Is Pea Gravel Really Suitable for a Hot Tub Foundation?

Pea gravel is a popular choice for use in landscaping and construction projects, but is it suitable for use as a hot tub base?

Pea gravel should not be used as a base for hot tubs. The small, round stones lack the ability to lock together, which can cause the hot tub to shift or sink. Crushed stone is a more suitable alternative, as the jagged edges lock together to provide a stable base that can support the weight of a hot tub.

Don’t make the mistake of choosing the wrong material for your hot tub base. In this revealing article, you’ll discover the truth about pea gravel, learn when it can be used, and find out why crushed stone is the perfect choice.

Plus, we’ll share some tricks for adding even more stability to your hot tub foundation. Don’t miss out on this valuable information.

The Pitfalls of Using Pea Gravel for a Hot Tub Foundation

Pea gravel, also known as pea shingle, is a type of small, round rock that is typically about the size of a pea or slightly larger. It is often used in landscaping projects, such as for walkways, driveways, and around trees and plants. Pea gravel is also used in some construction projects, such as for drainage and as a base for pavers.

One of the key characteristics of pea gravel is that it consists of smooth, round stones that do not have jagged edges. One disadvantage of using pea gravel as a base for a hot tub is that it does not typically lock together in the same way that crushed stone with jagged edges does. This makes it less stable and less able to support the weight of the hot tub.

Stability is of utmost importance when it comes to hot tubs, as they are heavy and can cause damage if they are not properly supported. If the base of the hot tub is not stable, it could potentially shift or sink, which could damage the hot tub or even cause it to fail.

Pea Gravel Is an Attractive Option for Your Hot Tub Surrounds

Despite being unsuitable as a base, pea gravel can be used as a decorative surrounding around the perimeter of your hot tub. Pea gravel has many benefits when used in this way:

Aesthetics: Pea gravel has a natural, attractive appearance that can enhance the look of a hot tub area. It is available in a variety of colors and can be used to create interesting patterns and designs.

Comfort: Pea gravel is a comfortable surface to walk on, which can be important when you are getting in and out of the hot tub.

Drainage: Pea gravel is a porous material that allows water to drain through it, which can be helpful in preventing standing water around the hot tub.

Maintenance: Pea gravel is a low-maintenance material that does not require much upkeep. It is easy to sweep or rake if it becomes dirty or disorganized, and it does not need to be sealed or treated like other surfaces might.

Why Crushed Stone Makes a Better Hot Tub Base Than Pea Gravel

Crushed stone is a type of rock that has been crushed into smaller pieces, which can range in size from large stones to fine sand-like particles. It is often used in construction projects, such as for road base, foundations, and as a base for concrete. Crushed stone is also used in landscaping projects, such as for walkways and driveways.

One of the key advantages of using crushed stone as a hot tub base is that it has jagged edges that help the stones lock together and form a stable surface. This helps to prevent the stones from shifting or settling unevenly, which can cause the hot tub to become unstable or sink into the ground.

In addition, crushed stone is typically more resistant to erosion and weathering than other types of gravel, which makes it a durable choice for use as a hot tub base. Here is a summary of why crushed stone should be used instead of pea gravel:

Durability: Crushed stone is a durable material that is able to withstand heavy loads. This makes it ideal for use as a hot tub base, as hot tubs can be quite heavy and need a solid foundation to support their weight.

Self-leveling: A crushed stone base for a hot tub is generally considered to be self-leveling to some extent, as the stones are able to adjust and settle into place over time.

Stability: Crushed stone does not shift or sink easily. This is important for hot tubs, as a stable base is necessary to prevent the hot tub from shifting or sinking, which could cause damage or even cause the hot tub to fail.

Drainage: Crushed stone has good drainage properties, which can help to prevent standing water around the hot tub. This is important for maintaining the cleanliness and proper functioning of the hot tub.

Ease of installation: Crushed stone is easy to install and does not require special tools or equipment. It can be spread and compacted over a prepared base to create a stable surface for the hot tub.

Cost: Crushed stone is generally an affordable material, making it a cost-effective choice for use as a hot tub base.

Can You Place an Inflatable Hot Tub Directly on Stone?

Inflatable hot tubs can be used on a crushed stone base, but it is important to use a protective pad to help ensure the stability and safety of the hot tub. A protective pad is a layer of material that is placed on top of the stone base to provide a stable and even surface.

There are a variety of materials that can be used for a protective pad, including foam, rubber, or other types of durable, weather-resistant materials. The protective pad should be cut to fit the size and shape of the hot tub and should be placed on top of the crushed stone before the hot tub is inflated.

This will help to protect the bottom of the hot tub from punctures or other damage caused by the gravel, and will also help to improve the overall stability of the hot tub on the base.

Finding the Right Size Stone for Your Hot Tub Base

The size of the gravel used for the base should also be taken into consideration. In general, it is best to use a larger size of gravel, such as 3/4 inch, for a hot tub base. Larger size gravel is more stable and less likely to shift or settle unevenly than smaller sizes. 

However, the specific size of gravel that is most suitable for your hot tub base will depend on your hot tub’s specific requirements and the soil characteristics in the area.

The depth of the crushed stone layer also depends on the size and weight of the hot tub and the type of soil in the area. In general, a layer of crushed stone should be at least 4 inches deep to provide a stable foundation for the hot tub.

However, if the hot tub is particularly large or heavy, or if the soil in the area is particularly soft or unstable, you may need to use a deeper layer of crushed stone to provide adequate support.

It’s important to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations and a professional engineer or contractor to determine the appropriate depth of the crushed stone layer for your specific hot tub and location.

Maximizing Hot Tub Stability: The Role of Stabilization Fabric

Stabilization fabric is a type of geotextile material that is used to improve the stability and strength of a base layer, such as crushed stone or gravel. When placed beneath a layer of crushed stone or gravel, stabilization fabric helps to hold the stones in place, preventing them from shifting or settling unevenly.

This can be especially important when the base is being used to support a heavy load, such as a hot tub. The use of stabilization fabric can provide several benefits when used as part of a hot tub base.

For example, it can help to reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep the base in good condition, as it helps to prevent the stones from shifting or becoming uneven over time. It can also help to improve the overall stability and support of the hot tub, reducing the risk of the tub becoming unstable or sinking into the ground.

To use stabilization fabric as part of a hot tub base, it is typically placed on top of the soil or existing surface and then covered with a layer of crushed stone or gravel. The fabric should be cut to fit the area of the base and overlapped by several inches to ensure complete coverage.

Once the fabric is in place, the crushed stone or gravel can be added on top, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate depth and coverage. It’s important to make sure the fabric is properly positioned and secured to ensure the best possible support and stability for the hot tub.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a seasoned hot tub enthusiast. With many years of experience in the industry, he offers valuable insights on hot tub maintenance, health benefits, and relaxation techniques.

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