What Makes a Good DIY Hot Tub Design?

DIY Hot Tub Design

DIY Hot Tub design is fun. This however, is essential before you even think about breaking ground on your project you should have a design and a plan. I think the saying goes something like “fail to plan then plan to fail”. In this article I will explain some of the considerations around the design to make sure you end up with a good DIY Hot Tub design.

Hot Tub Functionality

What functionality are you looking for in a hot tub. Yes, you want it to heat and yes, you want some jets, but what about other things. Lighting, Audio Visual, water features? All of the above?

There is a common misconception that you can just add a water feature to your jets. You can’t they never work well that way. You should always put your water feature on a separate pump. That is why these things should be planned for at designs stage. An hour spent planning saves 10 hours of doing I think is another saying I read somewhere.

Unique Features in your Hot Tub Design

What unique features are you going to include in your DIY hot tub design? Why do I need unique features I hear you ask? You don’t, but as you are going to be specifying this and designing it yourself, why not make it unique? What not add some of your own personality into the design. Create something just for you – this is one of the reasons we build our own hot tubs in the first place.

Materials Used

What materials are you going to use. Are you going to build out of block, poured concrete forms, or ICF Blocks. I have a full guide on the different construction methods for your wall here – https://buildahottub.com/hot-tub-wall-construction-what-are-the-options/

How are you going to finish the surface. Personally, I like the small mosaic pool tiles, but you can of course use any wet room tile. Are you going to paint the surface with a epoxy paint or a swimming pool grade one. These are all options that you should think about at the design stage.

Size, Layout and Depth of your Hot Tub

The size, layout and depth of your hot tub is important. The bigger it is, the more water you are going to need to heat. You’ll need a bigger heater and of course, potentially higher running costs.

Make the hot tub too deep and it can be difficult to sit in the seats. Too shallow and it will not feel like you are soaking in the tub at all. There is a fine balance when designing the hot tub so as a rule of thumb, I make my water height 90cm or 35.5” from the floor. The seats I usually make them 50-55cm deep (19-21”) and the seat height is 45cm or 18” from the floor.

Also when you are designing the layout – think about where the steps are going to go as you will need steps to get in for sure. Also, where is the cover going to be stored when you are in the tub. They are quite large and heavy so you don’t want to be carrying them long distances.

Hot tub Plans
Hot Tub Plans

Hot Tub Design – Control Room Planning

If you have read other articles on this blog or have watched some videos on my YouTube Channel you know that I talk a lot about the control room. I think that this is because on my own build, this was the part that I got wrong.

My suggestions when designing your own DIY Hot Tub is that you leave a lot more space than you think you are going to need for the control room. Having too much space is not a problem. However, as I found out, leaving not enough certainly is.

Making plumbing connections in a confined space is difficult but so too is doing your regular maintenance like changing and cleaning a filter for example. Before I modified my own control room, I used to hate doing this as it would take about an hour, I had to physically remove the filter from the plumbing system so there was a chance it would leak when I put it back – total mess.

Once I have redesigned to give myself more space, this was much easier and takes 10 minutes now. Do yourself a favour, give yourself plenty of room.

Heating Method

The heating method that you choose should be something that you decide during the hot tub design phase. The main things that you need to think about with the heating are the volume of water, how fast you want to heat it up and the running costs.

There is no point in designing a huge DIY Hot Tub then trying to heat it with a 3KW electric heater. Firstly, the heater will almost never get you up to the temperatures you need and secondly, it is going to cost you the earth.

You need to also think about how you plan to use the hot tub. If you are looking to decide an hour before you want to go in the tub that you want to use it, then you need to look at some form of gas heating. This is the fastest.

If you are concerned about the ongoing running costs, then you need to look at something like an air source heat pump. They are still the most economical ways of heating a swimming pool or hot tub. On the downsides, they are not as quick as gas or propane, and their efficiency drops as it gets colder, but when I installed one on my own tub, I saved 66% in the running costs.

Can I help you with your DIY Hot Tub Design?

It may seem a daunting task designing your own DIY Hot Tub but I can definitely help. At time of writing, I have helped almost 600 DIYers like you with their own hot tub designs and builds. I know what works and what doesn’t. Get in touch today to see how I can help you design that dream hot tub for your garden or back yard.

If you are looking for something a little more “standard” then I have lots of designs available in my online store – https://shop.buildahottub.com

Happy Hot Tubin’

Can I Help You?

If I can help you in any way I would love to hear from you. You can get in touch using the form below.

Thanks - Andi


Hi, Andi here. I own Buildahottub.com and also write all of the articles and info pages on the site. Some years back now, I built my own hot tub but struggled to find the information I needed. So, once my tub was complete, I started this website to help others in their own pursuit of hot tub and plunge pools DIY building information.

Today, I've helped over 1000 DIY customers just like you all over the world build hot tubs and pools. Have a good look around the site, there are lots of resources here. Please do get in touch if I can help you. - Cheers, Andi

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