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Best Wood for Sauna: Which is the Best?

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Buying a sauna for your home is arguably one of the best decisions when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. Saunas are designed to provide health benefits, such as detoxification, improving blood circulation, easing joint, and muscular pains, among others.

When buying a sauna, there are usually a lot of factors that need to be considered. These range from the cost, heat source, to its efficiency. However, the majority of homeowners do overlook one factor –which is the best wood for the sauna used to build the sauna itself.

best wood for infrared sauna


Evolution of wood sauna

Traditionally, the sauna was made from the wood, which was obtained locally. As such, little choice was given to the type of wood with the best qualities. Therefore, the type of wood that was used solely depended on its availability. Some of the available wood types include pine, spruce, and aspen. However, some of these woods were highly vulnerable to fungus and mold attacks. This made it difficult for most homeowners to maintain as it required regular cleaning after using the sauna.

Despite being impractical, this didn’t seem like a real issue. When the sauna started becoming popular in the United States, the most commonly used wood was redwood. This was because it was attractive and easily available. After that, the supply of redwood begun to shrink. This made sauna manufacturers refocus their attention to cedar. As time goes by, people started realizing other alternative wood sources for saunas such as hemlock, eucalyptus, poplar, and the list goes on.


Types of Wood for the Sauna

There’re several types of the sauna on the market. What are these types and what’s their specialty? Let’s find out.

hemlock wood saunaHemlock Sauna

Hemlock is one of the best softwood trees used for making a sauna. Besides, it is usually readily affordable. This makes it a popular choice among builders and woodworkers. The Canadian conifer is also strong and durable. Therefore, it guarantees homeowners of a sturdy and long-lasting sauna unit.

Hemlock also features a unique warmth color as well as uniform texture. What’s more, its malleable consistency makes it an ideal wood among crafters. More importantly, hemlock wood does have the capability of withstanding high temperatures without being affected easily. On the market, most of JNH Lifestyles sauna use this type of wood to build high-quality saunas.

Furthermore, this type of wood has a tendency of not cracking as compared to other sauna woods. Its flexibility allows it to bend easily when crafting. It also has a lesser prevalence of knots in the grain, which in most cases aren’t suitable for the sauna.


Cedar Sauna

For many sauna manufacturers, cedar still remains the right choice for saunas due to several reasons. First, cedar is a type of softwood that not only has the capability of withstanding high temperatures but pressure as well. Cedar will resist cracking for the many times you’ll be using your sauna. It produces natural antibacterial and antifungal substances that prevent bacterial and fungal attacks, respectively.

Besides, cedar also provides some sweet smell, which is enjoyed by many. Not to mention its maintenance, cedar has a lower maintenance cost and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor saunas types.

Best of all, cedar is usually easily available. Majority of sauna manufacturer’s source cedar in Oregon, and British Columbia.


fir wood saunaFir Sauna

Firwood first originated in western North America, where it was the main source of wood for the sauna. One of the main reasons why the fir is popular among sauna is its resistance to fungi and bacterial attacks. At the same time, fir is relatively hard and shows little shrinkage when subjected to water. It has not only excellent stability but also elastic and durable. More importantly, it dries straight and true. This means that sauna builders can nail the wood up green and allow it to a season in place.

Last but not least, the straight, finely grained fir wood has yellow to reddish-brown color. This quality makes it a favorite option for sauna manufacturing. One notable minus for this wood is that it’s becoming a scarce resource each day. Therefore, it is not readily available in some regions.


basswood saunaBasswood Sauna

Basswood is another excellent option for building saunas, especially for those who are sensitive to resins or cedar. It has been proven to be odor-free, i.e., hypoallergenic. Therefore, if you have some allergies, you can have your sauna built with basswood. Besides having fewer knots, basswood is also aesthetically appealing.

In addition, basswood is usually sturdy and durable hardwood. Therefore, it is often resistant to cracks as well as pests. Moreover, it comes in different preferences and colors such as light brown and pale white.


poplar wood saunaPoplar Sauna

Poplar is one of the most popular woods across the world. Due to its availability, it makes an excellent choice for making a sauna. Poplar wood is not only reliable but durable. In the construction world, this means that it can make a durable sauna, which doesn’t crack easily. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about accidental cracks if your sauna is made of poplar.

When it comes to withstanding decay, poplar wood ranks very high. However, there are some shortcomings to this wood. For instance, it can sometimes dent easily, especially under prolonged high temperatures and pressures. Otherwise, the wood is very affordable and has plenty of supply.


Which Wood is the Most Popular for the Sauna?

With such a wide variety of wood types, you can probably ask, which wood is the most popular for a sauna?

best wood for sauna

well, the two most popular kinds of wood for sauna lies between cedar wood and hemlock. When you compare both cedar and hemlock, cedar still remains the most popular of all the wood types due to its magnificent performance and properties in the sauna. For instance, when considering durability, cedar often lasts longer than hemlock and the other wood types because it is moderately strong and malleable; thus, it can always withstand harsh temperature, pressure, and seasonal sunlight changes without splintering into pieces or warping like hemlock.

Also, it is not easily infested by pests and insects like other woods. Aesthetically, cedar is appealing to watch and has a smooth feeling texture, thus making it comfortable to sit on and easier to paint compared to hemlock and the other woods.

Cedar also emits pleasant aromas all over the sauna while holding and maintaining the heat at appropriate temperatures, which is a characteristic rare in many kinds of wood, which often overheats, resulting in uncomfortable baths. Nevertheless, cedar is also associated with some medicinal advantages due to natural antibacterial and antifungal components that assist in microbial infections and detoxification.

Finally, cedar wood sauna is also preferred by most since it is cost-conscious due to its low maintenance costs and vast availability. These and some more are some of the reasons for the preference and popularity of cedar for sauna by many individuals.


Final thoughts

Saunas are great for our health. However, before buying one, it is often important that you consider the type of wood used to build it. Some of the best wood types you need to know include cedar, poplar, basswood, fir, and hemlock. All of the woods mentioned above are best for your sauna. Besides, they can handle high temperatures and cracks. But cedar stands a little taller when it comes to efficiency and performance.


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