Access Panel on Grade with Pavers

PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
41
Southern California
Installing a Bullfrog below grade. Surrounding area is pavers. Any ideas for creating an access panel (or panels) on grade? Needs to be aroud 3' x 7' ' or so.

I can get a stainless grid made that I can fill with sliced pavers but it's going to cost $6k which I think is a bit steep.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,382
Cabool, Mo
As always, I strongly advise against putting a portable spa in a hole. Especially one with no drainage. Your repair bills will multiply in number and increase exponentially in cost.
The more room, around all sides, the better.
 

PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
41
Southern California
As always, I strongly advise against putting a portable spa in a hole. Especially one with no drainage. Your repair bills will multiply in number and increase exponentially in cost.
The more room, around all sides, the better.
Not sure where you got the idea this didn't have drainage. There will be two drains and a sump pump just in case the drains clog.
 
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A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
498
Kershaw, South Carolina
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
So is your hole dug already? I had a tub once that was on a slab, but I built a deck around it almost to the top. I had removeable deck "panels" on all 4 sides, so If I needed access I could just pick one (or all) up to get at what I needed to get to. You could do similar if you have the hole big enough to do so.
 
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phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
972
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Bullfrog makes a vault for their spa that comes with an access grate.

Of course being Bullfrog it likely costs $50,000
 
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PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
41
Southern California
9F84DAF2-F2BD-47B7-8F08-B3296A59A7CD.jpeg
This is what it looks like. As you can see it's a rectangle. There's another drain at the close end that you can't see. This will be surrounded by pavers and looking for something that I can use as a removable cover, also at the close end of the pic (around 3' x the width of the vault).
 

A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
498
Kershaw, South Carolina
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Whats the dimensions??
And why are all the webs knocked out on the top of the blocks?
 
Last edited:

A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
498
Kershaw, South Carolina
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Then whats the dimensions of your hot tub?
You might get to the front panel, what if you need to get into the side or back for a leak or some other issue?
 

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PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
41
Southern California
Then whats the dimensions of your hot tub?
You might get to the front panel, what if you need to get into the side or back for a leak or some other issue?
I would have to lift the tub.
If you have any thoughts on what I should use to cover the 3' access opening that would be great.
 

A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
498
Kershaw, South Carolina
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
I would have to lift the tub.
If you have any thoughts on what I should use to cover the 3' access opening that would be great.
Sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen, My only thought would be to make the hole bigger.
And if you are stuck on the idea of the pavers, I do not know of a solution for that..
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,847
Morris Cnty NJ
So the idea is to have the spa halfway or so in the ground? I would have a welder make up a frame you could set large sandstone or bluestone slabs into like 18x18 or so to match whatever pavers you are using.or something to sit pavers on. Why did you not just custom build a spa amd use remote equipment pad?
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
972
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Whats the dimensions??
And why are all the webs knocked out on the top of the blocks?


It looks like they ran a rebar around the perimeter of the vault. That is why they knocked the webs out.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
972
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
There are plenty of options if you do not want to use pavers as a cover. If you are set on using pavers, then you are going to have to put together a beefy support structure, those pavers are heavy. You will also need supports under the structure - you are looking at a 10' span here. Making such a structure out of stainless steel is not going to be cheap, as you found out. You could go with something other than stainless to save some money. Unfortunately welding galvanized is also expensive. With stainless the metal is expensive, and you do need some slightly more expensive equipment. With galvanized, if you don't take the proper precautions, you kind of die when you weld it (at least something as large as you are having built).

It is also going to be a bear to get into it if you have to do any maintenance. Removing all of the pavers and underlying support so a tech can get in there is either going to fall on your shoulders or wallet.

You could likely make something much easier to remove, and much cheaper out of pressure treated lumber and composite deck boards.

You could buy something from a company that makes such a thing. Again, paver covers for such a large area are going to be pricey.

 
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JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
27,682
Do you have a 3D picture of the design for how it is supposed to be when finished?

Who is the architect, engineer and designer?

In my opinion, the whole design seems like a bad idea.
 
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PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
41
Southern California
So the idea is to have the spa halfway or so in the ground? I would have a welder make up a frame you could set large sandstone or bluestone slabs into like 18x18 or so to match whatever pavers you are using.or something to sit pavers on. Why did you not just custom build a spa amd use remote equipment pad?
Yes, halfway into the ground. Thanks for the advice re welder making a frame. I'm OK with using something other than pavers. Was even thinking using teak or something like that as the cover to keep it lightweight and easy to remove. Also was thinking of making a couple panels to keep even lighter. I don't know what it's called but there's also a composite decking material that I was thinking we could use. Really was just wondering if others have had experience doing something like this and what they did.
 

PoolPaul

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
41
Southern California
There are plenty of options if you do not want to use pavers as a cover. If you are set on using pavers, then you are going to have to put together a beefy support structure, those pavers are heavy. You will also need supports under the structure - you are looking at a 10' span here. Making such a structure out of stainless steel is not going to be cheap, as you found out. You could go with something other than stainless to save some money. Unfortunately welding galvanized is also expensive. With stainless the metal is expensive, and you do need some slightly more expensive equipment. With galvanized, if you don't take the proper precautions, you kind of die when you weld it (at least something as large as you are having built).

It is also going to be a bear to get into it if you have to do any maintenance. Removing all of the pavers and underlying support so a tech can get in there is either going to fall on your shoulders or wallet.

You could likely make something much easier to remove, and much cheaper out of pressure treated lumber and composite deck boards.

You could buy something from a company that makes such a thing. Again, paver covers for such a large area are going to be pricey.

Thanks. Yes I don't plan to use pavers for the reason you state. I actually found this company whose link you posted after making the OP. Using them is definitely an option, but even their "in stock" items seemed more costly than having it done by a local welder. Composite deck boards may be the way to go. Just need to get the right spacing on the supports. Was thinking maybe I could just notch the blocks, add steel cross beams and lay the decking over that.
 

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