Guest post series continues. Please welcome Gerhard as he walks us through his extensive backyard banya style sauna build. Welcome Gerhard!
Ok, so I’m located in Reinfeld, MB in Canada. My Sauna is a shed Combo. I built a 12’ x 24’ shed in 2014 not thinking of ever building a sauna in it. Now 14’ of its length has been remodeled into a sauna and the other 10’ is now storage for my lawn mower tractor, tiller, garden stuff, etc.
My Sauna resembles a typical Russian Banya layout. A three room layout consisting of a change room, shower room and a hot room. I’ve been to Russia beginning of this year and bought some sauna accessories and souvenirs that I put into my sauna to make it look somewhat “Russian”.
I was born in Russia and when I was 4 years my family moved to Germany where we lived 13 years before moving to Canada. My Dad built an electric sauna into our garage back in Germany, where I’ve been enjoying sauna for the first time. After I got married in Canada in 2006, my father in law built an outdoor wood burning Sauna/Banya on his yard a couple years later, which we have been enjoying for quite a while and still are.
This was my first wood burning Sauna. And I loved it and wanted nothing else than a wood burning sauna myself. In 2018 I started building my own sauna. It was a lot of fun, and I’m happy with how it turned out.
What Compelled you to build your own sauna?
When I first experienced an authentic wood burning Sauna I was hooked to the idea of having a backyard wellness escape. Especially because of our long winters up here it seemed like the perfect idea. I love the heat, I love burning wood and the social aspect of having a Sauna with our guests seemed to be reason enough to start building my own Sauna. And on top of that, It’s healthy.
How did you find saunatimes and give us a few examples where the DIY ebook helped you out?
Since I made my decision to build my own sauna in fall 2016 I found Saunatimes through google search. I ordered the e-book. What really helped me was the idea of the sloped floor. I ended up using the “Ben-Square” alternative. Another thing I did was waterproofing the entire floor with Mapei Aquadefense and then painting over it in the hot room and mosaic tiles in the shower room.
What 1-2 challenges were biggest for your Sauna build?
Building my own Sauna Wood burning Stove (Although, it was the most fun aspect of it). Making the sloped floor in the shower room with all that tile work etc. (The kind of work I don’t really enjoy, but it had to be done properly) My Dad helped me a lot with the sloped floor. He also helped with the bench design, wood paneling.
What aspect to your sauna are you most proud of?
My DIY wood burning Sauna Stove. I like how it looks with the massive amounts of stones. It heats really well and the heat is very soft and comfortable.
Any regrets or do overs?
I don’t like my bench design after all, having that little corner makes no sense, as nobody can lay down or sit properly. I should’ve gone with a straight bench. I used a few boards of “White Cedar” for the benches. White Cedar seems to have a bad odor to it. It’s not overwhelming as I used only a few boards, but I would avoid White Cedar completely the next time.
If you could have a mobile sauna anywhere in the world, where would you bring it and enjoy a sauna?
Somewhere along the shores of Lake Louise, Alberta in Canada.
Any final words of inspiration or perspiration for others interested in authentic (real) sauna/banja?
I wanted to have my sauna posted here on saunatimes to inspire more people to build a backyard Sauna. Great place to relax after a busy week, great place to socialize with friends and guests, great place to warm up and escape the long winters for those of us living in northern climates.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For those interested in a detail photo log of Gerhard’s sauna build, “from start to Finnish” please click through to view his entire photo library here.