Installing a Jacuzzi Tub

How to Frame and Install a Jacuzzi Tub Base

By Mark J. Donovan

Jacuzzi tubs have become extremely popular in higher end homes. Jacuzzi tubs have pressure jets that shoot water and air to provide a relaxing and comfortable bath. They are commonly found inside and outside of the home. Inside the home they are frequently located in a bathroom or in a separate room in a walkout basement area. It is important to frame in a Jacuzzi whirlpool tub to provide support and to hide the mechanical and electrical workings external to the tub.

Framing a Jacuzzi tub is easy to do, and should normally be done prior to the installation of the tub.

If you have plans to install a Jacuzzi tub first check with your local building inspector as you will most likely need to pull a permit for the electrical work. In addition, the building inspector can also assess any structural concerns that may need to be addressed, such as the installation of additional floor joists to support the added weight of a Jacuzzi tub.

Framing a Jacuzzi Tub Base

To frame a Jacuzzi tub first make sure the subfloor base is of proper construction to support the weight of a full tub. For example, make sure there are adequate floor joists of both size and frequency underneath the proposed Jacuzzi whirlpool tub area. In addition, make sure the subfloor is constructed out of ¾” tongue and grooved plywood and that it is not damaged in any way. 

It is important to remember when framing a Jacuzzi tub that the full weight of the Jacuzzi tub will actually rest on the floor and not the side walls.

To frame the side walls for the Jacuzzi tub use standard framing techniques. When framing the Jacuzzi tub walls use 2x4s or 2x6s. The walls should be constructed by including a top and bottom plate and vertical stud members spaced on 16 inch centers. The wall height should be the same height as the bottom edge of the Jacuzzi tub when it rests flat on the floor with any required spacers installed. Use a measuring tape to measure from the bottom edge of the Jacuzzi tub overhang to the floor, to determine the proper framed wall height.

Make sure to identify a location in the framed wall area for an access panel. Select a location that is near the electrical wiring and pump assembly.

Installing Jacuzzi Tub

Now, apply 2 inches of mortar into the base of the Jacuzzi tub frame area to support the tub itself. Make sure you follow the Jacuzzi tub’s manufacturer’s directions on where to NOT apply mortar. There should be voids in the mortar bed for the pump assembly and for the support blocks. The mortar is necessary to help provide better support for the fiberglass Jacuzzi tub.

Next, place a layer of plastic over the soft mortar bed and apply construction adhesive to the bottom of the support blocks.

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Now, apply a bathroom and kitchen silicone caulk around the perimeter of the framed Jacuzzi tub wall to create a water tight seal with the bottom edge flange of the Jacuzzi tub.

Then sit the Jacuzzi tub into the framed Jacuzzi base. Make sure when installing the Jacuzzi tub that it is sitting on its support spacer blocks and that the support spacer blocks are not resting on any mortar.

After installing the Jacuzzi tub into the framed base and connecting up the electrical wiring and plumbing, install greenboard or cement backerboard to the side walls and top deck surface. The cement backer board should be used if you plan to install ceramic tile on the walls and/or top surface of the Jacuzzi tub base.

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