Sauna construction

Important notes to get you started

Keep these sauna design and building best practices in mind as you explore custom sauna options (a great choice, by the way!). 
Sauna Construction
Sauna Construction_Heaters

The heart of the sauna

Heater selection is key in creating your unique sauna experience. You'll need to consider sauna size, electrical requirements, and control options.
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Sauna Construction_Wood Selection

Wood selection

Traditionally, Finnish saunas use Nordic White Spruce, so that is our standard. We also offer Hemlock and Cedar. For benches and backrests we use Abachi, Hemlock, or Cedar.
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Sauna Construction_Bench Configuration

Bench configuration

Our saunas feature lower and upper benches to offer seating at different temperatures. We design to maximize bench space and minimize floor space.
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Sauna capacity

Factor in about 2' of upper bench space per bather to (A) determine how many people can fit in your available space OR (B) how big/small your sauna needs to be.

Sauna size & insulation

Sauna square footage will determine appropriate heater options for your room. Plan to insulate walls to a min. of "R12" and ceiling to "R16".

Optimal ceiling height

Average sauna ceiling height is 84". Generally speaking the minimum is 77" and maximum is 96"; but, your sauna room and chosen heater may alter these measurements.

Sauna door design

An all-glass door has become the standard, given its style and durability. Glass is resistant to high heat levels and withstands moisture fluctuations well.

Heater location

To maximize bench space and heater performance, ideal locations are along the front or side walls. Some heaters and saunas uniquely allow for wrap-around benches.

Custom design drawings

Working with your dealer, you'll sketch design options that bring your dream sauna to life. We then create a CAD to ensure performance and manufacturability.
Sauna construction tip

Proper Sauna Ventilation

Colder air mass will always try to move downwards. So, room temperature air in the sauna will sink down to the floor level unless it can be circulated properly.

To achieve the "natural draw effect" and to pull fresh air through the sauna room, here is how you should position your vents:

  • In-vent: place directly under the heater so that the heat of the rocks, accompanied by Finnleo’s open air heater design, can properly pull new air into the sauna room.
  • Exhaust vent: place opposite your heater in-vent (as closely as possible, ideally 2' above the floor) to maximize air exchange and optimize the level of the out-vent. 
The goal is to avoid heat loss, while still keeping it high enough to achieve adequate air exchange.
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Sauna Construction, Ventilation
Sauna Construction_Heater Stones
Important note

Sauna heater stones

Good heater stones for an electrical heater must exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Able to withstand high temperatures and significant heat fluctuations.
  • Do NOT create dust or discharge any odors.
  • Sufficiently deliver heat, grab water, and prevent excess dripping of water. (In other words, an uneven surface is preferable to an even one.)
  • Large enough so that the air can circulate well between the stones so that the elements operate efficiently.
  • Hold heat well. Once the room reaches temperature, a rock that holds the heat well will use less energy to stay hot, yet produce wonderful steam.
All sauna heater stones should be recommended and tested by the heater manufacturer. The Finnleo Vulkanite stones are fully tested heater stones that contain no harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
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Ready to begin designing your dream sauna?

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Traditional Sauna Design