Infrared saunas come in many shapes and sizes, and it’s for good reason. Everyone has different needs and ideas for their home wellness space, and the type of sauna you purchase will have a direct reflection of those needs. The two biggest questions are usually size and placement, “How big should my sauna be?” and “Where should I put my sauna?”.
Both of these questions obviously differ from person to person, but one underlying fact that needs to be considered is whether or not you want to have your sauna inside or outside.
In this article we are going to explain what the difference between an indoor sauna and an outdoor sauna is, from our experience with Clearlight Infrared® Sauna models, and answer the burning question, “can I put an indoor sauna outside?”.
What’s the difference between an indoor sauna and an outdoor sauna?
The biggest difference between an indoor sauna and an outdoor sauna is… well just that, one is made for the indoors and the other is made for the outdoors.
Why infrared saunas have to be made specifically for the outdoors is because of the weather conditions that come with being outdoors.
Infrared saunas are electric, and thus any moisture that makes its way into the wiring or heating applications of the sauna will ruin it.
They are also made from timber, usually eco-friendly, and the interior is also made from very soft and delicate cedarwood. Beautiful and fragrant, cedar marks easily, and even excessive sweating without a towel will leave sweat marks through the interior, let alone a bucket of rain.
Outdoor saunas, therefore, need to be extra resilient and have additional waterproofing and sealing to avoid any wind, sun, salt, rain, and hail damage. For this reason, even many outdoor saunas require a sauna cover to minimise the risk of any damages, both aesthetically and technically impairing.
Outdoor saunas are also usually slightly larger than indoor saunas. Not only because the style is better suited for accommodating multiple people, but also because of the extra material used to protect the delicate interior from weather conditions, adding extra width to most structural components.
Clearlight Infrared® Saunas have an Outdoor Full Spectrum Sauna that utilises an external Cedartech® Shell. Not only does this shell look aesthetically pleasing and continue to resemble the timber features adored by Clearlight owners, but it also is tough and durable, allowing protection from rain, sun, wind, hail, and sea breeze.
Like all things, the shell is not perfect and mother nature still remains undefeated, therefore we provide and recommend the use of an outdoor sauna cover when not in use or during heavy storms.
Indoor saunas aren’t built with these problems in mind and for good reason. Additional waterproofing, larger, thicker, heavier materials, additional structural additives, and larger makes, all raise the cost of producing one of these products exponentially, as well as changing the look.
Our Sanctuary™ Sauna models have beautiful and delicate accent lights, a glass ceiling, and stained cedar all on the exterior. These attributes cannot be made to endure harsh outdoor weather conditions, even with a sauna cover. This makes the aesthetic, technical, and practical features of an indoor sauna unsuitable for the outdoors.
To recap, the major differences between an indoor sauna and an outdoor sauna are:
How do you waterproof a sauna?
Waterproofing a sauna is essential for placing it outside. Like most things, the best solution is usually a preventative one. The easiest, safest, and most practical way to waterproof a sauna is to avoid any moisture in or on it in the first place. For the outdoors, this looks like undercover areas that are safe from rain and moisture. A pergola may or may not be suitable, depending on the cover from any sideways winds and rain.
If an undercover structure isn’t the type of waterproofing you want, maybe because of aesthetics or the theme of your space, the next best thing is to purchase a sauna that is already waterproofed, such as our Clearlight Outdoor™ Full Spectrum Saunas.
As we’ve already mentioned, this design comes from +22yrs of experience in infrared saunas for the outdoors, and any additional waterproofing by you is not needed. Here’s a short clip of our installers explaining the additional steps we go to in waterproof sealing an already waterproofed material-made sauna during the installation.
Now if you don’t want to build a structure around your sauna to make it waterproof, and you don’t want to purchase an already waterproofed sauna, the other options of waterproofing yourself we do not recommend and cannot be done to a Clearlight Infrared® Sauna without voiding our lifetime warranty.
The first out of these options would be to apply a waterproof stain and seal to the exterior of your sauna. This of course would depend on the type of material you use for your sauna in the first place.
This option will require multiple coats, and continual upkeep to ensure the waterproofing doesn’t fade from the weather conditions…which it most certainly will very regularly.
Please keep in mind that a sauna is used for your health, and provides health benefits from using heat. Any toxic materials used will cause outgassing to occur, and potentially cause devastating effects on your health.
The second of these options is again quite simple, construct your sauna from waterproof materials that are non-toxic. Whether you like it or not, saunas need ventilation, so a more traditional sauna approach with a chimney will be required for a sauna built from a shipping container or the like. Again, this option will depend on your aesthetic and physical limitations and will require you to build a sauna from scratch instead of converting an indoor sauna into an outdoor sauna.
Can you put an indoor sauna in a shed?
Yes. As long as the indoor sauna isn’t exposed to moisture such as rain, dew, or hail, and there is protection from strong winds, sunlight, and debris.
Ensuring that the floor is a suitable surface, the surface is level and does not have any drainage points underneath it. Also, moisture from humidity and other surfaces must be kept away from your indoor sauna.
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Where is the best place to put a sauna?
Placing your sauna in your home or backyard is entirely dependent on you, your needs, and what you like. The outdoors offers great feasibility in placement as long as your sauna is built for the outdoors and is completely waterproof, and you have the correct installation requirements available.
The outdoors offers more space, more aesthetics with gardens, entertainment areas, and views, and can become a focal point for your outdoor area both in the day and especially at night. When thinking about placing your sauna outdoors think about themes of nature, flowing, spirituality, and openness.
Placing your sauna indoors opens a totally different array of fantastic options. Designing at-home wellness spaces are becoming the norm for modern life. Having the ability to decide what kind of space you want provides a lot of personality, creativity, and individuality to this placement.
Having a dedicated room including other wellness devices, such as exercise machines, or ice baths is ideal for those looking to improve physical performance. Creating a mindful space, with books, aroma, and floor cushions can transform a room into a meditative, calming, and relaxing sanctuary. Possibly you have a wonderful feature bathroom that along with a feature bath and view can complete the ultimate luxurious experience in your own home. With the indoors, the possibilities are totally up to your desires and creativity.
If you’re interested in learning more about the non-health-related benefits of owning a personal infrared sauna in your home, we’ve written an additional blog to get you thinking about if a sauna is right for you. Take a look at the "other" benefits of owning a personal sauna at home here.
If you're interested in an infrared sauna cabin for home, click here to view our range of full-spectrum saunas, far-infrared saunas, and outdoor saunas.
Clearlight would like to remind users that this should not be taken as direct medical advice, and you should always consult a licensed health practitioner before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or existing pain treatment regimen.