Choosing the right base for your hot tub is one of the most important and biggest decisions when buying a hot tub. For one, it makes a great deal of difference to the accessibility and longevity of your hot tub, but it is also a aesthetic choice, as different bases can dramatically alter the look and feel of your hot tub and the area around it. 

A level hot tub is a necessity, making the hot tub base a crucial part of the puzzle and a big one in the decision making process. A hot tub that isn’t level will have wonky water (it is a thing, trust us) but it will also put stress and pressure on the hot tub frame. 

A standard hot tub when full of water and people weighs around 2,000KG, so you can imagine the need for it to be level and sturdy.

Installing your hot tub

When installing your hot tub, there are a few things you need to consider along with planning which base you’re going to opt for. All of these things combined have a huge impact on your hot tub experience, how you feel when you’re in the tub, and how much time you’re going to spend in there.


Where are you going to place your hot tub? You want to think about things like wind and sun exposure here, as well as whether or not you’re going to feel relaxed when you’re in the tub. Consider the view when you’re enjoying the bubbles, and if it is the most logical space for your hot tub to live. Remember to choose the perfect hot tub size for your space.


On placement, you need to think about privacy and whether or not you’re going to feel at ease in the tub. You can consider things like hot tub enclosures or scenes so that you can place your hot tub wherever you like and get the best of both worlds. 


Can you access the tub easily, both from an entrance point of view but also for draining and refilling your hot tub, which you will need to do every three to four months. 


Practicality aside, how is the tub going to look? Whether you want to create your own urban oasis or a space for you to entertain, think about how the hot tub is going to look, and you can plan out your base and surroundings accordingly. 

Different types of hot tub bases 



DIY Difficulty rating: medium

Hot tub size: Any size

Price range: mid-range

Paving is a popular option, usually if you already have it. Keep in mind that paving has to be totally level before considering putting a hot tub on it, and that drainage can be an issue if you have nowhere for spills to go. Aesthetically pleasing and offering a clean and polished feel, we know why this is popular and if your garden is set up for it, then go for it. 


Paving is something that if not already installed, can be a big task. 

You will need to prep the ground underneath beforehand, and then, ensuring it is level, laying the paving. 

Make sure that you have planned and prepared the ground properly, and given it adequate time to settle before putting a hot tub on top.



DIY Difficulty rating: difficult

Hot tub size: Any size, particularly good for large tubs

Price range: high

Concrete is sturdy and durable, but it comes with the price tag to match. If you have a particularly sloped garden or a tub that is on the larger side, then a concrete base needs to be a serious consideration for your hot tub. You will need to make sure the pad is reinforced to prevent cracks, and frankly, a concrete pad install is a job for a professional. 


Concrete is a job for a professional, so for this one it would be a good idea to obtain three different quotes and ensure that you are confident that it is the right choice for you. As we mentioned, larger tubs and uneven ground will benefit from concrete hot tub bases, but smaller tubs do not need this level of planning and installation, and a gravel hot tub base might be just the ticket. 



DIY Difficulty rating: easy

Hot tub size: Any size

Price range: low

Gravel hot tub pads are one of the most popular hot tub base options and they’re one of the easiest to install, too. Gravel bases should be around 4” deep, and they work best if they have a layer of larger crushed rock below, topped with a landscaping gravel that can then be tailored to your aesthetic. Drainage is easy because spills get absorbed into the gravel, and you can drain your tub easily with a surface like this in place. 


The ground is prepared and then you will want a deep layer of the crushed rock, topped with your landscaping gravel of choice. Make sure you have set out the area that you are gravelling, and a wooden enclosure might be handy for this. This is known as the lumber perimeter, and you will need fabric lining the bottom of your gravelled area. You can get professionals to install these gravel pads, but the chances are it is something you can tackle yourself.



DIY Difficulty rating: medium

Hot tub size: Any size

Price range: mid range

Decking is the most aesthetically pleasing option, but you cannot sit a hot tub on decking alone. There needs to be something underneath to stabilise and strengthen the decking, as we mentioned the weight of a hot tub and it needs a sturdy base! You could use a gravel base under the decking, as the wood is an aesthetic touch rather than a practical one.


There is a lot of planning and prep work that goes into decking, especially if you want a hot tub to sit on it. Make sure you consider building regulations and any inspections that might be needed, and ensure you get the help of a professional if you are unsure on this process. Identify what will go on the ground beneath, and ensure your hot tub has everything it needs to support the weight of your tub. 

Inground hot tubs

inground hot tub

DIY Difficulty rating: N/A

Hot tub size: Any size

Price range: high

In ground hot tubs are built into the ground, meaning that they do not need a base, as such, but they do need a solid foundation. They are more expensive to install but offer incredible aesthetics if this is something that you are considering. 


If you’re considering an in-ground hot tub, ensure that your space and ground is going to be a good hoe for it, and that you have carried out the necessary checks and considerations before going ahead, You will need to consult with professionals to ensure a seamless installation.

Using shims to level your hot tub

Shims are a popular way to level your hot tub, but it is not something that we would recommend, and some brands (including Jacuzzi) will void your warranty if you use shims to level your hot tub. 

If you’re not familiar, shims are a form of wooden wedge that can be used to fill gaps and elevate different materials. While this might sound like a good and easy solution, it comes with risks. Shims cause stress on the hot tub and can crack your spa.

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Can you use grass to level your hot tub?

We wouldn’t recommend putting your hot tub directly onto grass or soil. The damp nature of these materials is bad for your hot tub health, and grass or soil alone won’t play a part in providing level ground or supporting the weight of the hot tub. You can put your hot tub onto grass, but you will need an additional surface or platform built to support your hot tub on top of the grass.

Does a hot tub need to be perfectly level?

It doesn’t have to be perfectly level and your hot tub will be designed to have a slight bend in the frame, so you do not need to worry about perfecting the level of your base before installing your hot tub.

Moving your hot tub once placed

Hot tub bases can be moveable, particularly if you’re looking at the pads or plastic tiles, but moving a gravel bed is more complicated and will require more work, so while you can move your hot tub, it does create a lot of additional work. If you’re looking for a hot tub that you can move, consider an inflatable hot tub rather than a solid one.