5 Questions to Ask in Sauna Selection

There are about two million saunas in Finland, and each one is different. You wish to have a sauna, but how to approach this? Your home or space is unique, and your need for a sauna is specific. To narrow down what kind of sauna is the right one for you, here are some questions to ask. Answer them, and we would be glad to help you with your sauna project.

1. What will your sauna use be like? There are many sauna types to choose from, from pre-fabricated to log cabin. Regardless indoor or outdoor sauna, the style of your sauna can vary from modern nible to traditional rustic, to extravagant futuristic, or anything in between. A sauna can be a luxury space for showing out, or your own modest cocoon of relaxation.

2. What is the space available for the sauna? Consider how large your sauna needs to be. If your sauna will be outdoors, space might be less of an issue. You may have a room that is to be converted to be a sauna, or you have a larger room where a pre-built sauna room can be erected. Such a room may be a bathroom, where a bathroom sauna can be installed. Consider that you have enough space for other functions of the room, and before-after time of the sauna.

3. What kind of electrical connection do you have? This is a common question, since an electrical heater is the most popular way of heating a sauna today. Certainly there are plenty of saunas with wood fired heaters, and if you are able to have one, we recommend it if not for the function but for the feeling. Your electrical connection may limit the heater size, which in turn may limit the size of the sauna. Make sure you have enough power in the heater for your sauna.

4. What can you build? Constructing a sauna room into a building requires building and HVAC plans and permits, code compliance and inspections. In a new house construction the sauna can be included and poses no problems, but modifying or renovating a room has different requirements. A pre-built sauna can be a solution as it might not require such permits. A pre-built sauna can be a great option because no permanent changes need to be made to the building. Consider also your own or your work crew’s capabilities and resources. Are you trusting they can carry through the planned project, or would a more simple pre-built sauna be a safer bet.

5. Select your sauna materials with consideration. The softer the wood, the less hot it will feel. This is the reason why spruce, alder and aspen are very popular wood types for sauna. Dense woods such as oak are not suitable for sauna. The scent that the wood extracts in the sauna heat should be known. Some wood types can give a heavy, pugnant stink, instead of the fresh mild scent of for example spruce. Currently a very popular trend is to have large surfaces of glass in the sauna. Certainly there are pros with this in small saunas, namely the feeling of open space, but a con is the added task of keeping these surfaces clean, and that glass will not insulate heat, thus straining the heater power. Sauna walls and ceiling should always be of wood, and the benches of wood certainly. This is important not only because of insulation, but also the acoustics. Sauna should always be a quiet place, and the wood will absorb noise and echoes, and create that ambiance.

Did you already read the articles about How to Build a Perfect Sauna and 5 Traits that Make a Sauna Great?

Tapani Aho

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Satu Freyberg

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