Background

As of Late October 2020, Brandon contacted Andi at Buildahottub.com as he was initially looking to convert a water container into a Hot Tub. However, as the design went on, it soon became apparent that what Brandon was actually going to do was to build a wooden hot tub. His plan was to use the same parts that one would find on a Stock Tank Hot Tub, or a Water Tank hot tub but actually fit them into a wooden lined tub.

Initial Contact

This was back in October 2020 and Brandon reached out to Andi through the website. Emails and phone calls were exchanged and the scope of work was agreed.

Scope of Work

Andi’s Role was the following

1. Assist with the design and final plumbing specification of the build.

2. Specify the components and supply a cost for the components to Brandon

3. Provide methodology to Brandon of how to assemble the Components drawing on Andi’s prior experience.

The Build

This was the very first picture that Brandon sent me. Initially, we had planned a cylindrical tub, but we modified the plumbing layout to make it fit a square tub instead. Brandon decided that this was going to be a little easier to build.

Quite the woodwork skill here, very neat and tidy indeed. Starting to take shape.

Brandon is quite the wood worker as we can see above. Where the consultancy assistance came in from Andi was on the plumbing side of things. First, Brandon wanted to get his head around the Gunite bodies that we use on this build. These are the same type we would use on a stock tank hot tub too. Sketches and images went forwards and backwards until Brandon took a “leap of faith” and got the PVC pipe cement involved. He thought the joints looked messy but they always look like this when you do them with purple cement!

Wood Hot Tub Build

Next, it was time for Brandon to route the holes ready for the jet bodies. Once again, Brandon’s woodworking skills come into play here as the cuts are really well done.

Once Brandon had fitted the bodies and sealed them in place, he turned his attention to the exterior plumbing, closely followed but the control room. Unlike some of the other case studies on the website, you can see here that the control room we shaped the plumbing differently to take up a much smaller footprint.

Brandon’t build has not been without his challenges. The main one, that in March 2021 is still in play today is the electricity feed. Brandon has somewhat of a unique situation that his house only has a 60A feed. That is what is needed for the Hot Tub alone, so he needs to get it upgraded. Easier said than done when the supply is underground.

His first electrician ended up cancelling the project as was on long term sick so now he is in the process of finding another. When the finish is in touching distance, it is very frustrating that something which he was aware of from day one is still a problem.

Next, Brandon has encased the hut in insulation. He opted for the wool-like material that you can source from Home Depot easy enough. Once this was in all of the gaps, he has wrapped it with a waterproof membrane ready for the final wood casing on the outer.

You will also notice the Hot Tub cover which www.buildahottub.com also supplied.

You can see that Brandon has placed the interior liner in place. This was just for the photograph and no holes for the jets and drains have been cut yet. This is the next step.

Once the liner has been secured in place, the next steps for Brandon are to get the exterior cladding done, and the electricity supply sorted – watch this space….

Fitting the Liner

I’m sure Brandon won’t mind me saying that this portion of the build has been a little tricky to say the least. The problem with using a liner is how to get everything sealed up around the jets. You need to cut out a hole for the jets, then the bodies need to lock onto it. Normally, there would be a wider flange than is available on the waterway designed bodies for this kind of a setup. This makes it a little tricky.

Hot Tub Liner

Hot Tub Liner

A helpful note here from Brandon.

It turns out the liner manufacturer recommends two things this rubbery patch tape to clean up any plumbing holes before you put the fittings in, and silicone around the fittings if you think you need it.
Here is picture of one of the holes cleaned up with the tape.
I think the gaskets like to grip the material too because I snapped two of them after unintentionally over-tightening   the jet face!
Brandon also dropped me this email which I have included as it is very helpful!

Hi Andi,

I know you like to highlight some customer stories. The through-wall plumbing is pretty challenging with a plywood and liner combination.method, at least to me. I could have avoided the challenges by waiting for the right water tank….but here I am!
One issue is it’s  hard to cut perfect holes in the liner. In retrospect, maybe I should have saved some of the plugs I cut out of the wood and used those as guides to cut more precise holes. Even then, the liner is reinforced with fabric, so you kind of have to use a sawing  motion to cut your way through it. It’s really hard to cut clean a hole that allows for both gasket ribs to touch the liner. In the pond plumbing world, you’ll often see through wall connections with a gasket and flange that’s quite large, so it doesn’t matter if your cuts are picture perfect.
Another issue is the gaskets are relatively thin and fragile, which is not a problem with tanks, fiberglass walls or any other wall that has direct contact with the water such as cedar wood.  Things get a little weird when you add a liner. Waterway makes a thicker version of these gaskets, which might help but I really don’t know. If I’m understanding how the gaskets are supposed to function, they compress and should be able to see them bulge out towards the edge of the jet face as you tighten it. My situation puts two rubber-like materials against each other. The friction is so great the gaskets tear apart before they get a change to spread. I broke 4 of them. Lubrication seems to help gaskets, in my case that is silicone which is also helping to fill in the small jagged cuts in the liner that expose a little plywood.
The other issue I’ve run into is the jet faces have to pass through a thick wall, and that that slightly drags on the threads. When you add the liner, and the adhesive patch material (which you are supposed to use to reinforce the holes you’ve cut), the threads kind of bind up between all three materials. Lubrication helps get them through all three layers. I used a little PTFE paste on the two jets I’ve set so far, figuring that would be a harmless substance to use.
I’m not loving the process.of slathering everything with a lot of silicone which could very well fail immediately after I fill the tub, but I also don’t like the idea of fuzing everything together with epoxy. I guess epoxy is my fall back if all else fails.
Overall, everything has gone pretty smooth, but this last mile here is kicking my butt  because of the tank style I chose. I can think of a few alterations that might help, but I’m going to try working with what I have as-is before fiddling around further. 

Can’t be long now!

It really cant be that long now until Brandon is in his tub. I know he has his electrics being done shortly. Watch this space!

Now He’s Three Dips In!

This really has been a labour of love for Brandon but I am sure you will agree, the end result looks stunning. Always the perfectionist, he is still looking at ways of improving his design and is far from happy with the liner, but he has a fully functional, beautiful hot tub.

Brandon's DIY Hot Tub

Brandon’s DIY Hot Tub

Brandon's DIY Hot Tub

Brandon’s DIY Hot Tub

Brandon's DIY Hot Tub

Brandon’s DIY Hot Tub

Do You Need Some Help with your DIY Build?

If you need some help with your build then let us know. Drop me an email at andi@buildahottub.com or use the chat. We can help with plumbing designs. We can supply the specialist parts that you need. We can even convert your sketches into 3D CAD so you can better visualise what you are trying to build. Take a look at our plan options here.

Happy Hot tubbin’