Hot tubs provide both indoor and outdoor hot soaking experiences throughout the winter. Alternatively, you can also use the same hot tub filled with cold water in the summer. For such a useful platform, setting up a strong base is equally important. In most cases, there is no specific requirement for the base type of a hot tub. You can use any of them based on your desire. However, there are different pros and cons to each base type. Of them, a gravel base should be considered one of the top runners on the list.
Now many may wonder if they can put a hot tub on gravel. For your relief, yes, you certainly can. Gravels are small stones that are mostly used with concrete. They are sturdy, can hold weight, have better drainage features, and whatnot! In this article, you will get a brief idea of whether you can put a hot tub on gravel, the reasons behind that, their type, measuring formula, how to build one, and lastly, some more beneficial sides of gravel bases.
- You can use gravel to form your outdoor hot tub base.
- They are sturdy by nature and can bear heavier weights with ease.
- A gravel-made base has an extraordinary water drainage feature.
- You should consider a level area to build such a gravel base.
Can You Put A Hot Tub On Gravel: 5 Reasons
Yes, you can certainly put a hot tub on gravel. In fact, gravel should be the top choice to lay the base and put your inflatable or mid-range hot tub on. There is more than one reason for choosing gravel as the base material. Such as:
1. Better Support
You may think gravel is only effective in concrete mixes, but individually, it can create a sturdy base for anything. Gravels, especially crushed stones, create a solid surface that can hold weights beyond our thinking. Apart from the strength part, they also create a not-so-smooth surface to avoid any form of slipping in the hot tub. This way, you can keep your hot tub on a gravel base for a long time.
2. Easy to install
Another major reason for choosing gravel as a hot tub base is its easy installation process. You won’t need much material except the gravel to form the base. Also, it is so easy to hire a professional to do the task. meaning you can do it by yourself and even add some modifications of your choice. We will have the installment process in the later part of the content.
3. Draining the Water
One of the popular reasons people choose gravel to make patio setups, walkways, and hot tub bases is their superb drainage ability. Don’t think that the gravel stones have the power to soak up water. Rather, they have a natural gap between them when placed. This gap drains water to the upper soil very quickly. This way, every time water pours from your body after a tub session, it is processed by the gravel, leaving the tub area dry again.
4. Aesthetical Appearance
Many outdoor hot tub users cover the hot tub base with gravel as part of their outdoor beautification. It is not surprising that gravel and different-sized stones can decorate your backyard if placed correctly. We often see such stones put by the roadside under the big trees. Some people use different textures of gravel to match their backyard’s overall appearance.
5. Economic Perspective
A hot tub alone can cost you thousands of dollars. Having a fancy base can cause this amount to double or triple sometimes. Gravels are one of the few cost-effective solutions that can rescue you from a lot of ‘avoidable’ expenses. All you need is a truckload of gravel and some related materials to build a gravel base on which to put your hot tub.
Selecting The Right Type of Gravel And Its Amount
Now that you are certain enough that you can put your hot tub on gravel, the next important step will be understanding which type of gravel is suitable to use and how to calculate its correct amount. Among the probable candidates, the three frontrunners on that list are crushed stones, actual gravel, and pea gravel. Let’s start with a little comparison of the introductions to each:
- Crushed Stones: When big stones or rocks are crushed into small pieces by machines, they are called crushed stones. Crushing the rock creates stones that are rough and angular in shape. Upon crushing into pieces, they are screened to categorize them into different classes and shapes. These stones have different applications across the industry. Usually, stones sized 34 of an inch or less are ideal to lay beneath your hot tub. You can also use bigger stones on the primary layer and smaller ones on top of that.
- Pure Gravels: Usually, they are similar to crushed stones, but their crushing happens naturally. Stone fragments that have been formed naturally over a long period of time through the erosion of larger rocks are considered gravels. Gravel can range in size from 2mm to 4mm or from 4mm to 64mm. Any smaller than that is considered sand. You can use larger gravels as the primary base and smaller ones as the leveling portion. Using too small gravel can cause the surface shape to dilute due to the hot tub’s weight or your foot pressing.
- Pea Gravel: Pea gravel is a small, smooth, naturally rounded river rock, with each stone about the size of a pea (3/8-inch). They are also known as CM-16 stones and pea stones. This gravel comes in smother, even shapes and can take on vivid colors naturally if it is wet. They are used for covering sidewalks, dog areas, and sometimes the sides of ponds. They can also be used to house your hot tub, but their smooth shape makes them a bit slippery and can lead to displacement sometimes.
Calculating The Gravel Amount:
To calculate the amount of gravel you need, you have to start by measuring your intended hot tub placing spot. Assuming you will have a 10-foot-long by 8-foot-wide by 6″ depth hot tub base, the amount of gravel needed will be 0.617 cubic yards or 0.794 tons.
- First convert depth 6″ to feet: 6/12 = 0.5 feet.
- Calculate gravel volume: 10 ft. × 8 ft. × 0.5 ft. = 40 cubic feet.
- Convert to cubic yards: 40/27 = 1.48 cubic yards. [1 cubic yard=27 cubic feet]
- Multiply by gravel density in lb./cubic yard: 1.48 × 2831.73 = 4190 lb. = 0.794 tons. [1 ton= 2204.62 lb]
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How to Make A Gravel Base for Putting A Hot Tub?
As mentioned earlier, now let’s go through the gravel-basing process for putting a hot tub on it. You will need some basic materials and required tools to complete the task such as:
- Geotextile Fabric
- Steel Rake
- Perimeter Timber
- Measurement tools
- Prepare The Site: Upon deciding to put a gravel base and arrange the required materials, you have to select a suitable spot and prepare it. The place should be well situated in a convenient place. A level surface will be easier to base. Measure the area and mark the edges down.
- Remove The Top Soil: The next task is removing the topsoil. All the grassy surfaces should be removed to lay down the gravel on a hard surface.
- Add A Lumber Perimeter: Add a lumber perimeter fence around the marked space. This perimeter should be integrated hard using hardwood or steel as it will hold the gravel and the hot tub.
- Place Geotextile Fabric: Place good quality geotextile fabric over the designated top soil-less area. This is very important as it will prevent mold or insects from making their house.
- Lay The Gravel: Now lay the gravel over the fabric and level it with a steel rake. Don’t forget to keep the slope to further enhance its water-draining ability. But keep the hot tub placing spot precisely leveled.
Benefits of Putting A Hot Tub on Gravel
We have mentioned some reasons why you want to put a hot tub on gravel; now let’s discover some other exclusive benefits of putting a hot tub on gravel.
- Stability: Placing the hot tub on a gravel base helps the tub be stable and level. Each gravel piece absorbs the hot tub’s weight and ensures a perfect weight balance. This provides the user with better safety and comfort.
- Tub Protection: Having a gravel base down and around the hot tub ensures better cleanliness and protection of the tub. Direct contact with soil prevents mold and insects from damaging the tub. When you go in or out of the hot tub, the gravel ensures a comparatively cleaner surface on which to stand or walk. This helps keep the tub’s water clean.
- Versatility: Bases made using gravel provide versatile benefits, such as being easy to make, level, or customize. Also, you can reuse the gravel for other tasks after demolishing the base.
- Accessibility: The gravel base has a compact pile-up structure. This way, you can remove or reposition the hot tub at any time and do the required maintenance on it.
- Durability: Gravels are naturally durable. They are formed by a thousand-year process underneath the soil or a river bed. Their sturdiness is a sign of durability, meaning you can use them for decades.
- Cost-effective Solution: Placing a gravel base is one of the least expensive methods to put your hot tub on. Depending on the state and transportation distance, you can get gravel priced between $80 and $100 per ton. If you do not use any professional life, then you can build such a gravel base for 1/3 of the cost of any other material base.
Having a hot tub is not everything to enjoy the privilege of soaking in, especially if it is an outdoor one. A hot tub needs a well-developed base to put it on. A hot tub, its users, and the water in it become a very heavy weight to bear, and a gravel base can be one of the simplest yet most effective mediums. Gravel benefits include being easy to install, able to bear immense weight, being less expensive, being durable, etc. It also provides quick water drainage and slip protection for the users. For all of its beneficial sides, you can certainly choose gravel as your hot tub base material, and by using the steps mentioned above, you can easily lay your own one.
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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.