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Planning Your Sauna The Right Way
Planning your sauna may seem like a difficult task, but with the help of our professional tips and guidelines, you’ll be able to plan the perfect sauna for your home. Planning anything requires carefully consideration and attention to detail. To properly plan your sauna, you will need to examine specific aspects of your home to ensure that your unit will properly fit and provide optimal performance. In order to educate yourself on the intricate details of sauna planning, let’s go over the planning guidelines for the common residential sauna installation.
Location, Location, Location
Before you do anything, you will need to decide on the location of your new addition; having the perfect location is half the battle. In order to pinpoint the ideal location, you’ll have to get an idea of the size of sauna that you wish to build. Flexibility is key, however, as you’ll most certainly need to work with your home and use whatever open space is available.
- You can choose to build your sauna on concrete or tile, but you should never install your sauna over carpeting as it will lead to mold and other major inconveniences. A good rule of thumb is that you can build your sauna on any surface that does not absorb moisture.
The beauty of custom saunas is being able to tailor-fit the design to your exact specifications; you devise the blueprints and the sauna manufacturer cuts and issues the materials for the sauna enclosure.
Choosing The Right Wood For Your Sauna
The upside of planning your own sauna is having the freedom to use material that matches the interior ambience and decor of your home. There are several common woods available for saunas which have been tested against the harsh conditions of sauna heat. The best woods for saunas are cedar, fir, hemlock, basswood, spruce, and poplar. These woods are proven to be durable and are able to withstand the extreme temperatures of saunas. You may choose the type of wood that best matches your home.
Choosing A Heater
There are several factors that you need to take into consideration in order to choose the proper heater for your sauna. Sauna heaters are very powerful and are designed to reach extreme temperatures of up to 200 degrees fahrenheit; a mismatched heater can heat the sauna to even hotter or significantly lower temperatures and can ultimately become a fire hazard. In order to stay safe, you should follow these basic guidelines:
- If you’re not an electrician or you’re new to planning saunas, it’s crucial that you seek outside help from an experienced electrician or sauna company in order to properly match the appropriate size heater for the dimensions of your room.
- Decide on the type of heater for your sauna. Infrared and electric are most frequently used for indoor use. Infrared heaters emit infrared light to heat the room and are generally less hot than electric heaters. Moreover, infrared heaters are regarded as a slightly safer alternative, and studies suggest that these heaters have the edge as far as health benefits are concerned. Because of this, they are also more expensive than traditional electric heaters, so you must take your budget into consideration when choosing the type of heater for your sauna. Nonetheless, electric heaters are extremely effective and beneficial, and typically offer the option to create steam with water and hot rocks which is proven to create a soothing, relaxing experience.
[box type=”note”]Note: If you choose an infrared heat source for your unit, be sure to purchase a heater that is comprised of flat ceramic heat emitters, as rod-shaped heaters do not generate enough power to effectively heat your sauna[/box]
- Once you’ve targeted the ideal sauna heater, you’ll need to consider the wiring material for your heater. Sauna heaters are extremely powerful and operate at very high temperatures. Because of this, we recommend to choose wiring material that is rated for high temperatures (over 195 degrees is best). When wiring your heater, be sure to secure the wiring inside the cooler side of the wall to reduce the risk of incident.
Insulation, Ventilation, and Heat-Safety Material
Now it’s time to consider your insulation material. Due to the extreme heat emitted from sauna heaters, it’s important to use appropriately rated insulation that is able to endure the interior temperature.
- We recommend that you use fiberglass insulation and ratings of R-13 for the walls and between R-22 and R-26 for the roof, depending on the type of heater you choose.
- You must choose a foil vapor barrier for your sauna. This material is designed to reflect heat from the walls and allows for safe sauna use.
- Fresh air intakes and exhaust vents must be installed for proper air circulation. This will help you breathe while exposing your body to extreme temperatures and prevents the risk of fire or respiratory issues.
Doors and Benches
Now that you’re educated on the essential materials to build your sauna, it’s time to take a look at the factors that will finish your unit.
- For the safety of the bather and to eliminate potential fire hazards, sauna manufacturers have mandated that the sauna door should always open outwards.
- Benches are intact for bathers to sit and relax while indulging in their sauna bath. Common saunas use two sets of benches at two different heights. This allows the bather to move around and experience different levels of heat. Since heat rises, the upper bench will provide a hotter experience than the lower bench.
Wrapping It Up
Now that you understand how to plan your sauna, it’s time to create a custom design and make preparations to order the material, or you can take the plunge and build your own sauna! Before you do this, it’s important to ask the manufacturer what’s included with the kit, as framing lumber, insulation, flooring, and wiring are not always included. To ensure that the install as simple as possible, the manufacturer will provide notes and instructions on proper sauna installation.
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