Who doesn’t love to take a good, long soak in a hot tub?
Many homeowners dream of just that. Building a hot tub is at the top of the list for many homeowners; they are great for hosting your loved ones, relaxing with your partner, or for simply soaking solo with a glass of wine at the end of a long week. No matter what the reason, hot tubs are popular with pretty much everyone.
But that is stuff we already know. The real question is what will an in-ground hot-tub cost you?
There are two types of in-ground hot tubs — prefabricated and custom. There are pros and cons to each which we desire in this post, but expect to pay $10,000 to $20,000 for an in-ground hot tub. In this article, we will look at the costs associated with installation and maintenance and will help you determine if a hot tub is the right choice for your home.
In-Ground Hot Tubs Overview
Nothing is more relaxing than stepping into a warm, frothy hot tub. Not only does it feel good, but it has many health benefits, too! A nice soak can soothe your mind, help lower stress levels, and gently relax aching muscles and joints. Additionally, a high-quality, professionally installed, and designed in-ground hot tub can raise the resale value of your home, too.
Cost is one of the main concerns for many homeowners who are thinking about adding a hot tub to their homes. The cost of your hot tub will depend on many different factors, including what kind of hot tub you get, where it will be located, if it is being added to a pre-existing pool, and so much more.
In-ground hot tubs are usually excavated next to an already existing pool, made with concrete, and offer much more personalization because they can be designed exactly to fit your individual needs. (Related article: Ultimate Relaxation In Your Backyard: Hot Tubs Types And Costs)
In-ground spas can be built either as a standalone amenity or as a great addition to your swimming pool. Additionally, because they are all custom-built, you can choose exactly what aesthetic and features are right for you. These are particularly a great option for a new build or if you are putting in a pool at the same time.
Types of In-Ground Hot Tubs
There are two main types of in-ground hot tubs. Let’s look more closely at both types.
Factory-made Acrylic or Stainless Steel Hot Tub
Factory-made, prefabricated hot tubs are typically made of stainless steel or acrylic shells. They do come in a few generic shapes, such as square, kidney, round, and oval. These shapes, however, are much more limited than what you can achieve with custom builds.
Furthermore, these shells usually only sit ten people maximum. The main advantage of these prefabricated in-ground hot tubs is that they usually have many hydrotherapy jets and are pre-plumbed.
Concrete In-ground Hot Tub
This is the kind of hot tub that we will focus on in this article is the customized concrete-based in-ground hot tub. This type of hot tub is usually made of gunite, a type of concrete. Although you can customize many more aspects of the designs on these tubs, they do tend to have simpler seating arrangements. You're more likely to see a simple bench layout with fewer jets.
On the bright side, these hot tubs are usually much larger than their prefabricated counterparts and have a huge amount of design options such as decorative tile, colors, and more.
Wooden In-ground Hot Tub
Although very rare to see these days, there is a third kind of in-ground hot tub. In the 1960s and 1970s, wooden hot tubs were popular.
Wooden hot tubs can be either prefabricated or custom-built, depending on the style you are looking for and the designer you use. These wooden in-ground tubs have become mostly a thing of the past, however, and are very rarely seen as an option for today's homeowners.
For our purposes, we are going to focus on the first two types of in-ground hot tubs; factory-made acrylic and concrete.
Up-front Hot Tub Purchasing Costs
The two main kinds of in-ground hot tubs we will be focusing on in this article are the prefabricated in-ground hot tubs and the customized concrete in-ground hot tub.
Hot Tub Installation Costs and Considerations
Maybe you already have a pool, and you would like to add a hot tub? Installation can be expensive and tricky, requiring a contractor and a lot of labor. Typically, adding an in-ground hot tub to a pre-existing pool install ranges from $6,000 to $15,000 when you decide to build them simultaneously. And if using a prefabricated model, those costs are in addition to the price of the tub itself.
Installation costs can vary widely based on the design of your hot tub, the materials used, your contractor, where you are located, and so much more. Let's look deeper into the process of installing an in-ground hot tub.
Factory-made Acrylic or Stainless Steel Hot Tub
If you choose to install a factory-made acrylic or stainless-steel hot tub shell, you should typically set aside an additional $3,000 to $5,000 for installation.
Concrete In-ground Hot Tub
Most homeowners will install an in-ground tub as part of the process when they are building an in-ground swimming pool; however, you can also build it separately if perhaps you don’t have the room for both on your property or you live somewhere where a pool may not be as practical as a hot tub.
As we mentioned above, the cost to install an in-ground hot tub can add around 20% to the cost of the swimming pool you are already building and depends on the layout and design of the hot tub.
Are you planning on adding the spa to the interior of the pool so that it shares two walls with the pool walls already being built? Or will it be more of an exterior design, as in your hot tub is designed to be built on the outer perimeter of your pool and shares, maybe only a small portion of its wall with your swimming pool?
All of these are important considerations to assess when thinking about the overall costs of your hot tub installation.
Hot Tub Installation Process
An in-ground hot tub's installation process is almost identical to that of a swimming pool.
First, a hole must be dug. You (or your contractor, we hope!) will need to excavate the desired area to accommodate your new hot tub, which has been designed specifically for you. Second, rebar will be installed to reinforce the area. The third step is plumbing and electrical. You will need plumbing lines installed as well as electricity to run your in-ground hot tub, as well as specific fittings designed to coincide with the hydrotherapy jets depending on your custom design.
Once you have all that in place, a professional will come and spray the concrete material (usually gunite or shotcrete) using high-pressure hoses, they will spray this material to cover the excavated hole you have created as well as cover the rebar that is reinforcing it. Lastly comes the interior finish. Once your shotcrete or gunite has hardened, the interior will be covered with plaster, quartz aggregate, or pebble stones.
The beauty of an in-ground design is that the aesthetic will be exactly how you decide with your designer.
Electrical Installation Costs
Hiring a professional to handle the electrical of your hot tub is highly recommended. The cost to wire any hot tub other is approximately $600 to $2,200 and mostly depends on your current electrical setup, the location of your tub, and which type you choose.
Additional Cost Factors to Consider
Hot tubs can cost anywhere between $20 and $40 in electricity costs each month to run.
Water Treatment Costs
Although water maintenance on a hot tub is much simpler than on a pool due to the smaller volume of water, you can still expect to pay up to $20 per month to treat your water.
No matter which types of in-ground hot tub you install, you need to be aware of the maintenance and cleaning costs that will also be incurred.
These costs seem small but can add up over time if you don’t stay on top of a strict maintenance schedule. You will most likely spend anywhere between $200 and $300 a year on chemicals and other related cleaning and maintenance costs.
Some standard lighting will be built in automatically for your in-ground hot tub, but you may want to talk to your designer about adding fun extras such as additional colors, make them dimmable, and more.
When talking about costs, you'll also want to take into consideration any safety fences you may need to install.
Make safety a priority; keep your pets, children, or just your local wildlife safe from falling in the water with a safety fence and a child-proof gate. You'll also want to add a lockable hot tub cover.
Your contractor should be able to outline and comply with your local building codes. You will also need to obtain the following:
In-Ground Hot Tub Designs
There are many different shapes and sizes of hot tubs available for homeowners. Although custom in-ground tubs can be built in any shape or style you would like, there are still some standards they will need to be met. A good hot tub will be designed with elements that comply with all your local building codes, including but not limited to shell thickness, correct plumbing, and overall install.
If you do go with a prefabricated shell design to go in-ground, there are a few main shapes you’ll want to consider. Let’s take a closer look at these.
In-Ground Hot Tub Pros and Cons
In-ground hot tubs are a great choice for homeowners, especially if they are building a pool at the same time. Let’s look at some of the main advantages and disadvantages of an in-ground hot tub to determine if the costs and advantages are right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As with any big purchase for your home, you should absolutely consult with your insurance company regarding your coverage. Most likely, to qualify for additional insurance to cover any damages or injuries related to your new hot tub, you’ll have to add it to your policy.
We always recommend consulting your tax professional, but you should be able to claim your hot tub as a capital expense. Additionally, you may be able to get another deduction for your hot tub if you can establish that it is directly for the purpose to cure, treat, or prevent disease.
Some insurance providers will provide some sort of financial break or incentive if you have a prescription from your doctor that you need the hydrotherapy to treat a medical condition. Talk to your doctor and contact your provider for more in-depth information.
Hot tub dealers typically have a large markup, so there is plenty of room to haggle. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for seasonal sales, compare prices between sellers, and ask about delivery and installation!
Although the average hot tub pump lasts for 5 to 10 years on average, the hot tubs themselves can last more than 20 years if they are taken care of. Stay on top of maintenance, treat your tub right, and you’ll be soaking for years to come!
Choosing whether to install an in-ground hot tub is truly a personal choice and depends on many individual factors. The cost of an in-ground hot tub may seem like an expensive option based on the up-front cost and installation; however, it provides greater longevity and will even increase the value of your home.
Furthermore, your budget, geographic location, property layout, and whether or not you already have an in-ground pool will greatly affect the cost of an in-ground hot tub. At the end of the day, you will benefit greatly by being able to enjoy a soak in your new in-ground hot tub.