Here at Hogan Design & Construction, we’ve seen a considerable increase in the number of homeowners who’d like to include a sauna in their main bathroom renovation or even build a freestanding sauna in their outdoor living space.
If you like the idea of creating a relaxing spa environment with your very own sauna, we can help. Here are the factors you should consider — and the benefits you stand to gain — when incorporating a sauna in your home.
Calming, Soothing, and Reinvigorating
The Finnish have “taken a sauna” to soothe their bodies, ease their minds, and restore their energy for thousands of years. Today, this relaxing and revitalizing form of self-care remains a valued tradition in the Nordic nation, where most people take a sauna at least two or three times a week.
Modern saunas are vented, high-heat rooms designed for sitting, relaxing, and perspiring. For as calming and enjoyable as it is to “sweat it out” for 15 to 20 luxurious minutes, sauna bathing doesn’t just help you unwind and de-stress — it benefits your health, too.
When you make it part of your normal self-care routine, sauna bathing can:
Help flush toxins from your body
Improve skin health and appearance
Soothe sore muscles after exercise
Alleviate chronic pain (i.e. arthritis)
Relieve persistent sinus congestion
Ease stress and reduce tension
A recent study published by the Mayo Clinic found that sauna bathing provides these benefits because it induces the same physiological response as moderate exercise — increased heart rate, respiration, circulation, and perspiration — all while you sit back and relax.
Incorporating a Sauna in Your Space
Thanks to the growing body of research that continues to confirm the health benefits of this age-old practice, sauna bathing has become a popular pursuit in the United States — and more homeowners than ever are interested in incorporating a sauna in their space.
Although it’s a significant upgrade, a sauna increases the value of your home, requires minimal upkeep, and gives you a place to de-stress in private. It can be the size of a closet or the size of a small room.
But even though many homeowners do opt to convert a closet or small bathroom into a sauna, you can also create your own amazing spa-like atmosphere when you include one in your main bathroom build or renovation.
An in-home sauna can also have different heat sources. The two most popular are:
A dry sauna uses a special electric stove to heat volcanic rocks. Once the air reaches the desired temperature (usually 160 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit), you pour water over the stones to create steam and humidify the air.
Newer infrared saunas use a radiant heat element to convey heat directly to your body so you can work up a sweat from within. This heat source doesn’t get quite as hot (80 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit).
Sauna Materials and Maintenance
No matter how big your sauna is or what kind of heat source it contains, the materials you choose to build it with are very important. As a high-heat space, your sauna should be made from a flexible, softwood that’s not easily damaged by moisture or warped by heat.
Cedar is the classic choice: it’s pleasantly fragrant, resists rot, rarely splinters, and won’t absorb excess heat (translation — cedar remains comfortably cool enough to sit on). Cedar planks are also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Poplar, basswood, and hemlock are other popular wood choices. Both poplar and basswood are hypoallergenic, while hemlock is the most budget-friendly option.
Concrete or tile are two of the best flooring options for an in-home sauna; windows, a glazed glass door, or even a full or partial glass wall can make your sauna feel more open.
In-home saunas require very little maintenance, especially when they’re built to last by a team of experienced professionals — apart from periodically cleaning the floor, your sauna is simply there to enjoy.