It wasn’t so long ago that the only way to spend some time in a sauna meant that you needed to have a membership to a spa, gym or some other private facility. The task of building a sauna was regarded as a difficult undertaking best left to professionals. A sauna took up a lot of space, even an entire room and required a lot of work – and money to set up. More recently though, it has become less expensive and more popular to build saunas in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

Why should I build a sauna?

For the sake of convenience is the short answer here. Those who use saunas regularly know that the relaxation can be nearly addictive, not to mention the many health benefits of a sauna. This makes the idea of having your own sauna available 24/7 a very attractive one. Building your own sauna means you can relax anytime you want to without having to run off to the gym – assuming that they’re open!

When you have a private sauna, you need be less concerned with bacteria. While most public saunas are perfectly clean, a lot of people don’t want to take the risk of infections from these facilities.

Building a home sauna is also a boon to the modest – with no strangers around, it is easier to relax and enjoy your sauna experience.

You need to plan every step of the way carefully when building your own sauna. This way, you won’t have any nasty surprises along the way. Before you get started, here are some things you should think about.

How labor-intensive is it to build a sauna?

If you have enough money but are short on spare time, a pre-built sauna kit may be the way for you to go. Ready made saunas will include all of the wood, heaters, rocks and other supplies which you’ll need. These kits take only a few hours to put together, but make sure that you get a kit with all of the materials cut to the sizes that you need.

For those looking for something a little more personalized, you can get a pre cut sauna kit which will take a little more time and effort to assemble, but still comes with directions. If you happen to be more of a do-it-yourself type, perhaps you could build your own sauna from the ground up. Generally speaking, the more work you’re up for doing yourself, the cheaper it will be to build your own sauna.

One way to get started is to get in touch with a manufacturer of saunas and ask them for some literature – this can give you some ideas. You can also turn to the internet for ideas, you can even find instructions that will walk you through the process of building your own sauna. Even better is to talk to some people who have built a sauna; they will be a valuable source of tips.

How do I heat the sauna?

You have several choices for heating your sauna: infrared heaters, electric heat, gas heaters or wood burning stoves. Depending where you live, certain options may be better or worse for you. If you are in a city for instance, wood may be difficult to come by, or wood burning stoves prohibited. In a rural area, electric heat may not be an option for your sauna.

Traditionalists like to use wood – the aroma of burning wood is pleasing after all and this is the “old fashioned” method of heating a sauna. You can get kindling for your stove which has been precut, but this can be rather pricy. You’ll also need to figure out where you’ll dump ashes and get permission from your insurer if you plan to use a wood burning stove.

An electric stove is a better choice for those who do not wish to deal with the work involved in using a wood burning stove. Infrared saunas also use electricity to create heat, these have been becoming more popular as of late.

Gas heat is a good alternative for the sauna lover on a budget. It’s a clean burning, easy to find and inexpensive source of heat. Remember to install a carbon monoxide detector if you will be using a gas heater, however – better safe than sorry.

Where should I build the sauna?

If you have sufficient time and money, you can build your sauna anywhere you like. The garage, basement, bathroom, even in the backyard, all are options. You should consider location first. Your heat source will often determine where your sauna can be placed.

With enough time and money, you can build a sauna in any area of your home - in the bathroom, the basement, a garage, or outdoors in a completely separate building. The first consideration is whether your sauna will be built indoors or outdoors. Often, this will be determined by your chosen heat source.

If you plan on building a sauna which is electrically heated, putting it inside will be easier, since you won’t have to run wiring outdoors. If you plan to use wood, outdoors by the woodpile is a good choice of location for your sauna.

You’ll also want to determine the size of your sauna. How many people will be using it? Do you want to include a shower or a changing room in your sauna? Think about these before drawing up your plans.

Points to consider

Make a sketch of your design before you get started building. You will find that having this sketch will help you figure out how exactly your sauna will be built.

Remember that you’ll need a moisture barrier on your sauna to keep the steam where it belongs – inside the sauna.

All of your wiring must be well protected from moisture to prevent the risk of shocks.

Your sauna will also require adequate ventilation to keep enough oxygen present.

When you’ve finally built your sauna, don’t neglect to properly maintain it. Cleaning and maintenance will keep your sauna enjoyable for many years to come. Adequate planning and taking all the necessary precautions can take all of the hassle out of building your own sauna. The technology is now here to allow anyone to build and enjoy their own private sauna right at home.

Author's Bio: 

Kevin Urban is the editor for Sauna-Talk.com, the beginner's guide to home saunas and sauna kits. Visit the site for tips on drawing up your sauna plans and learn how to build your own sauna.

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