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How to Build a Cedar Sauna: the Complete Guide to Building Your Own Cedar Sauna

Updated: Mar 21

Have you considered building a cedar sauna? Whether you’re a homeowner or a contractor, learning how to build a cedar sauna can boast numerous benefits. And, contrary to what you may have assumed, it’s easier than you think.

There are a few crucial factors to consider when building an effective and long-lasting cedar sauna. Investing in the #1 sauna cedar wood at Quality Cedar Products will help you make the most of this investment - as the durable materials will stand the test of time while offering an aesthetically pleasing look. However, the equipment required for a cedar sauna doesn’t end at just cedar wood - there’s more to the story.

In this article, we highlight the benefits of routine sauna use and teach you what equipment is needed to construct a cedar sauna. After that, we’ll teach you how to get started building a top-notch cedar sauna on your own! We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in…

Quality Cedar Products can meet all your cedar board needs. This blog is informational only and not a replacement for expert advice. Please consult a professional before starting any building project as your needs and specifications may vary and it may not reflect the most current building codes, regulations, or industry standards.

What are the Benefits of Building a Cedar Sauna?

So, what are the benefits of building a cedar sauna? This section will be broken down into two parts: the physical benefits and the mental benefits of regular sauna use.

Physical Benefits

Building a cedar sauna can offer plenty of physical benefits for you.

It has been shown through scientific studies that consistent use of a cedar sauna improves cardiovascular health. This is possible thanks to the high levels of heat that raise the heart rate and increase blood flow.

Other studies have shown that regular use of a sauna can reduce the risk of pulmonary diseases, stroke, chronic headaches, and neurocognitive diseases. This is thanks to heat therapy’s beneficial impact on the body, which improves circulatory and cardiovascular function.

Through a consistent routine, using the sauna can improve lung capacity and overall function as well. In addition, some research has suggested that sauna use can temporarily help with symptoms of asthma, chronic bronchitis, obstructive pulmonary disease, and COPD while reducing the risk of pneumonia.

Along with all this, there are some studies suggesting a sauna can aid in weight loss - but the jury is still out on all this. One thing we do know is that the sauna can help with detoxification - helping you remove impurities from your body through sweat. This can also help you recover from illness faster.

Mental Benefits

Though saunas are often touted for their incredible physical health benefits, there are plenty of magnificent mental benefits to take advantage of as well!

Routine use of a sauna has decreased the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Levels of norepinephrine are raised, increasing alertness, memory recall, and focus.

Other studies highly suggest that consistent use of saunas can reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and fatigue. New research hypothesizes that the stimulation of heat to the skin stimulates the production of serotonin. This neurotransmitter coincides with mood, sleep, motivation, and appetite. With its transmission, overall well-being is improved.

Should You Learn How to Build a Cedar Sauna - or Leave it to the Experts?

Is learning how to build a cedar sauna worth it? Find out below!

Pros of Learning How to Build Your Own Cedar Sauna

Learning how to build your cedar sauna can be more affordable than paying someone else. Think saving thousands of dollars! Of course, you should plan the installation process correctly to avoid any design flaws or other problems.

The process of building your cedar sauna can be a rewarding one. All the design plans, tweaks, and turns are up to you!

By building your own cedar sauna, you don’t have to deal with high-pressure sales tactics from dealers that will encourage upcharges and other unnecessary costs that can break the bank. Delivery costs for a modular unit are also non-existent, saving you that much more money by building your cedar sauna.

Cons of Learning How to Build Your Own Cedar Sauna

There are a few disadvantages to learning how to build your own cedar sauna. If you don’t have experience with carpentry, learning how to build a cedar sauna can be a lot.

Really, it comes down to this - the disadvantage of learning how to build a cedar sauna is your lost time - and the risk of mistakes along the way. So…the question now is - do the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa?

The Verdict

The verdict is that learning how to build your own cedar sauna hosts plenty of tremendous and rewarding benefits.

You save money by building your cedar sauna. No dealers or salespeople are trying to upsell and upcharge you for labor, delivery, or other design costs. It’s all in your hands!

What You’ll Need to Build a Cedar Sauna

You’ll need a few things to start building your DIY cedar sauna, and you don’t want to miss out on any crucial equipment you’ll need. So read below to ensure you have everything you need!

Cedar Lumber

When it comes to what kind of cedar for sauna construction, Western Red Cedar is the best of them all.

But why is cedar timber used in saunas? This is because cedar is more weather-resistant, durable, long-lasting, and aesthetically pleasing than other timbers. And of all your options, Western Red Cedar is the highest quality.

As the #1 cedar supplier in Canada, Quality Cedar Products is a family-owned and operated business that sells high-quality Western Red Cedar. Every product is individually sorted and graded to ensure the highest level of quality control standards.

With our Western Red Cedar, your cedar sauna is guaranteed to be durable, aesthetically stunning, and long-lasting for years to come so that you can sit back and soak in the outstanding benefits of your cedar sauna!

Sauna Heater & Thermostat

It’s not a sauna without a sauna heater, thermostat, or thermometer!

There are a variety of sauna heaters that can be used to heat your cedar sauna. They include:

  • Wood-fired sauna heater

  • Propane heater

  • Electric sauna heater

  • Gas stove (requires a licensed electrician and HVAC professional to hook it up)

  • Far infrared ray (FIR) sauna heater

Each has pros and cons - so do some research before pulling the trigger.

And, a thermometer or thermostat is necessary to pair with your choice sauna heater. A thermostat can only be paired with an electric sauna heater. A thermometer can be paired with any other type of sauna heater to determine the room’s temperature for a safe environment.

Other Supplies & Materials

You’ll need some cedar boards, posts, & timbers along with a heater/thermostat - but what else?

A requirement for saunas that some people may overlook is a hygrometer. This tool is used to regulate and assess the humidity inside the sauna. By keeping this tool in your cedar sauna, you are creating a safe environment. Prolonged exposure to high humidity can starve the brain of blood and oxygen, increasing the risk of falls.

Assessing the humidity inside a sauna is also required to achieve the benefits of a sauna. The recommended humidity in a sauna should read 5-40% on a hygrometer.

How to Build a Cedar Sauna: Step-by-Step Guide

Learning how to build a cedar sauna can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. That’s why we constructed this step-by-step guide to help you get started with a quick and easy process!

Step 1: Pick The Location

The first step to building a cedar sauna is picking a location. Is it going to be an outdoor or indoor cedar sauna?

The foundation should be flat or adjusted if the sauna is outdoors to create a solid foundation for the cedar sauna. It’s also essential to find a location that can protect the sauna from weather to avoid any possible damage to the heater or structure.

Suppose the sauna location is going to be indoors. In that case, you can convert a garage, basement, small bathroom, or even a closet into an indoor cedar sauna as long as you have access to 240-volt service for the sauna’s heater or infrared lights. Electric heaters or infrared saunas are the best choices for ideal effectiveness and design if you decide to do an indoor sauna.

Step 2: Plan Out The Design

There is a range of sizes of saunas to decide from, as well as your interior and aesthetic finishes selection. A typical sauna can be as large as 8x12 feet or as small as 3x3 feet. There should be enough space for at least two feet between each person on the bench.

When building a cedar sauna, adding windows can be ideal for soaking in the views outside and alleviating any feelings of claustrophobia inside the humid sauna’s enclosed space.

Step 3: Invest In Quality Materials

Quality materials are essential for saving money, time, and energy. For example, you don’t want to build a sauna only to have to pay for new materials a month or year later.

That’s why we recommend using our Western Red Cedar at Quality Cedar Products. This high-quality material is durable and long-lasting under duress from extreme hot and cold weather conditions. In addition, the aesthetic appeal of cedar can add just the right finishing touch to your ideal sauna!

Step 4: Choose A Heater For Your Sauna

The next step is choosing a heater for your sauna. An indoor sauna should use an electrical or infrared heater for optimal use. Electrical heaters are more cost-effective, require less maintenance, and are the most popular.

Step 5: Install The Electrical

For this step, we highly recommend hiring an electrician to avoid any safety concerns. A professional electrician can adequately adjust and set up the wirings and conduits for a successful electrical installation.

Step 6: Insulate The Sauna

To insulate the sauna, you must place them between the stud bays and ceiling joists. Using the proper batt insulation for the stud and joist sizes and bay width will avoid any insulation issues.

Step 7: Install The Vapor Barrier

Next, install the vapor barrier. The foil-wrapped vapor barrier should be placed over the insulation and secured to the studs and joists with staples.

For the following step, install a lower course throughout the sauna room, the upper course, and the ceiling. The upper course should overhang the lower course by four inches or more with as few seams as possible.

Step 8: Install The Sauna Paneling

Beginning with the ceiling, add the sauna’s paneling. When installing the sauna paneling, nail the face of the board, into the joists, with the tongue facing away from the wall. As you go through each course, ensure to line the groove with each previous board, nailing through the tongue into the joists.

Step 9: Construct The Bench

Use a 2x4 stock and screws to construct a simple frame that spans the distance between two parallel walls in the sauna space. It should measure 19 inches deep. Then, cut four 2x4 to 16 inches to create legs for the bench. Next, screw the legs into the wall, followed by the frame to the wall. To finish, add the 2x4 stock spaced ¼ inch apart to complete your sauna bench.

Step 10: Install The Heater & Light Fixtures

Your cedar sauna is almost done!

You will need to install the heater and light fixtures for this next part. This can be done with the help of your electrician in one of the previous steps. The heater, light fixtures, thermostat/thermometer, switches, and hygrometer will all need to be installed.

Step 11: Test Out The Sauna

Set the heat to your desired sauna temperature using the heater or thermostat (for automatic heating). Close the door and wait for the required amount for the space to heat up. After the time has passed, assess the sauna’s temperature for adjustments.

Then, enjoy your DIY cedar sauna and reap the benefits!

Parting Thoughts on How to Build a Cedar Sauna

Learning how to build a cedar sauna offers many physical and mental health benefits. And at Quality Cedar Products, you can find the cedar you need to start building your cedar sauna. We also have in-depth resources to help you make the most of your sauna - including our complete guide on how to clean a cedar sauna.

So, what are you waiting for? Get the process started today by ordering your lumber from Canada’s preferred choice!

Quality Cedar Products does not assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided in this blog post. The reader is solely responsible for any actions taken based on the information presented. Any reliance on the information is at the reader's own risk. Quality Cedar Products is not responsible for any loss, injury, or damage that may occur as a result of following the suggestions, tips, or recommendations provided in this blog post. Building projects involve inherent risks, and it is essential to exercise caution, obtain proper permits, and engage qualified professionals to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of external links, references, or recommendations in this blog post does not constitute endorsement or guarantee the quality, reliability, or suitability of the linked sources. The reader should independently verify the information and assess its relevance to their specific circumstances. The author reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content of this blog post at any time without prior notice. It is recommended to check for the most recent updates or consult with professionals to ensure the information is current and applicable. By reading this blog post, the reader acknowledges and accepts the above disclaimer and agrees to use the information provided responsibly and at their own discretion.

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