Here are some tips and suggestions for those who intend to build a do-it-yourself sauna: starting from the choice of wood to the insulating materials.
This article is especially dedicated to the more experienced and savvy DIY enthusiasts who are good at both woodworking and renovation, plumbing and electricity work. Making a do-it-yourself sauna is certainly not a simple thing, in fact, power tools and other equipment are required without which it would be unthinkable to face the company.
To those who do not have the tools or the right experience to use them correctly, but are still interested in the idea of creating a sauna at home , we recommend the least expensive and safest solution: buy a prefabricated sauna and have it installed by a professional. So let’s go into the topic further, both as regards the do-it-yourself construction and the prefabricated solution.
The structure and location.
Before starting it is important to establish where the sauna will be built, whether inside or outside the home. The outdoor sauna could pose problems with regards to the systems; if, for example, you want to convert an old garage or another external room into a sauna, you have to make sure to connect the latter to the water and electricity mains. Furthermore, it is necessary to consider the possibility of creating an additional connection for the gas network, or for cylinders.
Building a sauna at home , on the other hand, presents far fewer problems, especially if you choose to build it adjacent to a bathroom or, if space permits, inside it. In this case there will be no need to perform extraordinary works on the plant engineering, in fact, but you can take advantage of the existing pipes by connecting them to the sauna with the minimum of modifications.
The dimensions of the sauna must obviously be proportionate to the available space, but in any case it is advisable to stay on a surface of no less than 2 x 2 meters; nothing prevents it from making it bigger, however, if conditions permit. If, on the other hand, there is no space in the house and there are not even external structures that can be adapted to the need, then you can consider the idea of buying a prefabricated kit for a barrel sauna to be placed in the garden.
The necessary materials
As for the materials to be used, the forced choice falls on the wood for the sauna ; the varieties that can be used are different, starting from the cheapest fir up to the most expensive ones, such as stone pine and cedar. Furthermore, since it will be exposed to hot vapors, the wood must not be treated with paints or other substances, neither chemical nor natural. The matchboard is the one that lends itself most to this type of work, as it is well finished and is easily assembled with the help of wood screws .
The quantity of wood to be purchased must obviously be proportionate to the size of the sauna, and the interior fittings and any separation walls must also be taken into account. The latter, as well as the entire box, must be insulated in order to avoid heat dispersion; therefore the purchase of a certain amount of rock wool must also be taken into account.
The only surfaces that do not need to be insulated are those in glass; if the sauna box is built inside, in fact, it is possible to create one or more walls, as well as the access door, in tempered glass instead of wood. The tempered glass has the advantage of being resistant and guaranteeing thermal resistance, but obviously it is necessary to mount special gaskets at the corners, in order to avoid dispersion. In this case, the prefabricated kits offer the advantage of including all the necessary materials, already pre-processed and only to be assembled.
When drawing up the design scheme of the sauna, the system designed to produce the heat necessary for its operation must not be neglected. A wood-burning sauna stove is usually used , but it can also be remedied with a gas burner, or with infrared lamps.
If your project involves the construction of a traditional Finnish sauna, then you will have to drill a hole in the wall and delimit with bricks the space where the burner will be inserted, or the grill where to place the pieces of firewood; the upper part must be covered with a two centimeter thick lava stone slab, which once hot will be wet to generate the hot steam.
In fact, in the Finnish sauna, the heat reaches high temperatures, from 80 ° to 100 ° Celsius, while the humidity remains between 10% and 20% and tends to rise only when water is poured onto the hot stone; furthermore, the sauna environment requires a preheating time which varies from about 45 to 60 minutes.
The sauna with infrared lamps is simpler to make instead, as the lamps are powered by the 220V household electrical network and the infrared radiation directly heats the body, which in turn heats the surrounding environment. The heat of the infrared saunas is therefore completely dry, due to the total absence of steam; moreover, the temperature produced does not exceed 50 ° Celsius and is reached in just under half an hour.
The advantage of the sauna with infrared lamps is that it is easier to make; you do not need to make a hole in the wall for the stove or the brazier, in fact, and the connection to gas or firewood is not required, just connect the lamps to the electricity. The latter, however, precisely because of their operating principle are only suitable for small sauna boxes.
This particular type is a cross between the Finnish sauna and the hammam, or the Turkish bath. As we mentioned earlier, the Finnish sauna is characterized by a high temperature, which can reach 100 ° Celsius, and a low percentage of humidity, usually not more than 20%, while the Turkish bath does not exceed 60 ° Celsius but reaches 100% humidity.
In the biosauna, however, the temperature stops between 50 ° or 60 ° Celsius and the percentage of humidity is between 60% and 70%, thus maintaining a balance that makes it softer than in hammams or saunas Finns.