There are countless benefits that come with using the sauna, this being the reason why they became so popular among homeowners who want to enjoy the relaxing, healing and energizing effect in the intimacy of their homes. Considering that the models available on the market can cost several thousands of dollars, it would be a great idea to build one yourself with a smaller investment. For this, you will need a plan, the necessary materials, the right tools, and the skills to design a stable, safe, durable, and efficient model that you can use many years from now. The steps presented below will guide you through the manufacturing process and will make sure the result will be a good-looking and practical model that matches the performance of an expensive one.

Reasons to Build a Sauna instead of Buying One

Before starting to build a sauna at home, you need to do some research and see whether or not you need it and if you will benefit from using it. They are packed with a series of health benefits that target your heart condition, your blood flow, the aspect of your skin and hair, your muscles, your respiratory system, and removing toxins from your body through sweat. All this happens while you enjoy sitting comfortably in a model equipped with benches, towel racks, and backrests. DIY projects are always more money-saving than buying the actual product from a store so the main reason for you to build it yourself is to save money. In addition, you will be able to design a unit that will perfectly fit your home and will meet all of your space needs. Last, but not least, you will be able to choose the exact features that you want it to have so that you will be perfectly satisfied with your new home addition.

Choosing between a Traditional and an Infrared Model

There are two versions that you can opt for, namely traditional or infrared, and for each of them, you will need a different type of heater. Choosing the one that you will build is based on your tolerance to hot air and the therapeutic effects that you are looking for.
  • The traditional sauna works using a wood-burning heater that heats and transmits the heat to the air, thus increasing the temperature inside. Traditional units limit their therapeutic effects to relaxing your body and forcing it to sweat in order to eliminate toxins.
  • The infrared sauna is based on infrared heaters made either of ceramic or metal or on infrared lamps that create infrared heat similar to the sun heat. Unlike the traditional one that creates hot air, it creates heat that is directly absorbed by your body without raising the air temperature too much. These units include a wide range of benefits, like a better blood circulation, a stronger immune system, a healthier heart, and a more beautiful skin.

Choosing where to Place It

The construction is basically the same regardless the type you want to design and you can easily adjust the plan during the building process. The first thing you will have to do is decide where you will place the frame and make sure you have electricity and water easily accessible. There will be some wiring and plumbing needed and it’s best that you have everything within your reach so that you will have to make as little modifications as possible. The electricity part is very important and you have to have safety in mind when you design this aspect. Opt for a separate power strip that can be turned off when you are not using the sauna and keep it away from water sources. It’s best that you have a professional electrician perform the work so you can be sure the result is safe to use.

Deciding the Dimensions

The next step is deciding the size that you want to build, depending on the number of persons you want to use it at the same time. If you are not attracted by the idea of sharing the sauna, you can opt for a single person model not bigger than 40” wide x 40” deep x 80” high or a 50” x 60” x 80″ that will fit 2 persons. The larger space you have available, the bigger you can build it.

Building the Frame

Once you’ve decided over the dimensions, you will have to start building the frame, which is actually a cube without the walls attached, but only the edges. Keep in mind that every square edge should be wide enough to hold a wooden wall and attach each edge to the other until you have a complete cube. The best options when it comes to building the frame are high-quality wood like Cedar or Canadian Hemlock because they provide durability, safety, and resistance to moisture. Next, add some wood poles that will offer stability and will complete the structure that will hold the walls. When you build the frame, you will have to leave room for the door, the windows, and three vents that will ensure air circulation inside and will allow you to receive fresh air from the outside if you wish to.

Completing the Structure

The inner frame must now be insulated using fiberglass and a vapor barrier that will prevent moisture from affecting the fiberglass. The insulation must be performed perfectly, otherwise, the sauna will leak and the temperature inside will not be maintained constant. The roof can be made of wood or tile and it must include the vent that will allow the steam to get out. There is no need for a sophisticated vaulted ceiling as you can opt for a straight one that will serve its purpose. Cover the flooring with tiles or wood planks that are resistant to moisture and don’t get slippery in case they get wet. Apply wooden planks on the inner walls as well and keep in mind to leave holes for the wiring to come out, as well as gaps for windows and the door. The outside of the sauna must be covered in wide wood planks that attach to each other through a system called groove and tongue that ensures the best insulation and stability. You can either opt for a wooden door or you can install a glass door that seals the sauna while it’s open so no heat will come out. Once the construction is ready, it’s time to think about the accessories that you will install, such as light fixtures, a radio for a pleasant sauna session, towel racks, and benches equipped with backrests that make you feel comfortable.

Installing the Heater

If you opt for a traditional heater, you must build a compartment for it to sit in and combine it with some rocks that absorb heat from the heater. The rocks must be placed on top of the heater so you will be able to add water to them from time to time in order to create steam. The most common infrared sauna is the one based on ceramic heaters spread all over the room, in strategic points, that emit far infrared heat that covers the entire area. You can purchase these heaters separately and place them on each wall of the sauna so you will wrap yourself in infrared heat every time you use the sauna. Infrared lamps create a near infrared light and must be placed on one wall of the sauna in order to concentrate all the heat on one area.