People often ask during their sauna build: “do I really need a floor drain?” Well, the best answer is always “yes”.
Why is a sauna floor drain a good idea?
A proper sauna is one in which if:
- someone wants to bathe in the sauna hot room, they can.
- kids want to have a friendly water fight in the hot room, they can.
- the sauna owner wants to hose out or rinse out the hot room, they can.
How do we pitch a sauna hot room floor to the drain?
Working up from the subfloor, we rip sleepers on our table saw, and glue and screw them down to our subfloor to create a pitch for cement board. We can set sleepers two ways:
- The bicycle spoke method
- The Ben Square method.
Either way, we create a slight and gradual slope, so that when we glue and screw down durarock, then skim coat it with vinyl cement, our floor is sealed and water will run to the drain.
A great way to ensure a solid floor is to run the sleepers in the bicycle spoke fashion, then, with a $10.00 bag of premium cement (no rocks) backfill the gaps between the sleepers with cement. Use the sleepers as trowel guide to ensure a smooth finish. Run a wet sponge along the sleepers so that durarock can lay flat.
The Trever Trowel Method creates a really firm, well supported (and sloped!) base for our cement board.
I have built sauna floors every which way from Tuesday. I am a huge fan of vinyl cement repair. Check out this post on how to skim coat cement board for a “smooth clean finish.” As Trevor illustrates above, he has created a solid water tight floor that sheds water down to the drain. The floor is perfectly ready to accept a duck board overlay floor (gentle for bare feet and keeps feet dry) or even a “3rd step” for more vertically aligned hot rooms that get the sauna bather climbing up to an upper bench.