This guide shares how to build an easy new deck for a plug and play hot tub, without cutting any wood! Creates a strong, attractive and cost effective platform that can be used for many different things!
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But what a messy learning experience that was. When it rained, of course the water pooled on the tarp. And it was a soggy and somewhat messy walk trying to get from the sidewalk to the tub on the lawn and back again.
So we reasoned, if we ever got another inflatable hot tub, we’d do it right and build a wood deck using proper pressure-treated wood deck material for it!
I’m ecstatic to say we not only now have a larger 6-person inflatable hot tub we absolutely adore, it also now houses a perfectly durable new size deck that couldn’t be easier to build for our new water-filled outdoor living space!
Since this was our first attempt with deck projects, we wanted it simplified. So we came up with a strong and sturdy DIY ground-level platform deck that was made even easier to build since we didn’t need to cut any wood whatsoever!
Impossible you say? Not at all. It’s all in the planning and dependent on what size you require.
So if you need a small deck but are overwhelmed with the steps and cost, today we are breaking down how to build a simplified hot tub deck or platform in easy steps you can build in a few short hours!
Building an easy no-cut new deck for a plug and play hot tub – part 2
Read the entire plug and play Hot Tubs series:
So let’s build a deck!
But so simple, you don’t even have to cut wood, and beginner builders can manage it… like us!
Supplies you’ll need:
This tutorial will build a platform measuring 96″ x 98″.
Treated lumber: for an 8′ x 8′:
- 8 treated 2x6s x 8′ for framework (9 would be better)
- 17 treated 5/4″ x 6″ x 8′ rounded edged deck boards for the top (mine are from Rona in Canada)
Concrete blocks for footings: (you will likely need 8-10: we used 3 11.5″ blocks because we utilized part of the sidewalk)
3″ deck screws (for the frame)
2.5″ deck screws (for the top deck boards)
Bosch miter saw if you are cutting the boards to size
First of all, I’d like to put a disclaimer out there that I am not a pro builder by any means. I’m simply a homeowner who isn’t afraid to try building new things I’ve never built before.
There are so many ways to build a platform or deck for an inflatable hot tub, so I am hopeful our ideas used in this tutorial will help serve as an overall guideline on what worked for us, so you can adapt your build to suit your own installation. I know steps taken on this one can be improved upon!
However based on my own research in comparisons, this build is simple, strong, attractive, and can be built in a matter of a few short hours. And that’s OK by me!
Note: I would advise to check with your own local building codes and such before you build.
Choosing your location
1. Decide on your platform location based on your square footage needed.
The spot we chose to build our platform is located in our backyard behind the house. The house offers some weather protection, as well as this positioning offers us the most privacy from road and neighbourhood views.
Plus it leads right off the sidewalk so there’s no need to step on the grass if we don’t wish to.
This spot also determined what size we’d have to stay within as we wanted the deck to measure from the door frame to the edge of the house, which measures 9 feet wide.
Decide on the size
2. Decide how large you want your platform to be.
- Ours is 8′ x 8′
Since our hot tub measured 80″, I had hoped for a 9′ x 9′ platform to maximize the space we had to build it in. However, the lumberyard was short on 10′ pieces, so we chose 8′. This actually saved us a lot of time as we didn’t have to cut down any lumber! All planks were used in their original 8′ length for this tutorial.
Building code suggests frame boards should be positioned at a maximum 16″ apart from each other. You could even go tighter right under the tub area for added support if desired. We were short one board so we chose to improvise.
Purchasing the lumber and screws
3. Shop for the lumber and screws.
- 8 treated 2x6s x 8′ (frame) (9 would be better)
- 17 treated 5/4″ x 6″ x 8′ rounded edged deck boards (top)
- 2.5″ deck screws for the top
- 3″ deck screws for the frame
- average cost of materials landed at approximately $350.00 Canadian
While there’s loads of deck material options to choose from, including composite decks and cedar, we decided the type of material we desired was standard treated lumber from a local hardware store. I like the look and it’s more affordable to work with.
The challenge was that the wood was stored outdoors, making them exhibit huge warp potential. So we took our time, and held each and every board lengthwise to our nose, then rotated the board in all directions until we found the straightest boards possible.
We chose to use treated 2×6 lumber for the frame, and treated 1 x 5 deck boards so the deck has appropriate outdoor durability.
Protecting the wood
It was also suggested to not further treat or protect the lumber with any sealants for several months to ensure the original treatment is completely dry. Hopefully we can treat it with a deck stain or seal it with something by the time we pack up the tub for the winter.
Selecting your footings
4. Decide what kind of footings you’ll use.
- we picked up 3 12″ square concrete blocks for footings
There are so many types of deck blocks! However, since we wanted our deck to float, be movable, and use part of our sidewalk as a base, we used 3 small concrete flat blocks as footings because they were easy to work.
After moving everything out of the way, and roughly position the footings, it was time for the real build.
Both my son and I started around 6:30 pm and ended around 10:30 pm, so in all, this somewhat simple build took both of us newbies approximately 4 hours with both of us working on it.
Dry-fitting the deck
5. Dry-fit your design with footings and main frame roughly in place.
After some fiddling, we decided to make this build as easy as can be so it didn’t need any cutting. I wanted a boxy look so I had the option to attach a rail afterwards (vs. the top being slightly longer than the frame) so this idea worked well for us!
Building the outer frame
6. Build a no-cut platform.
Position a 2×6 at the front and back of the deck.
Place a 2×6 on each side of the frame to create a square shape, making sure the boards fit inside the front and back boards.
Attach the corner joins together with 2 3″ deck screws at each corner.
Position the footings roughly into place.
Check that each frame corner is square. Then reposition the footings perfectly, making them nice and square with your frame.
Preparing and leveling the footings
7. Level the footings.
Cut the sod around each footing with a half moon edger. Removing footing and sod, then replace the footing inside the cut under the frame. Adjust footings until the frame sits completely level in all four directions.
Leveling the complete frame was the hardest part! But it’s important if you don’t want the water to lean in your inflatable hot tub.
Level or slope?
Some builders add a slight slope down away from the house, but since this was a tub filled with water, I played it safe and kept it level which is what the tub guidelines suggest.
Since the sidewalk wasn’t completely level, I used shims to adjust, then slipped a heftier support board in its place for adequate support.
Adding the inner framework
8. Add the inside 2x6s 16″ apart to create the frame.
Since we were one board short, our boards measure around 20″ apart. Good enough for our needs!
Attaching the top deck boards
9. Starting at the outside side of the platform, attach decking boards perpendicular to the framing. Attach with 2 screws wherever the deck board meets the frame board.
Leave some space between each board for water drainage. We measured the gaps of the wood with the thick side of a wood shim so spacing was the same throughout.
Note: We actually started adding deck boards against the house first, when we realized we would likely have to cut the last outside board to fit. So we switched gears, and started at the outside working in. Then once both sides finally met, we added a little more spacing in between the boards to just make it work, without cutting any wood to fit.
As you can see, we ran well into the evening with this build. But we wanted it done since we were so close! So we went full tilt until 10:30 pm and got it done!
The finished deck!
And the next morning, we woke up to a fabulous new deck! We were so proud of ourselves!
The deck is also a nice size for a sitting area.
Basic deck frame plans
The above photo shows how the deck was basically built. Here’s hoping if you too need a simple platform for either a hot tub or sitting area, this can work for you.
These plans are based on an 8′ x 8′ ground level platform for an inflatable hot tub. If you build your deck larger, you’ll need to look into how to properly adjust the size and brace the frame that will be appropriate for your intended use and weight load.
Annual maintenance and repair
Each spring after the hot tub comes out of winter storage, I fully plan to pressure wash or use a cleaner to remove any mold and mildew off the deck. Then check the hardwood for splinters or needed screws. And once fully dry, to seal the deck to hopefully extend the deck’s pressure-treated lumber. Plus it’ll help keep up the aesthetics of a new wood look too!
I’m also considering a deck cover of sorts for the winter that could possibly help protect it from added rot, leaves and debris. I’ll give it some thought!
Future yard plans
With the hot tub deck now in place, I’m already dreaming up add-ons to enhance the hot tub area with added flower beds or planters, a possible pergola, a walkway around the platform and a sitting area complete with propane fire pit!
The above photos are a quick sketch I shared on my Instagram stories (drawn with my finger in Instagram LOL) so I could visualize the potential of a simplified version.
In a perfect world, I dream of a much larger wood deck running the entire length of the back of the house with a lot more depth, including removing the sidewalk and rebuilding the stairs.
However this size got the job done quickly, and provided an affordable way to test things out right away. And who knows… maybe it’s all we’ll ever need once I enhance it like my drawings!
Video – building the deck
Visit above to watch a short clip of us building the deck. It isn’t in tutorial form, however it is part of our story and shares our excitement of our first deck build!
Next up in the series:
I use to be afraid of the upkeep of a hot tub. But I’ve found it isn’t anywhere near as difficult to maintain as anticipated. You can read all about it in Part 3!
Things are about to get a whole lot prettier…
Update: after a summer of using the deck, we are in LOVE! The only thing I wish we had done is build the deck a little larger since our tub was so big. (80″ tub on an 8′ x 8′ deck is tight). But being that there was just enough room to walk around the tub while staying on the deck when we close the cover, we are ok with it.
All-in-all, we are very pleased with the outcome!
Building an easy no-cut new deck for a plug and play hot tub
- Miter saw if cutting boards to size
How to build an 8' x 8' ground level deck platform.
- Dry-fit 4 frame boards into a square shape, with full front and back boards showing and the side boards tucked inside. Attach corners with screws. Position concrete blocks underneath frame.
- Cut the shape of each block with a half moon edger to remove the sod underneath. Replace blocks, then set frame on blocks.
- Place a level on all four sides to help adjust the footings until the frame sits level.
- Attach the inside 2x6 framing all in one direction (positioned front to back) at a max of 16" apart.
- Place a top deck board on one end of frame positioned left to right. Attach with two screws at each stud possible.
- Use the thick end of wooden shims as spacers before placing the next board. Repeat until deck is covered, measuring each board as you build to ensure they are straight.
- If you don't wish to cut the last board to size, install a board on the opposite end before finishing, then slightly jog the spaces inside to even things out.
- Lightly sand any rugged edges. Allow treated wood to cure before adding further protection. (approx 6 months)
To enhance the deck:
- Place down gravel, sand or landscape fabric to avoid weeds growing through.