Friday, August 1, 2014

Tub Step

The hot tub is plugged in, filled up, and bubbling away on our back porch. It's been so nice having it lately, because we use our TV cable app and sit outside in the tub, watching TV on my tablet and hanging out. A nice little paradise in the middle of KY.

When we picked it up from the Bachmeyer household, it came with a box of chemicals, a thermometer, and steps. We were excited that it came with steps because stepping that far off the ground to get into an elevated, slick surfaced tub is kind of a no-no.

Unfortunately, the steps had seen better days. When you put your weight on them, the top step would almost cave in. They also had some issues when flipped over.

As you can see, there was just the TINIEST hint of rot. Just a little. I don't want to get technical, but I'd say an iota of rot...

Just kidding. It was everywhere. The rot had pretty much taken over all of the exposed wood on the interior of the steps (where there was no exterior paint) and around the bottom edge. Setting this on a solid surface still felt you were stepping on a marshmallow.

We knew that we would need to replace them, but we didn't quite know how to go about it. I decided to check the Amazon and see what the price of  'plastic hot tub steps' would be. It was a little outrageous. Close to $90 just for two steps. We didn't need a whole staircase!

As always, I said, "Um, no, I can do it cheaper".

I remembered seeing pre-cut stair supports at Home Depot, so I bought one. It cost $10. (By the way, on this project, I will only spend the astronomical amount of $10.)

I could either make half of a four step ladder that was terribly supported, or I could cut it in half and make two steps. Though tempted by the first option, I decided to go for the more practical approach.

I cut it in half, following the same angle as the nearest step to the center of the overall support. Here is the line I used (drawn with a straight edge). I then cut along the line.

For the steps to sit correctly, they have a different angle at the top and bottom of the support. I simply put one piece on top of the other and marked my next cuts. This would make sure that they were the exact same piece.

I trimmed the one to match the other and I was done. This took about 5 minutes of work.

Then I went to the wood pile and grabbed a couple of pieces of 5.5 in. by 1 in. (If you decide to do this project and you are making it for an outdoor space, please be sure to use pressure treated lumber. All of the lumber you see me using in this post is pressure treated.).

I measured the top of the old steps. It was 27 in. wide at the top, so I cut four pieces of the 1 x 5.5 to 27 in. in length.

Measuring and cutting probably took a good 10 minutes. When I had finished, I was ready to start assembly.

I started with the bottom step. I used 3 inch exterior screws (because that's what we already had). I pre-drilled every screw, making my life a lot easier. This is why two drills are better than one.

The board you see on the right inside portion of the second step is there as a support. I decided to add support to the rear to keep the whole thing from falling when you stepped on it. (Because it's all about the little details). I took an extra board and marked and cut my pieces.

To install them, I clamped them to the stair supports. This way I could drill from the outside in, leaving the exposed tips of the screws away from naked ankles and soft toes.

I repeated the process for the other side.

After having supported the structure, I added the second step. I made sure that the overhang was the same as the bottom step, allowing for the width of the wood and a crack between for drainage (from both tub water and rain).

It's still in need of a good sanding. I would really like to cover the steps with some of the sticky exterior safe tread, but for now, we are just trying it on for size. (Which, size-wise, it's exactly the same height and width as the previous stairs. Just 100% less fally-aparty)

So much nicer than wondering if you're going to be the person who falls through the step! I am going to paint it the same color as the tub, too, so help it blend a bit. Honestly, the whole kaboodle took about 30 minutes to complete, so it was a nice to knock it out before Scott got home.

There is even a bit of an added bonus with our new stairs. See the giant grey rope? That's actually the electrical from the tub. Since there is a little gap between the stair support and the back legs of the stair, it fits much nicer. Huzzah!

1 comment:

  1. I wondered if you were going to paint or stain them. Good call.