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Choosing the Best Hot Tub Gazebo or Enclosure
Spa and hot tub enclosures
A quality hot tub gazebo is just the thing to block out an uninviting view or an uninvited neighbor!
It used to be the case that only those people who had a lot of money could afford a hot tub, but that is no longer the case. There are so many types of outdoor spas, hot tubs and pools that just about anyone can find a model that is within their price range.
If you already have a hot tub taking pride of place in your backyard, or if you are thinking of getting one, then a hot tub gazebo makes a great addition. Gazebos look great, they improve your experience, and they are really functional.
And beautiful gazebos, like hot tubs, are now affordable for most people. You have a whole range of options with gazebos. You can build one yourself using some DIY gazebo plans, or you can order one and get to use it right away. Whichever way you decide to go, having a gazebo to protect your hot tub and its users is going to provide real benefits and more enjoyment for everyone.
But what if you live in a busy area where the neighbors or passersby can get a clear view? Well, this is where a hot tub enclosure can be really handy. There are a range of options here, such as shutters, blinds or screens of various sorts.
But what is a hot tub gazebo?
A gazebo is simply a type of roofed pavilion or outdoor cover that is used to shelter your garden or family activities. In this context it would provide a cover for your hot tub or outdoor spa.
What types of Hot Tub Gazebo are there?
Firstly, there are hot tub gazebo kits if you want the fun and challenge of a diy project. Gazebo canopies are designed for those who like the feeling of being sheltered, but still out in the open air. They have a roof and supports, of course, but the sides are left open so that you can cool off. Great for hot and humid climates where any breeze is a blessing.
One good example is the Swan Gazebo Canopy, that comes in at around $280 for a 12 x 12 ft model.
One slight downside, if you can call it that, is that privacy is less than with an enclosed model. But in a backyard situation that isn’t usually a problem, anyway.
These are ideal if you want the option of shifting things around in your back yard to suit the weather or your mood. Unless you have a fixed tub or spa, portable models can be the best. Here’s one that looks modern and functional.
Or you can go with a folding bamboo screen if the rustic look suits your taste and outdoor decor. These are also around the $100 mark.
Wood and Bamboo Gazebos
These days, there are a huge number of options for gazebos. The consumer is totally spoiled with all the possible models and construction materials.
However, there are two classic gazebo materials that will always be popular, regardless of trends. These are, of course, bamboo and wood.
If your backyard decor has an Asian ‘flavor’, or you would like to go down that path, then a bamboo gazebo is the obvious choice. There a couple of ways to do it. You could source your own bamboo and use some plans or your own imagination to build a suitable structure.
For most people, buying a ready-made bamboo gazebo or one with a bamboo look is probably the best option. Here’s a model that rates well:
Bamboo gazebos can be totally made of that material, which will not be totally weatherproof. Another way is to use the bamboo as a framework, and then use a modern covering as a sun and rain cover. Bamboo is naturally very strong, which is a major benefit.
The only thing to look out for here is that the corner connections are also very strong, because these will need to be able to cope with occasional strong winds.
A wood gazebo will have a more solid look. If you are planning to build one yourself, make sure you get some good quality plans that have been properly engineered. A good starting point is to go online and look at the various styles available.
Remember that hardwood is typically stronger than softwood alternatives such as pine. The downside in terms of handling is that hardwood is heavier to handle. If you get a pre-cut and predrilled kit, that won’t be a problem.
If you are building or buying a wood gazebo, don’t try and cut corners with the price. Cheaper models can sometimes be more flimsy and may have a much shorter life. Better to use good, solid wood that will last a lifetime.
Premium pre-stained cedar wood gazebos look great if you have the space and want a quality permanent structure to enhance your backyard. They are very solid and built to withstand adverse weather conditions of all sorts. They should be bolted to a concrete footing, or the posts should be concreted into place to make sure they can deal with strong winds.
These high-end outdoor pavilion models are not for everyone but are well worth the spend if you prefer a good, solid structure that will last a lifetime. Their cost is usually around $2,500, and it would be around $500 to get one installed for you – unless you enjoy a DIY project in which case you could do it yourself.
This is a really good price for any permanent outdoor structure, especially when you consider the many years of enjoyment you will get from it.
The larger models are typically 14′ x 12′ wood gazebos, but you can also get 10′ x 12′ or 10′ x 10′ wood gazebos.
The Hudson Hardtop Cedar Wood Pavilion is a good example of a quality 14′ x 12′ wood patio gazebo structure.
A wood pavilion with aluminium roof is yet another stylish outdoor pavilion option.
These come as pre-cut, pre-drilled ready to assemble kits that can easily be put together by anyone with some practical skills and a few simple tools.
Build Hot Tub Gazebo / Hot Tub Gazebo Kits
Many homeowners are not just looking for an outdoor hot tub gazebo, they also want an interesting and achievable project they can tackle themselves. This is where hot tub gazebo kits come in. There are quite a few available, at varying prices. And the great thing is – as mentioned with the Yardistry models, gazebo kits come with all the materials precut, holes predrilled, and a set of plans that you just follow to put up your new structure.
Whether you want to do it yourself, or ask a few friends to help, they are quite straightforward and won’t present any problems for the practically-minded homeowner.
Here are some of the best options and their approximate prices:
Backyard Party Tents
A backyard party tent is the perfect venue for a special occasion with family or friends. Especially if the weather may spoil your day! Your guests will love the shelter that a tent gazebo provides, in either hot or rainy weather.
You might even want a bit of extra insurance with a tent heater, especially if you are partying on into a cool and starry night! A wedding-style pop up canopy will definitely set the scene and give your backyard setting the ‘wow factor’. In fact, you can get a good quality gazebo tent for well under $200. For example, the DOIT 10′ x 20′ party tent has good reviews and is worth checking out.
Benefits of a Gazebo or Canopy Cover
One of the great benefits of a spa or hot tub cover is that it protects your investment, as well as your family. The sun can be great, but long months and years of exposure can leave your tub and surrounding furniture looking very tired. For that reason alone it is worth getting one!
A cover will also help to limit water evaporation, so that you’re not constantly refilling your tub.
Another issue is the chemicals needed to keep your outdoor tub or spa clean. Exposure to sunlight quickly degrades the tub, costing you money. And without a cover or side walls, you will get much more dirt, leaves and other gunk in your tub, leading to more work.
How much does a gazebo cost?
As with most outdoor accessories, the price range is huge. But you don’t need to win a lottery prize to buy one, either. A stylish Suncrown Gazebo or Sonoma Canopy sit well within the affordable $300 – $400 price range.
Or if you want something more substantial, there is a Sunjoy Steel Hardtop Gazebo at around $1,600. This would be a good choice if you need that extra level of protection from above.
And as stated above, the higher end timber gazebos are in the mid-$2,000’s.
And if you want to go right to the top of the range and get a beautiful closed in gazebo, then the Palram Closed Garden Gazebo is right up there with the best. It has a powder-coated aluminium frame with multi-wall polycarbonate roof panels and a 10-year warranty.
Best of all, it comes as a kit that is ready to assemble.
The thing to remember is that there is good value to be found in just about any price range.
Choosing The Best Location For Your Spa or Gazebo Cover
The best location for your gazebo is one that balances your recreational and privacy needs, with safety requirements. Don’t forget that it is also good to be mindful of your neighbors. Blocking out their view and causing a dispute would not be a good idea for anyone!
How long do gazebos last?
Generally, the ‘lighter’ the gazebo, the shorter its life span. However, even a pop-up gazebo can last many years if you put it away when not in use so that the fabric doesn’t deteriorate too rapidly.
Cleaning with a mild soap every season is also a good idea to help your gazebo keep that fresh, new look.
Are gazebos safe?
Gazebos are very safe if they are installed and maintained properly.
A gazebo placed right out in the open will obviously need to be much more solid and firmly anchored than one which can be put in a sheltered location.
Temporary pop-up gazebos are fine, as long as you don’t leave them unattended in strong winds. In extreme conditions they can take off in seconds and potentially cause serious injury.
Gazebo anchor systems range from temporary steel pegs, to weights attached to each leg, or to bolted anchors. In the last category, high-tensile steel bolts are a good investment.
HOT TUB GAZEBO ACCESSORIES
Hot Tub Gazebo Lighting
Gazebos can be decorated with lights to really enhance their look and give them the ‘wow factor.’ For example, little Christmas lights around the sides and even on the ceiling of your gazebo can make for a wonderful starry night experience.
Lighting is one of those add-ons where heaps of options are available, depending on your taste and budget. How about using candles to give your gazebo that romantic touch? It is really easy to put up shelves or outdoor candle holders under your gazebo.
Just the right thing for your favourite scented candle. Just make sure that they are a safe distance from any flammable material and aren’t left unattended.
And if you need some extra heating, how about an Outdoor Patio Heater?
If you would like to hand over your gazebo project to a designer, you can get a custom model with any option you like, and to match any budget. As long as you can imagine it, they can design and build it!
Outdoor Wireless Stereo System
How about a quality stereo system to put under your gazebo? You can get them as a built in, or stand-alone so they can be moved around to suit your taste. There are plenty of wireless speakers, too, so you can avoid any potential safety hazard with electrical cables.
How about this Kicker Bullfrog Outdoor Bluetooth Stereo System?
or these Turtlebox Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers ?
What is a pergola?
Pergolas are an attractive alternative to a ‘solid’ gazebo roof. They use timber beams or slats instead of a full cover. Mainly used as a decorative garden feature rather than a protective roof, they nevertheless do offer some shade. And it is easy to use a side screen and attach it to the solid wood frame of the pergola.
If you are a keen gardener and like the idea of climbing plants, a pergola provides a convenient and attractive frame for a grapevine or beautiful scented plant like a purple wisteria. Imagine lying back in your hot tub, watching the sunlight dappling through the leaves – perfect!
The New England Arbors Liberty Pergola looks great and comes in on the sunny side of $1000. Instead of timber it uses durable vinyl that won’t rot.
CHOOSING A CANOPY FOR YOUR HOT TUB
If your hot tub or spa is on a deck or next to your house, the sun can sometimes be quite oppressive, especially on a summer afternoon. This is no good for you or your hot tub in the long run. Rain can also be annoying on a cool day, and can reduce the benefit owning a tub. An excellent way to get around this is to install an awning or canopy.
Other commonly used names for these are patio covers and outdoor awnings. They make an attractive alternative to permanent or semi-permanent spa gazebos. Another excellent quality of a portable awning is that they are lightweight and therefore easy to move around to wherever you need them.
The two main options for canopy materials are aluminium or fabric. The fabric is typically some form of webbed ‘plastic’, which can be graded for shade only, or made of waterproof material. Fabric offers more options in terms of colour and style, whereas aluminium patio awnings or metal awnings for homes offer the benefits of low maintenance and high strength.
Some canopy tent models are fully transportable, with easily adjusted aluminium legs, carrying bag and a waterproof cover. A 10×10 ft Pop-Up Canopy Tent is typically priced around the $120 – $160 range, representing good value for money.
Retractable Side Awnings
Retractable Side awnings can be really useful if you just need to screen one or two sides of your hot tub area. They easily complement a roof-only structure and can be quickly packed up and put away. And you only need to pay around $900 for a good quality product.
Motorized retractable awnings are perfect if you want to attach an awning to the side of your house, over a decked area. You can simply lie back in your tub and operate the controls as the weather and your mood dictate! Over summer you can leave it in place and then retract during winter.
Other Advantages of Awnings and Patio Covers
Solar gain – They are really useful for reducing solar gain on the hottest side of your house, making the interior much more comfortable. And you will also save on electricity bills as your air conditioning system won’t be working nearly as hard.
The life of your wooden window frames will also be greatly extended if you have a canopy or awning to protect them, as will your wooden decking.
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