Table saw ripping cedar

Wood paneling for our hot rooms: Nordic Spruce, Poplar, Pine, European Elder, Cedar, if you list any more my attention will peter.

Let’s talk about wood paneling for our hot rooms: Nordic Spruce, Poplar, Pine, European Elder, Cedar, if you list any more my attention will peter.


  • In North America:  Western Red Cedar is most popular.
  • In Europe: Nordic Spruce, Elder, Poplar (aspen), or Pine.

“What is the best wood to use for paneling the walls of my sauna room?”

If you ask 5 professionals in the lumber industry, you may get 2- 3 different answers.  But the most common answer is Western Red Cedar.

Western Red Cedar is:

  • Slightly aromatic yet not smelly or overpowering.
  • Holds up over generations (literally).
  • Expensive, but readily available and is cheaper over the long haul.
  • Doesn’t get as hot to the touch.  Soft wood.  loose grained.
  • During construction, most sauna builders love the smell of freshly cut cedar in the morning…. smells like victory.


Table saw ripping cedar

More on Cedar?  click here.

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3 Comments on This Post

  1. There are more. We were able to get Western Red Cedar locally, though it was harder to find. Locally, Eastern White cedar is abundantly available and easier to find. I wouldn’t reccomend pine for the hot room – as it will weep pine sap when it gets hot.

  2. We used Western Red Cedar for the walls with redwood for the trim, benches, and backrests. Dimensional redwood is much easier to come by in Southern California than WRC so that drove the decision.

    The redwood looks beautiful but there is a downside in that redwood doesn’t smell anywhere near as good as WRC. I never realized redwood has a pretty strong odor of its own and it smells like generic wood. It tends to mask the WRC aroma which is too bad.

    Other than that no complaints. Our built-from-scratch sauna has been up and running about seven months now with 2-3 times a week usage. What a fantastic way to spend the evening! Thanks for all the inspiration Glenn.

  3. Does anyone here have any experience using hemlock as flooring? Or just how it holds up in a hot room in general?

    I’m working out my flooring plan and currently thinking about just floor joists, insulation between and some shiplap hemlock for flooring. Do I need plywood too? Trying to keep it simple and affordable but want the hot room hot.

    I live in the northeast and hemlock is easy to get. I’ve read a little about it low toxicity and rot resistance, but thought I’d ask the group. Any input appreciated. Just starting to break ground! Very exciting…

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