Sauna Types

There are many sauna types and this category provides a quick overview of them. One of the most popular sauna types is the traditional Finnish Steam Sauna, which uses generous amounts of water on the hot sauna stones to produce steam. Some people prefer the dry sauna, which has a sauna heater with rocks, however no water is poured on the stove for steam. The newest sauna type could be the Hot Yoga Sauna, which is a traditional sauna with the heat dialed back to a lower temperature and has capability to re-arrange benches to one lower level platform suitable for Yoga posing and stretching.

However you enjoy a Sauna is the right way. Cultures around the world have utilized the health benefits of heated rooms for hundreds of years. The best way to know which sauna type you prefer, is to go to hotels, health clubs and fitness centers and actually try them out. If you are researching sauna types before buying, this will help you choose the right home sauna type for you, that you will enjoy for many years.

Custom Sauna

A custom sauna is a kit of sauna components manufactured to fit into any size pre-framed and insulated space in a home or commercial facility. There are several important details that the sauna manufacturer needs to know before manufacturing a Custom Sauna Kit, such as the sauna room rough opening measurements and a basic sketch of the room floor plan. For a complete list, see our Custom Sauna Planner Form. Superior Saunas is unique in offering a huge menu of all sauna items in the category Do-It-Yourself Sauna Parts.

Almost any room in a house can be converted into a sauna with a Custom Sauna Kit, such as a spare room, a closet or if space allows, under the steps. It is recommended to remove any existing wall / ceiling paneling to get to the framing studs. Insulate room with standard fiberglass insulation, run wiring for sauna light and heater and you are ready to install a custom sauna kit.

Commercial custom sauna kits are manufactured for hotels, health clubs, resorts, military bases and more. Commercial grade sauna heaters are used for years of sauna enjoyment, whether used dry or with sprinkling water on sauna heater rocks for steam.

There are many choices of options for custom saunas. The main wood type choices are white Aspen or Western Red Cedar. Sauna heaters can be electric, wood burning or gas. Electric sauna heaters are the most convenient, just turn a dial and wait about 30 minutes to heat room. Wood burning stoves are more traditional and offer a better quality heat for outdoor custom saunas. Gas sauna stoves are great for areas where natural gas or propane is the economical choice. Custom Sauna bench layouts can be tailored for maximum comfort or more seating capacity. A 24" deep sauna bench allows the sauna user to lay down for maximum relaxation. Or for more seating capacity, install 3 tiers of 18" deep benches with a ceiling height of at least 7' 6".

Custom Sauna doors are made to standard sizes or to fit an existing rough opening. Sauna door options are: choice of wood type, insulated glass units and choice of door handle styles.

See Custom Cut Sauna Kit pricing or request a quotation for a Custom Sauna by completing and sending in the Custom Sauna Planner Form.

Modular Sauna

Prefab/Modular sauna rooms are pre-fabricated into panels or sections that can be assembled in hours. The prefab sauna room is fully assembled at the factory then disassembled into panels and packaged as a kit. This type of sauna kit is also referred to as a Modular Sauna Kit.

The main advantage of having a Prefab Sauna is that it can be disassembled and moved to a new location, should you decide to move. So compared to a permanent installed Custom Sauna, the prefab sauna can in a sense be considered portable.

There is very little labor required at the installation site so the prefab sauna is more expensive than a Do-It-Yourself Custom Sauna Kit, because the assembly work was done at the factory. If you can frame in the sauna room and install the sauna kit yourself or with family/friends, a custom sauna kit can significantly save money on initial cost of sauna. If needing to hire a builder or contractor to frame the sauna room and assemble the Custom Sauna Kit, this route can cost a lot more than a Prefab Sauna kit.

Prefab Saunas are complete with pre-fab benches, heater guard and of course an electric sauna stove. Many prefab saunas also have a glass panel sauna door and windows to make the room feel larger. A section of assembled Duckboard is typically included for the walking area in the prefab sauna room.

See our selection of elegant, sale priced Modular Sauna Room Kits.  

Home Sauna

The home sauna is usually installed in the basement, backyard or spare room of a residence. Home saunas are best used daily as a way to relax, recover from aches and pains, reduce stress, help with detoxification, have some quiet time or just as a way to warm up on a cold winter day. The home sauna can be of a portable pre-fab type or a permanent installation in a framed and insulated room.

Home saunas typically utilize an electric sauna heater for convenience and low maintenance. Most residential sauna heaters are powered by 240 volt single phase electricity, which is hooked up to the main power box by a licensed electrician. Some small saunas can use a 120 volt sauna heater wired to its own circuit breaker. Just turn a dial or program preset timer and in 30 minutes the home sauna room is heated and ready to enjoy.The energy cost of heating a home sauna is probably a lot less than you might think, usually less than $1 per day for 30 minute warm up and 1 hour sauna time. Many people enjoy splashing some water on the hot sauna rocks for steam as in the traditional Finnish sauna. All of Superior Saunas heaters can use water for steam or just be used dry if preferred.

The size of a home sauna depends on how many family members, or visiting relatives and friends you might want to accomodate and visit with while taking a sauna. With a 7 foot 6 inch sauna ceiling height you can add a 3rd tier bench to increase guest seating space. Home Sauna bench layouts can be tailored for maximum comfort or more seating capacity. A 24" deep sauna bench allows the sauna user to lay down for maximum relaxation. Or for more seating capacity, install 3 tiers of 18" deep benches with a ceiling height of at least 7' 6".

Home saunas are commonly installed indoors and can use an All Glass Panel entrance door. The large glass panel makes the smallest of saunas seem more spacious. Frame in proper rough opening in the sauna room and easily install a pre-hung sauna door. Epoxy coated hardware and an easy magnetic latch make for many years of maintenance free sauna enjoyment.

Wood tile flooring in the home sauna makes for a comfortable surface to walk on and is easily removed for thorough cleaning of the sauna. Western Red Cedar floor tiles are the economical choice for beautiful snap-together sauna flooring. Hardwood Ipe is the ideal choice for a durable sauna floor that will last for generations.

With a little maintenance, a home sauna will last for many decades. The average home sauna should be cleaned monthly with a sauna cleaner liquid.Brush over wood surfaces with diluted solution while the sauna is cooling down then leave door open to help evaporate moisture. Sauna heater rocks should be reset every year to maintain correct operation. Sauna rocks will eventually crumble and become compacted due to many heating / cooling cycles and especially if a lot of water is used on the hot rocks. Take out all sauna rocks, rinse sediment off, throw away crumbling ones and reset rocks loosely in between heating elements and on top. This minimal maintenance will ensure correct operation and efficiency of your home sauna heater.

Commercial Sauna

The Commercial Sauna is designed for constant daily use and can be found in Hotels, Gyms, Ski Resorts, Apartment Buildings, Military Bases and more. Many commercial saunas are large rooms with plenty of seating area around 3 walls and a large floor standing sauna heater in the center.

The industrial strength design of commercial saunas usually incorporates thicker walls with more insulation and stronger benches with more supports to floor. The large sauna heater has many rocks to gently transfer heat to the sauna room.

More sauna maintenance is required with daily use commercial saunas. If benches and walls are not scrubbed weekly with a suitable cleaner, bacteria can darken the wood and destroy wood fibers over time. Sauna rocks in heater should be taken out and reset at least once every 3 months, restoring proper airflow through heater to get the most life out of the heating elements.

Many commercial saunas have posted rules to follow. All require the use of a towel to absorb excess perspiration and pool or shower water. Some commercial saunas allow the use of tap water on the sauna heater rocks to produce steam, however many do not because of extra maintenance involved in having the heater and sauna components in humid environment.

Aspen Sauna

White Aspen wood saunas have a distinct lighter look than the Western Red Cedar saunas. Aspen saunas are very popular in Finland and Russia where Aspen forests are common. The Russian Banya is similar to a sauna and is commonly made with Aspen lumber. Aspen forests cover the upper Midwest through to the East Coast of the U.S. so naturally many saunas in these regions are Aspen saunas.

Aspen sauna wood is the material of choice for hospital saunas in Finland as it is non-allergenic (almost no scent). It is a good choice for American commercial saunas that want to accomodate more sauna users, free from the sometimes over powering cedar scent that can irritate certain respiratory conditions. Aspen Saunas are recommended by some doctors to aid in patient detoxification programs.

When choosing wood type for your sauna, it is mostly the overall look of the Aspen sauna wood or the Western Red Cedar woods that people consider. Both types of wood will last many years in a properly constructed and vented sauna that provides several air exchanges per hour.

An Aspen Custom Sauna Kit has all of the pieces that would be installed inside your pre-framed and insulated room as a permanent installation. Kits include foil vapor barrier, tongue & groove paneling for walls and ceiling, trim package, benches, vents, sauna heater, stainless steel nails and some accessories. Custom saunas are tailored to fit in the LxWxH rough opening (stud to stud) or your commercial or residential space.

Aspen Prefab Sauna Kits assemble in hours and the modular panels easily come apart to relocate if neccessary. Prefab saunas are used indoors typically setup in a basement or recreation area of a home.

Cedar Sauna

Western Red Cedar sauna woods are very popular in North America and have that famous aromatic scent quality. Cedar sauna woods vary in color and shade, generally the heartwood is darker and outer layers are lighter. There are several grades of tongue & groove cedar sauna woods. The most popular for sauna use is the clear knot free #1 grade. With some effort in board placement, the overall look of the cedar sauna can be quite pleasing.

White Cedar sauna wood usually has more of a rustic look and feel. The color can vary from a pale grey to yellow tint. Because of the aromatic scent that cedar sauna woods are famous for, aspen wood is a sensible non-allergenic alternative to cedar woods.

Dry Sauna

Any sauna can be used dry, however not all saunas can be used for steam or wet sauna. Consult the installation manual of your sauna heater manufacturer to be sure the heater is designed to have water poured on. Some sauna enthusiasts prefer the dry heat sauna, which feels cooler as a result of the lower level of humidity. In the dry sauna, a standard sauna heater with rocks is used but no water is sprinkled on the hot rocks for steam.

Many commercial facilities with a traditional sauna restrict users from putting water on the sauna heater, simply for less maintenance in the sauna room. Also to protect inexperienced people from pouring chlorinated pool water on the rocks and breathing irritating vapors. Sauna heaters and sauna woods will last longer when no water is used to produce steam as in traditional Finnish steam saunas.

Dry Saunas can be made with any of the popular sauna woods, Western Red Cedar, white Aspen, White Cedar or other species. Dry sauna construction is the same as a traditional sauna, with foil vapor barrier behind the tongue & groove paneling, etc. However you enjoy taking a sauna, dry or with some water on the rocks for steam, it is the right way.

Traditional FInnish Sauna Bath

The sauna bath has been enjoyed by many cultures through the centuries. The idea is to sweat enough to feel cleaner than most other ways of bathing. After two or three sessions in the sauna, the pores in the skin are open and easily release dirt, then a quick rinse off after the sauna bath leaves the body very clean with a sense of well being.

The ideal sauna bath is a wood burning outdoor sauna building near a lake. The traditional Finnish sauna bath method is to take a refreshing dip in the lake after the sauna session.

Sauna bath designs can incorporate a drain if the sauna bather wishes to rinse off inside the sauna building. A waterproof floor is a good idea, such as tile or rubber sheeting with Ipe wood snap together draining floor tiles.

Be sure to drink refreshing liquids to rehydrate after the sauna bath! Enjoy the feeling of wellbeing that is unique to the sauna experience.