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Basement Sauna Build

builder57's picture

Hi all,

I'm about to embark on a home sauna (finnish style with the heater w/ lava rocks so water can be poured over the rocks) build in my basement, just want to bounce my high level plan off the group and see if there's any tweaks or something I'm missing.

I have a small basement and thus is why I'm heading the custom route vs. kit to get the maximum space.  The sauna will be  about 4 x 6 feet.  I already have had the electrical run that will be required to hardwire the heater unit.

I plan to use kiln dried western red cedar boards.  Clear cedar is just too expensive which is why I'm sticking with western red, from my research as long as it's kiln dried it should hold up fine to the high heat generated within the sauna and not shrink or warp.  Although this is where if it that assumption is wrong it would be great for someone to point that out.

My plan is to us 2 x 6 boards and create tongue and groove joints using my router table.  My plan is to build the wall panels this way to minimize heat loss and for aesthetics as well.  I plan to use 2 x 6 vs. 2 x 4 to save me some time from performing all those router joints.  I will also build the ceiling this way as well.  Inside will be straightforward, a bench to sit or lie down on and then heater.  The door will be made of a combination of wood and glass to let some light in and I also will most likely install a basic light on the inside.

Any feedback would be much appreciated, I am going to work on finalizing the plans this week and head to the lumber yard next week to place my order.


I wonder if it might not be (post #215426, reply #1 of 2)

I wonder if it might not be worth it to dip the wood in shelac after it has been machined.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Welcome (post #215426, reply #2 of 2)

The couple of saunas I have built were a long time ago and kits.  Clear redwood.  I would expect that if you used any knotted wood you might find the heat causes the knots to bleed.  I have used almost clear pine on an enclosed porch ceiling and even tho the roof was insulated, the heat did allow minor bleed through the light solid stain applied.  The customer was told this might happen and luckily they like the look.  Same material on the walls did not.

Also, the kits I've put together had no coatings applied.


best of luck

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Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.