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8’x12′ sauna plans reviewed while sitting on the sauna bench

light steam graphic

Two Bench options for your 6’x8′ sauna hot room:

8x12 sauna plans

Either option can work ideally within your 8’x12′ sauna building.

Advantages of Option A:

  • A longer set of benches: (7’4″ long vs. 6′ long in option B).  Great for laying out and generous space for 3 on upper bench.
  • A more congenial connection to changing room (especially with candle window).

Advantages of Option B:

  • Stadium seating allows for continued vista from hot room outside through transom window to outside.
  • Plenty of room on lower bench.  A fully extended 24″ lower bench, vs a tighter fitting lower bench in option A.
  • Stove is safely tucked in its upright and locked position in the corner, vs. having to pass by the stove to enter/exit in option A.

I have built a few saunas with each bench design.

Like orange juice with pulp or without, preference varies.  But this isn’t an opportunity for line extension, more shelf space, and choices to drive you crazy.  This is an opportunity to make a decision on what’s best for you… and go for it.

Either option works great.

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23 thoughts on “8’x12′ sauna plans reviewed while sitting on the sauna bench”

  1. when deciding on a bench/stove layout, keep in mind the recommendations of the stove manufacturer for stove clearances to both combustible and non-combustible surfaces. option a is very difficult to achieve decent bench depth while also maintaining the stove manufacturer’s clearance recommendations. it is always a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations but if you are going the building permit route, the building inspector is all but going to demand the clearances be followed. this is an excellent reason to select your stove first and plan the sauna around it!

  2. A water tank attached to an authentic wood burning sauna stove takes up 6″ or so of space but buffers ones’ toes from the burn and ouch, and provides warm water for the OUTSIDE sauna bather on a zero degree star filled January night, steam billowing, and ahhhhhh damn, does that feel good.

  3. Hi Glenn!

    I just purchased your build your own sauna book a few days ago and I can’t get it out of my brain! I’ve literally woken up every night this week thinking about sauna design. Your book has been extremely helpful. A few questions, though, I’m hoping you can help answer for me.

    1. I love your 12×8 design, but would really like two levels both on the back wall and the side opposite the stove. Do you think expanding the design to 12×9 will make enough room to add a second level bench on the side wall opposite the stove? Any reason to talk me out of this?

    2. I’m reading the specs for your recommended Kuuma wood stove. It looks like their recommendation is for 11″ clearance from the side wall and 11.5″ for the back wall (assuming use of heat shields AND cement board). Do you use these recommendations or can you get away with putting the stove closer to the wall? Seems like using their recommendation in a 8×6 sauna would only leave about 5 inches between the stove and the bottom bench. Does that sound right?

    3. On page #38 of your ebook you have a broken link to the selkirk website that is supposed to list the chimney part components. Do you have an updated link or list you can send for that?

    Thanks for the help!

  4. Hi Brian:

    1. Instead of 12×9, i’d be thinking dimensionally, like 12×12 or 12×10. I’d try to talk you out of too big of a hot room:

    2. Kuuma clearances: Technically if your wall is all NON combustibles there is no setback requirement. Practically speaking, as we frame with 2x4s, etc. you’ll want 7″ from Kuuma heat shield to cement board with 1″ air gap from cement board to wall behind. This is a great system. Good mass, looks good (you can face it with stone or tile), inexpensive.

    3. Selkirk: thanks for the heads up re: broken link. Here’s more to noodle on:

  5. Hi Glenn,
    On Your answer #2: “Kuuma clearances: Technically if your wall is all combustibles there is no setback requirement.”… Did you mean “non-combustibles”?
    I’m sorting out those same issues right now.

  6. Starting to plan our indoor sauna. Not sure if this is the corr3ct blog.
    We have an indoor room set aside for a sauna. It’s in our basement. 9 foot ceilings. Tiled floor with drain. The wall dimensions are 10’6” by 7’3”. Door on the wider wall.
    Would your ebook be helpful in our situation ? Unfortunately, I believe due to central location, an electric heater is our only option.


  7. Hey Glenn,

    Super grateful to you for sharing your knowledge and love for sauna. I was feeling ambitious and purchased your ebook with the intent to build my own sauna but it looks like I’ll be needing some help. I wanted to make a few customizations but would love to discuss having your help to make those adjustments and then get a drawing that I can simply handoff to the various contractors for building. Is that something you’ve done before?

  8. Yes, James, I’ve done a lot of that: drawings and hand off to builders. The thing about builders/contractors is that they often fall into one of two camps. Either they think they know how to tackle a sauna build and then they make a critical mistake or two, or they run away from sauna building as they are afraid of making a critical mistake or two.

    So, it’s tough sledding, often times, for the homeowner. You want to be educated so you can help guide your builder/contractor, but you don’t want to be a know it all pain in the you know what….

    Anyhow, I do have a consultation plan, and it may be very well suited for your situation, and happy to help. It’s $200, and i’m not out to shake you down, but help you navigate down the right path.

  9. That sounds fantastic! And a very fair price. Would you call or email me at your earliest convenience? I’ll post my number in the website spot on the comment form. Thanks, Glenn! Looking forward to it!

  10. Hello Glenn,
    I recently purchased your sauna ebookand have a question. I hope this is the correct format to contact you.If not I apologize. The printed section on sauna built looks very helpful as are the photos. I’m puzzled by the 2 page blueprint section as I was expecting more detailed blueprints. Perhaps I didn’t get the full download. If I didn’t can you Email that section to me. I’m ordering the Kuuma stove. My friend has had one for 25 years and is very satisfied.
    Thanks for all the information.


  11. Hi Bill:

    Glad the book is helping you out. Yes the blueprint section is two pages. We did’t get into too many details as many choose their own sizing. I hope this helps! Yes, I own two Kuumas, 1996 and 2003.. they keep on truckin’ that’s for sure!

  12. Hi glen
    Do you recommend any treatment for the interior walls and benches of the sauna? Like some kind of oil?

  13. It’s a safety thing. If someone passes out, they won’t block the hot room door.

    Further, if someone is feeling faint or shaky, they are able to exit the hot room easily.

    Hot room doors only out swing is a Finnish building tradition and practice.

  14. Howdy from cold New England!

    I’m planning a sauna build in my backyard, something along the lines of these 8×12 plans. I would love to pick up a Kuuma stove, but in order to get the project funded sooner I may re-purpose my Jotul 602 from inside the main house while I save up for a stove upgrade. Another possibility I’m considering is a used stove, in particular I’ve seen some decent used Jotul 118’s and Fisher Baby Bears.

    My question is, can I have too big a stove in an 8×6 hot room? Obviously it needs to fit physically, but would it be a problem to have a stove with too high heat output? In house heating, I know it’s not ideal to run a too-large stove choked down all the time, but I’m not sure if that logic applies for sauna heating.


  15. Abe:

    This is a common question. You can have too big of a stove in your hot room, and yes it’s not ideal to choke it down, but my hunch for you is to give your re-purpose Jotul a try. There’s nothing like experiencing it to see how it will work.

    And PS on the saving for a kick ass sauna stove, there’s nothing wrong with starting a sauna stove piggy bank, and you’ll earn your upgrade.

    Keep us posted!

  16. Hi again Glenn, quick questions about constructing the stove surround with Durock. A 32×32” is affixed to the ceiling and the 5’ wall pieces are butted up against the ceiling piece this would leave an approx. 2’ space at the bottom correct? Is this space covered with Durock?

    Thank you for a very helpful ebook and your response to my question.

  17. Hi Bob:

    Yes, this is for sure a way to tackle the surround. It’s an efficient use of the 3’x5′ pieces of Durock. As you know, this material is not expensive, so you can do more surround than above. I like Durock. It helps increase lämpömassa in our hot rooms. As temperature is only one measure of hot room climate, probably the most significant, until a lämpömassa meter becomes commercially available.

  18. I just want to confirm seating space. I purchased the book (it’s so helpful – thank you!) and it says the hot room seats 5 adults comfortably. These seating charts mention seating 3. What has your experience been?

  19. Hi Jenny… glad the book is helping you along..

    As far as seating 3 goes, as a general rule and based on 30 years of creating elbow room on my sauna benches, 3 average bears can sit just fine on a 6’4″ long bench. I know this dimension well, as I’ve built many saunas and working with 7′ outside wall, when we frame and clad, we’re down to that number. Hope this helps you in your planning!

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