Installing a Hot Tub: Dos, Donts, and Considerations

It’s still hot here in the Triangle, but you may be thinking forward to Fall and Winter. When entertaining in the cooler months, a hot tub can be a valuable asset. Even a private hot tub in your master bathroom is a perfect relaxation tool after a stressful day.

But like any water vessel, hot tubs are complex, cumbersome to install, and sometimes expensive. It’s important to know your needs before you pick one out. We’ve assembled a guide to the basics.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

The mechanics of indoor vs. outdoor hot tubs are largely the same. They differ in their amount of privacy. An indoor tub will likely be used only by those who use the master bath, whereas an outdoor model is better for entertaining.

The other difference is cost. Because indoor hot tubs are meant for only one or two people, they are usually smaller and require fewer jets. If you already have a large master bath, installation is rather trivial for a professional; you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on the plumbing and aesthetic situation.

Size and Type

With the location narrowed down, you can start thinking about size. A 5’x6’x30” hot tub can accommodate 3 to 4 adults. Depending on the bells and whistles you add, the cost of the unit itself can run $3,500 to $8,000. A very large model can fit an astonishing 12 people, but the costs are equally astonishing: over $10,000.

So what are those aforementioned bells and whistles? Typically they come as extra jets, perfect for massaging shoulders and feet. Larger models may also include lounger seats, waterfalls, and other luxury features.


Installation is where the costs and hassle factor can start to skyrocket. Even a simple freestanding hot tub requires extra care; with a filled weight of nearly two tons, it necessitates reinforcing the balcony or porch it sits on. For a master bath, that could mean tearing up the floor.

Out in your backyard, you’ll likely want a walkway and landscaping. Recessed hot tubs are gorgeous, but require even more custom work and carpentry to get them looking good.

If you have the drive and the money to spare, a hot tub can warm up your home this winter. Plan properly and hire a skilled installer, and you’ll be enjoying relaxing nights in no time.