What to Look for in a Spa Frame
A hot tub frame is meant to act as an enclosure for your spa to contain the components and a surface to lay on your panels for aesthetic purposes. It is not intended to support the weight of a dry or wet hot tub, at all. Spas that really on ultra-strong frames like steel are usually using thin cheap shells that need to be supported, which is not what you are looking for in a shell.
ABS is essentially a very sturdy plastic frame that can hold a lot of weight. These are well constructed and will last a long time. However, as mentioned, a good shell should be able to stand on its own and not require any support from a frame. When shopping around, if a salesperson tells you his/her spas are made with an ABS frame, tug at the lip of the hot tub shell itself. If the shell has any give, then it is a flimsy shell and that is one of the reasons why they have an ABS shell in place. However, some shells will have a thicker lip to fool you and the rest is flimsy.
Yes, ABS frames won’t rust, but the underneath of a hot tub is a very dry area…unless your tub leaks. What you have to figure out is this. Does the ABS frame unnecessarily bring up the cost?
Wooden frames are a standard in the industry and are a renewable and inexpensive resource. Some companies choose to pressure treat the wood and some not. The lifespan of wood frames is very long. A hot tub frame sits under cover for its lifetime, so it is not exposed to the elements at all. Think about the building you’re in right now or the building around you, most of them are built with wood and they’re still standing.
Coast Spas uses pressure treated wood, more specifically CA-B pressure treated wood.
This is a Copper – Azole treatment that is made by WolmanizedⓇ Residential OutdoorⓇ Wood.
There are several different types of metal frames in the market and several opinions on what is the best. Some say properly coated metal is good, some say using appropriate metals is key like titanium. Rusting will happen with all metal frames unless the frames are made of Titanium or with weld-free 316 Stainless Steel. Some companies are also using thin gauge aluminum, but the aluminum will collapse after a period of time under the weight of the water. Once again, why would your shell need support when you have a properly constructed shell?
The bottom line is, don’t get sucked in by marketing when it comes to frames. Supporting weight load is not a frame’s purpose, that is the job of a shell.