Unwinding in a sauna is a perfect way to spend a few hours. The practice comes from a Finnish tradition: they discovered that pouring water over hot rocks in a small space produced a fantastic amount of steam.
Saunas will cleanse your skin, improve your circulation, ease muscular aches, bolster your immune system, and a whole lot more besides. But exactly how to you build your own sauna from wood? Here, we’ll take a look.
Before you get started, you’ll need to decide what you’re looking to achieve and how much it’ll cost to get there. Converting an existing outbuilding will almost always work out cheaper. You’ll need a level, convenient spot, and enough concrete, timber and insulation to throw the whole thing up.
You’ll need to compose a plan before you get started. Your ceiling height should not be more than 2.2 metres. You’ll need a space for drainage, and for the steam to escape. Bear in mind that the larger the space, the more energy you’ll need to heat it up. Partition the interior of the building accordingly into changing rooms, storage and the sauna itself. You need to measure the space accurately to avoid problems later on; get a quality tape measure from RS Components and keep it to hand.
You’ll begin with a concrete foundation around ten centimetres thick. Pour it into the desired space. Then you can use recycled cedar to construct a frame, including the frame of your door.
Next, we come to the actual device you’ll be using to heat the space. This can be electric, or it could be gas, or it could be coal or wood-powered. In any case, you’ll need to be sure that you have adequate ventilation, and that any cabling is approved by a professional electrician. Since you’re going to be dealing with moisture, it’s essential that this be gotten right.
You’ll need to insulate to keep the heat inside and make your sauna affordable to run. Since the majority of the heat is going to rise to the roof, you’ll need thicker insulation overhead. Insulation is measured in R-ratings. You should look for an R rating of around 26 in the ceiling, and 13 for the walls. Staple over a layer of aluminium foil to prevent the moisture from seeping into the insulation. When you’ve gotten everything water-tight, it’s time to dress things up.
The interior of your sauna should be dressed with more attractive, thin planks of cedar. This type of timber is naturally resistant to moisture and changes in temperature, which makes it a fantastic match for the interior of your sauna. Do not stain or paint anything – such finishes will release horrible fumes as they heat up. Nail heads should be driven in and covered up: not only do they look terrible, they will conduct heat away from the interior.
Standing up when you’re in the sauna is unlikely to be much fun. You’ll need to ensure that there is adequate benching installed around the room to accommodate all the people who’ll be using it.