Maybe it’s the extra cold winter vortex, or maybe because authentic Finnish saunas are becoming more popular, but i’ve been getting LOTS of emails lately with specific sauna building questions. I enjoy helping, yet all the answers are in my $20.00 ebook (insert plug for book here, well, just a link).
If you are considering building your own sauna, let me help you RIGHT NOW.
- Outdoor backyard sauna or
- Indoor sauna?
I have a major bias towards #1. If you are leaning towards #2, well go for it. You can figure it out easy enough (4 walls, ceiling, insulate, 220v wiring, electric stove, voila).
If you have an interest in your own authentic backyard health and wellness Finnish sauna, here’s what you do:
- On your way home from work TODAY, stop in the hardware store and buy some mason line ($2.69).
- Find 4 sticks.
- Mark off an 8’x12′ area in your backyard, set your 4 stakes, and wrap your string.
- Stare at it for 3-4 days. If anyone asks what you are doing, tell them you’re not sure.
PHASE II – PREP YOUR MIND
- Consider what your awesome authentic sauna is going to look like.
- Read this post.
- Get your spouse to sign off on the project.
- Start saving some coin.
PHASE III – PREP THE AREA
- When things thaw out, grade your 8×12 area down a couple few inches.
- Use soil for a garden bed, or build a pile in driveway and give away dirt.
- Get a load of class 5 gravel and level out your area.
- If anyone asks what you’re doing, tell them you’re building a little deck.
PHASE IV – SHELL STRUCTURE
- Build your 8×12 perimeter: 2×6 green, 16″ on center, leveling on top of your few inches of class 5 gravel.
- Lay down 3/4″ plywood, or screw down 5/4″ cedar decking and live with this for awhile, then,
- Hire a shed company or go to Home Depot or Lowes and have them deliver material and build your own shed.
- If anyone asks what you’re doing, tell them your building a little potting shed or kids playhouse.
PHASE V – SAUNA TAKES SHAPE
- Install your windows, doors, and now’s the time to pop in your chimney.
- Build your interior wall, separating your hot room from changing room and consider a really nICE candle window.
- Insulate, then tongue and groove.
- If anyone asks what you’re doing, well, they’re getting pretty annoying so just shrug.
PHASE VI – SAUNA DETAILS
- Build and skim coat your sloped floor in hot room, pop in a drain.
- Build and install your sauna benches.
- Wheel in your authentic Finnish sauna, and attach chimney pipe.
- If anyone asks what you’re doing, tell them to go away.
PHASE VII – FINNISH WORK
- Trim out your sauna and changing room.
- Install hooks, thermometer, and a shelf for your stereo.
- Light sauna, make nICE mugs.
- Invite over your friends.
All municipalities I know don’t require building permits for structures under 100 square feet.
Building inspectors don’t know how to classify saunas, so they reach hard for reasons why you may not be able to build one.
The Kuuma stove is UL approved. It emits some smoke for a few minutes after you light the stove, but it burns clean. Nobody in their right mind would complain.
If any of the above concerns you, well, maybe you want to go with an indoor electric sauna. It’s ok, I understand.
If you are with me so far, I applaud you and want to encourage you to keep going. An authentic Finnish sauna is a life changer. The health and wellness benefits are many and deep.
Life’s too short to not begin this journey today.
One question, which hardware store are you stopping at on your way home?