Building a banya - How to build a Russian sauna

For around 30 million German citizens, a visit to the sauna has a high recreational value. As a result, many people would like to have their own sauna - the Russian banya is very popular - and so the banya can be built.

Features of the banja

The traditional banya is built in the style of a log cabin and consists of two to three rooms: the so-called dressing and undressing room, the bathing-washing room and the sweating room. The temperatures of the hot air bath are between 80 and 100 °C. To optimise the whole bathing ritual, the Russians swear by so-called weniks: these fresh bundles of birch twigs are used to fan and treat the skin.

Planning phase for the construction of the banya

There are different regulations to be observed from one federal state to the next. Therefore, ask the responsible building authority beforehand which things are subject to approval. For example, this includes: the building permit, compliance with the prescribed distances to neighbouring properties or the stipulations of the applicable fire protection regulations. The final inspection is then carried out by the district chimney sweep.

Tip: To avoid unpleasant surprises, inform your neighbours if necessary and, as a precaution, submit a corresponding application to the responsible authorities.

Banya: do it yourself or buy a kit?

Many experienced builders will agree that planning and building a Russian banya is not an easy project. Those who take on this project should definitely have experience in craftsmanship and construction. Buying a banya sauna house kit is comparatively easy. All materials and woods are delivered suitable, prefabricated and with detailed assembly instructions.

Choice of location for the banya

Protected and out of sight places are the best choice. But of course, builders can frame the banya house afterwards, for example with privacy walls or fast-growing hedges. It is also important to think about water and electricity lines. For safety reasons, these are laid and connected by a specialist company so that the sauna will function perfectly later. Other important factors are to check the available building area, find the desired house size and clarify the financial possibilities.

Tip: Never build too big. Because with every square metre too much, heating costs increase. For four people, an 8-10 square metre banya is sufficient.

Selecting the right type of wood for the banya

The right wood is the most important component for a solid Russian banya. Particularly stable types of wood from Nordic countries are popular, such as the Finnish Arctic Spruce or the Canadian Hemlock Fir. Both have the advantage that the species are naturally exposed to extreme weather conditions and grow only slowly. This characteristic guarantees good insulation for decades and keeps the climate in the sauna stable.

The fast-growing abachi wood is mainly used for the interior. This type has hardly any knots and stores hardly any heat even at high temperatures.

Note special feature: In traditional banyas, the door from the sauna area does not lead directly outside!

The correct construction phase for the banya

1. first pour the foundation slab of the appropriate size; to avoid cracks, lay a reinforcement mat in the concrete bed.2. the material of the wooden walls should have a wall thickness of at least 100 mm. Pre-planed and chamfered wall planks are ideal. These are inserted into the respective corner posts from above with a dovetail. 3.

Press the walls together with suitable tongue and groove joints. This is the only way to ensure that the wooden house is properly sealed and
weather conditions cannot cause any damage.

Adjust a suitable sealing strip between each layer of beams so that the heat stays in the house. 5.

Use 140 mm to 190 mm beams for the roof construction. OSB boards are suitable for facing. Fill the gaps with insulation material beforehand. 6.

Close the roof with 21 mm rough sheeting. Then glue EPDM rubber sheeting suitable for thorough roofing onto it. 7.

7. use a well-insulated 60 mm thick spruce door with a door handle as the outer door. The same applies to windows.

8. after completion, paint the house, fit the interior and connect the electricity and water.

9. tested and certified products are recommended for the sauna heater, which should be installed by a professional.

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