Spa Vacation Articles

How to Build Your Own Sauna - Part Two

In the previous article, we discussed how to choose a location for your sauna and how to prepare it by installing the necessary plumbing and electrical connections. You are now ready to construct the actual sauna!

If there is no existing framework you will have to install your own framing. This is the wooden studs that the sides and ceiling of the sauna will be attached to. Framework can be made from 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 lumber, and there should be upright posts regularly spaced every 16 inches.

Once the framing is in place, the room needs to be insulated. Insulation is placed between the framework studs in both the walls and the ceiling. It is necessary to keep the heat in the room and to save energy. The insulation is covered with a vapor barrier to prevent moisture build-up within the insulation. Foil vapor barrier can help to reflect heat back into the sauna.

You can now start constructing the walls. You need tongue-and-groove lumber to avoid exposing metal nails in the sauna. If the nail heads were exposed, they could burn the skin in the high heat of the sauna. Saunas in Finland are often constructed with Nordic white spruce, but you can also use western red cedar to cut down on the cost a little bit.

Begin at the floor and start nailing the lumber to the studs in the framework. Angle the nails through the tongue portion of the wood so that they are hidden. Cut the wood so that it fits evenly from one corner to the other. Work will go a lot faster if you have one person cutting the wood and another person installing it.

Continue adding rows of lumber checking from time to time that they are remaining level. Each wall is constructed in this manner and then finally the ceiling can be finished off. For the door, the easiest thing is to install a pre-hung door rather than trying to hang one yourself.

Molding can be applied to the corners of the room to give it a finished look. After this, the benches can be installed. You can construct your own or you can buy benches from a sauna supply store. Make sure there are no nails or exposed metal parts in your benches.

Once all the woodwork is finished, you can install a ceramic floor. This is simply a matter of gluing ceramic tiles to the underfloor and filling the spaces in between with grout. Be sure to allow time for the ceramic cement to dry before applying the grout.

When the ceramic work is finished, you need to build wooden flooring panels to place over the ceramic floor. They need to be removable so that you can clean the ceramic floor. The flooring panels are necessary because the ceramic tiles would be too hot to stand on in the heat of the sauna.

With all the interior work finished the sauna heater can be put in place and connected to the electricity. To finish it off you can panel the exterior walls of the sauna and install towel racks outside the sauna door.

And that's it! Turn on the heater, let it warm up for about 30 minutes and enjoy your sauna!


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