Saunas and steam rooms have long been known for their great health benefits and aiding in relaxation. Up north in Scandinavia, saunas are so popular, they’re even being installed inside flats of high rises. Still, the most common location to build a sauna is a log house. This way, saunas and steam rooms can be built inside the log house or placed next to the building, inside a BBQ hut or a separate log house altogether.
In this post, we at Eurodita would like to share our experience with saunas. We have built and sold a great many BBQ huts as well as glulam homes kits that played the role of a large sauna. We will go over the most common types of heaters to choose for a desired sauna. We will also cover the size and types of structures often used to house a sauna and which one would be best for you.
Type of heater
This is the most important choice to make when deciding on a sauna. The choice is between two options: traditional steam and stone convection system or FIR – a far infrared sauna.
When you think about a steam-filled room made of wood and full of pleasant aromas, you’re thinking about the traditional convection sauna. In this case, there’s a heater against one wall, steadily heating a basketful of rocks. The source of fire can be electricity, gas or wood fire. Then, by ladle you pour water mixed with essential oils over the rocks. This action releases aromatic steam that combined with heat has a great relaxing effect.
FIR – or far infrared saunas provide a very different experience. They generate heat by using an infrared waves, not dissimilar to a microwave. But don’t worry, it’s totally safe! What you get is a low-humidity and relatively low heat experience. FIR sauna requires much less energy and is most often connected to an electricity source.
The final type of sauna is a steam room. These rooms use a device called a steam generator to raise the humidity of the steam room to about a 100%. Usually, steam rooms hold a lower temperature than either type of saunas.
For the sauna and a steam room, you will always need to think of the right type of fuel that you will be using. Between electricity, gas and wood, this choice will also depend on the location of your planned sauna.
Size and location
The size and location of your sauna will largely depend on the property you own. As briefly mentioned previously, you can place your sauna in your flat, next to your glulam log home or as a separate bespoke house.
In our previous posts, we have briefly covered our BBQ huts. They are very popular in Sweden, where they originate and are called kota grills. As BBQ hut supplier, we are at the position to highly recommend this option. It saves space, can fit next to any glulam beams house and can be equipped with any type of heater.
Alternatively, you can instal a sauna or a steam room inside your bespoke log cabin. If you have enough space and are in a position to build a good ventilation system, as well as a safe heat generator, it’s a great option. You will have a comfortable access to the sauna straight from your log house and if you pick electricity or gas heating, you won’t even need to clean away the coals after the wood burns.
The final alternative is building a large log cabin and turning it into a full sauna or a steam room. Here is where the wood heater truly shines. In this kind of glulam house design, you will get the full, traditional sauna experience, together with wood fire and proper amounts of steam. Additionally, you can also set up a living room to rest after the sauna, a shower or a full bathroom and even a small guest room. This type of glulam beams house transformation is a truly great experience. However, it will depend on whether you have enough space in your land area and enough funds to build an extra log house.
Finally, if you want to set up a sauna in your flat, FIR will be your best bet. This type of sauna will be small, no bigger than a common bathroom. Keep in mind that depending on your flat size, you might need to reduce the area of another room. However, if you’re truly committed, this might be an option for you.
Saunas and steam rooms are often considered a way of life. The purists of this lifestyle will tell you that the only way to experience sauna is to go fully traditional, wood-heated way. However, we live in modern times and if your log house is not ready to support this option, there’s no reason to force yourself. Pick the option that is best for you. Good luck!