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Your Sauna's Wood Type (and Why It Matters)

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First Thing To Consider 

Since you now know that having a sauna in the home will help bring massive benefits into your life, it’s time to discuss the build. Choosing the right model is vital for individuals hoping to get the most out of their sauna experience. In addition to health benefits, there is a massive lifestyle change to consider with this new habit of sweating.

The average gym-sauna user will know very little about the type of wood used to build the sauna they frequent. But, for home-sauna use, it’s vital to understand just how important the wood is within the sauna.

The type of wood you choose for your sauna is primordial as it will determine the durability, the resistance to various weathers, the toxicity, the style, the texture, the longevity and even the atmosphere of each session. If one wants to be able to use their sauna for a lifetime, choosing the right wood shall be in their top 3 priorities

In fact, the type of wood is the first thing an individual should consider when looking for a sauna. The wood will go a long ways in determining just how long the sauna will last. Let’s now discuss some options when choosing a wood.

Basswood Against Allergies 

For individuals sensitive to fragrances, basswood is ideal. Basswood is a hypoallergenic wood that does not emit a fragrance or toxin. It also is consistent in color with few knots. The durable hardwood is unlikely to bend or warp over time and it’s even perfect for commercial use.

Another upside of choosing Basswood for your sauna is it's affordability, no one has ever been hurt from saving a few hundred bucks ! Most infrared saunas we sell at Northern Saunas are available in Basswood. We recommend anything by Clearlight or Saunacore. 

Get Cedar For Durability 

Another popular sauna wood choice is cedar. Used for both traditional and infrared saunas, cedar is a ideal because of its natural resistance to moisture. Cedar does not expand or contract like other woods when temperature fluctuates. Specifically, Western Redwood Cedar is one of the most durable woods for sauna use. 

Cedar is especially prized for outdoor models such as barrels and cabin saunas, Cedar wood is robust and able to withstand harsh winters years after years with little degradation. 

For An Authentic Style :

A strong, durable option is eucalyptus. Historically, eucalyptus has been used in cabinetry for years.

The premium wood is similar to teak, but known as a green product, which means it is cheaper than teak. The wood is also easy to stain, so it can match other woods in the home.

Sensitivity & Durability...

If you’ve ever climbed inside a hot vehicle and been slightly burned by leather seats, you’ve noticed the importance of material for comfort. Similarly, saunas need a wood that remains comfortable to the touch at high heats. If you’re enjoying your sauna experience, it’s because someone invested in the right type of soft wood.

Hard woods, like oak or teak, will often overheat within a sauna. Therefore, it’s important to find woods that do not conduct heat. Temperatures in the air should be warm, but the seat should not overheat. Softwoods, like eucalyptus, cedar, and basswood are perfect for sauna use.

There are several types of soft wood, so it’s important to choose one that works foryour sauna and your budget. Likewise, woods with excess sap in them should also be avoided. These woods can create dangerous fumes and even liquids capable of igniting when used in a hot sauna.

Heat & Sturdiness

In terms of practical woods to use, heat absorption is key. The wood for your sauna should be able to absorb the heat from the sauna without overheating. It’s important to find a soft wood that can soak up steam and deal with heat absorption without any type of long-term damage.

Eucalyptus, basswood, cedar and even spruce are some of the best types of soft wood for long-lasting saunas. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful sauna that isn’t heat resistant and won’t stand the test of time. Buying a sauna that will warp or rot will certainly be a major disappointment for those invested in long-term health benefits.

In addition to absorption, it’s also important that the sauna is affordable. Some types of wood are far more expensive than others.

As such, many people feel like saunas are a luxury item, but this often depends on the type of wood used. Saunas can be affordable for those who use the right type of material.

Another crucial issue to consider is the sturdiness of the wood. Since you can’t afford to take a chance on a flimsy sauna, it’s important to find a sturdy soft wood. This also means finding a well-built frame so the sauna can be used day after day without worry.

Indoor Vs. Outdoor Sauna

For the most part, the health benefits of an indoor sauna versus an outdoor sauna is essentially the same. Instead, the choice of indoor versus outdoor depends more on the owner, their preferences, available space, time, and budget commitments. Within this decision, of course, there are pros and cons for each option.

Outdoor saunas require a suitable electrical connection, unless they’re built for wood burning only. Since heaters require an outlet, this option isn’t for everyone.

But, with an outdoor sauna, there’s more room for creativity when it comes to design and quirks.

These saunas are perfect for individuals who want to enjoy their detox experience outside of the home.

With indoor saunas, however, the options are much easier to install as they simply need to be connected to the home’s existing electrical system.

Likewise, the home works as somewhat of a barrier for the sauna, protecting it from the weather. With interior saunas, it’s important to research dimensions with the manufacturer.

Many individuals will choose to have an infrared sauna installed in an unused space or even in a large bathroom. Whether you choose indoor or outdoor, however, it’s important to conduct research on the specific sauna to be installed.

Choosing the Right Size

Generally speaking, saunas are prepared for the number of individuals who plan to use the device at once. However, it’s also important to measure the size of the overall sauna to make sure it can fit in the home or be installed outside. Some exterior saunas require a cement pad before installation.

All in all, to minimalize heat loss from a sauna, it’s important to find the right dimensions for your particular situation. For example, the average height within a sauna is around 7 feet where a room might be 4 feet by 4 feet by 12 feet.

Basically, bathers should have enough room to recline and feel comfortable within.

Clearlight Sauna Outdoor Part description

Sauna Appearance

Finally, since each wood has a different resistance point, smell, durability, toxicity level, strength, density, and flexibility, all of these factors should be considered, but the sauna also needs to be beautiful. Whether you’re looking for a 2-person sauna or something for friends and family, the sauna should be pleasant to the eye.

Some saunas have a rustic Nordic look, while others are more modern. Either way, a sauna will drastically help with the overall look of a nice home. Since saunas can improve the appearance of a home, the proper wood and design should be calculated accordingly.

Eucalyptus, basswood, and cedar are all beautiful types of wood, so it may be a simple choice of color, treated knots, and beauty to consider. As such, it’s also important to choose a natural beauty, rather than something that needs to be painted.

In the end, in terms of appearance, the best place to start is to find a type of wood and style that already matches your current living situation.

Think of your home and how a sauna could add on the overall value and look of the home. Then, look for a model that works for your current situation.

Depending on budget, an outdoor barrel sauna can work for those with a large budget while a red western cedar barrel may be best for those looking for an indoor sauna on a moderate budget.


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Sweat Safely !

Gabriel from Northern Saunas 

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