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I thought I was building and advising people to build saunas correctly. And for the most part, I am. However, there is one WIDE difference on what many are doing in the US compared to Finland: a gap along the hot room door.

Finns- the pros- are nuts about fresh air and venting. With a wood fired sauna stove, this is critical, yet not as critical as with an electric stove.

Why? Wood stoves draw air and help circulate air on their own. But electric stoves suck, in terms of air flow and ventilation. We need to be cognizant of good venting.

Why? Fresh air and oxygen circulation allow us to enjoy our time in the hot room. Dizziness from time spent in a sauna is more apt to be from a lack of oxygen than too much heat. How do I know this to be true? I took 50 saunas in 12 days in Finland, and I was never dizzy.

How do we Design our Sauna Height for Optimal Oxygen and Air Flow?

sauna bench heights

Important Characteristics

  • 43-44″ (109cm) Top bench to ceiling. When sitting on the upper bench, we want to be able to put two fists over the top of our head to the ceiling.
  • 16-18″ (46cm) lower bench. This is optimal chair height and comfortable for most adults (no scrunching or feet dangling).
  • 6″ (15cm) raised floor deck. This step up, when entering the hot room, keeps the feet warm when sitting on the lower bench as we have an air gap from the actual hot room floor to where you sit, stand, or walk.
  • 4″ (10cm) gap along hot room door. This makes the Finns happy. Plenty of air flow.
  • Vent: opposite wall as stove, eye height while standing. A few inches (10cm) down from the ceiling.

Update: September 25, 2020

I have tuned my 7′ tall sauna hot room bench heights as follows, and approve this message:

  • 44” ceiling to top bench.
  • 16” to low bench.
  • 16” to step or raised floor.
  • 5” step to duckboard, height of changing room.

Try that.

What’s Wrong With This Design?

I know, I know, while sitting on the upper bench, our feet, resting on the lower bench, are a few inches below the sauna rocks.

If we build saunas with 7’6″ (229cm), we can move everything up 6″ (15cm). This way, while sitting on the upper bench, our feet are at or above the sauna rocks. But this creates a new problem. Now we have 12″ step up from changing room floor to hot room floor. Two steps, 6″ (15cm) each can be quite clunky and cumbersome. Worse, these steps can be dangerous for children or senior adults as they navigate themselves off from the top bench, down steps and out to the lake or cold plunge water feature.

Let’s Pick our Poison

While sitting on the upper bench, do we want our feet a few inches below the sauna rocks, or do we want 12″ of up and down steps each time we enter and exit our sauna hot rooms? Many (including me) choose to have feet a bit below the sauna rocks and one less step coming and going, over and over.

8 Foot Sauna Ceilings?

Thanks to Miller for forwarding this photo, sourced from finlandia sauna. Indeed, this photo is worth a thousand words. 8′ ceilings MAY have their place with a triple bench system, in health clubs and spas, yet even this is a stretch. There are too many wasted cubic feet to heat.

The good news is if you have 8′ walls in your ceiling, consider dropping down the ceiling. It can be done!

The Law of Löyly vs. the Bleacher Effect

When designing and building our own saunas, hot room ceiling height is a key decision. Sauna bench height is defined and constrained by our hot room ceiling height.

Whether we choose an 8′ ceiling (244 cm) or a 7′ ceiling (213 cm) , or some height in between, our first definition is:

Upper Bench Height: 44″ from Ceiling (112 cm)

This upper bench height is a critical measurement as it allows for 2 fists above your head to the ceiling, as we sit on the upper bench. This gives us access to the best heat, “without leaving anything on the table.” (Mike Norsdog, Opposite of Cold). Further, this bench height allows for air flow around our head, where it matters most.

Middle Bench Height: 18″ from Upper Bench (46 cm)

Empirically minded sauna builders have been known to walk around with tape measures charting the height of their couches, dining room chairs, desk chairs and even park benches (when nobody’s watching). Consensus on this measurement (mean, median, mode) is about 18″ (46 cm). So, generally we adopt this measurement for the height from upper bench to middle bench. There is wiggle room here. Examples where one may consider, say, 16″ space between upper and middle bench may be where the most use case is with folks who are less tall than the average bear, eg. shorter significant others, a lot of kid use, etc. A 16″ space between upper and middle bench reduces feet dangling, and creates a gentle flow up, climbing up and down.

The Law of Löyly

Finns are generally very accepting people, especially as it relates to sauna. There is a “free spirit” of few rules with Finnish sauna. Dogma in this case is more a combined word of a common house pet and what Italian Americans often call their mothers. Simply put, the law of löyly means that as you sit on the upper bench, your feet are at or above the height of your sauna rocks. To a Finn, the law of löyly could be as important as beating Sweden in the World Junior hockey tournament. Outspoken sauna aficionados from the Motherland of sauna are easily riled with the idea of sitting on the upper bench and having one’s feet below the sauna rocks.

Meeting the Law of Löyly With a Taller Hot Room Ceiling

Not all sauna stove heights are created equal. I am a big fan of the Kuuma sauna stove. This stove sits proudly off the floor 34″ tall (86 cm), (32″ for the stove, 2″~ for a base). Saving you the math, a 7′ ceiling means a trip to the penalty box for breaching the law of löyly. Shorter, more stout sauna stoves can help a 7′ ceiling meet the law of löyly, but not the Kuuma stove. For a new build, we can push our ceiling up to 7’6″ (229 cm) or even 8′ (244 cm), and we are playing 5 on 5 hockey with no frowns from the Finns. Sitting on the upper bench, can our feet now meet the height of our sauna rocks?

The height from the middle bench to the floor, with a 7’6″ tall hot room, is 28″ (71 cm). (MATH: 90″ – 44″ – 18″ = 28″). Geez, now what? Well, we can set our “3rd bench” 18″ down from our middle bench, and that leaves us with a clunky 10″ (25 cm) drop from the 3rd bench to the floor of our hot room. In this instance, a 10″ raised floor from changing room may be a greater evil than the penalty box. We’re talking a trip to the locker room for a busted head from a fall navigating from the mega step up from grade, up to the 3rd bench, up to the 2nd bench and settling our butt down on the upper bench. And after all this climbing, even with this configuration, our feet would be a good 8″ below the rocks, while sitting on the upper bench.

The Bleacher Effect With 8′ Ceilings

As we consider the height of our hot room ceiling, meeting the law of löyly for a 34″ tall sauna stove requires us to build our hot rooms with 8′ tall ceilings. (244 cm). Breaking this verticality down into manageable steps and benches require 5 levels of maneuvering.

  1. Upper bench (44″ from ceiling)
  2. Middle bench (18″ from upper bench)
  3. Lower bench (18″ from middle bench)
  4. Raised floor (8″ from lower bench)
  5. Step (8″ from raised floor).

All these levels are dizzying. Add wet feet, a little lightheadedness, a bucket of löyly water, and a grumpy Uncle yelling “close the door!” and you’ve got yourself navigating the Bleacher Effect. Remember in high school making your way up the bleachers and feeling the eyes of every other student on you? That’s the Bleacher Effect in action. Plus we have that extra 1′ of cubic volume of hot room to heat.

We want our saunas to be comfortable. We come and go into our saunas a few times each sauna session. Climbing bleachers get ourselves away from the flow of good sauna. So, we need to balance the law of löyly with the Bleacher Effect.

Saunas in the public domain have a larger footprint than our home, backyard saunas. Larger saunas can afford the space for lots of steps. As example Rajaportti Sauna in Tampere has several steps up to the “2nd level.” Kaupinoja sauna has several benches flanked on both sides very similar to stadium bleachers. Lonna Sauna in Helsinki has a landing, half way up the stairs, which offers access to toss water on the rocks. These public saunas work as the footprint is generous enough to bring the sauna bather up, up, and above the sauna stove rocks.

Small, Private Saunas Require Much More Space Economy

So, as we consider the height of our own backyard saunas or indoor saunas, we have to balance the law of löyly vs. the Bleacher Effect. An easy work around for our private saunas with lower ceilings is to simply settle ourselves onto the upper bench, then bring our feet up onto the upper bench, thereby our entire body is above the sauna rocks. This could be American ingenuity or German engineering. Whichever the case, we respect the law of löyly, but we don’t want to fall on our ass getting there.

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106 Comments

106 thoughts on “Sauna Ceiling Height”

  1. The answer might be a small step at the bottom. Most of our lower bench heights (where our feet rest) here in the U.S. are way too low according to the “law of löyly”. 7’6″ vs. 7’0″ might be the answer and the “right height” for a sauna. Top bench height would be about 48″ when building with a 7’6″ ceiling. A major problem for us here in the U.S. is that, our favorite stove, (Kuuma) is 33″ tall. That only leaves 15″ drop from the top bench (33″ height for bottom bench). That is a big climb and not a lot of drop from the top bench.

  2. Glenn thanks for this update! I will definitely be changing my drawings for my up coming build.

    I am considering curving the ceiling. 7′ height along the long walls and 7″-6″ along the middle (barrel curve). I feel this will help loyly roll up off the stove and curl across the ceiling more naturally. Your thoughts?

  3. Exactly Jeff!

    With a taller stove, we’ll be building saunas that’ll be like navigating the bleachers at a high school football game. Each step comes with a potential trip and fall (and heckle from the peanut gallery).

  4. Steve: The gambrel ceiling in hot room is a good concept. As you mention, it helps roll the Loyly, and technically it does “de mass” the hot room area a couple few cubic feet.

    You’ll want to make sure your head doesn’t bump into the slope, of course.

    And I built a really great sauna once with a soft pitched ceiling, higher towards the bench side. However, every iteration or alteration comes with an equal and opposite concern. In this case, height from stove to ceiling was an issue. And the Loyly police could take issue with how the steam may settle in the upper triangle formed from a shed slope ceiling.

    And one more thing, Saunaseura (Finnish Sauna Society) #5 is nicknamed “The church” because of its gambrel roof design. So, if they are doing it, i’m sure it is orthodoxically approved by the sauna evangelists.

  5. Hi Glenn
    I have noticed I get a bit light headed. As you may remember I have the Kuuma stove and a 1″ gap under the door and a separate combustion air intake into the hot room. I could remove another 1″ from the bottom of the door and raise the height of the duck board by another 3/4″ without needing to move my benches higher. Do you think it would be worth the effort?
    Cheers
    Ceri

  6. Hi Ceri:

    Tough call. A Finlander would say, cut the door. Maybe try Running your sauna as normal, then one round, open the door with the slightest crack/opening. Run your hand along the door, with the slight opening from below and all the way up the door and see if you’re getting air flow coming in. Maybe get a candle even and identify air flow/pressurization. This may tell you whether your hot room wants more venting (intake).

  7. Instead of steps, consider building a ramp down into the dressing room with a non slip surface.

  8. Thanks for this Glenn.

    I think our final elevations are:
    Ceiling: 96″
    Upper Bench: 52″
    Lower Bench: 34″
    Base Platform: 17″
    Steps: Three 6.3″ steps from changing floor to base platform.

    Stove is a Himalaya so taller than most. Top of the rocks is about 41″ so feet will still be about 7″ below the top but hopefully not too huge of a temp differential.

    We’re changing the door gap to 3″ from the standard 1″ that our supplier does. We’ll see how it works and can cut off more if necessary. They were going to place the exhaust vent on the same wall as the door and heater but we’re having them move it to the opposite wall.

    Question: Should the vent go to the outside or is an adjacent room OK? We’ve a conservatory above our sauna and I’m toying with running the vent in to there.

  9. Walker:

    Good one. I am not sure if a sauna builder in Finland (or one with multiple of the same consonants next to each other in their last name, ie. an ancestor from Finland) would advise against “vent to the outside” but truth be told, I did exactly what you are thinking with my backyard sauna. The upper vent feeds into our den/lounge above the hot room.

    While sitting upstairs between sauna rounds, our feet have been able to benefit from the principle of convective heat transfer (heat rises). Our hot room is benefiting from good air flow. Intake: fresh air via a vent a couple inches above the floor and the generous gap along the hot room door.

    So, we’ll see if any readers with last names like Hankkannen or Heikkinen advise against an upper vent not to the outside, but i’m cool with this adaptation for “recycling” our heat.

  10. Hi Glenn. I’m about to build out an 8′ by 12′ shed very close to your ebook plan. My shed has 8 foot side walls so I actually have 92″ to work with and will go as high as possible. I was planning on a 4″ door gap… But now musing with the idea of floating my entire center wall by 2″. Any thoughts?

  11. Matt: Best gig is to gap your hot room door, as you mention, and build common wall per usual. That’s plenty of intake venting. As you plan your benches,I suggest working from the edges: As you sit on the upper bench, two fists above your head to the ceiling, and as you stand on the floor, consider duck board or a raised step, giving a reasonable step down from hot room to cool down room.

    7’6″ is a great ceiling height, for all this to work, as detailed above.

    The Finnish police may issue a frown if, as you sit on the upper bench, your feet are at a height below the sauna stove rocks, but we have to balance this against the vertigo of that extra step or two within a smaller footprint home sauna to get up that high.

  12. Good morning,

    I recently ordered your book on building saunas. And I was able to download the eBook, but the problem is there were no photos with it and the link that was attached was unopenable. Could you please advise on how I will be able to download the photos? They will help me a lot with my build.

    Thank you for your help

    Troy Gregg

  13. Glenn,
    I’ve been trying to listen again to the pod from Finland where you discussed the 8’ ceiling… I thought it was with either Jarmo or Risto but I must be mistaken. Can you direct me to the proper episode? I’m very interested in the higher ceiling concept if I can figure out safe steps…

  14. Sorry Glenn! Just found my post where I asked the same thing a couple weeks ago! My 54 year old brain is getting the best of me!

  15. Glenn: I am still designing my sauna space, so this is a timely discussion. A couple Qs, one of which is unrelated to this string:

    Q When you refer to a four inch vent “along the sauna door” do you mean the 4″ vent is built into the bottom of the door, say a 4″ x 10″ built 3″ up from the bottom of the door? Or are you referring to a door substantially shorter than the jamb?

    Also, I have seen other designs which locate the lower vent in the wall, directly under the electric sauna heater. Which location is better, in your opinion?

    Q. I am building a 4’6″ x 5′ sauna, so I will need lots of 5′ boards. I have located a source of clear cedar T&G, and they have tons of 5 foot long, 1 x 5 boards, and they are priced reasonably because (I assume), 1×5 is not too common, and nobody wants just 5′ boards. The reveal is 4 1/4″ and the thickness is 19/32″. My question: will these boards tend to warp, given the width and thickness? I am not sure if the grain is flat or not; will that affect your answer?

    THANK YOU!!
    Don

  16. Hi Don.

    1. door 4″ shorter than the jam. Simple opening along the bottom.. you got it.
    2. cedar won’t warp. you’ll be good!

  17. Hi Glenn,

    Thank you for your response last month. Still loving your role in the sauna universe!

    I think I have collected a couple questions and distilled my thoughts. I now have my external structure built (mostly). After percolating on your suggestions and content for months, I worked myself up to a bigger building to really allow for a quality changing/cool-down space that will serve as a hangout for my family and friends. With the help of a super-skilled craftsman friend this weekend, we put up a 9’x16’ building made of 2×6 framing. Meaning I have plenty of space inside for an “ideal” hot room with my desired measurements including ceiling height. Which brings me to my questions:

    1. Accounting for what I think of as your recent “Finnish Directive”, I was thinking a 7’6” hot room ceiling height allowing for the raised floor and therefore higher benches in relation to the top of my heater. (I’m going electric, possibly a Tylo 8kw heater.) Is 7’6” from actual floor to ceiling paneling the way to go? The heater is only 26” tall before a recommended mounting 7” off ground, so 33” to top). Would you still recommend getting the bonus height with a false floor and the 7’6” room?

    2. The width across the back wall will be just shy of 8’ once I get the cedar paneling in. Here’s my big ponder: Where to put common wall? 7’ so I have 7x8x7.5? Or maybe 6.5” deep so I don’t let the volume balloon out? The heater I was looking at is rated up to 440 cubic feet, but I don’t want to build too big. I have tried to take to heart your cautions about going too big in the hot room. Picking the ideal dimensions up front is what keeps me up at night…..

    3. This is really a part B of the previous question, but if I do an A+ job insulating with high R-value in my 2×6 walls and especially the hot room ceiling, I ought to be able to get the hot room heat cranking even if I’m around 400 square feet, right? I’m in Oregon, so outside temp will seldom be below 30 even in winter.

    As you can see, I’m heavy into the over-thinking phase right now.

    Super appreciate what you do, Glenn! I will probably be back at you for more expertise as I get this thing finished on the inside.

    Chris

  18. An electical back-up generator will be required if the power is ever disrupted during a sauna session.
    Just sayin..ya know.

  19. Chris: It’s ok to be in the over-thinking phase. Sauna building isn’t like building a deck, where anyone at any lumber yard can point you in the direction of joist hangers and deck screws. Thanks for numbering your questions and let me try my best:

    1. HOT ROOM HEIGHT:
    This 7’6″ has thrown me for a bit of a loop as well. I’ve always built and enjoyed 7′ ceilings for many reasons, primarily in that once we step down from the bench, stand on the hot room floor, we are on one level: hot room, changing room, outside deck, etc. I like one level living. I like hosting saunas with one level living (especially in the day when we had many party saunas with lots of coming and goings). But the “feet at level of sauna rocks when sitting on the bench” seems to be as important in Finland as coaches telling forwards to back check. So, this is what prompted the drawing and post above. I don’t have an exact answer for you, but what I would probably do is settle on your stove, get your stove and measure height from floor to your rocks, and set your low bench there (albeit virtually). Then work up and down from there. This way, if you end up taking a sauna with a Finnish hockey coach, he won’t blow the whistle on you.

    2. COMMON WALL: I can suggest what to do, but I find the best thing is as follows: make a cardboard template of your stove footprint and “mock up” your common wall location (use a 2×4 cut to length, which will end up being your bottom plate). I have done exactly this and have never regretted taking ownership to this important decision on site (not on graph paper). Feel your hot room. Feel your changing room. Nudge the 2×4 until you have it exactly how you want the two rooms sized. Once defined, pencil mark your 2×4 and build your common wall. Guarantee: when you’re done and taking a sauna, you will remember this tip, and will be glad you did it.

    3. INSULATION/HOT ROOM CRANKING:
    Please search “electric sauna stoves” on this website. Jeff guest posts. Jeff is the most knowledgeable, objective electric sauna stove expert in the US NOT in the sauna stove selling business. Hands down. We are lucky to have him as an advisor on saunatimes. I am pretty sure once you read his guest posts, you will have your answer. As far as insulation goes, R19 with foil is totally more than enough, even in Alaska (and Northern Minnesota, where my sauna walls are 2×4 with R13).

    Good questions, and glad you shared on here so others down the same path can hopefully benefit (and chime in where/when desired).

  20. Glenn,
    I have a question about waterproofing under the wood stove. I have your e book and am going to use the paving stones like you suggest. Do they sit directly on the plywood or do you need some sort of waterproofing underneath?

  21. Hi Mike: I glue the paver stones directly to subfloor. Then skim coat everything with vinyl cement. This has worked great for me for many builds over many years. Good luck, keep it up!

  22. Glen-

    QQs on venting and house wrap. I am having a shed build by Tuff Shed and plan to finish it out myself. The questions that I have for you are…

    Do I need to put a vent in the attic if I am using house wrap, and foil wrapping the lower room? The shed will have a metal roof, if that matters.

    Also, the question came up from the builder as to whether I want/needed to house wrap it, and there seems to be some zoning concerns where I am at in Chanhassen, but from what I have read, it seems advisable.

    Kindly let me know your thoughts.

    Brent

  23. I like a vent in the hot room to the outside and yes, a vent in x room is good too.

    Keep it up Brent. The Sauna Talk episode with Steve is a good one (building a sauna from a shed).

  24. i would recommend the house wrap, not sure why that would be a zoning issue? maybe some type of building code issue but i can’t see why zoning would care. as for the vent, i believe you are asking about a vent in the attic to the exterior, like a ridge vent on the rooftop or a gable vent on the side. this is also advised, helps vent heat/moisture from that area. if it is simply enclosed, you run the risk of mold or similar developing in there. to function properly, you really need soffit vents as well to establish good airflow.

    you definitely don’t want to vent the hot room into the attic, even if you have an attic vent to the exterior. even venting from the changing room to the attic is not a good idea.

  25. Regarding the “feet above the stove” rule; what about a foot rest? I’ve been in a few saunas over the years with a comfortable foot rest/stove guard made with an angled board that is very comfortable and warms up your feet nicely after a dip in a cold lake.

  26. Erik: Totally. The foot rest has fallen a bit away from use over the past couple decades. Old school functional saunas (those dotted along shores of crisp cool lakes, and by rural farms and fields in rural hinterlands) featured foot rest/stove guards as you mention. They are ergonomically comfy and foot warming functional, as you mention. I’m a huge fan of these for these two reasons. Some call them “drunk fences”. 🙂

  27. Building a heat shield: two questions about making spacers for a 1 ¼” air gap out of layered 1/4” cement board, 1) do you laminate the cement board? If so, what type of adhesive is used? 2) what type of fasteners do you use to hold heat shield to the stud wall? And how do you protect from heat transfer down the fasteners to the stud? Thanks.

  28. Hi Arthur:

    Not sure about “layered cement board.” I / we have always used durarock. Could be same stuff, just different terminology. No adhesive, just crews. Need not be fancy screws, but they do sell screws for cement board/durarock with a wider head to them. Heat transfer isn’t that big of a deal. My experience.

  29. Hi Glenn,

    I recently purchased your e-book and am planning an outdoor sauna build. I had hoped to have a 5’x7′ x7′ tall (7 cubic meters volume) hot room but am limited to an electric heater in the range of 3-3.5KW (i’m in Europe with a 230v 16A circuit). I understand from manufacturers websites that these smaller heaters are only designed for spaces up to 4 cubic meters.

    My question is can anything be done in the design/layout of the hotroom so I could get away with using a smaller heater without losing too much bench space?
    I’d thought of things like boxing off the space under the benches (to reduce room volume), lowering the ceiling to 6’6″ and using thicker insulation and perhaps no windows.

  30. Hi Alex:

    I take it that you are constrained by unmovable reasons for needing to build a smaller hot room. Yet, you are planning an outdoor sauna build, couldn’t you nudge the walls a bit in either or both directions, giving you a 6’x7′, say? My backyard hot room is 6’4″x6’3″ and it works! Granted it has a kick ass wood burning Kuuma inside, but from a human body standpoint, we are able to get three on upper bench and one or two low bench Larry’s at a time. Yet if you have the empty canvas try for larger.

    Anyhow, your question: design of hot room to reduce room volume:
    1. Benches. Yes, box out your benches. This will lead to a cleaning challenge, however. Consider removable benches atop your box. (and search “bake breathe method” on this website).
    2. Ceiling. Consider gambrel ceilings in hot room. (fancy term for framing angles in your corners). I’d think 30-45 degree, about 1′ length will give your ceiling the desired “church” effect, and helping roll the loyly.
    3. Walls. If severely constrained by square meter/feet for some reason, you MAY consider using 2x2s vs 2x4s for walls. If you go this direction, consider blown in insulation in the cavity as it is more efficient and foil for good seal and reflecting of heat.
    4. Roof. Why not just raise your roof, instead of lower your ceiling? Use 2×6 vs. 2×4 and R19 vs. R13. This is perhaps the best of all the ideas as heat rises and if you do a great job containing your heat from above, you’ll have a better shot at your electro stove doing an adequate job. If you can’t raise your roof, i’d look at making firing strips and beefing up your rafters only slightly to give you a 6’x8″ minimum hot room height.

  31. yes. Someone out there could really go to town with Electric sauna stoves. There are untapped kilowatts out there.

  32. Hi Glenn,

    Thanks so much for your reply. This website and the ebook are such a fantastic resource!

    I’m thinking that framing with 2×6 all over instead of 2×4 would both nudge the walls in a few inches and allow me to double up the cavity insulation behind the foil seal. The idea about increasing the roof insulation makes a lot of sense. The only issue I have here is that I’m limited to keeping the total building height under 8ft2 for compliance with building rules and so to end up with 6’8 headroom height in the hotroom i’d need a flat/pent roof design and that should just about leave room for an insulated subfloor and 2×6 roof framing.

    The angled ceiling corners sounds like a great idea, but does it matter which sides are angled? if the ceiling is only 6ft8 there wouldnt be much headroom left when sat up on the high bench and the side with the door/heater wouldnt have much height left above the door frame.

    Alex

  33. Hi Miller,

    I need to check this with my electrician to be sure! but I believe that the guage of SWA cable from my house cant take a load of more than 20 amps total. Its also buried deep under a large patio and paths so not so easy to dig up and replace with something heavy duty 🙁 the cable already supplies my outdoor gym (lighting circuits and a small elec heater) and I guessed i’d have to play it safe and take a 16A breaker off this for the sauna when I get around to building it!

    Cheers,
    Alex

  34. Hi, Glenn. Really loving your site and all the good sauna talk. Hoping you can help with a question about the outlet vent. I see a lot of advice saying to put the outlet/exhaust vent where you’ve mentioned, like a foot below the ceiling, or eye height, etc. But I also see a lot of advice saying to put it under the top bench, so you’re not venting out the really hot air. Why the difference in methods? Is one better for wood-fired heaters and another better for electric? Or is it personal preference? Or no diff?
    I’ll be paneling my basement closet sauna conversion in a week or two, so would really love to hear your take on this issue!

  35. Mike: late reply to your vent question. I think one can overthink venting, but then again, if one is this into it (which I think is a good thing) my advice is to vent the sh** out of your hot room. I mean, why not? Every Finn sauna pro i’ve gotten to know is crazy for ventilation, as one of the top characteristics to good sauna. After 50 saunas in 12 days, i’ve become a ventilation nut myself. Try this:
    1. a 10 cm gap along bottom of hot room door. (that’s a lot more than I used to build).
    2. a vent behind the stove, say, 12″ from floor.
    3. a vent between low bench and upper bench, with open/shut control hatch.
    4. two vents 12″ from ceiling, opposite corners, with open/shut control hatches.

    The sauna user can tune their ventilation, creating optimal air flow for experiential goodness.

    Also, as saunatimes joins the monetization dark side, we”ll soon be offering open/shut control hatches for sale, along with simple “after market” instructions on how to install vents. (10 minute project with a hole saw: zip, zip, two screws, and then, breathe, breathe).

    Ventilation!
    Ventilation!
    Ventilation!

    I’m a ventilation nut, just like you.

  36. Thanks, Glenn. This nut is planning to do two adjustable outlets, and to relentlessly test high only vs. low only vs. half/half, and everything inbetween. 🙂

  37. How close can the benches be to the stove? I’ve ordered a kuuma stove and am planning my layout. I’d like to have my bench as close as possible without fire risk. I didn’t order the heat shield. Maybe I should have…

  38. And here are two more that have the exhaust down low before up high, and I think the answer about why some show venting low and some show it high. The tylohelo site gives an especially good explanation.

    https://www.helo.co.uk/guides/vienna-sts-sauna-heater/sauna-room-ventilation-235
    https://www.tylohelo.com/sauna-room-ventilation

    Both mention forced exhaust ventilation (i.e., a fan), and this seems to be the key: “if the sauna room isn’t fitted with forced ventilation. In this case, the exhaust valve is installed min 1m higher than the inlet valve.”

    So, a low exhaust location is suitable if you use an exhaust fan, and if not then place the exhaust at least 1 meter higher than the inlet.

    Thoughts?

  39. Mike, My first thought: really great, yet possibly overthinking. I feel it to be a beautiful balance between feeling and designing. Living and planning. The best saunas are those that are well used. And well used saunas allow us to make perfect saunas. Perfect saunas happen when we use our saunas, and need not be perfect starting with the first sauna we take in the sauna we just built. Ventilation is an example.

    If there’s anything I learned from 50 saunas in 12 days in Finland, as well as my 30 years taking sauna 3x/week, is that good ventilation is critical to good sauna.

    I am reminded of my visit to Rajaportinsauna, in Tampere, Finland. While sharing a post sauna beer with Director and staff, we toasted to “Rempalia” – not more than it needs to be.

    At Rajaportinsauna, the ventilation (and heat, and Loyly) is consciously perfect. The window on the way up the stairs is old, and loosely fit, and circulation of air happens here.

    From my notes, Viekko Niskavaara, manager, and Ilmari Lyyma, stoker: Asiat on Sopivasti Rempallaan. “The state of things is comfortably almost there. If you don’t need to fix it, it is perfect.”

    Rajaportinsauna has provided beautiful, well ventilated wood fired sauna since the early 1920s. No forced exhaust ventilation. No diagrams. No measurements.

    asiat on sopivasti rempallaan. Things are suitably laid back.

  40. Hey Glenn! I’m just getting started building a sauna here in NE Mpls based on your e-book specs. I’m excited. Shed builder is arriving in a couple of weeks, then it’s off to the races for me. Couple of questions:

    1. The changing room ceiling — do you build out the ceiling throughout the entire space (hot room and change room) at 7′, or do you do something else in the change room?
    2. Changing room floor — duraock and skim coat?
    3. I plan to do 2 fixed transoms in the hot room, 48″x16″. Insulated 1/4″ tempered. Any concerns on heat loss with this much glass?
    4. Any concerns with cold air coming up through the floor drain — or is it a good source of airflow couple with the door gap?
    5. I notice that sometimes you specify a reverse gable — does it really matter which way the gable is constructed on the shed, running the 12′ length vs the 8′ length?
    6. You’re pretty adamant about a 7′ ceiling height — yet the folks at Kuuma say their small size stove could handle an 8′ ceiling space with no problem, and that extra height sounds luxurious. Am I crazy to do an 8′ ceiling height?
    7. Is the double layer of durarock with 1″ gap behind the stove truly necessary?

    Thanks for all the great info i your book and on this site — i’m super pumped to get this thing up and rolling by December.

  41. 1. Hot room ceiling. You can go 7’6″ drop ceiling in hot room. Two plans, either A) 2×6 hot room ceiling joists and R19 insulation between the cavities, or B) 2×4 hot room ceiling joists and run R13 between the cavities and consider a second course of R13 laid atop your hot room ceiling rafters, cross wise. I’ve done both, and probably would prefer B. As far as x room goes, i like to box in the triangle above hot room, recessed 16″ which becomes a shelf above hot room, and let x room be cathedral.

    2. Yes, Durarock and skim coat x room floor provides a water tight good medium for duckboard or a floor mat or carpet or anything. good.

    3. Heat loss with tempered: As long as you’re going with a good stove, like the Kuuma, you’ll have relatively minimal heat loss with these two windows.

    4. Cold air through floor drain: A very good source of fresh air. It’s a good thing. If big on sauna and a cold beer, consider resting your beer or nICE mug next to your hot room floor drain.

    5. Reverse gable. I’m a fan for two main reasons 1) x room door opens along 12′ wall and overhang allows for better hanging out in rain. 2) cathedral in x room is more cathedral. Third reason is that i think it looks better, less shed and more cabin.

    6. 8′ ceiling. Not crazy at all. 7’6″ may work too. This allows for a raised floor above crack in the hot room door, a step up from changing room to hot room. preferred by Finns and gets ones feet at stove rock level when sitting on upper bench. Please search “bench height” on saunatimes for deeper weeds on this.

    7. Double layer durarock: not necessary at all. I recommend cultured stone applied to your durarock which will provide really nice Lampomassa to your hot room, as well as some “wow” ambiance as the wood, rock, fire, water, air, all start interacting in a sophisticated cave man kind of primal sort of way.

  42. Hi Glenn

    Question, I am building a 8 by 14 wood fired sauna with hot room and dressing room about equal size. I am thinking about using western red cedar decking nailed or screwed tight together so no gaps between them. This deck flooring will go on top of mosquito screen then below the screen will be the 2 by 6 framing, then rock below that. No drains in either room. Water from washing, cooling off etc. will run through the tight cracks in the decking down to the rocks below. Also the building will be on 4 by 6 inch skids and sealed all the way around the building to prevent wind from blowing under building. The Kuuma stove will have its own separate base. Your thoughts.
    Thanks Glenn

  43. I’m reading about the 4@ gap under the door for venting but I don’t want snow drifting in it mice chipmunks, red squirrels moving in from outside. Yes, the wild is directly outside my door. How about a louvered vent on door or in adjacent wall?

  44. The Finns are talking about this type of generous gap along the base of the door from hot room to changing room. Finns, and most all authentic sauna builders/enthusiasts build their saunas such that there are two rooms, minimum: hot room and cool down room (often referred to as changing room). So the gap described is from hot room to changing room. If you have a sauna or are building a sauna that is hot room only”, I suggest not gapping under your hot room door, but instead being generous with venting. One or two down low, and one or two at eye level.

  45. Hi Glenn,
    I’m building an outdoor sauna and am now to the stage of deciding ceiling height. I’ve read all the comments above and its great info. My question is the 6″ floor step up. I plan to do a vinyl cement floor to a drain. Then what is good for the raised floor area?
    I know it may seem obvious, but I thought initially it would only be 1″ boards, but if I raise the floor to 6″, a larger construction is necessary. So question:
    flooring to meet 6″ height, then 7’6″ from there? or 7’6″ from cement?

  46. Mary, the key pseudo fixed measurements are wood floor + 18″ bench + 18″ bench + 42″ upper bench to ceiling. I say pseudo because some people prefer slightly shorter for one or both benches and some prefer a bit more room from the upper bench to the ceiling.

    Cement floor to wood floor is variable. Outside of the U.S. this is determined primarily by the sauna heater being used so that wherever your feet rest when sitting on the upper bench is about even with the top of the rocks. In our case this resulted in the wood floor ideally being 23″ above the cement floor for our 40″ high Himalaya heater. So from the cement floor: 23″+18″+18″+42″

    We ended up with 17″ though since that was as high as code would allow given the space we had available for the 3 steps from the changing room up to the wood floor. That will leave our feet about 6″ lower than ideal but given the way the Himalaya works (tall tower of rocks vs lower rocks) the folks at Helo in Finland believe it might still work OK. If it doesn’t then we may create a bit of a sunken space in the cement to lower the heater down a few inches.

    FWIW, every sauna I’ve been in in Finland, Sweden and elsewhere in Europe required a few steps up from the changing room to the hot room so that’s quite normal.

  47. Typically, my bathing guests heights will range between 5’9”and 6’4”. Should bather comfort mostly be a consideration of height of heat source and needs of long-legged bathers like myself, or is the pure Physics of Thermodynamics and IN/OUT ventilation of PRIME importance when deciding on bench height. 7×6 Hot Room. 91” from the tiled floor to ceiling. Propane heat with vented chimney. Thoughts anyone??

  48. 91″ from floor to ceiling offers a great opportunity for the triple bench layout, as detailed above. 44″ from ceiling to top bench is great, otherwise, “you’re leaving a lot of heat on the table.” – Mike Norsdog, Opposite of Cold.

    And you can tune upper bench to middle bench, whether 16″ – 18″ is optimal, given the long legged bathers vis a vis thermodynamics, as you mention.

    Love tuning these dimensions. Every sauna has its own soul, and you can listen to your sauna’s soft voice to guide you through your own field verification.

  49. Currently, 1 movable Cedar bench of 2×6’s is in place, at 27.5″ above the tile floor. No Cedar duckboard/step of 2×6’s on edge nor angled footrest near stove’s front yet. Now comes the Meditation and Inner-tuning phase while the Wolves howl outside. Busy, busy. Must read the great book in it’s entirety when I have time. Locomotiveman

  50. I have a basement where I want to build a sauna. With a could of pipes in the way, height is just under six feet.
    once framed, it will be a couple of inches lower. Is that too low for the 4 x 6 single bench sauna that I would like to build?

  51. yes, under 6′ is tough for a proper sauna height. But barrel saunas are low, and i’m trying to be open minded to the idea. And those pipes above, you’ll want to be well insulated.

  52. I followed the stove manufactures recommendations for room size. Now I have a hungry beast of a stove that always wants wood to hit 70C as well as a longer heat up time in cold weather. I suggest cross referencing the stove specs against Glens plans and then lean towards Glens

  53. I am building a basement sauna and was looking for guidance from the community about the concrete floor. Outside of duckboards for comfort, do I need to cover the concrete with tile or other material?

  54. Slant the ceiling low on the stove end,
    then combine wall and floor into a slant under the benches – now you have less air space to heat and an 8 ft ceiling for the high benches.
    Next, add a hand rail or two for the climb and a gutter to send water to the rocks… would that work?

  55. My sauna has a 67/5″ peaked ceiling. I have an 8kw heater and its hard to get it over 140 degrees f for some reason. I would like to get it hotter. Wondering if the low /peaked ceiling is a problem?

  56. What about recommendations–Bench heights
    —Low end—73—stove end
    —High end—90–Bench end
    —width—85
    —Length–93——toes extended, arms extended
    —-upper Bench width–26…..I like to sit with legs crossed or feet forward onto Stove safety bar (sometimes too hot)
    —I’m 5′ 11″

  57. Just starting the plans for a sauna, looks like my limits for the internal dimensions will be are
    72′ L x 40″ deep x 72″ H. I have ceiling limit. It will be mostly for one person, my goal was small size, but I wanted the length to be long enough to lay down so, the 72″. I expect a higher bench along the long dimension and a lower seat on a short wall. Now, we know without the door opening presented the hot air rises and there is little circulation. Has there ever been a duct from high to low with a fan in it? this would circulate air giving you a slight hot breeze and you could still have the low heater side vent and the high cross ventilation vent for fresh air. Yes, it may take a special fan to withstand the high temperature.
    Thoughts?

  58. Ken,

    I arm wrestle Dale every time i’m at the plant about a couple things.

    1) You need 24″ wide benches. Trust me on this! And his ass is wider than mine, so he should know better.
    2) Ceiling height. I don’t like leaving extra heat on the table (Mike N. Opposite of Cold). I’ve nudged my ideal ceiling height up a few inches up from 7′, and there is the UL setback issue from top of stove, but i’ve done the cement board surround, like when I built the 612 Sauna Hot room…

    This post about bench height may get you thinking..

  59. Hi Glenn,
    I’m really enjoying your website and podcast – thank you.

    My grandparents came here from Finland, so my dad grew up with home-built saunas and he passed that love to me. I am now in my 60’s and finally building my own!

    After talking to Dale at Lamppa Manufacturing about their Kuuma stoves, I changed my mind about the slanted ceiling (that we talked about in an earlier comment) – (Dale wants lot’s of height above their stove).

    So, I played with it some more…
    I tried a gem-shaped room – with the stove in the base of the “gem” and benches in the crown.
    With the stove oriented that way, the fire in the stove window is visible from all benches.
    I was able to get an 8’ ceiling, two 20”x 90” benches… top bench feet level with the Kuuma stove rocks… all at 54 sq. ft.

    I’d like to send you the drawings – is there a way, since they won’t post here?

  60. Thanks Glenn,
    I’ll have to play with some mock-up benches to nail down the size.

    What do you think about the “Gem” shape for the hot room?
    With the Kuuma Stove Set into a squared off corner of about 55 degrees – Stove window facing the benches, So we can see the fire.
    The benches Would be set in the crown of the gem.
    Have you ever built or seen something like this?
    KEN

  61. Hello Glenn,
    I see your Kuuma wood stove in the above diagram is sitting on what looks like some sort of platform 6” off the hot room floor? Is this correct to start with, could you please explain? ( if this was a previous question I must have missed it, this is a popular section…)
    Thanks, DARAN

  62. My ceiling is about 7’4” + or . I have the heat guard side and back with the small wood kuuma And will give the recommended distance Is that high enough for a wood ceiling and a lower guard around the back and side like the photo on the Lamppa “ wood burning sauna stove “ brochure? Is that a metal heat guard rather than the cement board and What is the flooring for the sauna in the photo? Thanks Daran

  63. Hi Daran,

    To prep the base for a Kuuma, i’ve had good success with 1 1/2″ stone pavers. They are 12×12 or 8×12. And then I skim coat on top of the paver pad. Then when I set the Kuuma, i stick 4 thin wood shims so there’s an ever slight gap between the Kuuma steel base and the cement. It seems to be a good thing in terms of air flow and steel protection. But this isn’t totally necessary, just me being weird about thermal transfer dynamics while in my sleep, probably.

  64. 7’4″ is right on the edge in terms of UL setback requirements to non combustibles for the ceiling. Both my saunas, small Kuumas, have wood paneling above the stove. 1996. 2003. But when building saunas for others, like the 612 Sauna with a 7′ ceiling, I’ve installed a 3’x3′ cement board to the ceiling.

    Metal heat guards vs. cement board:
    The best gig is cement board, then aluminum skin over the cement board (vs. metal heat guard as its own thing).

  65. Glenn,
    I only have 36” between wall and water tank on stove. How close can the lower bench be to the tank. Kuuma still recommended 10” from tank!
    My walls are non-combustible on opposite side of stove @ back and are only 5” from the stove w/o heat shields.

  66. I know. And at Lamppa Mfr. we are reciting clearances dictated by UL certification.

    And here is where I tell you about my saunas, 1996 and 2003 each with water tanks and each with low benches that can slide on “cleats” along the side walls (as detailed in this book). Being able to slide the lower bench offers a few key benefits, like ease of cleaning, but also for complying to UL certification yet allows one to pull out closer to water tank when in use without waiver form.

    And this is where I tell you NOT to do this, so i’m not liable, but I could show you a photo of my lower benches that show no sign of heat stress. Love the water tank!

  67. I purchased you book last year and have followed it for some great pointers. I did end up making the lower slide bench. Bench height of 50&32”, now I’ve gotta try designing a step system to get on benches with my small remaining are opposite side from stove. I’ve got a 6×8 room, like your common design.
    Is there a way I could share pic?

  68. I purchased your book and have referred to it for some great pointers in my build. The slider bench is what I ended up doing for lower bench.
    I’m doing the 6×8 room like your design. My bench heights are 50”& 32”, with the limited space, opposite of stove, any advice on steps to get up on benches without taking up too much floor space? Can we post/share pics in these blogs?

  69. Zach:

    We either think alike, or you are an astute reader of saunatimes. Love your question, and yes, 8′ high wall is certainly doable. I like lower wall heights, mainly because a smaller sauna out building, can start to look a little “boxy” if too tall. Yes, 8x8x8 is auspicious! Very good. Before you settle on that, try a couple 7’6″ studs and mock up how that would look in your backyard. Reverse gable 5/12 pitch may be a good look for you.

    Now, I know your 6’5″ is taller than the avg. bear, but the key is 43″ or 44″ from ceiling to top bench, even with your height. Try it. I think you’ll be able to get 2 fists above your head to the ceiling. That’s the key and that’s where it starts. Then try 18″ from upper bench to middle bench (often referred to as lower bench), then you’ll start to get an idea of how to bridge the gap from middle bench to floor.

    This is where we look to balance the bleacher effect, and your 8×8 footprint may be able to handle the third bench or raised floor.

    Great of you to take ownership to these numbers for your own design. Lemme know how you make out!

  70. Hi Glenn, Longtime reader, first-time writer, soon-to-be first-time builder,
    I’m 6’5 and hoping my sauna will be a popular neighborhood gathering place, so leaning towards an 8×8 hot room/6×8 cool room. If I want to stay out of the loyly penalty box, should I get me shed built with 8′ high studs? It isn’t divine proportion, but 8 is auspicious so 8x8x8 could be a very lucky sauna.
    Thanks for the blog and podcast!
    Zach

  71. Hi Glenn
    I have some squares of cedar shakes left over from a roofing job. Would it be possible to use the shakes for the interior walls and the sloping ceiling of a 5’x7’ sauna room? I haven’t seen any examples of this construction but thought I would ask anyway.
    All the best
    Brian

  72. My feeling is that cladding can be of any decent sort so long as what’s behind it is high temp, well sealed foil vapor barrier.

    The shakes are not used in sauna much as probably because it’s not comfy for leaning against, obviously, but we don’t lean against walls much anyway, unless we’ve outdone ourselves with too long of a sauna session, and shouldn’t be in there anyway.

    And for behind the benches, we can install a fixed backrest system.

  73. I built an indoor wood fired sauna in an old coal bin in the basement of my house years ago using cedar shakes. They worked perfectly. The texture of the shakes wasn’t a problem. I looked for some to use in my new build but couldn’t find any that were affordable.

  74. Hi Glenn. I am looking at a heater that is 2.75’ tall. To maintain the law of loyly Im thinking of building a 1.75’ deep “pit” for the heater, so that the top sits 1’ above the floor. From there Im thinking I set the lower bench at +1.5 (6 inches above the top of the heater, the upper bench at +3, and the ceiling at +7. This is slightly more than the 44” you recommend but maybe that is ok? Or perhaps I lower the ceiling and/or increase the bench heights slightly.

    Im wondering what you think of all this. I think I can build the pit fairly easily including drainage, and I think I could also use it to help pull fresh air in from the outside and up through the heater.

  75. I like it!

    And when you get it done, let’s do a guest post, as I’m already thinking of the title. “Sauna stove mosh pit for law of löyly slam dancing”.

    The way I would execute is to work from the ceiling down. 44″ is a magic dimension, (two fists above your head) so go with that. Then 18″ to middle bench, and that will be the hight of your stove. Work from there, and the law of löyly police won’t issue you the red card. You may find doing this will decrease the depth of your sauna mosh pit, which will work in your favor.

  76. Glen, could you helpe think through or visualize how to lower my shed ceiling. I have your book and think that you go through this, but I’m still a little confused.

    I have a garden shed I’m retro fitting for my sauna room. The space is about 7.2×7.2 98 (floor to the bottom of the exposed rafters. After Cement board and cedar floor, t&g ceiling… Maybe we are looking at more 94″ ceiling height. I could add 2x6s under the upper ceiling plate and place more studs (to support them)? That would lower the rafter 8 inches. Any other techniques you’d reccomend?

  77. You are thinking along the lines of my thinking. If you were to have a common wall, hot room to changing room, i’d be suggesting to frame that in so that the top plate of your common wall is about your ceiling height, then 2×6’s 16″ oc on top of that. Then on the opposite wall, I’d screw down a 2×6 onto the existing height and screw in the ceiling rafters to this header, much like the header of a deck, against the sill plate of a house.

    2×6’s are nice in that you can get an R19 between the joist cavities. That said, I have framed hot room ceilings with 2x4s. 16″ oc. and R13 between, than another course running the other way above the rafters..

    You got it.

  78. Glen, what would your recommendation be for lowering a ceiling on a old shed with 98 inch floor to rafters height? Simple as maybe placing 2×6 below the top ceiling plate and placing another ‘king stud’ next to the existing studs to support this 2×6? Could lower the height as low as we like… Assuming that should be fine support to handle the weight of a 7×8 ceiling? Any thoughts?

  79. I’m with Glenn on avoiding the bleacher effect- maybe it is my age, but I get dizzy when up too high. In restaurants I can’t sit at those high tables where your feet dangle ether. But one other thing to point out is efficiency of materials- especially pricey cedar. I run ceder vertically which, aesthetically, alleviates the low ceiling, but in terms of efficiency saves me a lot of time. I pre-cut all my boards to the same length- typically just a hair under 7ft. If you buy 14’s there is zero waste, not your typical 10%. If you buy 8’s and 10’s cut the 10’s to 7 and the 8s to 4. The waste from the 10 is 3, 3+4 = 7 (hide the joint behind the bench frame). Again, zero waste. I eat thru a lot of cedar and don’t need any more expensive kindling to last a life time, so that 10% adds up.
    The other thought on bench heights is that it is good to have hot spots and cool spots. The sauna doesn’t need a perfect even distribution of heat. Not all of my friends can take 220° and I don’t them (or the kids) to feel like they can’t sauna with me. Also It is nice to sit low and cool to wash up.

  80. Rob:

    Thank you for your comments! I am with you on all levels.

    We speak the same language regarding cedar cuts/waste. I will try your vertical method for sure.

    And yes, on hotter, colder spots for sauna bathing! I am going to do some investigative journalism regarding the origins of “the law of löyly.” I think it’s a little dogmatic thinking and not always the right principle.

  81. I feel if you want uniform heat across your body then it should be sitting above the top of your sauna stove. That can’t be done with 7 foot ceilings.

  82. Hi Glen,

    I am planning out a sauna in my basement. Unfortunately, there is some ducting that runs through the ceiling right where I’d like to build my sauna and it would be a major project to relocate the ducting. With that said, I’m left with about 81″ for my ceiling height for the sauna.

    1. I understand 7′ 6″ is your recommendation, but, given my situation, do you think I can get away with an 81″ ceiling?
    2. If yes, how would you recommend positioning my benches to avoid someone’s head hitting the ceiling?

    Thanks for your help!
    -Mike

  83. Mike:

    81″ is not bad at all. I’ve build several saunas at 7′ (84″) ceiling. My backyard sauna is probably about 86″, so you’re not that far off to make it work. I’d work down 44″ from the ceiling and set your upper bench there. Then come down 16-18″ from there, which would leave you with 20″ ish, whereupon your have enough for a “step up” from grade, a raised duck board for hot room floor.. i’d say, you’re rockin! Mike.

  84. Hey Glen, I bought your book and we’re about to start our build.

    We are using a Huum Hive Mini electric heater for a 7.5′ x 8′ x 8’H hot room, and I’m still confused about venting… My plan is to put in three 4″ x 4″ vents: One behind the heater about a foot from the floor; one on the opposite wall under the top bench; one on the opposite wall near the ceiling as a heat dump. All that seems consistent with your recommendations.

    But, I also see recommendations that say US-based venting (as above) are not as effective for electric heaters as what is recommended in Europe (generally) which would be to put the inlet vent above the electric heater, not below, as in this site: http://localmile.org/proper-ventilation-for-electrically-heated-sauna-part-i/

    Can you weigh in (again) on this tricky question? I guess I could put in two inlet vents on the heater side, one above and one below, and then open / close them as needed and experiment?

  85. Alan,

    Yes, a tricky question. I’ve been enjoying sauna regularly for over 30 years, and all pretty much with wood burning. The times i’ve been in electric heated saunas here in US and A, well, it’s all been pretty much categorical buzz kill, and ventilation issues are fairly high up on the how come? list. (Probably second to the unfair UL 90°c, 194°f upper temp. sensor shut off limit).

    So, electric heater hot room venting is not my experiential forte. That said, what I’d be thinking is:
    1) if mechanical venting your hot room, air intake above the rocks, yes.
    2) if relying on the “heat rises” method, then gap along the hot room door and a couple vents down low, and a couple vents up high.

    All the vents with chutes, as the ability to manage/control/monitor the air flow is an easy/good thing.

    Hope this helps!
    g.

  86. Hi Glen, I have access to a metal shear and brake as well I can weld. Are there plans available for manufacturing a stove. Thanks as I know you love the Kuuma unit.

  87. Hello Glen ,
    I used 3/8 construction screws to hold up the hot room concrete board double plate with 2” copper spacer, the screws eventually go into The 2”x 6” lumber I used for rafter ties . Would there be enough thermal conductivity for fire to ignite? In other words could enough heat go from the the wood stove about 4 feet down up to the construction screw head 1/2”-3/4” diameter then go at least 3” to the start of the wood rafter tie with installation around it. It looks like you might have covered used quikrete to cover the visible part of the screws ?
    Thanks Daran

  88. I can see this question has been asked over and over… but I am really stuck on what height to set me ceiling for my new sauna build. as I am a tall guy…. Im building a 8×12 sauna with a lean to roof. My initial thaughts were to go with a 10 ft wall in front and 8 in back… Now I see that that may not be the best option… My stove sits 28 inches tall. Add pavers and rockes closer to 32 inches. So that leaves me with ceiling height and slope. …would it be wrong with the laws of proper bench height to go 8 feet tall in front and 7 in back? Any advise is appreciated…Im sure i am over thinking this but only get one shot at it..Thanks in advance from Ontario Canada

  89. This article was a huge help. I went with 44 inches and will do the raised floor with 16/16 for the lower bench. 7 foot ceiling. Excellent advice on the wider upper bench, absolutely worth it and that extra laying space. I might even build a movable “booster” seat to get my head a bit higher when on the upper bench.

    I do see Harvia is selling a different style heater that has the rocks piled from the bottom and the heat is radiated up and OUT, this would definitely help with the law of loyly if the heat comes out from the side as well. It would expose the feet better if all you have is a 7 foot ceiling.

    Thank you so much for the help. I finally finished the interior and upper benches, lower benches soon. It’s been a wild ride this last year building this thing!

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