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Can You Build a Home Sauna?

When asked the question, “Can you build a home sauna?” the straightforward answer is that “Yes, you can.”  However, the more technical answer is that it needs to be done properly or you can end up with a whole host of problems.  Improperly built saunas can cause moisture issues that, in turn, can cause mold problems.  If your sauna isn’t properly built for ventilation and waterproofing it can cause more problems than the relaxation it offers.  In the article below, we will review the top factors you need to consider for building a home sauna.

Location and Ventilation

Because saunas produce a lot of heat, humidity, and moisture you need to provide an outlet for that.  You don’t want all that energy being directed into the structure of your house.  Making sure you have adequate ventilation and a good seal to prevent moisture from seeping into the walls is an absolute necessity. 

By placing your sauna against the outer walls of your house you can benefit from the humidity and moisture being wicked away to the outside.  This will not completely prevent excess moisture from becoming a problem though and you still must ensure that a good ventilation system is in place.

Once you’ve wired your sauna room to allow for a light and sauna heater, you’ll need to insulate the walls to keep the heat inside.  Not only will it reduce the amount of heat that escapes it’ll provide a sound barrier which will provide a more relaxing sauna experience.

Vapour Barrier and Planks

You’ll need to add a vapour barrier both to keep the heat inside the sauna and prevent humidity from escaping into the structure of your house.  There’s a specially made sauna foil vapour barrier that you’ll attach to all the inner walls and the ceiling.  Sauna foil is specially made to prevent melting and to prevent the production of odours. 

Over top of the vapour barrier, you’ll add your cedar panelling.  Cedar is the best wood used for saunas as it tends not to swell or change colours while staying relatively cool.  Cedar is also a softer wood and is easy to work with.

Once you’ve placed your cedar planks, you’re ready to install your heater. Heaters will come with their own instructions that will let you know the optimal placement.  You’ll also want to build a guardrail around the heater to prevent anyone from accidentally burning themselves. 

Build or Buy?

The fact is that although you can build your own sauna if you’re relatively handy, it will probably save you problems down the road if you at least consult with an experienced professional prior to installation.  Understanding how to prevent mold and moisture from spreading should be your primary concern, but there will be many secondary issues which you’ll need to be aware of to end up with a safe and properly working sauna.

It is for this reason that most people choose to buy a home sauna and have it installed by professionals. With a wide range of price points for quality models, purchasing a home sauna is probably less than you expected and can save a lot of hassle and frustration.

Ready to build a sauna in your home? Start shopping for home saunas and download this month’s promotions to save.