Indoor Sauna

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Project by Junado posted 02-26-2014 03:46 PM 2388 views 7 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this indoor sauna throughout 2011 for a family member. The whole construction spanned about a year, working mostly on saturdays.

The house it is in was built in 2009 with a purpose built spot for a sauna, so this was custom built to fit that space. The exterior dimensions are about 7 1/2×4 1/2 feets, so inside dimensions are roughly 7×4. Framing was done with 2×3s to increase the usable space inside. It will sit 3 people comfortably, and 4 if you don’t mind a little proximity! Aside from the corner seat however, the bottom bench is mostly useless (4 feet is a little shallow for a two bench sauna design) and is only used as a foot rest.

The sauna and all accessories (bench, guard, trim, etc.) are all built from clear red cedar. The bottom bench is in two pieces so it can be taken out for cleaning and the top bench can be fully dissassembled as it would not fit through the door. All the assembly hardware is hidden to avoid burning. Inside lighting is provided by three LED strips hidden behind the backrest. I was worried the heat would burn them out quickly, but they’ve been going strong almost three years now.

This was a lot of fun to build, but it’s a lot more fun to use !

-- Julien

4 comments so far

View Pete's profile


188 posts in 5026 days

#1 posted 02-27-2014 03:59 AM

I moved out of sauna country about 20 years ago and have always wanted to build one in my basement. I would say if mine comes out anything close to resembling yours, I’ve succeeded. VERY nice build.

-- Measure with a micrometer, mark with a crayon, cut it with a chainsaw.

View Junado's profile


38 posts in 3145 days

#2 posted 02-27-2014 12:30 PM

Thank you airfieldman. I’d like for every country to be sauna country, this is a great tradition !

-- Julien

View Lanaug's profile


188 posts in 3424 days

#3 posted 02-27-2014 01:46 PM

that looks awesome, is there any finish on the cedar or just smooth sanded?

View Junado's profile


38 posts in 3145 days

#4 posted 02-27-2014 01:58 PM

Just smooth sanded. I’ve debated putting a finish on it (there are some sauna specific finishes, although I have no idea what they’re made of), but ultimately decided not to. Time will tell if this was a good decision or not, but so far it’s been holding up fairly well. The only spot that has some discoloration from the sweat is on the angled wall, bottom right corner, that serves as a backrest for the bottom seat. The sauna gets moderate use, most of it throughout winter (between one and three sessions per weekend) and the owners are good about using towels on the seating surfaces. My thought was that leaving it unfinished would allow the cedar to breathe/dry more easily, and it gets very dry in there when it’s running (165-185F, 20-25% relative humidity) so it dries up quickly.

The backrest for the top bench (held in place with french cleats) and all three bench are easily removed for re-sanding if necessary.

-- Julien

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