How to Build a Sauna at Home: A Complete Guide

How to Build a Sauna at Home: A Complete Guide

Home Improvement

Can you take the heat? If so, regular stints in the sauna can help boost your blood pressure and heart health according to recent studies.

It’s also a great way to relax, reduce stress, and boost your skin’s appearance. So, if you’re looking for a DIY task that delivers a big bang for your buck, an at-home sauna could be a good option for you.

You don’t need advanced building skills to create your own sauna, but it’s not a task for first-timers.

Read on to find out how to build a sauna at home and set yourself up for improved health and hours of relaxation.

Choose a Spot to Place Your Sauna

Ideally, you should aim to build a square sauna that’s 6 by 6 feet with a height of 7 feet. You can adjust the shape and size of your sauna to fit in with your available space if necessary.

It’s convenient to build your sauna against an existing wall to save on material costs but the best location for a sauna is in the middle of your garden, as long as you can access plumbing, heating, and electricity.

A sauna’s meant to provide an escape from the bustle of daily life, so it’s nice to be out in nature when you use it, especially if you include a window in your design.

Building an indoor sauna in a quiet part of your house is another good option, but requires advanced construction skills and extra cost.

If you lack the confidence to build your own sauna from scratch, you can convert a garden shed or hire a professional sauna builder to complete the job for you.

The other alternative is to consider buying one of the pre-fabricated sauna bundles available from sauna builders if you want to streamline and simplify the process.

Sometimes you can get these with sauna tents included in the deal.

Check For Relevant Building Regulations

You don’t need a building permit for constructions smaller than 120 square feet in size, so you should be okay when building a sauna.

It’s a good idea to check with your municipality before commencing construction. You might need an electrical permit to complete your sauna.

If you’re building your structure close to your property boundary, it’s best to check if your neighbors are okay with the idea before you get started too.

Accumulate the Necessary Materials

No matter what size or shape sauna you decide to build, you’ll need a few basic elements.

It’s best to get them all together before the time so you’ve got everything to hand before you start. Besides, there’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a DIY project and running out of funds to buy the parts you forgot in the first place.

This is what you’ll need to complete your sauna:


A wood floor’s an attractive but impractical choice for a sauna. The planks will absorb moisture from the sauna steam and ultimately start to smell bad.

You’ll need a floor that’s able to withstand the moisture inside your sauna. Concrete, high-quality vinyl, or ceramic tile are good options.

Insulation and a Foil-Vapor Barrier

You’ll need to insulate the ceiling and walls of your sauna to prevent the heat from escaping.

A foil-vapor barrier prevents moisture from entering the wood paneling of your sauna and destroying all your hard work. You can buy this type of material at your local hardware store.

Wooden panels

Tongue and groove wooden panels give the sauna a classic look and also help with insulation. You nail these boards over your ceiling and walls.

Western red cedar’s one of the best types of wood for this purpose, but any softwood that doesn’t have sap or resin will do.


A heater’s the main event in any sauna and wood-burning heaters are the best choice. These classic types of heaters create rich humidity and heat.

If you prefer a more convenient option, an electric heater’s a good option. You simply set the control for the desired temperature and time, and leave it to do its thing.

Other Necessities

Lighting, drainage, and ventilation are important considerations for a sauna. Although you want as much heat as possible to stay inside, you want some fresh air too.

It’s best to hire a plumber and an electrician to complete these specialized tasks.

The final ingredient you’ll need for your sauna is a door, and you’ll also need at least two levels of benches inside for optimum comfort.

How to Build a Sauna at Home From Scratch

The basic elements of a sauna are pretty simple. It’s really just a big box.

The first step is laying your concrete floor and building your frame. Next, insulate the inner frame with fiberglass and add the vapor barrier.

You can then hammer the materials for the sides together into panels and attach them to one another.

Leave room for ventilation points in the ceiling, on the floor, and above the heater’s location.

The next step is installing the heater according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and getting your electrician to set up any necessary wiring and your lighting.

The final step in building your sauna is laying the floor and installing your benches.

Find More Great Ideas

Now that you know how to build a sauna at home, it’s a good idea to get started before winter rolls around in full force to disrupt your plans.

What could be better than a few minutes spent in a warm, relaxing environment sheltered from the seasonal chill?

Keep browsing our blog for more awesome home improvement ideas and tips.

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