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Build your own sauna: materials list

By popular demand, here is a complete list of what you’ll need to build your own sauna.   Life is short: you deserve your own authentic Finnish sauna!!

Step one: Go out to your backyard with some string and mark off an 8×12 space.  You can build your own sauna by sticking it against your garage, or tucking it in a quiet corner in your backyard.  When you choose the location for your backyard sauna, keep in mind that you may want to allow for a nice courtyard or patio space.  Bring a couple patio chairs and maybe a picnic bench to complete the simulation.

Step two: Before you build your own sauna, imagine what your own sauna party will be like.  Family, friends, business associates or the whole hockey team?  When you build your own sauna, consider inviting your sauna party friends to help frame it up.

Step three: Go for it, and start enjoying your own authentic Finnish sauna.  Click here to learn how to prep your area for the sauna

8×12 Sauna Building Materials List
Subfloor qty price extended
rim joist 2×6-12′ green 2 $5.58 $11.16
floor joists 2×6-8′ green 10 $3.54 $35.40
sub floor 3/4” 4×8 AC2 3 $28.00 $84.00
Walls
wall studs 2×4-7′ studs 43 $1.48 $63.64
treated plate 2×4-12′ green 2 $4.58 $9.16
treated plate 2×4-8′ green 2 $2.29 $4.58
top bottom plate 2×4-12′ 2 $2.47 $4.94
top bottom plate 2×4-8′ 2 $1.68 $3.36
wall sheeting 1/2# 4×8 CDX plywood 13 $11.14 $144.82
siding 3/4x 8-8′ cedar beveled siding 26 $8.48 $220.48
siding 3/4x 8-12′ cedar beveled siding 26 $8.48 $220.48
Roof
truss 2×6-12′ 8 $5.00 $40.00
ridge beam 2×6-16′ 1 $6.48 $6.48
roof sheeting 1/2# 4×8 CDX plywood 7 $11.14 $77.98
shingles 25 year 6 $23.65 $141.90
felt 15# underlay 1 $21.80 $21.80
soffit 16”x12′ pro vented soffit 5 $15.58 $77.90
fascia 6”x12′ r/s fascia 6 $10.49 $62.94
trim 12′ j-trim 1 $8.23 $8.23
Interior
insulation R11 3.5x15x40′ 50 sf roll 14 $10.69 $149.66
bubble wrap 48”x25′ Reflective bubble stndrd edge 6 $31.48 $188.88
wall cedar 1×6-8′ WP-4 cedar (sqft=lftx.42) 68 $10.39 $706.52
roof cedar 1×6-8′ WP-4 cedar (sqft=lftx.42) 17 $10.39 $176.63
benches 2×4-6′ cedar 38 $4.86 $184.68
sauna floor 1/2”x3’x5′ durock 4 $8.49 $33.96
Hardware/etc.
finish nails 1-1/4” nail 11b aluminum white 1 $8.23 $8.23
door E-10 half lite door PH 32×80 LH DB 1 $194.00 $194.00
window 24×36 Jeldwen Vnl Rep DH Low-E 1 $124.00 $124.00
lights 3 lights: sauna, chnging room, outside 3 $8.00 $24.00
switches 3 switches, one dimmer (sauna room) 3 $2.00 $6.00
electric wire, outlet, etc. 1 $5.00 $5.00
Stove
sauna stove Kuuma wood 1 $850.00 $850.00
reflective panels Kuuma side and back 1 $140.00 $140.00
water tank stainless steel 1 $200.00 $200.00
pipe 36” steel snap 2 $24.00 $48.00
flashing kit 14.5” 1 $89.00 $89.00
chimney 3′ double ins. 1 $155.00 $155.00
chimney cap aluminum rodent seal 1 $48.60 $48.60
total materials…… $4,571.41
labor…. $2,345.00
dealer prep, clear coat BS $33.59
total….. $6,950.00

35 thoughts on “Build your own sauna: materials list”

  1. Many thanks for the materials list Glenn. It gives a great insight into the approx costs and materials to be expected.

    Thanks again for the effort in putting this list together.

  2. Alan, you’re on! It’s great to share: i’m always open for ideas, thoughts, opinions. Example: the interior wall can be framed with 2x2s (vs 2x4s) and positioned to allow for a slightly longer or shorter sauna room. Optimally, I like a sauna width that allows for about a 6’4″ sauna bench. 6’4″ is adequate for 3 people to sit, or one person lying flat with a beer balancing on the forehead singing Finnish folk songs. jk

  3. My entire life I have been taking saunas. I have half Finnish and when my parents built out cabin in Northern MN, they built the sauna first. Well, now it is my time to build my own sauna and I plan to do it this summer. I am looking forward to using your website to develop a plan to build. Thank you!

  4. You’re welcome Rhonda! Not sure if you’re in MN, but I’ll be bringing around my 8×12 mobile Finnish sauna to a bunch of events in the Twin Cities this winter. Stay tuned to saunatimes.com for an agenda and maybe you can come by and experience it in action. Glad you dig the site.

  5. These guys over at Cedarbrook have a few videos posted on YouTube about How to Build a Sauna in a room and an outdoor one. The outdoor sauna is really their prefab ceiling and walls and roof, I guess. Thought it deserved mention here… I’m hoping it gives some good building tips, especially the indoor videos which would apply to any structure.

    One thing I want to add to the discussion is IF you build an outdoor sauna in the Southern US … everything wants to move in, especially ants. I have found that if you can put diatomaceous earth under your floor plate and inside the walls atop the base plate, you can stop the critters from coming in for good. This non-toxic earth acts like knives to ants and cuts them up. Most will touch it with their antennae and then back-off, cause they know they have no defense. Ideally, you should not breath the diatomaceous earth either. While non-toxic it’s just not good for your lungs. You can also put it around the base outside, but you’ll have to do it every so often.

  6. In northern climates our issue is more BTU’s than bugs. We find a changing room space critical as it’s a buffer between 180 degree f. sauna and 8 degree f. outside air temp.

  7. I have searched the net for hours trying to find construction plans for a DIY dry sauna. There are plenty of sites showing phases of construction, but nothing that is a step-by-step process. How to frame your door, window, etc. I am not a carpenter, but most definitely a handyman and can do about anything. I just want plans that are laid out to just measure, cut, nail, this goes here and that goes there, these are the materials you need, etc. I honestly cannot find anything like that. Seems someone would have made these type of complete plans. Even if you buy a sauna kit, you still have to frame your walls etc. I can build it, I just need the blueprints. Pls. help.

  8. Stephen:

    On my 2014 to do list is to package my “How to Build Your Own Health and Wellness Retreat” ebook. I have it all done:
    1) 9 full chapters in a step by step instruction guide.
    2) photos to correspond to above.
    3) blueprints.
    4) complete building materials list – down to the light switch cover.

    For now, I have this in an easy shareable google doc. Please email me. Thanks, g.

  9. Glenn
    I’m planning on building a sauna this summer and would love to have a look at your plans if you don’t mind sharing them.
    Regards,
    Marc

  10. We are moving to Washington State and really want to do a DIY sauna. We have an old wood stove that was made from a old steel barrel. We’d like to save $$ on an authentic sauna stove. What are the pluses/minuses of a steel barrel with rocks piled up along the sides? If water gets on the hot steel can it crack? Thanks!

  11. Hi Glen,

    I picked up my Kuuma stove in Tower this week and was hoping to get your comprehensive 8×12 plans so I can order the wood etc.

    Thanks!

  12. Hi Glenn,
    Are you still distributing your eBook? I’d love to get a copy as I’m g going to start my sauna next month.
    James.

  13. Hello, I have a closet in my unfinished basement that I would like to convert into a sauna because it’s located right next to my bathroom which I am also trying to renovate but I don’t have a clue where to start. Help! lol

  14. Hey Glenn,

    I was just ball-parking how much of my money has been donated to Home Depot and Menards so far, and it looks like I’m around $4200 already– and that’s without the stove, interior or siding. I think your materials list prices are a little out of date 🙂 Granted my sauna is 4′ feet longer (12×14), but still 🙂
    However, still nice to see a comprehensive list of things needed to do the build.

    Thanks!
    Julian

  15. I ordered your e-book. Was helpful. I am struggling trying to get the hot room laid out. I have a 7′-10″ X 20′- 3″ trailer to put the hot room, chill room and porch on. I was thinking of about a 7′ X 7′-10″ hot room. Trying to place the wood stove seems most difficult. Kuuma says it need 48 inches in front of the door to combustibles. I was hoping to get the stove near the door so the mess from wood carrying wouldn’t be on the floor but it seems it would be four feet into the hot room and then the back of the stove with shields appears to need about 15 inches to combustibles. So stacked benches, 22 inches and 18 inches plus 15 inches clearance, then 18 inches for the stove and then 48 inches for the stove door and I get real big sauna, 10′. How do you fit a Kuuma stove in when it needs 48 inches of clearance on the door side?

  16. a Sauna made with cedar wood and wall insolation?cedar start rotten inside a Sauna and wall insolation can bring cancer dust problem’s.
    I have build my outside sauna with hemlock wood 4\x6\x16′ hemlock floor ect.wood stove haeting

  17. Hi! You might have the info I need to build something my late son and I thought about and drew up on napkins recently. I just purchased a 24′ x 8′ triple pontoon boat that I am about to prep for constructing a FLOATING SAUNA with a changing/napping room plus cardplaying/dancing/drinking porch! Do you think your eBook would be helpful? Any thoughts on things to consider? I am planning on towing this thing to anchor points and intend to have a climbable roof to dive off for a deep cold plunge into a northern Minnesota lake. Our place is in Aitkin County. I know it’s not a new idea but a floating one solves a lot of issues with setbacks and the fact that I have grown to love the utility of the old boat house that came with the place.

  18. Hi Glenn,
    Just bought your book. My husband and I are planning to start this project in October to build a sauna in our backyard in Minneapolis. I’m sure we’ll have lots of questions. Look forward to receiving it!

    Thank you,
    Julie & Geoff

  19. Hi Julie & Geoff:

    Great, as you probably know, I’m in Minneapolis too. My backyard sauna reminds me of our sauna on Lake Vermilion, but it’s only 17 steps outside my back door. This is what you can create with a small footprint in your own backyard: an up north backyard health and wellness retreat. Fall is a great time to build and i’m on your team.

  20. Glenn-
    I purchased your book a couple of years ago and put up an 8×12 in beautiful Makinen, MN! It’s now time to put my skill to work in Duluth, however, Im thinking a little different plan. I have space for an 8×10 and was thinking 6×8 hot room, with a 4×8 (roughly) porch with no changing room (but adding canvas walls for a faux changing/chill space). In your opinion, am I better off with a 4×8 changing room or an open style porch. Im torn!

  21. i’m torn too. I see where you are going. A 4×8 changing room is a tight space, especially after one introduces a bench or a couple chairs.

    That said, in Minnesota climate, a temperate space (changing room) is critical for good hot room performance. (read attached as to why). Yes, you could get that performance from a canvas wall gig, but you’ll be getting no view and may feel as compromised as a boundary waters trip in the rain.

    Is there any way you could build an 8×12 structure vs. your planned 8×10? As you know, with a small building, the thickness of the walls encroach, and before you know it, you’re dealing with a tight space. My vote is to carve out an 8×12 footprint and advance the ball in that direction. 8×10 has compromise written all over it. But read here, maybe there’s some enlightenment, but dunno what it is..
    http://www.saunatimes.com/building-a-sauna/do-i-really-need-a-changing-room/

  22. Hey Glenn,
    When will I receive the e-book? We are anxious to get started. Did I miss a step in the process, or have you already sent it? Thanks again!

  23. Hi There,
    My question is regarding the foundation for my 8×12 sauna building on a sloped backyard. Should I build it on concrete footings 3-6 inches off the ground, or should I just rest it on the ground on some Class 5 gravel with the back propped up on blocks? Or maybe there’s a third option, a floating concrete slab. My concern is for a floor drain and insulating the floor. Everything that I’ve read says you need to insulate the floor for any Minnesota outdoor sauna. How can I accomplish this the most effectively? Thanks so much for any thoughts you have.

  24. Tony: We go into this topic big time in the Sauna Build: Start to Finnish Ebook. My vote: just rest it on the ground on some Class 5 gravel with the back propped up on blocks. It’s easy and it’s a small enough structure that you can rebalance it any time you need to.

  25. Hi Glenn,

    I would love to hear your ideas on building a sauna on the cheap. My middle school-aged son is interested in building a sauna for a school project. The project emphasis is on process maybe more than product, so the simpler the better. any thoughts?

  26. Hey Glenn,

    My space doesn’t allow for 8×12’, does your ebook happen to cover saunas of other sizes, for example 5’x7’?

    Thank you!

  27. Brad:

    The ebook covers all reasonable sized hot rooms. To me, a 6×8 or 7×7 hot room is an ideal size. Anyhow, the book will help you, Brad.

  28. I second Dusty, I bought mine from him and he was awesome. Through in a couple of extra pieces so I could panel the outside wall of my hot room too.

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