Friday, December 9, 2011

How to build a hot tub room

How to build a proper exterior hot tub room
Hot tubs have never been more popular than they are right now. The price of hot tubs has come down from even 5 years ago. If you want to get the maximum enjoyment out of your hot tub then you should build a hot tub room for the tub to be placed in.
A hot tub room doesn’t have to be fancy and it doesn’t have to be built into your existing house.
Place your hot tub far enough away from your house that when you build the building over it, it will not conflict with the existing architecture of the house. The hot tub room does not have to look anything like your house, in a lot of situations we build them so that they are completely opposite to the house. Building them out of all cedar, or pine and the house is brick, can give people the feel that the hot tub building is an oasis from the world. You want the hot tub far enough away but not too far. If you have to shovel snow, or walk through a biting wind you don’t want a 5 minute excursion. If you can manage to plan the room along with a deck or patio that will help give everything a linked feel, it will seem like it was always suppose to be there.
How to build your hot tub room;
1.       Strip off the top soil and make level the ground for a concrete pad. The pad should be 4 inches bigger than the hot tub itself. This allows you to move the hot tub when you set it in place a little. Depending on the size and weight of the hot tub your pad should be a minimum of 6 inches thick.
2.       Then install footing tubes where you think you require them. If your hot tub room is a square you probably need four of them, but if it has more corners or you’re spanning more than 14 feet you should probably add in centre posts to take the weight.
3.       Once the concrete has been poured and backed filled, it’s time to install the tub. Place the tub on the concrete pad centring it in the new building. This has to be done before you start constructing the deck or you will never get it in.
4.       Set the height of the deck. You want the height of the deck off the ground so that there can be air movement under it. This will allow the joist to air dry every time they get wet. The higher you can get the deck the better for getting in and out of the hot tub. The best result if you can build the deck 4 to 5 inches below the top edge of the hot tub. This places the deck below the plastic moulded edge. It will show a little of the tubs side material which is usually cedar. This allows the cover to be properly installed when the tub is not in use. The other thing that this allows you to do is keep the floor joist above the access to the motor and pump. If you can’t get the deck joist above the motor and pump area then your going to have to frame a spot in the deck that will allow you to work on the this area.
5.       Frame the deck around the hot tub. The actual joist should be left 2 to 3 inches away from the hot tub, the hot tub once full of water will settle and shift a little depending on the season. You want to give it this room to do that.
6.       The top decking can be whatever you want, a lot of people use cedar or a composite decking material. This will give the decking longer life as it will be getting wet from people exiting the tub. Try to leave a minimum of 1 inch around the tub with the decking so that it has the ability to move. You can always cut some of this decking out in the future if you think the tub needs more space.
7.       Frame the walls and roof beams, if you are putting a roof on this room/building then you can use spruce lumber, but if you are going to leave the top open air then you should use pressure treaded lumber. The walls only have to be framed out of 2 x4’s. Put large 6 x6 posts in the corner to transfer the roof load down to the footing tubes.
8.       Frame in some windows and a patio door, this will give you maximum light and something to look out when your relaxing in the tub.
9.       You can clad the outside of the building in whatever you want. My hot tub room was done in tongue and groove cedar inside and out, installed vertically. I put no treatment on it and allowed it to go naturally grey.
10.   When you frame the roof, try to frame the roof so that you can leave it unfinished.  Use a nicer wood then spruce. Pine or cedar is fine, if your budget allows it use a beautiful hardwood to show off the contours of the roof.
11.   Skylights are always a nice feature, one reason people own a hot tub is so that they can stare at the stars. Depending on size of your room and the size of your budget you can install as many as you want. One other option is to have a custom plastic sky light made. My hot tub room has a 5 x5 foot plastic clear dome in the middle. This requires some tricky framing, but an experienced carpenter should have no problem figuring it out. Plastic skylights are actually cheaper then glass skylights. They also do not come with a flashing kit like a glass skylight, so when you shingle the roof you will have to spend some extra time making sure that you have the plastic domes edges leak proof.
12.   Finish off the room with some electrical outlets and at least one light. When the electrician wires up your hot tub he should mount the GFI breaker panel outside of the hot tub room so that anyone coming to service the tub can easily turn it off.
13.   If you can, install windows that will open so that you can create cross ventilation. Hot tub rooms will become very warm and stuffy if there is no ventilation. If you can’t install windows that open then install louvers. These will allow you to create even more ventilation keeping the temperature relatively comfortable.
14.   Do not enclose around the bottom of the deck where it sits off the ground. You want airflow under the deck to allow the joist o dry when they get wet. Instead install lattice, this will allow airflow to the underside of the deck, keeping animals from living in there and it gives it that nice and finished look.
This will give you a hot tub room that will allow you to use your hot tub all year long. If you bug proof it with big screen then you can use it in the spring when its mosquito season.
Another benefit to a hot tub room is that it will protect your hot tub cover from the elements, wind, rain, snow and the sun age the cover quickly and being inside should extend the life of it. It is also a great way to keep animals from walking on the cover and if you have small children then a lock on the door will give you added safety.
For more tips on hot tub rooms, or if you would like a price on one from Village Builders Inc. Please email me at robabbott@villagebuilders.ca
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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