Is it time for a small DIY water feature (stone) in the corner of your sauna?

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Editor’s note: I have been kicking around the idea of introducing a DIY water feature, and specifically water flow, into a sauna building for a long time now. Matter of fact, the inspiration manifested sometime around when I wrote about The White Sauna in New Hampshire in 2011. Andrew sighted his sauna along a running stream, which provides he and his family and sauna guests a double dose of negative ions.

And we discuss the water feature in the corner of a sauna during my podcast with Dan Baruch here.

Let’s here from Luc:

Hello Glenn the sauna master!
I’m curious about your thoughts on building a small DIY water feature (stone) the corner of a mobile sauna. Listening to your podcast episode with Dan Baruch and him commenting about wanting to do something like this in a stationary sauna to run your feet under water during a session. I can’t help but consider it in my upcoming mobile build. It just sounds too awesome, and practical never mind peaceful. Let me know your thoughts and if this was discussed already in another thread.
Thanks for your time, your truly a legend and are definitely pleasing the sauna gods.

And here’s my response:

Right on to this Luc!

I’m totally into your idea. If you type “double dose of negative ions” into search bar above, you’ll see how long I’ve been resonating with the idea of water – running water – as a complement to the sauna experience.

So, i’m right with you on this. Here’s a few thoughts to help get you thinking:

  1. Source an aquarium pump and tubing. The pump is best to have a dial to control the water flow. Strong enough pump to push water up 6′ or so. But not a mega pump as you don’t need to push a lot of water to make it happen.
  2. Consider that the tubing can run behind your stone work, in the wall cavity. Keep it so you can feed the tubing, maybe with a pvc conduit, in case you have to replace or service the pump system.
  3. A simple reservoir at the base of the wall to collect the water and house the submersible pump.
  4. How do you de-splashify? A vertical wall will be more apt to splash water all over. I’d be thinking of framing out the water feature corner with maybe 2x6s that you run through the table saw to make long triangles, so the base is a full 5 1/2″ and it tapers down to nothing. Sloping the wall will be an art.
  5. Cultured stone. Easy to work with, when applied over cement board.
  6. Hot room vs. Changing room. I think the water feature will be best in the cool down room, for reasons of humidity control.
  7. Running feet under the water: I’d think twice about this. The water is best kept as clean as possible. (de-jankified).

Matter of fact, before committing to building the water feature within your sauna, you can build your MVP as a stand alone, messing around with getting the material and angles right. You can search off the shelf products on Amazon or Pinterest as inspiration.

Luc: the pressure is on. You’re charged to make this happen and we’ll share the action and our dialogue within this blog post!

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