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It is clear that having a personal home sauna is the perfect addition to making your house stand out, giving you and your family a place to relax and enjoy all the health benefits that come from having regular sauna sessions.
Although nowadays there are so many ways to get a brand new prefab sauna, it might not be the perfect fit for what you want for that special place in your home.
For that, DIY saunas are your solution for having a custom sauna experience tailored to your needs.
We’ll help you get going today
We have everything you need, from personalized support to sauna parts, so you can get a free quote on exactly what you’ll need and get those supplies right to your doorstep.
Most asked questions around
Is building a sauna worth it?
It depends on several factors. Building your custom home sauna has several benefits: you can customize every single inch of your home sauna to match your needs, maybe you want to add LED lights, choose a specific type of wood or have an original design, but it won't be easy, and in most cases, it can be more expensive than buying a prefab sauna.
If you want the experience of building a sauna with your family and friends and, in the end, having a custom sauna perfect for your space. In that case, DIY saunas kits are for you. If you don't want the hassle of building it, you should opt for a prefab sauna that you'll only have to assemble.
Is it cheaper to build your own sauna?
The short answer is no, but to get in more detail as to why it costs more than a prefab one and if it's possible to make it cheaper, let's see where the costs of a sauna come from.
Body - The wood that you will use to build the walls and roof of your DIY sauna can range from $3 to $35 per square foot, pine being the cheapest and redwood the most expensive. The bigger your sauna, the more wood you will need for your project; hence the cost increases.
Floor - Plywood, cedar duckboard, sauna mat, and concrete are the most common materials used for the flooring of a sauna. The prices range from $1 to $10 per square foot, plywood being the cheapest and concrete the most expensive.
Plywood tends to swell quickly with the humidity of a sauna so expect to add several layers of sealant or replace it from now on then. Concrete will last forever, but most people prefer to keep their sauna to a traditional (all wood) aesthetic, so they add a wood layer on top of the concrete slab, increasing the cost. A good middle ground is cedar duckboard; it's durable and not outrageously expensive.
Door - This is usually the most straightforward part regarding materials. You either want glass in your door or not. A glass window or even a full glass door will always look good on your home sauna. It adds more ambient light to your sauna and makes it look more open. To preserve the heat, you will need two layers of glass separated by air, and keep in mind that for safety reasons, you'll need tempered glass so if an accident happens, it won't cause serious injuries.
Benches - Depending on the size of your sauna and how many people you expect inside will decide how much wood to use for benching. The cheapest one-person benches tend to cost around $100, but it can go to $800 or even more when building benches for ten people with more expensive types of wood.
Heater - Now, here is where the magic happens. The heater defines how fast your sauna heats up and the overall design of your sauna.
Using a wood-burning heater tends to be on the cheaper end regarding heaters. The downside is that you'll have to make a chimney to exhaust all the smoke generated by it, and also, depending on where you live, buying the wood can cost more in the long run.
Infrared heaters are the new boom in the sauna heater industry. They are efficient, fast-heating, and not outrageously expensive. Still, the downside is that the way it heats your body isn't the same as conventional saunas, so some people prefer opting out of the infrared experience.
Electric sauna heaters are the most commonly used nowadays. They use electricity to heat your sauna rocks, raising the overall temperature of your DIY sauna. They tend to cost more than the options mentioned above, but it's generally the go-to heater.
And finally, gas heaters tend to be expensive and are usually bought for large saunas projects. In some states, the cost of running a gas heater can be significantly lower than an electric one, so keep that in mind when deciding what type of sauna heater to buy.
As you can see, building a sauna isn't as straightforward as it seems. We can help you with the process of deciding between building it yourself or buying a prefab sauna. Use our custom sauna builder form to get a quote on how much your dream sauna will cost.
What kind of wood do you use in a sauna?
Most of the time, the wood should be a type of softwood; it better absorbs heat and doesn't get too hot to the touch. The most common type of woods used in a sauna is pine, cedar, spruce, hemlock, and redwood. In some rare cases, hardwood can be preferred because of its lower resin content than softwood. It can be a better option for people with high sensitivity to wood resin; keep in mind that hardwood heats up faster than softwood, so prolonged exposure might cause burns.
Do you need a floor drain in a sauna?
Usually, residential saunas don't need highly complex drainage, and some don't even have a draining system at all. Most of the water poured on your sauna rocks quickly evaporates, so it doesn't build up on your floor, and regarding the cleanup of your sauna, it's common to just use a damp mop and mild soap, but if you plan on using a water hose for cleaning your sauna or you are concerned about possible issues by having pooled water, a couple of draining holes, so the excess water has a place to go shall do the job.
Does a sauna need a vapor barrier?
It's not needed. Saunas are supposed to be dry. Usually, the steam generated by pouring water onto your sauna rocks is to make the environment less dry, not necessarily to create a steamy room; in fact, it's not recommended to pour a lot of water. In the case you like a steam room-like experience in your sauna, then adding a vapor barrier could help.
How thick should sauna walls be?
They aren't as thick as one might initially think. The main factor that decides your sauna wall thickness is if it's going to be an indoor or outdoor sauna. Indoor saunas benefit from your house's insulating properties, so the heat difference between the inside and outside of your sauna won't be that drastic.
Having 2 to 3 inches of the combined thickness (wood plus insulation) should do the trick for an indoor sauna, but if you plan on having it outside, then the temperature difference can be more, especially during winter. In that case, the thickness of both your insulation and wood can increase to four or even five inches.
What is a good size for a sauna?
A good size for a two-person sauna is around 45" W x 45" D, a four-person sauna 72" W x 72" D, and an eight-person sauna around 120" W x 120" D. The height don't change much in relation to how many people will be inside, the most commonly used heights are between 75" and 90".