Building An Outdoor Sauna
For centuries the Finns and other cultures have been building their own saunas granted for most of this time simple dugouts were the style of choice. Today’s modern home has much higher standards no one wants to crawl in a dark hole in the earth to have a sauna bath anymore. Well today it is easy to build your own sauna either indoors or outdoors.
The first step will be to decide on the size and the location of your sauna. Will it be inside or out? Will it be a one person, two or more? What type of heat source do you want to use? An outdoor sauna will require more engineering as it will need to be structurally sound weather proof and well insulated. The typical construction of an outdoor sauna is with Cedar. Cedar is widely used because it is extremely resistant to rot and can tolerated the high moisture levels associated with a sauna. Cedar is usually the first choice it is not the only choice when it comes to a sauna actually any material that can with stand the high temperature and high moister level can be used material such as fiberglass and acrylic panels can be used also. You may want to line your sauna with Cedar and have the outside match the siding on your house.
Before you begin constructing your outdoor sauna consult with your local township building department you may or may not need a building permit. Typically the construction of the outdoor sauna will be either on an existing cement slab or on a deck. The floor should be insulated if building on a slab build a raised floor to make room for insulation. The walls will be typical 16 inch on center standard stud construction. You can use a standard pre hung door or build a custom cedar door it is a matter of personal preference. Generally the roof is done with a rafter technique with a metal or shingled roof.
Once the shell is completed you can install the outside siding the siding can be stained or natural Cedar or you can match the siding of your house. After the siding has been installed you can insulate the walls and ceiling the insulation will reduce operating costs and allow for a quicker warm up of the sauna.
The final step is to finish off the interior most prefer Cedar for this it is a good choice as it naturally is resistant to mold and mildew that can be associated with a sauna, it also smells and looks great. After the interior has been completed you will need to install the heater you have four basic options when it comes to heaters electric, infrared, natural gas and propane and wood burning, each have advantages and disadvantages you will need to decide which heater is right for your application.