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How To Build A Sauna

So, you think you're Mr. Handy-man do you? You want to build a sauna, huh? The task is actually not as difficult as might think (building your own indoor sauna may require advice from a professional, however). But for the cottage, assembling an outdoor sauna is the perfect spring or summer project. All you need is a hammer, level, square, countersink set, electric saw, electric drill, screw gun, caulking gun, and a case o' beer.

Location, Location, Location
You'll want to build your sauna in a good location, and your outhouse isn't the best place to build one. Your sauna should be placed near water so you can quash your rare hypothermia phobia by jumping in the lake after superheating your man-flesh. If this doesn't sound refreshing, imagine you're a Finnish peacekeeping troop sitting in a gutter during World War II. At the end of the day, you'd meet your buddy for a nice, hot, relaxing steam bath and thank your lucky pores the enemy didn't spot your baby-blue "military garb". I digress.

Once you've picked the spot, measure it out: you want a rectangular structure covering at least 45 square feet that's tall enough so you can stand up.

If you're building an outdoor sauna, check to see if there are any municipal by-laws that may place limitations on your sauna building. Also, be sure to build the foundation below the frost line. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a damaged sauna once the frozen winter ground thaws out in the spring time. Of course, the benefit of having an outdoor sauna in addition to an outdoor pool or hot tub is that you can use the sauna first to heat up before cooling off in your pool or hot tub.

Building A Sauna
Build four walls and a ceiling out of 2x4 frames with a cedar exterior. Cedar and other softwoods are the most conducive to heat and can withstand the weathering elements. Apply a three-inch layer of fiberglass for insulation on the inside. Leave space for a door, a window (if you choose), and two or three vents, one located above the heater to dissipate fumes and another close to the bae and possibly on near the top of the sauna.

Connect the walls and line the inside with unfinished cedar; it smells nice, fights off bacteria and is heat-resistant. Cover the nail heads wherever possible; you don't want red-hot nail heads perforating you or your guests. Next, install a cedar bench braced at both ends and in the middle. Then put in the door and window.

For heating, basic stove units have a hot metal wire that runs around a basket in which you place igneous rocks, which don't crack when you pour water over them for steam. The rule of thumb for stove size is one kilowatt for every 45 cubic feet of space. Get an electrician to hook up the heater and light.

Hammer Visit our DIY forum to ask all your sauna building questions