If you’re currently weighing up your options when it comes to hot tub housing, you might be wondering whether you can put a spa in a summer house or garden building.
Does the fact they’re not designed to house hot tubs mean you can’t use a summer house as an eye-catching spa shelter?
Not at all – as long as you follow the tips we’ve outlined in this short guide.
Here’s everything you need to know about hot tub summer houses, garden buildings, and log cabins as stylish hot tub housing.
The Benefits of Putting Your Hot Tub in a Summer House:
Putting your hot tub in a garden room is a great way to make the most of it all year round.
The benefits of installing your hot tub in a summer house include:
Protection from the Elements: Install your spa in a well-insulated summer house and you’ll be able to enjoy year-round use, no matter what the weather.
Year-Round Usage: Say goodbye to having to clear snow off your spa in the winter when you want to take a dip. Instead, enjoy the winter wonderland outside while relaxing in your spa from the comfort of a luxurious shed.
Privacy: Don’t worry if there isn’t a spot in your garden that isn’t overlooked. Relax in complete comfort without having to worry at all about prying eyes.
UV Protection: Protect yourself from the harmful effects of overexposure to the sun’s rays and enjoy your soaks knowing you’re not putting your health at risk.
Style: House your hot tub in a garden building or log cabin and you’ll transform it into a stylish statement as well as a place to kick back and relax.
Extra Storage: A summerhouse is a convenient storage solution for you and your guest’s belongings while you soak, acting almost as a changing room that can provide ample dry space for clothing, towels, shoes, and technology e.g., phones.
What to Look for in a Summer House for Your Hot Tub
Not every summer house is created equal.
Make sure the garden building you choose as a shelter for your spa has all of the following:
A Sturdy Base
A full hot tub can weigh up to two-and-a-half tonnes, and not every garden building is made to withstand that kind of weight.
Be sure to go for a summer house with a floor made of 32mm thick decking with 300ctr joists to ensure it can hold up a hot tub without worry. See our dedicated guide to hot tub bases for more information.
Opt for a summer house with bi-folding doors or a veranda and you won’t have to worry about getting your hot tub in and out of its housing.
There are certainly workarounds for getting hot tubs in and out of garden buildings without bi-fold doors.
However, there’s no doubt that over the years you’ll save yourself a lot of bother – not to mention money – if you go for housing that doesn’t need to be deconstructed to get a spa in or out.
You don’t want to have to squeeze your spa into its shelter. Instead, you want a structure that’s going to give you and your guests ample space to luxuriate – not to mention provide easy access to the control panel for services and repairs.
At a minimum, you should pick a summer house that leaves the clearance around your hot tub recommended by the manufacturer. This is usually 12 inches around three sides and 18 around the side where the control panel is housed, but be sure to check this before you buy.
It goes without saying that wood and moisture don’t mix.
So, be sure to go for a summer house with plenty of ventilation – or convenient places to install some after it’s been constructed.
Your hot tub housing should have at least two air vents, ideally installed towards the top of opposite walls to encourage air circulation. Just make sure the vents are backed by mesh so the steam and trapped moisture can escape but insects can’t get in.
It’s also a good idea to crack the windows in winter and fully open them and the door during summer soaks. Fail to do this and you run the risk of letting the steam build up and potentially causing problems over time.
You should also make sure to invest in a quality insulated cover with an airtight seal fit, as this will trap the steam from your hot tub when you’re not using it, preventing moisture-related problems.
The heat and moisture from your spa will wreak havoc on untreated woodwork, often causing mould which can be a nightmare to repair.
Mould can very easily weaken the structure of untreated timber, so, be sure to opt for a garden building where the interior and exterior wood are pressure-treated (also known as tanalised) if you want to ensure the structural integrity of your summerhouse over the long term.
If you want to use your home spa in complete comfort even in the colder months of the year, it’s a great idea to go for a fully-insulated summer house with double-glazed windows.
This will mean you won’t have to make a mad dash from your hot tub to your home as soon as you’re out of the warmth of the hot water in winter.
As an added benefit, it will also keep your hot tub’s running costs down, as the ambient temperature in your summer house will be higher meaning your hot tub won’t have to work as hard to maintain its temperature.
Don’t Cut Corners
You could live to regret going for a cheap summer house if it turns out the wood wasn’t properly treated or the floor wasn’t strong enough to support a spa.
Dangerously constructed or poorly installed garden buildings can even put you and your family at risk.
So, be sure to always consult a WhatSpa? approved hot tub dealer on the suitability of garden buildings for your shortlist of spas.
Once you’ve picked a summer house that ticks all these boxes, there are just a few things you need to do to make sure it’s ready to house a hot tub, including:
Lay the Foundations
Both your hot tub and the garden building must sit on robust and solid ground.
This means concrete, a patio, or suitable decking – you’ll have to have a patio of concrete slab laid over a grassy area if that’s where you’ve got your eye on for your spa and its structure.
Treat the Walls
If you didn’t opt for a garden structure made from tanalised wood, it’s essential you treat the interior with stain or paint before you start using a hot tub inside it.
Failing to do this will lead to a whole host of complications down the line that will cost a pretty penny to fix, so be sure to do this before you introduce a spa to your summer house.
Of course, your hot tub needs an electrical supply to run. Be sure to install your 16 or 32-amp power supply near the spot you’ve picked out for your summer house and have a professional electrician run the cable into the building to ensure it’s safely fitted.
Consider fitting your own Ventilation and Insulation
If you’ve opted for a summer house without pre-fitted air vents and insulation, we strongly recommend you have those installed before you add your spa into the mix. Your summer house will last a lot longer, be a lot more pleasant to use, and keep your hot tub’s running costs down if you have proper ventilation and insulation fitted.
Preparing for Delivery
Once you’ve picked out a summer house and a spa, it can take a bit of forethought to ensure the hot tub installation goes as smoothly as possible. See our comprehensive guide to hot tub installation here.
If you’ve opted for a summer house with bi-fold doors then having a hot tub delivered and installed shouldn’t be much of an issue. You’ll simply be able to open the doors fully so there’s ample room for the showroom’s delivery team to fit the hot tub into the structure. The same applies if you’ve gone for a garden building with a veranda.
It’s still totally possible to fit a spa into a summer house without bi-fold doors or a veranda – it just takes a bit of planning.
The easiest solution tends to be to coordinate the deliveries of your hot tub and summer house so your structure arrives first. You can then have the foundations of the building set up and three of its walls erected before the spa is inserted and construction is completed.
This will take a bit of coordinating, which is why we recommend you save yourself the stress on delivery day and go for a summer house with bi-fold doors.
Because your summer house will outlive your home spa, it’s also worth noting that while it’s not impossible to deconstruct an existing summer house to replace a hot tub, it’s certainly more expensive and awkward than having it removed through bi-fold doors.
I am the Content Writer and Marketing Officer at WhatSpa? Magazine. I have worked at WhatSpa? for over 8 years, and I recently graduated with Distinction from Northumbria University with a Master's degree in Occupational and Organizational Psychology.
My role at WhatSpa? is to ensure that all hot tub lovers can easily access the highest quality and most up-to-date content, news and information from within the UK wet leisure industry.