For those looking for a hot tub or spa, custom-designed spas allow you to get the exact look, size, and features you want. We spoke to Charlie Snider, PMP, AFO, vice president of pool and spa sales at Diamond Spas, to learn about hot tub and spa design, including the materials, shapes, options, and advantages of owning a custom spa.
PoolSpaOutdoor.com: What are some the most requested features on a custom spa and hot tub? How do they enhance the user’s experience?
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Charlie Snider, Diamond Spas: The most common customizations are seating options designed specifically for the primary users. We arrange the jets and seating options to suit special requests. We create loungers and arm rests, unique curves, decorative coping on the exterior, and work with the customers to place the jets exactly where they want them to be.
Automatic covers are also popular. Another common request is integrating our controls with a home automation system for convenient and multiple points of control. We provide any type of heating system, offer choices for high efficiency VFD drive pumps, and a variety of sanitation systems to meet any special requirements.
PSO: What are the benefits of a custom spa made of stainless steel and copper? How does it compare to a concrete spa (typically built in conjunction with a swimming pool) and a portable hot tub, which usually has an acrylic shell?
CS: The purpose of using copper and stainless steel materials is they don't require faux or add-on finishes. They’re a natural, recycled, and beautiful material that can be shaped to suit custom applications of high-end clients. Additionally, they both are highly durable.
The metals produce a smooth, comfortable finish surface demanding very little maintenance, never has to be replaced, and maintains its natural beauty for the life of the spa.
We build the spa shells entirely of copper or stainless steel. Sometimes we’ll provide copper trim on a stainless steel spa to combine the elements for stunning look and pronounced wow factor.
Copper does patina. It is a true "living metal.” The natural protective patina coating protects the copper from corrosion. Typically this is a dark brown coloration. We use a 316L grade, low carbon content stainless steel produced for marine environments. It’s extremely durable. We produce a unique, hand-buffed finish to tone down shiny reflections and provide a surface that can be cleaned without affecting the finish.
In addition, we eliminate corrosive chemical treatments that don’t work well for either metals or humans in order to deliver a rich and comfortable experience.
PSO: What types of hydrotherapy jets are available on custom hot tubs and spas? How can jets be configured to suit each customer’s needs?
CS: We use a custom manufactured jet to meet our specification of durability and standardized installation for quality control. There are a few options for discerning customers. The primary desire for most spa customers is location, strength of jet, and options for how to control the jets.
PSO: Users may want the ability to adjust the intensity of the hot tub jets. Does Diamond Spas offer jets that can be adjusted individually?
CS: We do provide this availability using programmable VFD drive pumps and control systems to operate multiple speeds.
PSO: What are some of the uniquely-shaped hot tubs and spas Diamond Spas has built? Even with unique options available, are squares and rectangles still the most popular?
CS: Most often unique shapes are defined by available space, efficiency, aesthetics, and functionality. We work with designers, builders, and owners to create the best user experience for each project. This includes a variety of curves, ellipses, trapezoids, triangles, circles, ovals, squares, and rectangles.
The most popular spa shapes are the most efficient in terms of seating capacity and budget. Since there’s no functional purpose to build a spa greater than 7 feet across, most customers elect square, rectangle, and elliptical shapes to provide efficiency within their available space. There truly is no commonality.
We have to search hard through years of designs to find an example that any particular customer might request as something typical, standard, or simple. While the initial request often begins here, the end product morphs to something quite unique by the time the final design is approved.
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Photo courtesy of Diamond Spas