Clearlight would like to remind users that this should not be taken as direct medical advice, and users should always consult a medical professional if complications arise from prolonged use.
If you’ve been thinking about the prospect of building your very own sauna, then this series of content is for you. We’re kicking off a series of articles looking at how you can construct your own sauna, covering the key considerations of the building process you might face.
Building a DIY sauna is no small task, but with our upcoming series of articles, we’ll help best equip you with the tools and insight you need to get the job done right.
Today, we’re going to be looking specifically at the different types of wood you might want to use for the construction of your sauna at home. As it turns out, not all types of wood are created equal, and there are a number of types that represent the best wood for your sauna walls and benches.
With that in mind, let’s roll up our sleeves and definitively answer the question of what is the best wood to use while constructing a sauna at home.
How To Build Your Own Sauna At Home
The first, and perhaps most important consideration here is to decide what type of sauna you’re looking to build. This decision will influence which type of heating element you’ll utilise, as well as the appropriate raw materials for the build. Saunas come in a number of different shapes and sizes, but the core technology can be broken down into three categories:
- Infrared Saunas
- Dry Saunas
- Stream Room/Turkish Bath
Once you’ve chosen the type of sauna that you’re looking to build for your home, it’s time to look at which raw materials, namely, which types of wood are best suited for your build.
What Timber Are Saunas Made From?
Typically, saunas are constructed with one of a select few types of wood. As you’ll soon find out, there’s a number of good reasons why you should build your sauna from scratch with these types of wood. The most common types of wood you’ll find in commercial and DIY saunas are:
- Western Red Canadian Cedar
- Alaskan Yellow Cedar
- Western Hemlock
- Scots & Radiata Pine
- American or White Ash
- Common Aspen
- Black Alder
Depending on the type of build you’re considering in the construction of your own sauna, and your budget, any of these types of wood are suitable for sauna walls and benches.
What Is The Best Wood For The Construction Of Your Own Sauna?
The answer to this question remains highly subjective, however, Clearlight believes that the Grade ‘A’ Clear Western Red Canadian Cedar that we use across the board in the construction of our saunas represents the best option for your own DIY sauna. Red Canadian Cedar is our pick as the best wood for your own sauna due to a number of reasons.
Our Red Canadian Cedar is a low-density wood that allows it to both heat up and cool down in a short period of time; this allows you to keep operating costs low as possible. We’re able to offer lifetime warranties on our Infrared Saunas because the wood we use is able to repel water, resist high temperatures and fight wood decay and any types of fungus that might find their way onto the wood. It’s also high quality wood that offers attractive and unique grains that are an exquisite addition to any interior or exterior paneling that you’d like to add to your sauna at home. Regardless of which wood you opt for, the most important consideration while choosing the best wood to build your sauna is that it can:
- Resist high temperatures
- Repel water
- Resists warping
- Is antibacterial
- Is antifungal
Can You Use Treated Wood In A Sauna?
Certain types of wood are pressure treated with chemicals to help them withstand the elements, and the test of time. As a result of this pressure treatment, we advise that you do not use treated wood while constructing a sauna at home. If, for example, the floor or a bench seat inside the sauna has been constructed using treated wood, your skin will come into direct contact with small traces of these chemicals and you might even inhale microscopic traces of these chemicals as the ambient temperature and humidity climb.
Clearlight advises anyone looking to construct their own sauna at home to opt for a different type of wood, like our Grade A Clear Western Red Canadian Cedar as their wood of choice.
What Type of Wood Is Used For Sauna Benches?
As we mentioned earlier, there are less than a dozen forms of wood that are ideal for the construction of saunas and sauna benches. We, as a company, are able to offer lifetime warranties on our products because of the high quality Red Cedar we use to build our own saunas with. This is not your only option, however, we’d advise that you stick to the highest quality of timber while building your own sauna, so stick to one of the types of wood that we’ve listed above.
Are Cedar Saunas Toxic?
No, cedar saunas are not toxic, and are extremely safe. Red cedar is a non-toxic form of wood, famous for its aromatic smell and beautiful appearance. There is, however, always the chance that a user could have a mild allergic reaction to the oils and natural resins within cedar, hemlock, basswood or any type of wood that you might be using while building your own sauna.
Ensure that you, your partner or friends are not allergic to the type of wood that you’re planning on using in your own sauna.
Does A Sauna Need To Be Vented?
It’s essential that while building your sauna, you take ventilation into consideration to get the most efficient performance from your sauna. A sauna does not need to be vented due to any safety concerns, but should be considered to help ensure user comfort and assist with any hygiene concerns you might have.
While building your own sauna, ensure that you’ve installed two vents: one vent that will act as an air intake, and another vent that will provide the sauna with an exhaust outlet. Ideally, the air intake vent should be located somewhere in the lower third of the sauna, while the exhaust vent should be positioned high up, to catch that hot exhaust air.
This is the first article of an upcoming series detailing how you can build your very own sauna at home. If you're interested in building your own sauna, we have pre-fabricated kits for you to use. Click here to learn more about our DIY sauna kits.