Build your own sauna door

Here’s part of an email with Josh, who is happily building his own sauna:


build your own sauna door

Good question on the sauna door.  I make my own. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Frame and your interior wall, frame for about a 26″x6’5″ sauna door.
  2. Cut a piece of plywood sheathing 3/4″ less than your height and width.  This is the basis for your sauna door.
  3. tongue and groove panel the outside face of your plywood.
  4. Staple foil bubble wrap insulation to the inside face of your plywood.
  5. Tongue and groove cedar the inside of your door, on top of the foil wrap.  Tip: run your siding the opposite direction as your walls, it looks better.  If you really want to be resourceful, you may be able to use your cedar t&g cuts from your walls to make a really cool pattern.
  6. nail in a door stop to your door frame.
  7. Screw in some hinges and a funky wood door handle.
  8. Hang your door.
  9. Leave a slat towards the bottom for air flow. This is the best way to vent your sauna.
  10. Door window:  It’s easy to use a skill saw to cut out for a window.

The end result is that you have a nice solid 2″ door.  (5/8″ plywood, [email protected] 5/8″ paneling).

Josh, you going with a Kuuma Stove from Tower?


for more hot air, click here:

From: Josh Collins >
To: glenn auerbach <[email protected]>
Sent: Mon, December 7, 2009 10:37:58 AM
Subject: Re: Sauna Q’s

Hi Glenn,
I have started building the sauna and noticed that on the materials list there is not a door for in between the sauna room and the changing room, am I supposed to build one, or what would you recommend?  What do you think that the door’s dimensions should be?
Also, do I need to caulk around the durock to seal out moisture?  Is durock able to take moisture?
I am in Northern MN.
Thank you,


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14 thoughts on “Build your own sauna door”

  1. The plywood door is a great idea I think.
    Does the edge of the door need to be finished in some way as the plywood, bubble insulation and cedar will all be exposed?

  2. We are building a sauna in the eves/pitch of or loft conversion.
    We need to make our own door due to the unconventional shape of entrance (it’s sort of triangular at the top).
    We want the door to be more glass that wood ideally.
    Please can I possibly have some advise on how to build one and what sort of glass we need. we want clear glass. As much detail as possible would be great. Thanks

  3. Rachel: Instructions on how to build a sauna door build are detailed in my ebook. Basically, it involves sandwiching paneling between a sheet of plywood cut to size. Happy to help, g.

  4. Would it be acceptable to use a standard six panel door as a sauna door. The side of the door being used for the interior of the sauna will be lined with a vapor barrier then I will use red cedar to finish the door face. I will build my own for jam with red cedar and use stainless steel hinges on the exterior. Thoughts?

  5. Brendon:

    You get my vote on using a standard six panel door as a sauna door. As long as it’s not all shellac-ed up and oozing paint fumes, i think you’d be good to go. the cool thing about sauna building is that one can be resourceful and use (and reuse) things to create character and one’s own cool vibe.

  6. So I did build this door and I’m pretty happy with it. I installed the hinges on the door face instead of edge since the edge is rough. also, to keep the door closed, i used a magnetic cabinet latch on the top inside edge. my 10″x24″ tempered shelf glass window is held in place by a 1/2″ overhang of the cedar t&g nailed to the plywood and a bead of silicone caulk on the outside edge to keep from rattling.

  7. Bubble wrap doesn’t do anything in the context of a solid plywood sheet door. It isn’t an effective insulator. It works out to maybe R-1 at best. Google it. I’d rather have hollow spaces in the door filled with fiberglass insulation or the solid foam blocks.

  8. I have a creek that runs through my property so I’m building a sauna on a custom trailer frame, local codes and common sense won’t allow permanent structures near the creek , but want it near my swimming hole, my question is, is spray foam insulation a bad idea in a wood fired sauna?

  9. David,

    If you listen to the spray foam council trade organization (it exists, really, and I called them!), they will tell you that the dreaded off gassing occurs only at time of install when the two parts meet, but once sealed up, there is no off gassing up to (and I forget the exact temp but it’s well North of 250f). Now this stuff is flammable, relative to conventional batting, so if that’s the concern, well, we just insulate and vapor barrier and go to sleep at night after that, when the sauna stove fire is out.

  10. Hey Glenn,

    I’m building my hot room door right now and wondering if you use weather stripping to seal the door?


  11. Hi Bill:

    I don’t use weather stripping to seal the door. I like the ball catch system or the spring door system.

    Best hardware for a sauna door is detailed here. Hope this helps.

  12. messed up a bit when I framed my door, my rough opening is 24″ but since the door is all the way to one side i didn’t give myself ebough room for door trim. I was thinking of just adding another 2×4 jack stud, so my door would just be an inch and half narrowor than standard 22″ door. Does any see any issus with that? Im planning on building my own door either way so can make it any size i want. Love the site by the way and the ebook was a valuable resource!

  13. Hi Ryan…

    If you’re still at the framing stage, I suggest getting out the Sawzall, popping out those studs, and reframing it how it’ll better work for you.

    You only get this chance right now, otherwise you’ll be looking at your compromise every day hereafter.

    Glad saunatimes is helping you along, makes me happy to help you, Ryan!

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