Building your own sauna - what to consider

Many home and property owners would like to build their own sauna themselves. For this purpose, either sauna kits or selected raw materials are used. The aim of building your own sauna is above all to save costs, but also to realise your own individual ideas for the future sauna.

The space requirements for the sauna are very varied. On the one hand, it must be taken into account for how many simultaneous users a sauna is to be built. While a small sauna for one or two people without an additional cooling room and relaxation room and without a plunge pool, changing room and anteroom takes up only a few square metres of space, a large sauna with all its additional rooms and facilities needs a little more space.

A basic decision is also made when deciding on the location of the sauna. Should it be integrated into the rooms of the house or perhaps be built as a separate house in the open air? These are important questions that also affect the construction of the sauna.

Suitable materials for building your own sauna

Basically, the sauna interior consists of a waterproof tiled floor,

In addition to the right materials, a sauna heater is the heart of your sauna.

A concrete floor but also a tiled floor are generally covered with wooden grates or wooden tiles, which must be cleaned and disinfected regularly. The wall panelling itself is known to be made of wood. It should be borne in mind that not all woods are equally suitable here.

Nordic spruce or fir, hemlock and other resin-free woods from good production and processing have proven to be advantageous for sauna construction. It is important that the wood is processed in the sauna construction so that it is installed as warp-free as possible. The appropriate thicknesses of the planks and boards must be observed. Not suitable for sauna construction are absorbent materials such as aerated concrete, lightweight bricks, plasterboard and other fibre composite boards, glued wood or so-called impregnated wood. Here, thorough information must be obtained before purchase.

Behind the inner facing, which should be ventilated, comes the insulation, which is sealed off by the barrier layer. Aluminium and copper foil are particularly suitable as barrier layers, which are applied here as a vapour barrier to the insulation layer. The thermal insulation itself can consist of all commercially available insulating materials that are heat-resistant, non-flammable, non-gassing and odourless. For saunas indoors, external panelling is not absolutely necessary; in the outdoor area, the sauna should also be provided with statically harmless panelling, for example, made of suitable wood of the appropriate thickness.

Caution: The ceiling of the sauna should be made diffusion-open, otherwise condensation will occur. A suitable diffusion foil can be installed here. Otherwise, care should also be taken to ensure appropriate thermal insulation at the top.

From an energy point of view, external windows should not be incorporated into the sweat room itself. A control window is only located in the sauna door, which is also made of wood, equipped with a wooden handle and opens outwards. Locking systems are not permitted for a door on the sweat room.

Correct ventilation

The correct arrangement of the ventilation opening is crucial for the right climate in the sweat room and for the smooth functioning of the sauna heating. Ventilation takes place via an opening slightly above floor level behind the sauna heater, which is of sufficient size and has the possibility to supply fresh air. The ventilation opening is located at about the same height as the upper row of seats and should also allow direct discharge of stale air to the outside. Both openings should be located on opposite walls of the sweat room.

You will find helpful information on the recommended dimensions of the ventilation openings, which are based on the size of the sweat room as well as the output of the different sauna heaters.

Without correct ventilation, the sauna will not function properly and, in addition to rot and mould in the sauna area, there may also be health hazards for sauna visitors, mainly due to a lack of oxygen.

Sauna equipment

The sauna heater itself is of course the most important equipment in the sauna. Depending on the design of the sauna, it is recommended to place the sauna heater in a corner. This allows the heat to be distributed most evenly in the room. No wall coverings made of tiles, metal or similar materials should be placed near the heater, as these unpleasantly increase the one-sided heat radiation. A wooden grille is recommended to protect visitors from accidental contact with the hot sauna heater. The sauna control unit is installed on the outside wall of the sauna and controls the heater.

Use a foot tub to warm up your feet before a sauna session.

As a rule, wooden versions are also preferred for the water bucket and the sauna ladle. Even though stainless steel tubs and ladles look very chic, they can heat up very unpleasantly. The same applies to door handles and any handrails. The sauna benches themselves should of course be made of splinter-free, resin-free and cleanly smoothed wood of a suitable quality. Wood types such as birch, alder, lime or poplar can also be used here.

If sauna stones are used, the quantity depends on the total volume of the sauna and, of course, on the stone capacity of the respective stove. It goes without saying that suitable materials should be used for sauna stones. Diorites, granites, basalt stones and gneiss are recommended. Other materials are unsuitable.

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