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How do you build a sauna?

Thinking of building a sauna for your personal use? You are not alone. Home saunas have been growing in popularity. According to the New York Times, enthusiasts swear there’s no better place to shut out the world’s current cares. Minnesota’s Star Tribune reported on how the pandemic is changing homes and building saunas.

What to consider

There are many factors to think about as you plan your sauna. Is it inside or outdoors? How big will it be? Will it be wood-burning or electric? What shape will it end up being? Does it actually qualify as a sauna?

The International Sauna Association established the following standards in 1999, and they haven’t budged much since.

  • Sauna is preferably a wooden room
  • Heating is adjusted with a kiuas (stove) where there are enough stones
  • The actual heat is produced by burning wood or gas, or using electricity
  • The temperature  is between 80 and 105 degrees Celsius, measured about 100 cm above the highest bench
  • The humidity is between 40 and 60 g/m3, but can be controlled by throwing water onto the stones
  • Your feet should be on the level of the stones or higher

A sauna built to these specifications should produce quality löyly (steam).

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Further resources

Real life Covid therapy

While unable to hit the road due to the pandemic, travel writer and novelist Susan Kraus and her husband Frank Barthell directed their energies to their neglected backyard, and transformed the space into a delightful “sauna garden.” Click here to check out their project at our YouTube channel.