax for the rich and famous.
A hot tub is also a great place where you can relax with you and your friends, or enjoy a romantic evening with a partner.
However, one of the main obstacles that come with buying a hot tub is where to store it.
Hot tubs can be big and bulky and finding the requisite back garden space to house them might not always be easy, especially for small homeowners.
A lot of first time hot tub buyers will be asking themselves: can I put my new hot tub on a gravel surface? What is the best surface for a hot tub?
Will a gravel surface both adequately support and drain my larger hot tub?
Well, we won’t leave you hanging on the all-important question of this article: yes, you can place a hot tub on a granite surface.
In fact, often a flat gravel or tarmac surface will be preferable to grass.
We’re going to discuss a few of the reasons why a gravel surface might be superior to a plain grass or mud surface, before covering a few other different types of surface, as well as how to construct a concrete and gravel pad and how to install a gravel hot tub base.
Why Choose Gravel As A Base?
When thinking about installing a hot tub, one of the primary considerations should be how much your unit weighs, with or without people and with or without water.
The unfilled body of a hot tub will probably be relatively lightweight, made from whether fiberglass or acrylic materials.
When you add the additional liquid and solid pounds of water and people, it really can make a difference to the structural integrity of your hot tub base.
You’ll need something that can support possibly thousands of pounds of excess weight.
Even with all that additional weight, you can still find your hot tub shifting on more slippery surfaces. Gravel provides your hot tub with that additional grip underneath a surface that is often very smooth.
Gravel also holds excellent water draining properties, in much the same way as grass or mud can, although even these surfaces tend to become saturated and waterlogged.
Other Reasons To Choose Gravel For Your Hot Tub
Gravel also won’t crack over time like flat concrete or tarmac will as they experience repeated strain from loading up your hot tub with both water and people.
Flat tarmac will also crack from soaking in water over and over as you drain your hot tub after use.
Gravel is also a shifting surface that will mold to the underside of your hot tub, accommodating its unique shape and material.
Once it is molded, the gravel will eventually shift into all the nooks and crannies of your hot tub base and form a very secure and stable anchor.
Finally, a great reason to choose gravel for a base is that it’s really cheap.
You can pick up a few bags of garden gravel from your local DIY store for less than a hundred dollars, filling up your homemade gravel pit and installing your hot tub in next to no time at all!
Gravel is the perfect base for heavier hot tubs that can hold a larger capacity of people.
Can You Use Pea Gravel With Your Hot Tub?
Pea gravel, like regular gravel, also has a lot of the properties listed above, while giving your hot tub surroundings that extra sophisticated look, as it can come in a range of pretty colors and smoother shapes.
Pea gravel can accentuate a diverse range of landscaping features, such as stone water fountains and fish ponds. You can really tie together the disparate features of your garden with a uniform style of pea gravel.
Pea gravel will also help you effectively drain your hot tub after use, allowing the water to run discreetly through the minute gaps in between.
Pea gravel is also a lot more inexpensive than regular gravel, perfect if you want to give your garden that sophisticated and cultured finish on a budget!
How To Install A Gravel Hot Tub Base
Some of you might have been convinced by our article, so here are a few simple steps to build your very own gravel hot tub base.
- Measure your hot tub to get the exact dimensions. You might want to add an extra few inches around the side for draining and cosmetic purposes.
- Find the right amount of space in your back garden for installation. Mark on the ground with chalk the positioning.
- Dig out the earth for your gravel pit. You’ll want to dig out about 6-inches.
- You can line the inside of your trench with landscape cloth, for that extra support in the base.
- With the hole with your gravel. You can either fill the entirety of the pit with regular gravel or fill the bottom layer (about 4-inches) with gravel and the top layer (2-inches) with pea gravel for that extra luxurious finish.
What are the alternatives for a gravel-based hot tub?
If you don’t have the space for decking or a decent patio or simply feel reluctant to use it to support your heavy hot tub, then you can construct a concrete base quickly and easily using just a few solid slabs.
Take 4 large slabs of concrete and lay them in a grid-like shape, leaving roughly half an inch gap between them to promote drainage.
When you’re sure they’re level and are happy with the placement, then go ahead and mount your hot tub on top of them.
Make sure that the soil underneath your slabs is compact enough to prevent sagging when loaded with water and people.
Concrete pads are a relatively inexpensive and not very labor-intensive method of supporting your hot tub.
If you’re in the market for a hot tub, and are wondering if gravel can be used as a leveling surface, we say go for it! It’s a great way to save money and create an easy installation.
Just make sure that the gravel is packed down tightly so there’s no give when you walk on it.
And always consult with your local dealer to find out what type of base is recommended for your specific model of hot tub.
Thanks for reading, and happy soaking!