Chapter 3 Topics

3-P: Sealed Bases

A good seal will keep out unwanted intruders

Rodents love to get into the insulation behind the skirting, where they dig tunnels, make caves, gnaw on wires & plumbing, invite guests, have babies, poop and pee, then die and rot, making your hot tub stink to high heavens.

Many hot tub brands will boast about having a sealed base, but a sealed base doesn’t always keep critters out, for several reasons:

  1. If the seal only covers the actual base of the hot tub, it’s essentially useless because rats and mice don’t burrow under the concrete or wood deck pad to get in through the floor from underneath.  Rather, they get in through holes or gaps between the skirt and the frame – most often at the corners.  Even if there’s a dime-sized hole, they can gnaw away at until it’s big enough to fit through.
seal 1

Someone’s poor attempt to keep out rats.  Note the floor has a sealed base which does nothing to stop rats from entering. 

  1. Strangely, some brands are much more alluring to pests than others. For some reason, certain models seem irresistible to rats, and they’ll work at them persistently until they find a way in.   I’m not sure why – I can only assume they can smell or sense something behind the skirting that attracts them.  On the other hand, rats are like, “meh” with other brands/models and don’t seem interested in gaining access.  In these cases, it’s not so much about the tub being ratproof, as it is about being rat-indifferent.
  1. Some manufacturers use soft chewy plastic and/or, thin-gauge panels to seal a hot tub, which can be gnawed through by determined rats or mice.
  1. Some manufacturers staple or tack on wire screens to keep vermin out, but as the tub ages, they can loosen and fall off or get yanked off by determined rodents.  This is a very common problem.

So, don’t assume that a “sealed base’ means you won’t have problems, and nor should you assume that a non-sealed floor means trouble.