Spa Vs Stand Alone Hot Tub? Help! Save my marriage.

kazamali

Well-known member
May 28, 2020
49
Austin, TX
I took the advice of my neighbor when doing my build. "You'll have to look at it everyday, so build it exactly the way you want it to look because you don't want to 'regret' anything. Now, I'm in Austin, so my build budget had to be relatively large and adding on a spa was a slight incremental cost compared to the overall project. We went a bit crazy with everything, but the aesthetics of the attached spa, plus the nice spillway feature just looks pro. Now, do we use it all the time? No. Did we REALLY need a pool this size, either? Well, no, but we got it anyway. Justify the expense by not spending the 10k elsewhere!? :p
 
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DB-Cooper

Well-known member
Jun 18, 2019
404
Austin, TX
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Had the same arguments with my wife. She was initially of the camp that we'd seldom use it. However, our realtor said you should do the spa. As a percentage of my build, it's not that much more, but my realtor said there are people that want a pool and don't care bout the spa, but a good majority of people shopping homes that have pools have a checkbox requirement for a spa, so you end up alienating a large portion of your potential sale market later. Aesthetically, the built-in is the way to go.

My wife didn't think she'd use it, but she now actually wants the spa on almost every night when she starts to get a bit chilly. Given our outdoor entertainment area, I know the spa is going to get big time use in fall and spring.
 

JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,293
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
We used our spa at least weekly over the winter. With our heater, the spa would heat up about a degree a minute so even in the dead of winter with 50 degree water temps, you are talking 30ish minutes for it to heat up to temp.

The pro's of a gunite spa are: they generally look better and are more integrated with the pool, there is only 1 body of water to care for

The pro's of a stand-alone spa are: They are more comfortable as the seats are more contoured, you have a lot more options with jets/configurations.

There is no right or wrong answer, good luck.
 

Vukota12

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2020
58
New Jersey
I took the advice of my neighbor when doing my build. "You'll have to look at it everyday, so build it exactly the way you want it to look because you don't want to 'regret' anything. Now, I'm in Austin, so my build budget had to be relatively large and adding on a spa was a slight incremental cost compared to the overall project. We went a bit crazy with everything, but the aesthetics of the attached spa, plus the nice spillway feature just looks pro. Now, do we use it all the time? No. Did we REALLY need a pool this size, either? Well, no, but we got it anyway. Justify the expense by not spending the 10k elsewhere!? :p
That’s exactly my argument! Whole project inching towards 90K with pavers, fencing and tree removal but not that I am wealthy but you don’t see a tin cup filled pencils over here(Nod to Paulie Walnuts). Do it once and do it right is my motto.
 

Vukota12

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2020
58
New Jersey
We used our spa at least weekly over the winter. With our heater, the spa would heat up about a degree a minute so even in the dead of winter with 50 degree water temps, you are talking 30ish minutes for it to heat up to temp.

The pro's of a gunite spa are: they generally look better and are more integrated with the pool, there is only 1 body of water to care for

The pro's of a stand-alone spa are: They are more comfortable as the seats are more contoured, you have a lot more options with jets/configurations.

There is no right or wrong answer, good luck.
Thank you for the great advice.
 

Tenamarie123

Bronze Supporter
Jul 6, 2017
68
Warren, MI
I see that you are in NJ. Won't you have to close your pool for the winter? Not sure you can keep just your spa open and close the pool and if so, seems like that might create some problems for the plumbing...
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,378
Morris Cnty NJ
In NJ its stand alone spas. Makes no sense to have attached spa unless your ok with not using it in colder seasons. Once pool is closed spa goes bye bye. Theres no comparison between the 2 either, standalone really are therapeutic. The only attached spas I see are older built pools or the occasional fiberglass combo spa. You can also do a drop in setup where the spa is recessed if the property or grade allows it.
 

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Vukota12

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2020
58
New Jersey
I see that you are in NJ. Won't you have to close your pool for the winter? Not sure you can keep just your spa open and close the pool and if so, seems like that might create some problems for the plumbing...
I was told that the spa would have to close with the pool.
 

Vukota12

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2020
58
New Jersey
In NJ its stand alone spas. Makes no sense to have attached spa unless your ok with not using it in colder seasons. Once pool is closed spa goes bye bye. Theres no comparison between the 2 either, standalone really are therapeutic. The only attached spas I see are older built pools or the occasional fiberglass combo spa. You can also do a drop in setup where the spa is recessed if the property or grade allows it.
What would a decent standalone run me? And could you suggest a brand?
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,378
Morris Cnty NJ
Plenty of good spas out there under 10g. The dealer is as important as the spa. I have a hot springs it's a great tub. Any major brand is pretty good stay away from Costco and budget deals...you get what you pay for. Right now you can barely find a spa or pool for that matter inventory is gone around here. You can often find super nice tubs if you look hard on craigslist and such sites. Nobody buys the newer expensive tubs they mostly look for cheap stuff. Many spend 10k+ and then move or dont use and sell for huge loss
 
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Funkatation

Well-known member
Apr 22, 2020
71
Austin
We had this dilemma. I added a water feature for “looks”, and a standalone caldera for “feel”. Those plaster benches just aren’t comfy and my hot tub has 50 jets!
 
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Vukota12

Well-known member
Jul 3, 2020
58
New Jersey
Plenty of good spas out there under 10g. The dealer is as important as the spa. I have a hot springs it's a great tub. Any major brand is pretty good stay away from Costco and budget deals...you get what you pay for. Right now you can barely find a spa or pool for that matter inventory is gone around here. You can often find super nice tubs if you look hard on craigslist and such sites. Nobody buys the newer expensive tubs they mostly look for cheap stuff. Many spend 10k+ and then move or dont use and sell for huge loss
Thank
Plenty of good spas out there under 10g. The dealer is as important as the spa. I have a hot springs it's a great tub. Any major brand is pretty good stay away from Costco and budget deals...you get what you pay for. Right now you can barely find a spa or pool for that matter inventory is gone around here. You can often find super nice tubs if you look hard on craigslist and such sites. Nobody buys the newer expensive tubs they mostly look for cheap stuff. Many spend 10k+ and then move or dont use and sell for huge loss
Thank you!!!
 

jark87

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2011
298
Flower Mound, TX
Pool Size
25500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Jandy Aquapure 1400
We’re in Texas, so the climate difference may be a factor. We went with an integrated spa, primarily due to the look, which we love. We’ve never heated the entire pool - only the spa, and we really don’t use it very much, but it doesn’t take very long to heat. Granted, our water temp only gets down to the high 40s - low 50s and pool never closes. I don’t know that a freestanding spa would get any more usage and I certainly wouldn’t want another maintenance chore. Our neighbors put in a freestanding spa and regretted not having gone the integrated route, purely from an aesthetic perspective. It somewhat “cheapened” the look of a pretty expensive pool project. The 2nd homeowner removed it. I’ve been in freestanding spas on ski trips and there’s no question that they offer more from a therapeutic angle.
 
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Tres Gatos

Well-known member
Apr 13, 2019
82
Bullhead City, AZ
I may be in the minority here but I prefer integrated over stand alone and I have had both. Stand alone is a PITA to keep water balanced and have to drain every couple months otherwise it gets too saturated with organics, scum, etc. Integrated is one body of water easy to keep balanced with TFP no maintenance at all just run it in spill over mode every day. It heats up in about 15-20 minutes, not really a cost or convenience issue. Regarding therapy that is a personal choice but I never enjoyed having 50 jets pushing my booty around on a slick fiberglass surface. Perfectly happy with 8 jets on a gunite surface and just soaking and we use it almost every night with a glass of wine.
 

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