Building your own decking around your spa or hot tub
Decking makes a perfect surround to your hot tub keeping it cleaner, safer and giving it a great look. Here’s some advice on how to go about installing your own.
Hot tubs and decking just go so well together.
An area of decking around your hot tub is an idea that has a lot of things going for it.
Firstly the decking surrounds your hot tub with an area that is relatively easy to keep clean. A quick sweep with a broom or brush and the decking can be kept free of leaves, dirt and debris that otherwise could be carried into your spa on bathers feet.
An area of clean decking around your hot tub will help keep the water cleaner and give the spa filter less work to do.
A decked area around your spa can make things safer for bathers. If kept clean and well maintained, decking can provide a good non-slip surface around the spa that can help avoid accidents.
There are also special anti-slip decking boards on the market that have areas of rubber or aggregate inserts that will provide an even safer surface and often come in attractive designs and finishes.
The decking can also be designed so that the spa is easier to get in and out of either by a set of steps that go up to the level of the top of the spa or by sinking the spa into a decked surface.
Many hot tubs and spas will have an outer cabinet that is finished with a wood effect look and the ‘planking’ on the cabinet blends with the decking boards so that the whole installation looks smart and well designed. The spa is visually tied into the decking area around it to make a distinct area for family and friends to relax in.
How hard is decking to install?
The popularity of timber decking has, amongst other things, been driven by the DIY market.
Timber decking is easy to install as long as you spend a little time planning the job and getting the right tools and materials on site.
However, if you intend to put your hot tub directly on top of a decked area, you would be wise to consult a professional. A spa full of water can weigh well over a third of a ton and the deck would need to be designed to make sure that it could support that weight.
If you are planning on sinking your spa into an area of decking or building decking steps around the hot tub, you need to make sure that there is sufficient access for service to be carried out to the spa’s equipment package. If the upright supports for the decking are 600mm from the sides of the spa, then decking boards can be lifted when servicing is required.
The best plan for the project might be to lay a level concrete base that your spa sits on, position the spa on that base and then lay the decking around it.
Starting the project.
The first thing to do is to draw up an accurate design for your decking and from that you can work out what timber you will need for the supports, bearers, joists and of course the deck itself.
Clear and prepare the ground that your deck will cover then translate your plan that onto the actual ground using pegs, a builder’s line and builder’s marker spray.
Once the site is marked up, you can dig the holes for the supports and then set the 4”x4” treated timber posts into concrete in their holes. Mark your level on the first post then transfer that level to the other using a spirit level and cut the posts to the correct height.
At this stage, lay landscaping fabric to cover the ground beneath the deck and suppress weed or plant growth.
Bolt the bearers down on to the tops of the support posts and then install the joists with joist hangers and galvanised nails. The joists should run at right angles relative to the run of your decking boards.
Once the joists are in place, you can start to lay the decking boards and secure them in place with galvanised deck screws. The boards should be about 3mm apart and you should use a spacer to keep this consistent across the deck.
The more accurate and consistent all your cutting and measuring is, the better the finished job will look.