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8’x12′ sauna blueprints

light steam graphic

Here is a sketch of my ideal sauna, drawn in ideal conditions

on graph paper in a dimly lit changing room, between sauna rounds with two buddies: an architect and contractor, while sipping a couple beers at my island lake cabin:

8x12 sauna plans

  1. Efficient: a 6’x8′ hot room is a nice size.  Big enough to accommodate as a one person sauna to a six person sauna, yet small enough to heat quickly and efficiently.
  2. Compact: 8’x12′ overall building dimensions.  Most building codes don’t require a building permit for structures less than 100 sq. ft.
  3. Divine proportion: the golden ratio of architecture, harmony within nature, plus all your building materials come in dimensions that offer minimal cutting and waste (to burn in your sauna stove).
  4. Two rooms: Critical in cold climates.  Just as grocery stores have double doors as an energy saver, your sauna should have a changing room.  It’s impossible to have an efficient sauna if the door from the hot room opens to the outside.  Close the door!
  5. Stadium seating: 24″ wide benches are the bomb.  Great flow.
  6. Versatile: A great sauna party by night can also be a nice home office escape or kids play area by day.  Storage above your hot room, and allow yourself to make a cabin style patio, that flows out from your changing room.  Turn your 8×12 sauna into a backyard escape.
  7. Odds & Ends: A few tips to consider:
  • Put a dimmer light in your hot room.
  • 7′ internal ceiling in hot room, never higher.  Less unneeded cube mass to heat.
  • Before cedar paneling your sauna/changing room, wire for sound and Ovi/Nokia mobile device technology.  Plus, I’m a fan of music in the sauna.
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14 thoughts on “8’x12′ sauna blueprints”

  1. Hi, I’m drawing up plans for a sauna pretty much just like this. I’m new to saunas and keep hearing about the ceilings being a maximum of 70” tall. I’d really like to have a cathedral type ceiling instead of trusses with a flat ceiling. Should I just go with that route, or would the extra height really hurt me as far as efficiency goes?


  2. 7′ = 84″. this is the magic height of a sauna hot room. 70″ sauna ceiling may work in Mayan cultures but for our 6′ tall society, you are going to need space above your head. 7′ is ideal for bench seating, etc. and I can get into that another time. I often build with cathedral ceilings, and frame my 7′ sauna hot room ceiling within, allowing for a loft above the sauna for Mayan artifacts or for sleeping if/when relegated to doghouse on a cold winter night.

  3. Great!

    Not sure why I typed 70″ last night. I meant 7′. I think I will plan on building it like you mentioned with the loft above the sauna room.

    Thanks again.

  4. Glenn, do you have any photos of saunas you’ve built with lofts above?
    That’s what I want to build—a 12 x 16 building with a sauna room, changing room, loft above the sauna, small lounge area, little deck outside—it seems quite feasible to me but my friends keep saying I’ll burn up if I have a bed over the sauna room.

  5. David: Please check your spam folder. Have sent ebook to you a couple times now at your edu address. Please email me back confirmation or if your edu is prohibitive, let’s try a different email for you.

  6. Do you have plans for the following? I want to build a 8×16 that would have a feasible size changing room but the sauna room needs to accomadate 6 comfortably. I was thinking a porch to sit on during all seasons. I want it wood burning.

  7. Mason:

    If there’s a better 12×16 sauna building design than this one, i’d like to know about it:×16-cabin-sauna-thats-a-lot-more-than-just-a-sauna/

    Also, here’s another kick ass 12×16 sauna.

    Though these two buildings are not the 8×16 you are looking to build, take note of the two different hot rooms. Regarding sauna room to accommodate 6 comfortably, keep in mind that 6 sauna bathers during a sauna session probably aren’t in the hot room at the same times. A 13 minute hot room session is best balanced with a 13 minute cool down session.

    This principle is why these two sauna hot rooms are perfectly awesome for a sauna session with 6 sauna bathers. 7x7x7 tall is a magical hot room dimension. That’s my take and i’ll go down swinging in that many home sauna hot rooms are often overbuilt (too many square feet) thus subject to too long a time to heat up, too long of time to recover for when yahoo’s don’t keep the hot room door shut, etc.

    MORE RAMBLE: We in America tend to think bigger is better (shopping malls, houses, cars, etc.) whereas our European counterparts have a better awareness of less being more (fewer shopping malls, smaller houses, cars, etc.).

  8. They look awesome. How do I get plans for one? I would like one with a porch the deck on the one won’t work for us. I leave in Ashland not far from Lake Superior. I grew up going into my grandparents old Finnish sauna and now I need my own. This is my heritage and want my girls to experience it. Thanks for the info

  9. Glenn, I am looking at your Plan A, doing the calculations:
    After setting the inferior wall I have two rooms 66 3/4″ (page 18 of your book)
    66 3/4″-32″ for cement board width = 34 3/4″. Is it enough for two 24″ wide benches?

  10. Slava:

    The lower bench (or middle bench if going with a raised floor, which we can call the 3rd bench) can be built as a slider. 24″ for upper bench, then you can slide the lower bench to fit how it works best for your alignment, arrangement. Often this bench is a step, so it can be used this way, and you get the nice full 24″ for the upper. For Low Bench Larry’s, you can extend the lower bench to its maximum, thereby meeting the stove setback requirements as well as ergonomic goodness.

  11. Hi Glenn,
    I purchased your ebook a few years ago and am currently in the process of building my outdoor 8×12 sauna! I am building it from the ground up because like to do things the hard way and have a couple questions for you.
    1. I am a bit confused on how to attach the rafters to the outside wall framing. I believe I understand how they are connected to the partition wall.
    2. When I finish the ceiling I will have created an attic space. What’s the best way to vent this? The roof is a shed style.
    Any pointers would be appreciated!
    Many thanks,

  12. Hi Kevin:

    1. Securing rafters to the outside wall framing:
    Rafters generally sit atop the top plate. Some use metal rafter ties, which are easy and you can nail them into the rafters and into the top plate that way. others will just hand nail – to nail.

    2. Venting the attic space.
    I’ve had good results with gable vents on either end. This creates good air flow through the structure and warmer air naturally vacates the air that way. Some go with a switched mechanical vent, and I did that in my garage sauna.

    Keep it going Kevin!

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