Hot tub redo done! (How to make an old hot tub look new)

Hello friends! I hope you had a blessed holiday season. It was definitely one of my favorite Christmases ever. I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with family and friends. The older I get, the more I cherish these moments together.

Today I wanted to share photos of our finished hot tub project! A few months ago, we purchased a used hot tub for $600 from a friend of a church friend.

We installed a paver patio for our “new” hot tub first. Then I stained the outside of the hot tub cabinet and did some landscaping to finish off our new backyard oasis. I chronicled the specific details of how we did these projects here:

Here’s what we started with:

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hot-tub-base staining-hot-tub And here’s what we’ve got now:

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In addition to doing the paver patio ourselves, we also tried to keep the landscaping budget as low as possible. We’ll still need to bring in a little topsoil and seed in the spring to get the area looking its best. The cost breakdown to date is as follows (approx.):

  • 4-6-person California Cooperage® Hot Tub – $600 (purchased used from a homeowner and picked up)
  • Stain for hot tub cabinet – $12
  • Paver patio – $1,000 (We have extra pavers on hand to do some more hardscaping in the future.)
  • Landscape fabric (already had on hand)
  • Edging – $20
  • 2B (that’s the size) river rock – $60
  • Trees and shrubs – $300
  • Electrical supplies to hook up hot tub – $150
  • Stumps and large rock accents (already had on hand in our woods) 🙂

Total project cost = $2,142

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Below you can see where we decided to end the paver patio and allow some room for landscaping against the house.

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While this project definitely cost us some significant time and money, we feel it was well worth the effort. Our family gets in the hot tub together nearly every evening. It’s a great time of bonding for us, and it sure beats watching TV! Plus we know we saved a ton of money purchasing a used hot tub and installing it ourselves. A new hot tub of this size would begin at about $5,000, not counting the cost of the patio, landscaping, electrical supplies, etc.

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What do you think of our “new” hot tub?

5 habits of organized people

I have always admired the uber-organized among us. Getting and staying well-organized does not come naturally to me – an easily distracted and creative-minded DIYer. It’s been a struggle my entire life; that’s why I dedicated an entire book to the subject of organizing.

Over the years, my methods have become more realistic, and my habits have improved a bit. But I still have a long way to go. That’s why I decided to share this post today. I wanted to do some research to see what sets apart the highly organized people out there from the rest of us mere mortals. This is what I found out:

1. They face their Goliaths. Super-organized and productive people don’t typically avoid tough projects, issues or problems. They charge into them, facing them quickly so they can move on and keep those things from becoming giant, stressful time snatchers.

2. They’re disciplined. Statistics show that organized people have the ability to identify and eliminate time wasters. They also tend to take personal responsibility quickly. They are in the habit of consistently hitting goals, meeting deadlines and fulfilling promises. In short, they hold themselves accountable.

3. They have laser-like focus. Organized, productive people are able to concentrate on the task at hand and tune out distractions. They understand that not everything can be important. They distinguish between important tasks and trivial ones and focus on the most important stuff first. They don’t get bogged down with busy work. Of course, laser-like focus isn’t a natural ability for many people – including myself. But it is a skill we can all cultivate. Check out this article on 12 ways you can find and foster focus.

4. They plan their days. Although this is probably a fairly obvious habit of the organized, it bears mentioning because it’s so vital to creating an advantage at the start of each day. Rather than taking precious time to figure out where to begin, having a plan or clear path for the day’s schedule creates a sense of urgency and momentum early in the morning.

5. They’re able to get back on track faster. When organized people are interrupted or things don’t go as planned, they are quickly able to adapt. Their normal, organized routines come in very useful at times when the unexpected happens, because all the other things that are important have already been taken care of or are on autopilot, providing the margin necessary to respond without scrambling or dropping the ball.

Getting and staying organized has been a life-long quest for me. I’m currently reading Jane Stoller’s Organizing for Your Lifestyle: Adaptable Inspirations from Socks to Suitcases. It’s helping me refocus my efforts and go back to the basics of setting up working systems in our home that everyone in our family understands and uses daily.

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I think that is a key part of keeping an organized home – developing systems and holding family members (especially kids) accountable for their part in managing those systems.

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Do you struggle with getting organized? Do you have any tips for how to stay on track?

Hot tub on a budget (plus how to install a paver patio)

Hello friends! I wanted to pop in today to let you know what’s going on around this pad. Since the flip house sold last month, we’ve been going crazy knocking out projects around our own house.

I painted the living room and kitchen and also painted about half of our front porch railing. We also installed a new kitchen floor and organized the garage. But my favorite project right now is the hot tub and paver patio we’re putting in!

A sweet friend from church mentioned she knew someone who wanted to get rid of a hot tub, and she asked if we were interested in it. We’ve always discussed how much we’d like to have a hot tub, but we didn’t want to spend a fortune on one. Well … long story short, we checked out the hot tub and bought it for $600!

Here’s a picture of it when we went to check it out before we bought it. Our little guy calls it the “hot pool.” 🙂

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It’s a 6-person California Cooperage®. After we agreed to buy it, we had to figure out where in the world we were going to put it! Matt really wanted to create a paver patio for it, which I was reluctant to try because it seemed like a very labor-intensive project. I was leaning toward a poured concrete pad. We agreed to go with Matt’s idea and began preparing the backyard.

How to install a paver patio

We leveled about a 13’x13′ section with a rototiller, shovels and rakes. I say “we,” but mostly Matt tackled this part (praise God).

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After Matt had everything fairly level and framed out, we added about an inch of sand, and Matt and Eva “dragged” it to ensure a completely level spot that would be ready for the paver base panels.

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We chose these paver base panels instead of a stone base, simply for ease of installation. Matt said the price of the panels was comparable to using the crushed paver stone.

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After laying out the panels in the framed area, the base was ready for the pavers. We chose Newline™ English Cobble™ stones. We mixed and matched the Riverbed Beige and Fieldstone colors, and set them in a random pattern. We were able to get the entire patio laid in one evening with me, Matt and the kids all helping.

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After laying the stones, we filled in the cracks with polymeric sand from Lowe’s. We brushed that out, then wet the patio with a hose to set the sand.

Here’s the hot tub on its new patio base.

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Whew. After that, it was on to the beautification process. As you can see, the hot tub was a bit faded, so I decided to stain the exterior cabinet. After much research, I decided on a ZAR® wood stain in Moorish Teak. For some very helpful information on how to stain fiberglass, plastic or other non-wood surfaces, click here.

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You can see the dramatic transformation in progress. I stained the whole tub, and now I’m letting it “cure” for about a week. After that, I’ll go over it with a exterior-rated polyurethane with UV protectant built in.

While the stain dries, I’m landscaping around the new patio.

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I’ve chosen all evergreen bushes and plants because I want the hot tub area to feel like a woodland oasis. I’m using 2B river stone around the plants.

I can’t wait to show you the “after” pictures when everything is done! Total, we’ll probably have about $2,500 invested in the hot tub, patio and landscaping. This is a chunk of change for sure, but nowhere near what we would have paid for a new hot tub, or for someone else to install the patio.

What do you think of our progress so far? Stay tuned for the final reveal coming soon.