Home Sauna Planning & Building

If you are are planning to install, build and use home sauna then there are a few things that you should know about planning, building and what to expect. Educating yourself about what you should and shouldn’t do when building a sauna will save you from making mistakes and wasting money. We’ll go over planning out your sauna space, some materials you didn’t know you would need for the space, and a couple other tips and tricks to make installing and building a sauna in your home a lot easier.

You should make sure you have all the materials you will need for building a sauna. A sauna is dry heat with added moisture and you want to include an aluminum foil vapor barrier in residential construction. A drain sometimes is not necessary but if it is planned to be used often to avoid water pooling on the floor you should install one. Sauna doors are usually smaller than regular doors for the purpose of keeping as much heat in as possible; installing an insulated door will ensure that the heat stays in when you open and close the door.


Ventilation is a must for air flow into the sauna, and to ensure that your heater runs efficiently. You can either install a vent somewhere near the heater or leave a small open space on the bottom of the door. It’s also wise to put the ventilation somewhere where you will be sitting most of the time. It is so important to install the correct lighting in your sauna (do not install any traditional lighting fixtures in your sauna); they are high moisture environments so lighting specifically used for saunas is important. Most saunas these days have about 2 or 3 sauna lights and are operated by dimmer switches so you can control how much light you want in the space.

Planning the size of your sauna is next. While a large sauna sounds more luxurious it will often defeat the purpose of a sauna, hence sticking to a small size one is smarter. You need to plan where the upper and lower benches will go, where you will place your heater, plus space for the front and sides of the sauna. A smaller room will always provide more efficient heat, and will eliminate the need to use bigger heaters and circuit breakers. Once you know your room dimensions you can then choose the appropriately sized heater and sauna control. It is important to factor in that most saunas are around 2.1 metres high, any higher than this and your heater will not function properly and the warmer air will escape. If you want a sauna you can stretch out and lay down in, you should make sure that the benches are long enough to do so.

Once you have planned out the dimensions of your sauna you can go ahead and plan out the layout of the room, there are a few things you should remember to include. Saunas can come in all shapes and sizes, just be sure there is enough room inside for you to move around comfortably. Choosing the door location is first, it usually goes along a wall next to the heater and don’t forget the door should swing out of the sauna and not in. The reason the heater is usually placed next to the door is so there is enough cool air coming in and being heated where it will rise to the ceiling.

Planning your benches is crucial for your comfort. If you have more than one bench remember that the top one will always be a little bit warmer than the bottom one and it’s recommended that you make them as big as your space allows for extra comfort. If you are unsure on how to measure and draw a sketch correctly, you can always contact a company that will draw one for you.

Some final tips for someone who is looking to build and plan a sauna room. Western red cedar wood is an ideal wood used for saunas, it may not be the most expensive it is important to know that woods that have knots in them can sometimes leave you with skin burns. It does not discolour, but you will still need something to seal the wood with. It is also more stable than most other woods, it doesn’t shrink or swell like most other woods.

Make sure you are building a sauna for the right reasons, some sauna places claim that using a sauna will make you lose weight or burn calories. This is not true, although there are benefits to using a sauna, those are not it. A sauna will help you eliminate toxins through sweat and will relax you, it will also improve your circulatory system with regular use. Do your research to find out the other benefits of using a sauna.

If you decide to build your own sauna remember that there are a lot of resources available to you, you can always hire a carpenter but you can easily find building instructions and plans on the internet, even for those of you who have no construction experience whatsoever. Use home sauna today to experience the benefits and relaxation saunas have to offer.