What You Need To Know About Home Saunas

The Scandinavian obsession with home saunas has spread all over the globe and there is little that will compete with a well designed sauna if you want to relax aching limbs, or improve your skin quality. Originating in Finland, modern saunas can reach temperatures of over 200 degrees Fahrenheit and, in a home, offer a haven of pleasure. They are the perfect place to retreat for half an hour after a busy day or following a robust work out. Most home saunas have a heating element that warms the air but increasingly popular are infrared saunas which use a hot body within them to warm the space. Very high sauna temperatures are not suitable for children or people with certain types of medical conditions, so check this before installing one.

Why Pine?

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Traditional saunas are made from spruce or pinewood. Nowadays other materials are used, including some porous hardwoods. However, nothing evokes the traditional feel of a sauna like pine because it has a distinctive smell. Pine slats will got hot in well insulated saunas, so you need to have a towel to sit on to be comfortable. Other materials don’t have this problem, but traditional pinewood remains the most popular choice.

Control Systems.

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Basking in the heat of a sauna, followed by a quick cooling off period is the whole idea. However, not everyone can stand the higher temperatures and, if you are sharing your sauna with others, it is best not to overdo the heat. When installing a sauna pay careful attention to the control system. This is usually little more than a thermostat that will regulate the temperature to a maximum level. Modern saunas tend to use fairly sophisticated control gear which reach the desired temperature rapidly and maintain it, but some home assembly sauna kits are not so good. If you opt to build your own sauna remember to keep the space well ventilated.

External Saunas.

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Not all homes have sufficient space to house even a small, two person, sauna. In such cases, finding a space outside that you can use is likely to be the best option. The disadvantage of an external sauna is that it will lose heat more rapidly, so you will need to give more attention to insulating it. Internal saunas are usually cheaper to run, but if you don’t intend to use it regularly there’s no good reason to reject the idea of an external sauna. They often look great, particularly if sited next to an outdoor pool.

Saunas In a Traditional Setting.

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If the rest of your home décor is traditional or evocative of Old World charm, you may find that installing a sauna does not set the right tone. After all, saunas have only really caught on in the twentieth century, following the invention of the sauna stove. In such cases, hide your sauna away with a false wall or even a suitable drape, so that an expanse of exposed pinewood does not diminish from the look of your traditional home.

Prefabricated Saunas.

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If your don’t want to have a contractor build a bespoke sauna for you and don’t have the inclination to construct one from a kit, then a prefabricated sauna is likely to be the right thing to choose. Prefabricated saunas come in a range of styles, suitable for internal and external installations. Most manufacturers offer an installation service, too, though prices can vary greatly.


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Consider the lighting within your sauna, as this is an often overlooked aspect of their design. Good lighting can make all the difference to a sauna, especially if you like to read in them. Remember to always specify light fittings that are suitable for wet and hot environments.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.