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I mentioned a few posts ago that my husband has always wanted a sauna. And I have to admit, the thought of a sauna in my house seemed really pretentious at first. Picturing giant glass doors, steam rooms and white subway tiles made me a tad queasy, especially when I thought of the price tag.

Then I spotted a few photographs of old, authentic Finnish saunas (like the one above at Hotel Alaska), and boom: My heart was won over.

We’re building the most DIY sauna possible, a super-inexpensive, cedar-lined sauna with a teeny little heater and wooden bench. It’s tiny, but just our size, and building it was so much easier than I had ever imagined.

Here’s how we did it:

1. After plumbing your space properly, install a basic liner for the shower floor.

2. Insulate the space, adding a vapor barrier to ensure a mold-free zone.

3. Mix, pour and trowel concrete. I think husband installed a few rebars in the floor at this point, but I was too busy mixing concrete with a hoe to notice. Yes, I mixed concrete with a hoe. My father would be so proud.

Note: To ensure the water drains properly, we troweled a 2-inch slope around the drain.

4. Let concrete stand for 10-12 hours, then caulk and prep walls for cedar paneling.

5. Install cedar paneling (tongue and groove works just fine) and admire your handiwork.

We still have some finishing touches to add (we ran out of cedar!) on the remaining walls including trim, a custom bench and, of course, the sauna heater, but it’s looking good at the moment. Who knew a sauna could sound so luxurious, but be so easy to do yourself?

Raise your hand if you’ll be tackling this job in 2011. I double dog dare you!


Design Inspiration

20 Responses

  1. angie says:

    Great job! I'm also planning to build a sauna in my bathroom, something like this http://www.finlandphilosophy.com/en/prod-140-1634
    …it feels like a real treat, to have a hot steam bath after a long working day.

  2. Robert Lynn says:

    The first step is the foundation so I advise that you get the most reputable plumber in Perth to set up your plumbing system for this sauna. You can do the rest I think for as long as you have a good foundation.

  3. Dale says:

    What makes this amazing is the fact that it is a DIY project that has been completed. My DIY and plumbing technique are way off for this project so I have to hire a contractor and a plumber burwood.

  4. AbbyPlew says:

    Wow, you just did what plumbers rockingham has to do there. You might wanna ask them for suggestions how to entirely finish that plumbing work you got there. I heard they're really good at it.

  5. tumtualilu says:


  6. That looks relatively simple enough, I'm thinking of trying it myself. Good thing we have an old stock room that's barely being used.

  7. diynaturalliving says:

    I don't think I would ever leave my bathroom if I had a sauna!

  8. Now you got me wanting one in my own bathroom. I just wonder how much work has to be done with the retrofitting and installing of new pipes.

  9. I thought this was a totally 80's project? I have clients with a new-to-them house and one of their first projects is taking out their sauna.

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