Planning to add a spa to your back deck? It can be a great idea for fun and relaxation now, but making sure it's not a drain on your future prospects for selling the house require some careful planning and a little work. Here are three things to keep in mind when placing your spa in a deck to ensure it remains a positive addition to your property.
Think About Stability
Weighing in at nearly 3000 pounds to nearly 10,000 pounds when filled, a spa can be a heavy burden to your deck. Start your planning by placing the potential spa on the lowest level of your deck, because structural supports will cost the least in this location. Then check with local building codes to determine if there are any required structural changes you need to make. Working with a qualified construction company with experience in decks will help you determine if your current deck can support the weight of your chosen spa; if you need to upgrade the deck to modern standards and long lasting materials; or if you can add a concrete slab to the ground below and place the spa on it instead.
Think About Access
Aid easy access to the spa itself and its components by placing it near electrical connections that can be altered to include a safety feature known as GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) that's required when you use electricity around water. It's also a good idea to ensure that these electrical connections can be wired with 220-volt circuits if you are purchasing a larger spa.
Consider human access as well. Most people place their spas close to the house and the entry door for easy access, which is good. But keep it at least a meter away from any surrounding walls so that you can easily move around the hot tub and reach its controls for repairs. Also, add handrails for safe access to the water, and don't drop the spa's rim all the way to the floor of the deck, even though it might appear more attractive. Getting in and out of it will likely be more difficult and it may cause falls, which might be something of particular concern to future retiree home buyers. Ideally, place the spa no less than 1 1/2 to 2 feet above the deck's surface.
Think About Aesthetics
To ensure that your deck and spa remain appealing to future home buyers, think about where you will be placing it in terms of what it looks like and what you see from inside the tub. Sit in the spa and think about how strangers will see things. Can you add a nice view? Trim some bushes or trees if it can enhance the view, or do some landscaping around the spa to help increase its visual appeal from the inside. Provide privacy from nearby neighbors or from home windows with a row of columnar trees, privacy screens or a trellis with climbing vines.
Don't forget about the deck, either. If your deck is old, warped or sagging, it's no place for a long-term investment like a spa. Consider upgrading your deck to sturdy, low-maintenance materials, such as composites, before placing the hot tub in it. It will be cheaper to do so before installation than after everything has been completed. You want to make sure you have a long lasting deck to best support your spa.
Planning well before dropping your hot tub onto your deck will help make sure you get the best result possible. By thinking ahead to how future buyers will view your spa and the deck around it, you can help keep your investment from backfiring on your home value in the future.