How to Build a Sauna – Easy DIY Methods for Building Sauna House

Saunas have been using from thousands of years as it helps people unwind and relax their muscles; also, it has other numerous health benefits. A sauna is a room where a “person” uses dry heat with a relative humidity between 10-20%. There are many sauna types, and some sauna has high moisture level such as Turkish-style saunas which involves a greater humidity level. It can raise skin temperature to 40̊c. Instead of buying a modular prebuilt version, you can turn your spare bathroom into a sauna in 50% less money. As the skin temperature increases, heavy sweating also increases the heart rate as the body attempts to keep cool. Do you know how to build a sauna? Now I will demonstrate how you can build a sauna by “DIY sauna” and other means.

Types of Saunas and How to Build a Sauna

In this type, wood is used as a “heat source” for the sauna room and the sauna “rocks.” 

  • Capacity: a seat for 4 peoples.
  • Durability: it lasts longer for many years, but its durability also depends on maintenance. 
  • Cost: $3000
  • Choose a spot for your sauna: choose an area where plumbing, heating, and electricity are easily accessible. 
  • Clear the place from “trees” and different obstacles.
  • Install wires, pipes, or gas lines.
  • Flooring joists and decking: To build a floor, use 2×6 pressure with 18″ joists space. Set the sauna base as 8’×6’×6″.
  • Framing the “wall”: The sauna uses a lean-to design with the front 7′ and back 6’3″. It will be useful in extreme weather conditions. 
  • Plywood sheeting: After framing the walls, now cut out the window and door frames. Windows will help you to look outside and give you a sauna a luxury feature.
  • Roof: As you finished with plywood and framing, now the next step is to build a roof; you can roof the sauna with wood or tile. You must remember to keep a ventilation system so that steam escapes from that spot.
  • Now install the heating system by following the “instructions” given with the appliances. Leave a wide space for the “sauna heaters.”
  • Put tiles on 1st layer as it will be helpful for your heating system and will collect moisture.
  • Install the heater and put benches, lights, and windows as needed.
  • Test the sauna by turning on the “heater” to check it’s properly installed.
How to Build a Sauna

Convert an old shed into a sauna:

If you already have a shed, but you are not 100% confident in your building skill, then take a sauna kit and follow instructions to convert a shed into a sauna without a scratch. You can convert it into a new sauna.

Cost: It cost $1000 if you have an outbuilding or shed outside.

How to build: The building of a sauna from a shed involves:
  • Vapor barrier.
  • Insulation
  • Interior wallboards
  • Ventilation
  • Woodstove
  • Vapor barrier, insulation, and interior wallboards:
  • In this step, get good quality insulation for the walls and ceilings.
  • It’s better to get R13 insulation for the walls, while for the “ceiling height,” it’s better to take R26.
  • Now the next thing is the “foil vapor barrier.” For this, use aluminum foil as it absorbs and reflects the heat in a better way. The shiny foil face must be towards the wall.
  • So that it reflects the heat towards the room
  • To make an interior wall, use cedarwood in a way known as shiplap, which is made by cutting the board’s edges in L shape. Now on this point, the edges of the board will face the L in the opposite direction.

Ventilation: Put a vent near the ceiling on the opposite end of the sauna from the door. At the bottom of the door, allow the outside air to come inside the sauna and escape the hot flashes from the vent.

The wood-burning stove

In this step, cover the walls near the stove with a cement board. Moreover, you can line the wall with paving bricks stakes on the edges of the stove. Now put the stovepipe with the wall, then leave it outside the ceiling. Remove all the fire catching material from the wall; otherwise, it will burn.

How to Build Outdoor Saunas

Building outdoor saunas can cost a lot. To save money, you can build this sauna by yourself.

  • What do you need to plan? Here, you only need to plan about insulated buildings and some “electric heaters” to generate heat and steam.
  • Now find the place where you want to build outdoor saunas.
  • Now clean the area and remove all obstacles from the required area.
  • Make a plan for a sauna room, such as where you want to build a changing room, storage room, entry area, and sauna room.
  • You have to build the hearth 1st. a sauna stove usually heat the rock, and when you drop water on it, it produces steam.
  • Set the stove on the hearth. The precautions we took in the shed saunas take it here, making a brick wall around to prevent it from catching fire around.
  • Install the ventilation or chimney on the ceiling.
  • Frame the ceiling, walls, windows, and doors.
  • Put tiles on 1st layer as it will be helpful for your heating system and will collect moisture.
  • Install the heater and put benches, lights, and windows as needed.
  • Test the sauna by turning on the “heater” to check it’s properly installed.

How to Build Barrel Sauna

Building a barrel sauna is similar to building a “sauna from scratch” because here you have to build a sauna room from the start where you don’t have the wall, ceiling, floor; nothing means nothing. You can build a DIY barrel sauna anywhere. 

Cost: It cost $2500-$3000

Its inspiration comes from gibbons whistlers.

How to build
  • Prepare the location: 1st of all, you have to prepare the area you want to build barrel saunas. You can use a well-temped gravel base, concrete pad, or solid deck. If you are using a gravel base, then it’s best to use patio stones.
  • As much effort you give to the barrel, the effort shows how long it will stay at that location.
  • Place the cradles: Roughly place your cradles, now adjust it until it is lined up straight and leveled. Gently tapping over the cradles and ensure a tight fit.
  • Set the walls: stand up the walls and place staves to hold them in place. Make sure the walls are perfectly straight.
  • Insert the staves: put the staves one by one until it reaches the upper end. Make sure the dado joints the line perfectly. If you feel gaps inside, then cover the gaps with wall fillers.
  • Build benches: You can use cedar or basswood for the benches.
  • Heat it: Test the sauna by turning on the stove to check it’s properly installed.

How to Build Infrared Saunas

Infrared saunas using FIR or NIR are different from wood saunas or electrically heated saunas. In this type, special “infrared heaters” use to heat the person’s body, not the entire room. Its temperature is lower than other saunas, but a person’s body sweat is similar to others. These saunas are using 60̊c. Infrared heaters use 90% less electricity and take less time to heat up. Moreover, it’s beneficial for skin cleansing.

  • The infrared sauna and steam sauna both are not the same. But infrared removes 20% more toxins from the body through its dry heat.

How to Build a Sauna: FAQ Section

How much does it cost to build your sauna?

Its cost depends on which type of sauna you want to build. As “Woodburning”: In this type, wood is used as a “heat source” for the sauna room and the sauna “rocks.” 

  • Cost: $3000

Convert an old shed into a sauna: If you already have a shed, don’t worry; there is no need to build a sauna from scratch. You can convert it into a new sauna.

  • Cost: It cost $1000 if you have an outbuilding or shed outside.

“Barrel sauna”: building a barrel sauna is similar to building a “sauna from scratch.”

  • Cost: It cost $2500-$3000

What kind of wood do you use for a sauna?

There are different kinds of wood that can be used for saunas:

  • Western red cedar
  • White pine
  • Black alder
  • Hemlock
  • Aspen
  • White spruce

According to Withrow-Robinson, burning dry wood is more efficient and cleaner. When you burn, it must contain 20% or less moisture.

What is the healthiest type of sauna?

Infrared saunas using FIR or NIR are different from wood saunas or electrically heated saunas. In this type, special “infrared heaters” use to heat the person’s body, not the entire room. Its temperature is lower than other saunas, but a person’s body sweat is similar to others. These saunas are using 60̊c. If you are using infrared, then make sure you have enough power for the heating system.

Conclusion

To conclude this topic, before building a sauna, it’s better to have proper planning and cost values. If you have an outer building, then a shed sauna is the best option to build your sauna. I hope you enjoyed the different methods of building a sauna.

Jennie R. Stallings
Jennie R. Stallings is the Author & Contributor of Easy Trip Guides. As a passionate traveler, Jennie has been exposed to numerous societies and various parts of the world. These encounters have molded her perspectives and writing style. Travel is certainly her “passion” Writing is her imaginative outlet. She appreciates clarifying things in a manner that normal people can understand. She likes it very much when people read her traveling experiences. After traveling a lot she has gathered a lot of things to share with you. At Easy Trip Guides, She writes a few of her experiences about what you should do and what you should avoid. On our website, she covers different areas like holiday tips, travels insurance information, some medical tips, and other vital blogs.

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