The Hot Tub!

After the debacle with the above-ground pool (it wasn't my fault and I'll add a link for that later), I knew I had to make this hot tub work - and work well. I'd originally purchased the hot tub FIRST, after seeing one in action at my friend's house. The kids loved it so I knew I had to have one. Up until this last weekend (10 October 2021), this hot tub had been sitting, still boxed up, on the side of the house patiently awaiting its turn.

Figuring it would be bad to place an inflatable hot tub on the bare ground (we don't need punctures or dirty feet), I decided to build a small deck. How best to do that? Shipping pallets! Yep. For a change, I really thought this one out. On a hunch, I'd asked the guys at Harbor Freight what they did with their old shipping pallets. They said I could have as many as I wanted. But on further inspection, I saw their shipping pallets were really pretty poor quality AND poor uniformity. I needed GOOD, UNIFORM shipping pallets! My kids were certainly NOT going to lounge on crappy non-uniform shipping pallets. No way. What do to?

The day finally came I could get said pallets. I was taking the trailer to the dump with a bunch of junk and figured I could grab some pallets on the way back. When I was at the dump, I asked the manager if they had shipping pallets. Nope. Okay, where should I get some? (I figured a guy like the dump manager would know this.) His response: "I dunno. Maybe you ask Home Depot?" Okay, I'd ask Home Depot.

Funny thing about Home Depot: Apparently they don't like to give away their pallets. However, after hearing about my project and the kids and all, the floor manager agreed I could have some pallets for free. Well, not just ANY of their pallets. Specifically I could have some of their ... less desirable ... pallets. Oh well. After looking through a small stack for a bit, I found four pallets what I figured would do the job.

In case you're planning on building something like this, I learned shipping pallets are not, in fact, 48" x 48". That apparently WAS the standard. Now they're 48"-ish x 40"-ish, and around 5" tall. That uniformity I was going for? Actually a pretty tough standard with shipping pallets.

While at Home Depot I also picked up 2 11/32" plywood sheets (yay the prices are ~somewhat~ reasonable again), some Behr water sealant, and a 3" paintbrush.

And here are the shipping pallets, all laid out and ready to go!

Okay, not exactly "ready to go". Seeing that the pallets were not 48" x 48", I had to come up with a way to join them what would properly support the plywood. Like a dummy, I didn't think to take a pic of what I came up with, but here's a design I draw in (that's really a pretty cool online tool).

As should be pretty evident, the dark brown rectangles are the pallets. The light brown long rectangles are 2x4s screwed in to the sides of the pallets. I would lay the plywood sheets down horizontally in the image so the long 2x4s on the ends would properly support things. Lucky I had some 2x4s laying around from the man-cave project. And the design worked really well! After screwing down the plywood, the new deck was...

[Dog-Tested and Dog-Approved]!

Somewhere there's an old saying that if you build a thing, and an animal walks on it without human interaction, then the thing you built is solid and stable. Really, that's a saying somewhere. I know cause I read it on the internet.

About 30 minutes later, the new deck was water-sealed:

I looked around (a lot) online for a decent gazebo. There are so many! At first I was thinking I'd grab a Harbor Freight gazebo (you know, those obnoxious blue plastic ones they sell), but then it hit me that having walls around the hot tub might keep the dogs out. We certainly don't need dog-claws popping the hot tub. And building a decent fence is kind of a pain (more of a pain and expense than I'd initially realized). So I found this super-cheap 8' x 8' gazebo complete with bug-net walls, direct from China (by way of Amazon) for only $119. Couldn't pass up a deal like that, and here we are:

In the reviews for the gazebo there were a lot of complaints about the lack of instructions. Maybe the people making the complaints are the types who complain about IKEA instructions. Seemed pretty easy to me. Got the thing put up and assembled by myself in about 15 minutes. Wife and Son helped me move it in to position on the deck. Not only did it fit perfectly, but the feet have holes for screwing it down. So now it's very secure without the need for any guy-wires or sand bags.

Next, the flooring. Harbor Freight to the rescue! (I think it's not a good project unless you include something from Harbor Freight.)

These floor tiles are great. I use two of them in front of my standing desk to help with knee and ankle pressure. Gotta stand up, they say. And some days that's a little harder than one might think (at least at my age).

One thing these floor tiles are NOT rated for: Using them outside. However, I've had a bunch of them floating around the back yard for years (I use them mostly for kneeling pads), and they really don't break down much. At $10 for a set of 4 tiles, they're affordable, cushy-ish, and I think they look pretty decent. And AND they're going to be protected from UV by the gazebo, so I figure they'll hold together a while.

Here's a closeup of the floor:

And finally, the coup de grace! The Intex 85" x 28" PureSpa Bubble Massage hot tub:

The tub is inflatable, and (for what it is and costs) it's awesome. No jets, but definitely a LOT of bubbles. And it actually maintains good heat! Right now I have it set to 100F as I don't like my hot tubs too hot, and it's easily maintaining the temperature. Both Daughter and Son have tried it out so far and they love it. (I got in too, and I think it's pretty grand.)

At a total diameter of 85" and an internal diameter of 65", it's actually well-sized for three adults. You could fit four adults, but you'd better be well-acquainted.

And it's surprisingly easy to set up! Again, I did it by myself, and had it filling with water within 30 minutes of opening the box (and that includes the 10 minutes to inflate it.) Oh, and it self-inflates (sort of). Intex gives you an extra hose and adapter which plugs in to the air outlet on the control box, which then goes to the inflation valve on the tub. Power it up, press the 'bubbles' button, and the whole thing inflates right there. Very easy design. The top is also inflatable and inflates much the same way.

Just realized this might be reading like an Intex ad. I am in no way affiliated with Intex nor am I receiveing any compensation for this. The tub is really just that cool.

Here's another angle:

So it looks like the hot tub is a winner. Certainly better than the above-ground pool debacle.

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