How to Build a Cheap Sauna

For thousands of years, saunas have been used for relaxation and other health benefits. But finding a sauna isn't easy unless you happen to belong to a gym that offers one. Even then, you'll likely hate to leave the warmth of a cozy sauna to head out into the cold winter weather. An in-home sauna is a great way to indulge in relaxation and purification therapy in the comfort of your own home. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to build a home-based sauna without breaking the bank.

How to Build a Cheap Sauna
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Find the Right Room

Building a sauna starts with identifying a room in your house that's suited for the purpose. You don't need a great deal of space. In fact, a closet or section of your basement will do. The biggest benefit of a closet is that it is fully enclosed, so you won't have to worry about walling off an area. You'll merely need to tear out the drywall and check to ensure that your wiring supports 220 volts. If not, you'll need to hire an electrician to get your wiring up to speed. If you're planning to install your sauna in an open area, it may be more cost effective to purchase a sauna kit that makes setup easy. You can also create an outdoor sauna if you have a shed or are willing to invest in a kit.

Choose the Right Materials

Due to the extreme moisture generated by a sauna, you are limited in the materials you can use. You've probably noticed that cedar is a favorite among sauna-builders and in fact, you may even associate the scent with your hours spent steam-bathing. Cedar resists rot and doesn't absorb excess heat, which makes it the perfect fit. You can instead opt for a soft wood such as hemlock or spruce. Moisture is also a consideration for your flooring. Tile and concrete are popular choices, since they resist the bacteria growth you'll see with a wooden floor. If you want benches, you'll need to mount them to the wall before putting a moisture-resistant door on your room.

Install a Heater

Once your room is ready, purchase and install a heater approved for sauna use. You'll attach it to the wall and have your electrician wire it. Once that's in place, it's time to find the perfect sauna rocks, which will give you the steam you've associated with the sauna experience. Place the rocks around the heater element in a loose configuration, then test the heater by running it with the door open for about an hour. This helps burn off any preservatives on the heater element. Once you've tested it, secure the grill of the heater to the top and enjoy your sauna.