How to Build a Tiled Hot Tub

Catherine Grainger

Owning a hot tub can be an extremely pleasurable experience. Whether you plan to install yours indoors, outdoors or in a semi-covered area, you can choose from many different varieties of hot tubs that are on the market today. And if you don't want to buy one "off the rack,"

building and tiling your own hot tub is a great way to show your family and friends your creative expertise. With the proper tools and some patience, there’s no reason you can’t have a quality hot tub to complement your home. In addition, you will be affording your guests the same level of luxury as if you had spent thousands of dollars to have a tiled hot tub professionally installed.

Before you rush of to pick your favorite tile, you need to select a building method that will suit your home--and you.

  1. Determine the area in which you want to install your hot tub. Make sure it is somewhere where you want to spend time and can enjoy the view.

  2. Dig an appropriately sized hole for your hot tub.

  3. Fill the hole with cement (either regular or quick.) Allow it to set for at least 24 hours before covering it with thick, polyurethane sheeting.

  4. Use thermalite bricks to build the outer wall (they respond best to all sorts of temperature changes). Build the wooden seating inside this area, backfill it with added concrete and let it set for 24 hours more.

  5. Turning your attention to the plumbing, decide on a position for the water jet. Drill holes through the brick, then insert the jets. Attach the rest of the plumbing as instructed.

  6. Place a pond liner kit, plastic from the hardware store or a shower pan liner (the least expensive option) before you start tiling.

  7. Trowel on the tile mastic and start tiling. Cut tiles to fit where necessary. Nip tiles to fit around the water jets.

  8. Apply grouting and let it cure for approximately 20 minutes; then use a damp sponge to wipe the tiles. The next day, buff excess grout from the tiles with fine-grain sandpaper. A good, strong grouting mixture is composed of 1 part cement and 3 parts sand.

  9. Seal joints with a pool paint that matches your grout. Allow to dry for 24 hours.


These directions can be modified to suit many different types of tiles, but are best used with ceramic tile, particularly for an outdoor hot tub or one that will be in a semi-enclosed area. Stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot can offer added consultation if needed.