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How to Build a Sauna?

A sauna is a small hot room for therapy with a temperature of about 65 degrees to 90 degrees. The interior part of a sauna is often made of unpainted wood and temperature controls. The stone elements are found in some of the saunas to form the heating part by absorbing and giving out heat. The water can be poured to the tones to bring out steam that will create some humidity in the sauna.

Saunas are of different types such as a Finnish sauna, and Turkish-style sauna. The Finnish sauna uses dry heat, while a Turkish-style sauna has more moisture.

Below are the factors you should consider before you can build your sauna and steps of how to build a sauna.


Things You Need to Consider Before Building a Sauna

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  • Pick your location and size

You cannot install a sauna just anywhere. You first need to identify the best and your preferred area and the size of your sauna. Whether for one person or a social, spacious sauna.


  • Materials

The best-preferred material for building a sauna is cedar. Cedar can handle moisture, and it will also last longer for you; however, cedar is quite pricey.

The floorings of your sauna can either be concrete, wood or even tiles. As you choose on your preferred floor material, always consider building a drain for easy cleaning.


  • Preferred design elements

You can choose to build your sauna and put windows so that you can have a view of the surroundings or see anyone who is coming to your sauna. Adding two doors for easy access and ample ventilation for your sauna is a wise idea.

You can also put a bench along one side of your sauna for more people to feel very comfortable. Having cold water nearby is a great touch too if you have some adequate space.


  • Choosing your heat source

Depending on your preference, you can choose the heat source of your sauna between electricity, infrared, wood or gas. However, most people do prefer to use wood.

Using electricity or gas as the heat source for your sauna will be easy to maintain and will heat your sauna very fast, though not as charming as using wood. Infrared sauna heaters are the most efficient because they will heat up so quickly and consume considerably less electricity.


Supplies and Tools to Build an Indoor Sauna

  • Light switch
  • Sauna foil vapor barrier
  • Nail gun and nails, air compressor
  • Dry or wet rated light fixture
  • Ground fault electric outlet
  • Electric wiring, a woodpile, and gas pipe
  • Fiberglass insulation and foil barrier


Steps on How to Build a Sauna

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  • Cedar paneling

Begin by nailing your cedar panel board on one side of your ceiling perpendicular to the joints. Move it across your ceiling until it is fully covered. Proceed and cut a hole around the lightbox.

Nail your clear cedar paneling board over your foil barrier and insulation. Horizontally, nail the first row of the tongue, and groove the wallboards to the studs.

Add your cedar panel boards in rows. After every fourth or more board, you should check the board levels. Fix your grooves over the tongues and then continue up the sauna wall. Install your panel boards until the sauna insulated walls are fully covered.


  • Wiring sauna room for light

Wire your sauna room for light, sauna wire conduit, controls outside the room, and light switch if you are considering using gas for your sauna heater than you will have to consider the thickness of the gas pipe.


  • Insulation

Insulate the interior walls of your sauna room with R-19 for exterior walls and R-11 insulation. Fiberglass insulation is obtainable in either 24 inches or 16 inches wide rolls.

If you insulate your sauna walls, you will lower the cost of your sauna operation. Insulated walls will keep your sauna heat inside the sauna. Insulation will also provide you with a soundproof so that you can relax deeply.


  • A foil to have heat relation

Your sauna foil vapor barrier will add R-1 value to your insulation factor. The sauna foil will act as a vapor barrier to the entire interior surface of your sauna room. You need to overlap the foil by 3 inches so that you won’t need to use the foil tape.

Consider using the foil and not the foil substitutes because the foil will not melt and it is also odorless. A vapor barrier will protect your sauna walls from absorbing vapor.


  • Mount your sauna heater

All of the sauna heaters come with a template and guidelines on how to do the installation. Ensure the right distance of the sauna heater off the floor. Consider some mounting brackets in the wall and a vent under the heater of your sauna.

Leave a space for the sauna heater guard rail if the sauna heater is too close to the door to prevent any accident or burn.


  • Add rocks to the sauna heater

It would be best if you wash your sauna rocks before placing them inside the sauna room to remove dust. If dust from the stones is burned, there will be an unpleasant smell in the sauna room.

After washing the rocks, place them behind the sauna heater element. Placing the stones behind the heater element minimizes the chances of the sensor, giving out a false indication that the sauna room has reached the required temperature.

You need the right amount of rocks placed around your sauna heater element, and also set them on top but first ensure that your sauna heater’s grill still fits on top.


  • Set sauna benches

Assemble or build your sauna benches. There are two types of sauna benches, a high bench and a low bench. You can also choose to make the low bench double-wide to reach your sauna wall.

If you are building your sauna bench, then consider it to be 18’’ or more profound. You can purchase 2×2 supports and a 1×4 sitting top.

You may also choose to add some light under your sauna benches to make them shine and give a tremendous ambient light onto the sauna surrounding floors and walls.


  • Sauna door

Consider installing a pre-built pre-hung cedar sauna door. It comes with the swing and a frame that is already set.

  • Use the 2.5’’ galvanized deck screw in the sauna door frame.
  • Put in two screws to hold your sauna door in place, open and close it to test if it open and close correctly.

Consider placing your screws where the closed-door hides them. When your sauna door is plumb and hung, you can put the door handle on at your comfortable height.


  • Trim

Finally, if your sauna corners don’t look right, then you can add the trim. Please choose the best face of the board and then nail them down using your finish trim nailer.


Final Verdict

You can build your sauna by following the above steps and reap the rewards of having your sauna at home. With lots of health benefits for your mind and body, your sauna will dramatically enhance your well-being.

The best of it all is that you will be able to relax right from the comfort of your home.