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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!


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83 Responses

  1. pixelecho69 says:

    Oh my goodness ! as much as I would love to have a sauna in my home there's no room for it, can this be done outside in a storage room maybe?

  2. Tonja Morris says:

    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. HUH!

  3. RemStone says:

    Wow! You guys inspire me! I never would have thought that you could DIY half the stuff you guys have done. It sure opens the door of possibility. I can't wait to see your finished house, it's going to be AMAZING!

  4. Natalia says:

    I love this! I would love a sauna, but we are in a flat right now…..as soon as we move to a place that is ours, I am doing this project myself! Thanks, you make it seem quite idiot-proof!

  5. ricky says:

    i love this house

  6. It's projects like this that remind me why I want to own my own home.

  7. [...] yes? Ken has been hard at work laying our 360Flooring tile (with radiant floor heating), grouting, finishing the sauna, prepping trim and gearing up for the big plumbing finale: toilet, sink and [...]

  8. Barbara says:

    We're building a new house on a lake and plan on having a sauna incorporated in the design. We're in Finland now and hope to pick up a stove to bring home.

  9. mike says:

    you can get pre-cut kits custom built for your room size. See some examples here: http://www.saunasandstuff.com/traditional-saunas/

  10. tatiana says:

    i would like to buy that… when i can buy… thanks.

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