Decks and Hot Tubs: What You Need to Know Before You Build

You’ve got a great idea for your backyard patio. You want to build a deck and buy a hot tub, but before you get started, review this checklist of what you need to know…

Your flooring needs are unique — make sure it’s durable enough.

Decks made with pressure-treated wood may last longer than those made from lumber untreated with pressure-treating chemicals. Always check with your local building codes office before doing any major construction or renovation work. It’s also important to check with your homeowners’ insurance company about whether having a hot tub or deck will impact your insurance premiums.

Pressure Treated vs. Untreated Lumber Protection Class – SPF, DWP Use Pressure Treated #2 Grade Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF) lumber for decks and porches that get a lot of foot traffic and support medium to heavy loads. This lumber is made by mixing together sapwood from three types of pine with heartwood from two types of fir trees — spruce and pine. In hot climates like ours, though, this wood can dry out and splinter after just a few years outdoors.

To withstand the elements without rotting or checking/cracking over time, it gets pressure-treated with chemicals like copper naphthenate. A fungus, Phytophthora, feeds on the wood’s heart or “sapwood” and turns it brown. To block the fungus’s spread, chemicals are injected into the wood under pressure to make it brown more slowly. These preservative treatments also help prevent fungal decay and termite damage in decks made from treated lumber. Untreated lumber is less expensive than treated lumber, but less durable — so if you can avoid using it in high-traffic areas, go with an SPF (spruce/pine/fir) mix of pressure-treated decking instead .

Looks great, holds up well in UV rays: these are just a couple of the reasons why Trex decking is making a splash with homeowners who want to have it all in a low maintenance, environmentally friendly material that’s easy on their budget.

Make your hot tub last longer by keeping it clean and avoiding chemicals.

Avoid chlorine in your water to keep its color and condition as close as possible to the “like-new” look of new tubs. When chlorine is present, the finish on hot tub walls can fade and chalk or crack — even with just minimal exposure to sun, waterline, and temperature variations. Your hot tub’s filtration system should be able to clean out 100% of free chorine, so less chlorine should make it into your spa in the first place.

If you’re selling your home, it pays (literally, in the form of higher profits) to get rid of chemical smells and other blemishes that reduce curb appeal and turn off potential buyers. So even if you haven’t noticed any problems with your hot tub yet, be smart about keeping it clean.