Do this! How To Level A Hot Tub [Concrete, Pavers, Deck] Tips

Have you noticed that your hot tub is not leveled anymore? It could be that your ground shifted, or it was never leveled to begin with. So how do you level your hot tub?

The most common and often easiest way to level a hot tub on concrete is by using shims. In fact, most hot tubs come with shim points. Your owner’s manual will provide detailed instructions regarding where the shim points are and how to apply shims. This option is fairly cheap.

However, it should be noted that some users report issues with shims rotting. That being said, it is important not to over-shim a hot tub. This is a fix for minor slopes only. 

Otherwise, it may be necessary to completely repave the concrete. 

How do you level sloping concrete?

If your hot tub is placed on a concrete and you noticed that your hot tub is not balanced properly, then it is possible that you might need to do some corrections on your concrete. So how do you level sloping concrete?

Have you gotten your hot tub accessories this year?

Honestly, when I experienced a hot tub for the first time, it was good enough for me. It hasn’t gone a lot before I thought how cool it would be to have a drink in my hot tub, watch a game or bring my food with me. I had no idea people already made things for your hot tub so you can do just that. I have a long list of hot tub accessories that might be interesting to you. Click here to read the article.

The first step in leveling sloping concrete is to:

  1. Take the proper safety precautions and obtain safety goggles and gloves in order to protect oneself.
  2. Next, it is important to clean the concrete with a chemical cleaner.
  3. Once applied, the cleaner should be left to sit on the concrete for thirty minutes before the concrete is scrubbed with a brush.
  4. Afterward, a power washer should be used to rid the concrete of any remaining cleaner and dirt.   
  5. Next, a wooden frame consisting of two by eight lumber boards nailed together with at least two-inch nails should be built around the concrete.
  6. The inside of the boards should then be sprayed with vegetable oil to prevent them from sticking to the leveling compound that will be applied.
  7. To hold the frame in place, wooden stakes should be placed two feet apart around the outside of the boards. 
  8. Then, the concrete bonding agent being used should be prepared and diluted according to its package instructions and applied to the concrete with a paintbrush.
  9. Now, it is time to mix and apply the self-leveling concrete.
  10. This process goes quickly and should be outlined on the product packaging.
  11. After the concrete has been poured and allowed enough time to level, the edges should be smoothed with a trowel and left to dry completely. 

What is the best way to level a spa on uneven concrete?

If you hot tub sits on uneven concrete, then the best way to level a spa on uneven concrete is to do the following:

  1. Rip pressure treated 2x4s and placed one foot apart.
  2. Construct a 2x4s pressure-treated deck and place pressure-treated plywood on top.
  3. The Spa Level R.
  4. Wooden box + pea sand or gravel + hand pads.
  5. Wooden box + pea sand or gravel + EZ pads.

Does the spa need to be perfectly level?

Your spa needs a solid, level base and it needs to be perfectly level. The surface on which your spa rests must be able to support the weight of the spa, the water in it, and the people using it. If the foundation is inadequate, it may shift or settle after the spa is installed, causing stress in the outer shell.

How out of level can a hot tub be?

It is not a level problem. The worst part is that you could see that the water is not parallel to the top of the spa. But it is more important that the slab is leveled.

A flat slab will support the bottom of the spa evenly. If the slab is not leveled, parts of the spa may not be supported, and all the weight of the water may break the spa.

Almost anything that is solid can be used as a shim. For a hot tub that is going to stay in place for a long time, I would use the scrap metal. You can get it from any welding store or metal fabrication store from their scrap piles.

Also, most depots sell aluminum and steel. You can also use shingles or plastic sheeting. I don’t like using store-bought shims because they tend to be small and light.

A small touch when setting up the hot tub may cause them to fall off, but you can tape them to the bottom of the hot tub with sealant or construction adhesive. Then tilt the hot tub into proper position.

How do I level a deck for a hot tub?

To level a hot tub deck

  1. Mark the spa area with paint or chalk.
  2. Fill the area with a layer of sand.
  3. Cut a board one inch thick and six inches wide long enough to reach both ends of the spa.
  4. Slide the edge of the board one inch from one end of the marked area to the other.

How thick does the concrete need to be for a hot tub?

Concrete slabs should be about four inches thick and able to withstand roughly one hundred and fifteen pounds per square foot of concrete in order to be a suitable space to hold the extreme weight that comes with a filled hot tub. 

What’s the maximum slope for a hot tub?

Any slope measuring greater than half an inch to an inch is not suitable for a hot tub. In this case, some action will be required in order to make sure the hot tub in question is leveled properly.

However, given that most patios are designed to slope slightly away from the house, it is okay to place a hot tub on a slightly sloped patio surface as long as the slope does not exceed the aforementioned half an inch to inch limit. In addition, the patio should otherwise be even and free of any dips, sags, or other imperfections. 

How to level a hot tub on pavers? 

Pavers are an easy way to level a hot tub. However, while they can be a great option, it should be noted that they have the potential to cause serious problems if chosen or applied incorrectly.

For this reason, raised pavers should be avoided as they can create problems at the base of the hot tub by inadvertently placing stress on the shell due to imbalances in weight distribution. This may lead to damage such as sagging as cracking. Therefore, it is important to purchase pavers that are smooth and interlock to provide a flat, level, and safe surface for the hot tub. 

Additionally, when using pavers the weight of the center of the hot tub should be supported by a level concrete slab, sand, or gravel. Then, the hot tub can be placed on the pavers which essentially support the edges, keeping the hot tub elevated and even. 

Have You Considered Switching From
Chlorine To Bromine?

There’s been a trend where people are switching from chlorine to bromine. I feel there is not a lot of information about that transition and how to go about it since you can’t mix the two. I have addressed the most common misconceptions about this in the following article.

Can I use hot tub shims to level a hot tub?

Hot tub shims can be used to level a hot tub. As previously mentioned, they are often the preferred method of doing so as their application is a fairly easy process and provides sufficient support to the hot tub.

However, in some cases, the use of hot tub shim points may invalidate any warranties placed on the hot tub. So, it is important to double-check before applying shims to a hot tub.

What are hot tub leveling options?

Pouring new concrete, laying gravel, or installing hot tub shims are all viable options to level uneven ground in preparation for a hot tub. 

The easiest and most common method of leveling is installing hot tub shims to the base of the hot tub to create balance and support. In this case, planks are used to create a level surface at an affordable cost. However, it should be noted that the planks may rot or decay and will likely need to be replaced at some point in time, especially if exposed to harsh weather conditions. 

However, if the imbalance is not too severe, pouring new concrete over the old is an easy, yet slightly more costly fix. In this case, new concrete should be poured until the ground is level and allowed to dry completely before supporting the weight of the hot tub. 

Finally, while potentially more labor intensive, laying gravel is also a great option to level ground and support a hot tub. If using this method, the area intended for hot tub use should be boxed in with pressure-treated lumber and filled with gravel or small stones. 

Can I place a hot tub on gravel?

Hot tubs can be and frequently are placed on gravel surfaces. In fact, gravel is often considered one of the best options when it comes to setting up a hot tub.

This popularity can be attributed to the fact that gravel is quick, cost-efficient, and often complements the aesthetic of most backyards.

Furthermore, gravel is easily able to drain water and resists shifting or cracking unlike concrete and other popular foundations. However, one drawback to using gravel is that it is likely to mold over a period of time and may conform to the hot tub causing tilt and unevenness.

Building a raised platform

What can you do if your hot tub is off by more than an inch and you don’t want to spend this year’s Christmas budget on a hot tub leveler or a new concrete deck? Build your own leveler. A raised platform built of wood and filled with sand or gravel will provide a stable surface for your hot tub.

If you want to build one yourself, you’ll need some carpentry skills and tools. If this idea scares you, simply find a local handyman who can do the work for you at a reasonable price.

Here’s how to make a custom stamp

To get a nice, flat, new surface for your hot tub, you’ll need to build a wooden frame and fill it with gravel to create a flat surface for your hot tub. Custom built means just that. To get started, you’ll need to calculate a few important things:

  • Slope measurement: how uneven is your existing concrete surface?
  • The amount of framing material needed: 2×4 pressure treated lumber and screws.
  • The amount of sand or gravel needed to fill the frame.

Build a box

Use the 2×4 lumber to build a box-like frame that is about an inch wider than the base of your hot tub. Each piece of lumber should be ribbed and tapered on the bottom so that when the entire box is built and placed on the uneven surface, the top boards will be level all around.

Pro tip #1: It’s important to use pressure-treated lumber to ensure your new support will stand up to the weather and moisture around the hot tub.

Pro tip #2: Drill several holes along the bottom board on the long (and lower) side; this will allow water that splashes into the tub or puddles after a rain to drain and run off through the gravel or sand.

Fill the box with gravel or sand.

Once you’ve built the box and secured it to the sloped concrete, fill it with enough gravel or sand to extend no more than an inch above the top; this will give you a stable base for placing the spa.

Cement is an alternative and optional fill for your custom frame box. However, you should be sure that you never want to move the hot tub before choosing this option, as it is a more permanent solution.

Buy bags of cement at a hardware store and make your own concrete. Mix the cement, pour it into the frame and allow it to dry as directed before reinstalling the hot tub on the new base.

Paint or stain the wood

If you want the siding on your new hot tub to have a finished look, you can paint or stain it to match the hot tub floor. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it does give a professional, custom look. One of the benefits of painting or staining is that it gives the wood protection from the elements in addition to its already pressured nature.

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Emily Williams

Emily is a passionate Hot Tubs researcher who loves writing about all things Hot Tubs! She has years of experience and a knack for simplifying complex concepts, these articles are here to answer all your burning questions in a simple and easy to read style.
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