Your own backyard sauna: is now the time?

World Sauna Moment

Your own backyard sauna. Is now the time?

Your own backyard health and wellness retreat. Is now the time?

Have you invested in “Sauna Build: From Start to Finnish” but tossed your hands up and said “I don’t have time to build my own sauna!?” Have you been told to work from home, and now you find yourself with a couple few extra hours in your day. Are you ready to plow into a creative project with great long term rewards? Have you been kicking around with the idea of building your own sauna, but haven’t found the best time to do it?

Could now be that time?

This could be the absolute perfect time to:

  • Hire a kick ass builder like Voyageur Custom Saunas to make your own sauna dreams come true.
  • Get a shed company to come shell up your new sauna building in your backyard, and “Finnish” it yourself.
  • Call Home Depot and have them deliver all the materials to build your own backyard sauna, then start your engines.

Come to think of it, today could be the day.

Even as we retreat from physical interaction, there’s a huge opportunity to actually connect, to learn and to understand. Panic is a choice, and so is productive generosity.

– Seth Godin, March 9, 2020

March 14, 2020. Send us a note in the comments section and say “I am starting my own sauna build today.” The first person to build their own backyard sauna starting today and invest in the best sauna stove known to man will receive a free cord of firewood from Saunatimes.com. This is our productive generosity to help encourage you to get it going. Offer is good in Alaska and Hawaii. Must be present to win, and open to enjoying the ride. The race is on and the journey is as rewarding as the destination.

Need a little inspiration? Please click here to view other amateur DIY sauna builder projects… these folks put their pants on every morning just like you. These folks are digging themselves right now in their own backyard health and wellness sauna retreats.

Come join us!

Photos of a few other sauna builds:

Outside Greg’s backyard sauna
Kimmo’s hand hewn savusauna
8′ x 12′ backyard sauna under construction (with conventional gable).
John’s patio build
7’x12′ mobile sauna. 6’x7′ hot room. Wood fired. Voyageur Custom Sauna Special
German style backyard sauna in Canada
Ben’s backyard 8×12 wood burning sauna
Dave Olson’s sauna well crafted and nestled into his backyard.
Brian’s wood fired sauna in Winter
Jim’s completed backyard sauna. Completed and ready for action.
Looks crazy, but a sauna can be brought to your backyard
Let’s open our minds to the possibility and make it happen.

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22 thoughts on “Your own backyard sauna: is now the time?”

  1. I have officially began my build today. Made my first cuts and nailed together walls today. Hopefully be sitting on the bench in may.

  2. Glenn,

    I bought your book last year; read it carefully but just didn’t have time. Well, do to changing situations i now have time. We live in coastal Alaska (cold winters for us are +10F, and usually +15-25F).

    I’m repurposing an old greenhouse; have will be sauna and the other half will be covered sitting/eating area.

    My question: if I use a “deck floor”—wood with narrow spacing and no insulation to the ground, do you think we will have difficulty maintaining hot temperature? Of course we plan to insulate well, use foil bubble wrap, and have 6’6” ceilings. The idea is simplicity, and easy water drainage.

    Looking forward to your response.

  3. Hi Andrew:

    I have taken many saunas in similar climate, Northern MN, with the hot room floor as you describe: decking open to below.

    But these saunas are not year round saunas.

    Would I build a sauna with open decking floor? Maybe, if seasonal, but if winter use: probably not. You can get your hot room hot with this deck flooring system, yes, but it’ll take that much longer when it’s “f**’ing cold.” There’s something good about being able to envelope the whole space and being able to control the air flow, and lock in the heat, even down to the toes.

    Hope this helps, Andrew.

  4. Just started mine last week in NE Mpls! Framing it all up from scratch. The eBook is super helpful.

  5. Great Peter! Glad my ebook Sauna Build, Start to Finnish is helping you out. It’s comforting to know that many are engaging in their own sauna build projects right now. I was thinking this am about scarcity. Seems it’s either money or time. And with the corona lockdown, many of us have more time. So, we can think of our sauna builds like a really good stock. We invest the money now, and let it’s value increase over time! More chatter on this:


  6. Hi Glenn I came across your site, and was very pleased to see a knowledgeable person such as yourself, who is willing to help out others, with their ‘sauna’ related questions?!

    Glenn, when you have a moment, if you could answer a couple of questions regarding my outdoor sauna, I would greatly appreciate it!

    I reside in rural Canada, and had a fellow build me an outside wooden barrel sauna. It is heated by a Harvia wooden stove. To reduce the costs of building the sauna, he told me at the time, that he would build a sauna out of ‘pine’ wood rather then it being built from ‘cedar’ wood?!

    When he finished building the sauna, he told me that I would have many years of enjoyment from the sauna?!

    Well, unfortunately, after I had paid him a lot of money to construct the sauna, just a few months in, I noticed that there were several water leaks that were inside the sauna, and looking more closely, also noticed that there were a few of the wooden panels (in the shape of a barrel) that were coming apart a little?!

    I naturally was very disappointed with all of this, and had tried to track down the person who built the sauna, to let him know, how disappointed I was, yet, decided, instead, to try and enlist a friend who is a contractor, for his advice as to what to do next?!

    My friend recommended sealing the outside of the sauna, so I had went to the local hardware store near my township, and the manager there recommended to me, to use a ‘high temperature’ silicone sealant?!

    I bought several containers of this ‘high temperature’ silicone sealant, and my friend sealed the entire outside portion of the sauna.

    However, after a few days, of relaxing in the sauna, I noticed that a few of the wooden panels had stretched again, (coming apart a little) perhaps due from the heating inside of the sauna, yet, shouldn’t the wooden panels have been fused together better, and not to have come apart, no matter how hot the sauna would get inside?!

    Glenn, another concern, or question I have, is that while relaxing in the sauna, once it is being heated up, I noticed several knots on the inside of the pine wood, that the sap was coming out, and dripping down, and had to be careful not to have the hot sap drip on me?!

    Glenn, is there a way I can either sand down the sap, and or, should I just apply a putty knife to try and smooth out the sap, so as for next time, when I’m trying to relax inside the sauna, won’t have to worry about the sap dripping again from the knots of the pine wood?!

    Finally, Glenn, what is your recommendation of adding either shingles, or, a sheet metal to cover the roof of the sauna, to prevent future rain, or snow possibly penetrating into the sauna again, even though it is now properly sealed?

    Thanks Glenn, looking forward to your response.

  7. Hi Lawrence: Well, lesson learned that though Pine is less expensive it isn’t the right or optimal species for sauna. But it is what it is and you can do exactly what you’re thinking and do some kind of shingle work outside your barrel sauna to keep out the rain and snow. See, Pine expands and contracts more than cedar, especially given the temperature and moisture extremes. But this is a good workaround covering the barrel sauna outside. I’d be looking for a really cool shingle, They make these aluminum scallop style and i’d be maybe thinking along these lines.

    As far as the sap dripping, maybe it’s a matter of it will drip less and less as you use the sauna more? Hope so.

    thanks for the kind words, and I am pleased that saunatimes is helping you along.

  8. Loved all the inspiration from everyone that contributes to Sauna times. Just finished my backyard sauna build! Enjoying the bench tremendously!!

  9. Hi Glenn, thanks for your prompt reply for my question(s) regarding my outdoor sauna. I very much appreciated your response!

    You will be pleased to know, that with regards to the sap problem dripping from the inside of the sauna, that has stopped thank goodness, as per your recommendation of using the sauna more. Thank you for that as well!

    With regards to the roof covering, you mentioned that you came across the ‘aluminum scallop style’ shingle? Glenn, could you please send me a link for that type, as I have not found any matching your description up here in Canada?!

    Is it possible, if they might sell those type of ‘shingles’ or metals at home depot? If so, I will look to see if they might be willing to cut the pieces, to fit a 8 foot barrel sauna roof?!

    Glenn, with the covering of the sauna roof in mind, have you heard of this company (Aleko) making shingles for the roofs of outdoor saunas?! Here is there link: https://www.alekoproducts.ca/ALEKO-SB6SHINGLERF-Shingle-Bitumen-Sauna-Roof-Set-p/sb6shinglerf-ac.htm

    Although, they claim online that there outdoor shingle set presently is out of stock, I’d be curious as to your outlook with regards to these shingle type coverings?

    Finally, Glenn, if I go into Home depot, or another construction type store, and look into purchasing some shingles for the sauna, what is your view on covering the sauna first, with a type of ice shield, or type of underlay to seal completely the sauna, before any shingles are applied to it? Or, do you think rather then shingles being applied, for me to try to get the ‘metal’ type of coverings you had suggested?!

    Thanks Glenn, look forward to your response.


  10. Hi Glenn:

    Thank you very much for your prompt reply with regards to answering my question(s) about my outdoor sauna?

    I had wrote a thank you note moments ago, yet, did not see it on your site, so am writing a ‘thank you’ reply again?!

    Glenn, you will be pleased to know that the sap dripping had stopped, thank goodness, as per your recommendation of continuing to use the sauna, thanks for this?

    With regards to permanently sealing the outside portion of the sauna roof, I could not find an ‘aluminum scalloped style’ shingle as you had suggested. Is there a link for these types of shingles? Would you know if Home Depot would carry these, or would I have to try a sheet metal company for this?

    If I opt for regular shingles, what is your view on putting an underlay first, like a type of ice shield, before the actual shingles are applied?

    Thank you Glenn,

    Look forward to your response.

  11. I am in the process of building an outdoor sauna. The sauna is being constructed inside of a garage stall that was converted into a 24×14 insulated room. I am more than happy to answer any questions as to how I’m doing this. One question I have is, where do I purchase led strips that can handle the conditions of an outdoor sauna? I plan to put them behind the lumbar supports as illustrated in Glen’s book. Also, where would you recommend shopping for t and g cedar? Thanks to Glen and everyone else who builds saunas and supports this site.

    Joel D

  12. LED lights: The rope lighting sold in big box has worked fine for me for many builds. Any splicing, etc. is best done outside the hot room wall.

    T&G cedar: not always easy, depending upon where you live. Product is very expensive at Lowes/Depot and often better quality and less price via shopping around to more specialty lumber yards.

  13. Is there a particular type of thinset that is recommended when placing tile behind the wood sauna stove?

    As always, I really appreciate everything from everyone 😉

  14. Hello Glenn,

    I am at the point in the sauna build where I’ll be putting up the durock and tile on the walls, pad and maybe ceiling. According to the stove specs I am supposed to put a heat shield with 1″ of air space on the wall behind and the ceiling above the stove. There is a 52″ gap between the top of the stove and the ceiling. Currently, the position of the stove leaves 8-1/2″ between the back of the stove (with heat shield) and the back wall.

    I haven’t seen this particular topic come up in all of my googling. Do you use heat shields when you build with Kuuma wood stoves? I have the Kuuma heat shields on the back and side with the water tank on the other side.

    In your experience, what is actually neccesary at this stage?

    Thank you, Glenn!!!!

  15. Much respect to all of you tackling the build yourselves and of course to Glenn for his generosity hosting the site and promoting sauna culture. I’m blessed to have married into a family with lakeside sauna up north and it was love at first steam. The problem of course is that a 6 hour round trip keeps us from using it even remotely as much as we’d like, and so we’re ready for a backyard build here in south Minneapolis. As much as I’d like to do it myself, I think I’d really benefit from (need) an experienced hand assisting or more likely just stay out of the way and let someone else do it altogether.

    With that in mind, I’ve already starting looking into some of the local sauna builders, but the first quote I got for a standard design (8×12 w/changing room, nice kuuma stove) was about twice what I was hoping (20k). Am I unrealistic in hoping that I can buy Glenn’s book and have a contractor build it for half that without cutting many corners? Does anyone have recommendations for contractors they’ve used or know of – ideally with some sauna building experience? Again, I’d be glad to wield a hammer (watch out!) or just keep the cold beers coming but now that the bee is in my bonnet, I’d really like to be taking a backyard sauna when the crisp fall air arrives.

    Thanks much for any advice/recommendations!

  16. Hi Andrew…

    “love at first steam” Tremendous. Deserves its own blog post… beware (and you help me write it please).!

    Contractor build: Typically with sauna i’m glass mostly full, yet contractors are generally quite busy these days and those that aren’t (and no offense) are the ones apt to say “you don’t need a vapor barrier” or use some poly or poly bi-product and you’ll end up with yahoo results.

    Here’s some thoughts:
    1) review your family connection – maybe there’s a handy person within your tribe who could be tapped to help build.
    2) review your neighbor tribe – maybe there’s a handy person within your neighborhood who would enjoy the project within stumbling distance. (Next Door ad?).
    3) listen to Steve, Sauna Talk episode, who says “you can always use wider trim.”

  17. I purchased your ebook and I’m currently in the process of sloping the floors with sleepers. Is the drip edge absolutely necessary? Also can the drip edge sit on top of the sleepers? We ran the sleepers first and ran them all the way from the drain to the bottom plate. Also, if we do have a drip edge, how do we make sure that drip edge isn’t exposed? Will the cedar floor cover it?

    Thanks in advance for your input!

  18. Hi Bret.

    You can run drip edge above your sleepers. What’s important is a break from wall to floor. Drip edge gives us this. The vinyl cement skim coat is a great product in that when mixed well, and troweled against the drip edge, we get a nICE seal. please search “vinyl cement” top right search bar on this website and you’ll see me on my knees troweling and advising. Hope this helps!

  19. It’s not finished although it’s operational. Here’s the progress. The vast majority of everything I did was guided by the principles in Glenn’s eBook.

    Here is a link to pictures that show process and progress.


    Happy Thanksgiving.

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