You can see why a sauna door window is a good idea

A sauna door with no window at all

The only time to build a sauna door with no window at all is if you are living with your in-laws and you can only build the sauna in their laundry room.  In law underwear:  “ugghhhhhh” (voice of Simpsons’ Sideshow Bob after he gets hit with a rake).

A sauna door with a full length window

This set up is best reserved for a very public sauna, or a very private sauna.  Full length sauna door windows work in health clubs because they create an open feel to what is beyond: usually a pool area.  Further, young kids love to stand in front of out swing doors.  Sauna users can see everything going on beyond a sauna door with a full length window.  A very private space, like Gweneth Paltrow’s bathroom, allows for openness and connectivity to a private spa area.  In this instance, there is no concern for nude-ing up and being fully exposed because it is the antithesis of a mobile sauna parked in the middle of a winter carnival.  This is a private gig.

I recommend that all sauna doors have a small window.

When I build my sauna doors, I like to cut in a modest sized 12″x12″ window.  This is in addition to installing a candle window between the hot room to the changing room,.  Why?  A 12″ square window has feng shui, good karma, and helps those of us with ADD: “Where’s my water bottle”?

We can see through the window in our sauna door with full intention.

  • We look through the window to check the temp, or to see how the fire’s going.
  • With a knock on the window and hand gesture, we silently ask if anyone needs a beer.
  • We can look through the window and spot our towel, or our water bottle, or our sanity.
  • And when it’s all over, we give another knock and wave goodbye, “until next time.”

We can do all this and more, without having to open our sauna door.

A window in the sauna door connects the changing room with the hot room in a perfectly subtle way.

A sauna door window represents what we value in life when we are faced with change.  Instead of blindly moving forward, we appreciate a peek at where we are going next.  Wherever You Go, There You Are, may be Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life.  And in our case, we can look out before we walk in, and we can look in before we walk out, while still being present with where we are at that moment.  Heating up or cooling down.

As in sauna as in life: when one door closes, and you are ready to move, look for the window.

24"x80" cedar sauna door. 12"x12" tempered glass window. Leading into hot room along 8' wall.
24″x80″ cedar sauna door. 12″x12″ tempered glass window. Leading into hot room along 8′ wall.



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5 thoughts on “You can see why a sauna door window is a good idea”

  1. Good article, but what I figured into our build was the pack of kids who would be using the sauna and change room and the need for privacy between the two, hence, no window in the door, no candle window in the wall. To each his own…

  2. Hi Brian:

    I have made sauna hot room doors a few different ways. This way, using a plywood cut out, sandwiched between paneling, is the best. Holds the form and maintains rigidity, even with 27 years of comings and going with kids and lots of use (photo in pic). Step by step details on how to do this in my ebook (big upsell). Get it here ——–>

  3. Hey Glenn

    I’m considering laying out my cedar tongue and groove vertically on both sides of the sauna door. Would this be OK instead of one side horizontal?

    If I skipped the foil and glued both sides of the t&g cedar really good with construction adhesive to the 3/4″ plywood, used finish nails like normal on the tongue. Do you think I could skip the screws? I would still use them around the window. Just trying to get a cleaner look but would like for this door to last for 20+ years 🙂


  4. Yes, for sure Bill.
    1. horizontal t&g for both sides of your door should be totally fine.
    2. yes, skip the foil, and good glue, like Magnus Bond will hold up forever.

    Only thing is to be sure your cedar is acclimated before gluing. I’d cut my boards and take a sauna with them, then make your door at ambient temperature.

    With the thermal extremes, we get a lot of expansion and contraction with cedar, so be mindful of that. (another reason why t&g is good material for paneling our hot rooms, the expansion and contraction within the tongues and grooves allow for such tollerances.

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