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Do I Need a Concrete Pad for a Swim Spa?

If you’ve finally decided to buy a swim spa, you’ve probably realized you now have many more questions than you did before you decided to buy it.  Things like, “Where should I install it?” “Do I have enough room?”  “Do I need a concrete pad for swim spa?” and many other questions are likely to arise. 

In regards to the last question, the fact is that there are several different types of bases that you can use for your swim spa.  The type you choose will come down to space you have available, any existing structures that could be incorporated and the amount of money and effort you’re willing to spend.  The rest of this article will focus on the types of bases you can use for a swim spa and how they function.

Concrete Pads

Probably the simplest, most effective, but most expensive way to create a base for a swim spa is to pour a concrete pad.  Pads for swim spas are typically at least four inches thick but may need to be thicker if your swim spa is of a larger size.  The advantage of pouring a new concrete pad is that you can ensure it’s exact level and is tailor-made to fit the size of the swim spa you’re installing. 

Patio Pavers

Sometimes new swim spa buyers already have patio pavers laid down in their backyard.  If the conditions are right these may be of use when it comes to providing a base for the swim spa.  That said, they need to be level and this is sometimes a problem with existing patios.  Most patios pavers are set at a pitch to allow water to drain away.  If you place a swim spa on a base that’s not quite level, the pressure created by the water will, over time, cause the walls of the swim spa to weaken.  Therefore it’s important to get your patio paving stones level before installing the swim spa.  Whether this means adjusting the existing pavers, adding new ones or starting from scratch will depend on your situation.

Crushed Stone

Using crushed stone can be a thrifty but effective way to create a base for a new swim spa installation.  That said, the ground needs to be properly prepared before laying down the stone.  You’ll need to dig through the grass and topsoil to a level of about 4 inches deep.  You’ll also want the perimeter of the crushed stone base to extend a few more inches out from the edge of where the swim spa will sit.  Once you have the soil dug out you can pour and pack the crushed stone to make a level base.  The weight of the swim spa itself can also be used to pack the stone down and create a level area.

Prefabricated Pads

Prefabricated pads are typically made of hard plastic or rubber and come in interlocking sections that are linked together to create a flat base.  As with a crushed stone base, you’ll need to dig down and take out an area of grass and topsoil to a depth of three to four inches before laying down the pad.  Prefabricated pads aren’t the preferred method for long-term installations, but they can be handy to quickly lay down a base for a portable swim spa unit.

Wooden Decks

Wooden decks can be used as a base for a swim spa as long as they’re properly reinforced to carry the weight of a fully loaded tank.  This is very important as a failure can cause damage, injury, and possible death.  Your average deck is probably not reinforced enough to bear the weight of a swim spa, so it’s in your best interest to get it checked out by a structural engineer before proceeding.

Now that you know about a variety of swim spa installation options, download a swim spa buyer’s guide to learn more about our models.