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5 Important Considerations for an At-Home Sauna

Modern bathroom with sauna
One of the most popular areas at resort spas is the sauna because of all the benefits. The effects of the heat from a sauna help rid the body of toxins, soothe sore muscles, and improve circulation. You don't need to travel to your local spa to reap these benefits — instead, consider having a home sauna installed.

1. Location

Your first consideration for your sauna is the location. You'll first of all need to decide if you want it inside the house or outside.

For an Indoor sauna, you need an available space in your home. However, many of the required structures are already in place, making construction easier and less costly. Indoor saunas are typically part of the master bathroom.

An outdoor sauna can be costlier, but you do have a lot more options for size and design. If you're locating the sauna outside, you'll need to choose a good location. Many homeowners choose to locate the sauna right next to the home's exit for ease of access. However, you may also incorporate the sauna as part of the swimming pool area.

2. Size

According to Home Tips, the standard height of the sauna should be seven feet, which is ideal for minimizing heat loss. A small sauna can be as little as four feet by four feet. If you want to accommodate more than one person, though, a home sauna can get as big as eight feet by 12.

The size of your sauna will be somewhat dictated by the available space. That said, you will want to consider the use of your sauna. Think about whether more than one person are likely to use it at the same time. Likewise, many people enjoy reclining while lounging in the sauna, which will necessitate more space.

3. Seating

Along the lines of reclining, you'll need to sort out the seating. Commercial saunas typically have tiered rows of benches. You may also choose tiered benches and have at least two levels. With two-tiered benches, the lower bench can serve as a step stool and footrest while you sit on the higher bench. The tiered approach is also ideal for larger families.

Concerning the dimensions, you need at least two feet per bather, though six is preferable to allow for reclining. The depth should be at least 18 inches for comfort, though up to 24 is common. Additionally, if you'll be reclining, consider a lounging bench or accessory that makes lounging more comfortable.

4. Materials

Wood is the classic material for saunas. Cedar is one of the most commonly-used hardwoods for the same reasons that make it ideal for decking — the cedar oil makes it rot-resistant, and the wood doesn't splinter easily. What's more, the cedar gives off a pleasant scent when heated. Pine and spruce are other popular options that also provide scent when heated.

An important consideration for the sauna floor is that it neither causes heat loss nor heats to the point that walking is uncomfortable. Many contractors simply use the same wood as for the walls and bench seating. However, concrete and vinyl tiles are also possibilities.

5. Heat Source

For the heat source, you may decide between the traditional external heat source and the new technology, infrared light. For traditional saunas, you'll typically choose between wood-fired, gas, and electric heating. Naturally, the most traditional source is a wood fire, but it also requires more work. Most homeowners opt for electric heat.

Infrared saunas work by penetrating your body and heating you from within.  Therefore, the air temperature is much lower than with traditional saunas, usually meaning you can stay inside longer.

You can also have a hybrid sauna installed, which offers both infrared and traditional heat.

Enjoy the benefits of a sauna in the comfort of your own home. Visit the Athens Pool & Spa showroom for more ideas for your home sauna.