How To Build a Sauna

Sauna bath

Building your own sauna isn't as difficult as you may think, but it does require proper planning. There are several important considerations, like do you want to build a separate outdoor sauna or attach it to your house? What kind of heater are you going to use - wood, gas, or electric? Does your local municipality have any restrictions on building a sauna? Do you need a permit? 

Also, how much work are you willing to put into this project? Many prefabricated kits are available; some can be set up in a matter of minutes, while others simply have precut pieces that allow more customization. However, building your own from scratch can be just as simple, though it may take more time, and often is significantly cheaper. 

Provided below are the steps necessary to build a sauna that will hold 2-3, or maybe even four people comfortably. And because it is made primarily of cedar wood, it will resist mold, mildew, and most weather. Follow these instructions to build a simple 8-by-8 feet sauna from scratch. 

  1. Build a floor by connecting four standard size (4-by-4 feet) shipping pallets, to form an 8-by-8 feet square. Cover the pallets with plastic sheeting stretched tightly over the floor.  
  2. Apply a mold resistant sealer to eight 1-inch thick cedar planks measuring 12-inches by 8-feet. Screw these planks onto the pallets over the plastic sheeting to create the interior floor. 
  3. Use 2-by-4 inch wood planks to frame the four walls and the roof. Make sure your sauna is tall enough for you to stand up in, while leaving at least a foot of space where the heat can rise. 
  4. Cover the exterior of the walls and roof with cedar. Remember to leave room for a door, a window (if desired), and two or three vents. Vents should be placed at the base of the sauna, over the heater, and near the roof. 
  5. Apply a 3-inch layer of fiberglass insulation to the walls, and line the inside with more cedar. Wherever possible, cover the nail heads, as they can get extremely hot and cause burns. 
  6. Install a cedar bench, about 1 ½-foot wide. 
  7. Install the door and (optional) window
  8. Install your wood burning or gas heater. Unless you are an electrician, or sufficiently experienced, hire a professional to install your electric heater. 

You're ready to enjoy your sauna!


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