His 20 year old backyard sauna is labeled “primitive” by a Finnish sauna expert, and its owner could not be more proud

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Imagine hosting a Finnish guest to your own North American backyard sauna. Imagine not just any Finnish guest, but one of the world’s leaders in sauna building, technology, and design.

Imagine joining the sauna session are also a few neighborhood buddies. Imagine everybody enjoying several hot rounds and cool downs cracking a beer or two, laughing and chattering away like long lost friends.

Imagine the Finnish sauna expert feeling right at home in your own backyard sauna

Imagine relaxing with us between rounds, and between some laughter:

“How many saunas have you had your hands in?” a neighbor asks.

“Thousands.” Responds the sauna expert.

“How does this sauna compare to the ones in Finland?”

“It’s good.” Looking around, he adds: “it’s primitive.”

Four attributes of a primitive sauna:

1. Tucked into a corner in the garage (close the changing room door to keep the cars out).

2. With a 5 gallon pickle bucket for löyly water (free).

3. Equipped with a well aged sauna stove that gets less expensive each time you fire it up (patina sold separately).

4. With an ability to host neighbors and Finns, cooling down with smiles on their faces between sauna rounds (beers brought separately).

“A sauna need not have to cost an annual salary.” A primitive sauna is one that becomes a part of you. Like a baseball glove, old school fishing boat, or your favorite fishing pole, sometimes the more you use a favorite possession, the more comfortable you are with it.

A new sauna is only new one time. Then, each time you use your sauna, it will become a bigger part of you. More primitive.

Is your sauna a primitive sauna?

If not, get out there and use it some more. You just may be complimented in the same way some day.

12 thoughts on “His 20 year old backyard sauna is labeled “primitive” by a Finnish sauna expert, and its owner could not be more proud”

  1. Hey Glenn – great post! There’s nothing better than sharing sauna with friends. We hosted a New Year’s shindig, had the sauna cranking and everyone had a great night having drinks and sauna rounds. The cold temps in Green Bay made it all the better…I’m now off to hunt down some Advil!

    -Chad

  2. Mine is more primitive than yours but I am working on the patina.

    I love primitive. And, I agree with your recent comment that the main thing we notice about the Finns is that their saunas are not relegated to leftover places. They are at the center of their home lives.

  3. I have an admittedly non-primitive question… While waiting for the sauna to come to temp today – a 180°+ temp change – I wondered whether there’s a good remote temp sensor available. Has anyone found anything rated for the -40 to 200+ temperatures a MN sauna can see?

  4. Check out Ruuvi. Finnish company that makes remote temp/humidity sensors. I’ve been using one in my sauna for 2 months with great results!

  5. Hi Glenn! Great post! Have you ever thought about trying text message marketing to better communicate with your customers/fans? They might have a ton of questions to ask you, especially right as they’re about to purchase a sauna, but the only way to ask you a question is to leave a comment on your blogs… a lot of your customers want to ask some last and final questions before making a purchase and you can easily assist them through text. Let me know if you’d be interested in exploring this!

  6. I finished mine just before Xmas. I am down to less than 2k per session now. Will be less than 250 by end of 2022. I have no doubt this has appreciated my home’s value. Making money every time I sauna!

  7. Hi Brian:

    Yes, I’m interested in exploring text message marketing. As long as it doesn’t involve logins, passwords, or “press 3 if you are left handed” layers of shenanigans that have seemed to have infiltrated everywhere and have made my/our world more complicated.

    At Saunatimes, I offer a $200 consultation plan, and that involves a lot of hand holding (email and phone consult) which i’m more than happy to do, as good sauna is what it’s all about and I enjoy helping others realize their authentic sauna dreams.

    Thanks for offering to help, and always up for the possibility of learning a new and better way.
    Example:
    foil bubble wrap: 2003 – 2017
    Foil vapor barrier: 2017 – date.

  8. Hello Glenn, I’m currently building a sauna on the second floor of my home (removed a huge tub and filling the space with a dry sauna). I’m putting rockwool in the walls, but since its on the second floor, the ceiling already has batts of insulation and then blown in insulation on top of that. I don’t want to remove the batts of insulation and replace with rockwool due to the blown in stuff potentially all coming in on me so am looking for an alternative. I see a few companies that do insulation boards that can withstand the temps, but I’m in Canada and haven’t found it up here. I contacted Kinspan (looks like they are in England) for their satu sauna insulation boards and they mentioned checking in with you. Any clue where I can track some down?

    This is all new to me, so I’m taking it one step at a time. Your site has been immensely helpful!

    Thanks,

    Brant

  9. Brant:

    I would keep your batting, as you detail, and just foil vapor barrier against the studs, tape the seams. Then firing strips and paneling.

    Kingspan is great stuff, but the above method will get you to the promise land.

    Glad you are digging Saunatimes. My ebook is the best resource, as you probably know.

  10. Thanks Glenn for the response!

    So there is no worry of the regular fibreglass batts off-gassing sue to the heat as some say? There is also a clear plastic vapour barrier over the batting. Do
    I remove that then put the foil paper barrier over or keep the plastic installed?

    Thanks again!

    Brant

  11. Brant, I don’t know if it is my place to make a comment. Just remember that foil, plastic or paper vapor barrier needs to be placed against the wall of the living area only. You do not want to trap moisture within the insulation. I would remove the plastic over the insulation so the insulation could breath, and install foil immediatly above the sauna to prevent moisture from entering the insulation.

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