Do it yourself sauna
Learn about what it takes to build your own sauna at home with this DIY sauna guide from Leisurequip
Considerations for building your own sauna using DIY
Space + location planning
Proper planning is key to any DIY project whether it’s building a garden shed or a sauna. You will need to consider where and how much space you have available. For example, the minimum ceiling height of your DIY home sauna needs to be at least 1900 mm for safety reasons.
This is for a clear height over the sauna heater, especially with angled ceilings. If the ceiling is any lower the risk of fire increases. It is also a good idea to have bathroom facilities fairly close by. Although not necessary, many people choose a spare bedroom or the loft.
If you’re planning on building your own sauna against a ‘cold’ wall it’s a good idea to leave a gap between the wall and your sauna insulation. This will help prevent any condensation building up over time.
Wood panelling for the walls and ceiling
For many people looking to build their own sauna the obvious choice for materials is traditional wood panelling. This is accepted as being the best choice for both interior and exterior. There are many woods available but the main choices are spruce, cedar, aspen and alder.
In the past traditional saunas were made from solid wood logs which provided all the thermal insulation you needed for the sauna room. Nowadays it’s often not that easy to create a DIY sauna in the same way so thermally insulated sauna panelling has taken its place.
Each type of wood has its own distinctive aroma which adds a huge amount to the overall sauna experience so choose carefully. You may prefer a stone interior for an ancient ambience. If you wish to use stone you need to understand your sauna will take much longer to heat.
Sauna doors and glass panels
When designing your sauna you will need to consider factors such as privacy and aesthetics. Some DIY enthusiasts like to build a closed wooden sauna with a small window in the door. As long as you have the privacy it is very popular to build your own sauna with a glass front.
Glass front saunas are usually made up of a frameless glass door and a number of glass panels. For safety, sauna doors generally open outwards and shut using a magnetic strip or self-closing hinges. This ensures it can never jam or become impossible for someone to open.
Choosing your sauna heater
There are various types of sauna heaters available such as the traditional wood fired sauna heaters or the more modern electric versions. If you’re thinking of installing a wood burning sauna heater you will need ventilation and a dedicated chimney.
The size of your sauna will determine the sauna heater best suited to heat the room. Generally, the rule for wooden saunas is 1kW for each 1.3 cubic metres of space. If your interior is lined with large areas of glass, tiles, stone or other dense materials it’s a good idea to use a heater that has a higher output.
Benches, backrests and skirting
If you’re building a home sauna for more than one person or even just for yourself you’re going to need somewhere to rest. Whilst it is not necessary, most enthusiasts like to have somewhere to lie down as well as sit. A good quality bench and backrest will make your bathing experience all the more invigorating.
There are various types of wooden benches and backrests available. Choose from different slatted designs and differing woods. Each type and style contributes towards the character of your DIY home sauna and can accommodate varying numbers of bathers.
For extra safety, comfort and aesthetics you might want to think about adding downward skirting to your sauna benches.
Ventilating your sauna
When thinking about ventilating your sauna it’s a good idea to keep it simple. Where possible use the ‘natural draught’ principle and have both an air inlet and air outlet. You will need to place your air outlet at the top corner of your sauna, diagonally opposite the heater.
For your inlet you will need to place it close to the bottom of your sauna heater. Importantly, both the ventilating inlet and outlet must lead from and into your sauna room.
Controlling your sauna
For complete control and perfect ambience you can also install a control panel with your DIY sauna. For example the Tylo H1 electronic control panel allows you to programme your sauna to be ready for up to 24 hours in advance.
The H1 is a top quality control panel with touch screen control, multiple languages and temperature displays, 24 hour clock and can regulate all aspects of your sauna.
Lighting and chromatherapy
There are a whole host of lighting systems for sauna bathing from simple wooden lampshades to lighting strips and optical fibre lighting. Choice of lighting is a major aspect of creating the perfect ambience for sauna bathing. This is such a large part of the overall sauna experience that it has grown into an industry all of its own called Chromatherapy.
Whether you want a few lights for a softly lit sauna or the complete chromatherapy experience with colour changing optical fibre starry skies we can supply them all.
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