There are a variety of options when it comes to building a home sauna, from simple assembly kits to building your own outdoor sauna from scratch. Regardless of the option you choose, there are a few things that need to be determined when considering the right sauna for your home!
Pre-built sauna versus self-built sauna
When you first start considering building a sauna at home, you’ll have to determine if you’d like to begin with a pre-made kit or start from scratch. Choosing between a pre-made, pre-assembled sauna, a kit or simply building it yourself from the ground up will greatly depend on your time, energy and dedication to this project.
If you’re looking to get the job done as quickly as possible, then you can easily find a preassembled sauna that is ready to be installed. In other instances, saunas will come in a kit that includes all materials, and the structure can be built on-site. The kit will come with snap-together pieces as well as a roof for you to put together in the place of your choosing.
Building a sauna will take more planning, work and some serious skills. But if you're up for it, do the research before beginning this project! An alternative option is a portable sauna, which does not need to remain in one fixed place. This is an excellent sauna choice if you plan on moving or have a cottage or country house where you spend a significant amount of time.
The cost of building a sauna will vary widely and will be dependant on materials, size and style. The smaller the sauna, the cheaper the price. Of course, a custom-built sauna is going to cost a pretty penny, so be prepared for the dollar signs.
Where to install your home sauna
Saunas can be installed indoors or outdoors, and you’ll have to choose where you’d like yours to go. Indoor saunas are quite common, especially in cities where your backyard or garden space may already be limited. Structurally, indoor sauna kits will be almost the same as outdoor saunas, only premade kits will include flat panels instead of a roof.
If you’re building a sauna yourself, you would follow the same principals and build a box-like structure inside your home. Building a sauna will require an experienced carpenter, as it is important to be certain that all pieces fit together perfectly as it will need to be airtight. If you’re not so handy yourself, it is recommended that you go for a pre-built sauna and search for ones that have been approved to stay inside.
Exterior, or outdoor, saunas are good if you lack room indoors or you have a pool or lake that you’d like your sauna next to. Unfortunately, an exterior sauna may require extra insulation in order for it to stay warm. This is another aspect to remember if you’re already concerned about the cost of this project. If you choose to build your sauna outdoors, you can add insulation benches to keep things hot.
You’ll also need to make sure that your sauna stands on a waterproof pad, which will be made out of concrete, tile or vinyl. Another thing to bear in mind is that if your sauna model runs on electricity, it will require a certain amount of voltage. If your wiring is unable to support the voltage that an electric sauna requires, you’ll need to hire a licensed electrician to rewire and correct the voltage levels.
Materials, heat source and size for an at-home sauna
The material of your sauna will almost always be wood, and the type of wood will depend on your budget as well as your personal preference. One of the most popular choices is cedar, as it has a beautiful fragrance. Cedar is very durable, and for this reason, it resists rot, will not cause splinters and won’t be hot to the touch.
However, a cedar sauna may cost a little more initially, yet it will last the longest. There are many other, cheaper, options on the market, and these will be in the form of softwoods. Regardless of whether the sauna will be set indoors or out, the wood will need to be treated to withstand moisture. For the floor material, a classic choice is concrete or a durable tile. It is recommended that you avoid wood, as wood flooring will likely end up with mould and bacterial growth.
If you’ve ever been to a spa, you’ve likely experienced a wet-dry sauna. Basically, saunas work in two ways to heat the body. Traditionally, a wet-dry sauna runs on electricity or on a wood-burning heat source. This will heat stones that raise the indoor temperature between 160 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit. When water is added to the stones, steam fills the room.
Newer versions of the home sauna use radiant heat. This style of sauna heats the body directly, rather than dispersing heat into the air. This style has gained popularity, as it is gentle on the skin. These are traditionally cooler than a dry-wet sauna.
Lastly, determine the size of the sauna you’re hoping to install. Keep in mind the number of people you need to accommodate. Of course, the larger the sauna, the more expensive it is going to be to heat. For this reason, also, you don’t want to build or purchase a sauna larger than necessary for your needs. Do a little bit of research regarding dimensions, and soon enough you’ll be sweating away all your troubles.