Over the years we have found many mistakes made by amateurs during the sauna construction process. We want to save you some hassle by providing these quick tips for maximum safety and comfort. So here are the top sauna construction details which are often overlooked.
Clearances to Combustibles
There are minimum clearances from combustibles for the sauna heaters. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended clearances. For wood burning sauna heaters you may also require a WETT inspection to satisfy your insurance company.
Sauna Door Swing
For safety reasons, a sauna door should always swing out of the sauna allowing quick escape should an emergency arise. Becoming trapped could prove fatal if escape delayed.
Saunas with heavy traffic should have a window in the door to avoid bumping the door into someone behind it.
Air Circulation and Venting
A moist, warm sauna can be a breeding ground for unwanted mould if proper precautions are not taken into consideration. Following a sauna session, the sauna needs to be quickly aired out and dried to eliminate mould potential. Installing a vent or window that can be opened post-sauna would be ideal to allow moisture to escape and allow fresh air movement. If no vent is possible, then leaving the door ajar post-sauna will help.
Often saunas are oversized needing extra energy to heat. Consider how many people would use it at one time and adjust sizing accordingly. To save on cubic space but maximize on seating, consider L-shaped or U-shaped benches in your design. If the sauna has a wood-burning heater, also consider the clearances required from the heater to the benches.
Water and an sweat eventually stain the wood leaving ugly wear marks on benches and walls. While some of it can be sanded to bare wood to refresh, deeper stains are difficult to remove. Also sanding is a messy and tedious process. The wood inside the sauna should be preserved, but not with varnish, lacquer or paint. These finishes can off-gas toxic fumes in the heat and also could make the surfaces uncomfortably hot. The best option is a water based natural sauna sealer which dries clear. It will seal the pores of the wood and keep it from staining and going grey, keeping your sauna looking like new.
Improper drainage, leaves pooling water and moisture to linger causing potential mould problems. The sauna floor should contain a drain with the floor slightly sloped towards the drain to remove excess moisture quickly. The floor should be finished with a waterproof, easy to clean surface to make maintenance a breeze. Cement floors are cold on the feet and a dirt trap if not finished well. Tile is better but still cool on the feet, with grout lines to maintain. An epoxy paint system is the easiest to clean and can be applied on a wooden sub-floor. Wooden slat mats, called duckboards, can be used where feet touch the floor for added comfort on cold floors, however they need to be lifted on edge to air dry post-sauna.
Bring in your plans, and consult with our knowledgeable staff at Nordic Energy. Costly mistakes can be avoided as we walk you through the final details to ensure you get maximum safety and enjoyment from your new sauna.