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What is in a Sauna Kit (Sauna Material Package)? What materials do I need to provide on my own?

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Where can a Sauna be installed?
A Sauna can be put anywhere you have space... inside or outside. All you need is a waterproof floor, a 220/240V electrical hookup for the heater, and for convenience, it is best to have a shower nearby. Other electrical configurations are available. Health clubs, hotels, motels, master bathrooms, garages, patios, decks, and basements are all ideal places for Saunas. Saunas can also be built in a modular fashion so that they can be easily relocated.

Are rocks necessary in a Sauna?
Igneous rocks (such as granite) are necessary to store heat and to produce steam when water is poured over them. Rocks may be placed around the heater elements in some models, and on a top tray in others. In this way the stones will absorb the warmth from the heater elements for a soft, comfortable bathing experience.

Does a Sauna require a drain?
No. The amount of water that might accumulate on the floor of a Sauna is actually much less than one might expect. Most of the water that is poured on the rocks is released into the air, leaving an almost negligible amount on the floor, and this can easily be wiped dry with a towel, or even left to evaporate.

Should a Sauna have a waterproof floor?
A Sauna must have a waterproof floor so that it can be easily kept clean, sanitary, and free of odor. I recommend washable floors such as tile, concrete or heavy duty vinyl. I always recommend a drain in a commercial sauna and sometimes it is appropriate in a home sauna if a pool is adjacent and it is likely that considerable amounts of water will be brought into the sauna on bathing suits etc.

Should a Sauna be insulated?
Yes, to prevent heat loss. I recommend R-12 or R-13 fiberglass insulation for the walls, and for the ceiling up to R20. As well, 2X4's are appropriate for the walls. It is not necessary to use 2X6's*.

NOTE: In situations where an outside wall is being used, insulation values may exceed R-12. This is also acceptable.

Can any type of wood be used?
No. Hardwood is too hot on the skin, whereas softwoods, such as cedar, stay cooler to the touch. Sap-bearing wood oozes under high temperatures, and is not suitable for the sauna. Square-edged boards do not form a smooth, sealed surface. Tongue-and-Groove Cedar is therefore the best. Further, the wood should be kiln dried to within 9-11% moisture content to prevent shrinkage and warpage. I mainly use 5/8" 1X4 clear Western Red Cedar.

Can I apply cedar over an existing drywall wall?
No. The small amount of moisture from the sauna will affect the drywall over time. Green board may be required as a firewall in some jurisdictions. Walls and ceilings should have insulation and vapour foil on the studs and joists.

How high should the ceiling be?
The ceiling should be no higher than 7 feet, or 8 feet for commercial saunas, as it is important to bring the heat down to bench level, where the bathers can enjoy it. A smaller Sauna is also faster, and more economical to heat.

How much space should there be between the door and the floor, and why is this space needed?
Saunas can have anywhere from 1/4" 1/2" of space between the door and the floor. Since hot air always rises, it really doesn't matter how much space there is near the floor, as long as air can get into the Sauna to "feed" the heater. Over the years that I have been building and enjoying Saunas, I have encountered many people who believed that the crack beneath the door lets cold air into the Sauna, and I have also seen many people attempt to plug the crack with towels to prevent heat loss. For this reason, I generally design my saunas so that the opening is as small as possible
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