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Have you considered incorporating a sauna to your basement

Saunas are absolutely wonderful – completely relaxing and beneficial for your mental and physical health. An electric sauna heats up quickly and is perfect for inside the home. Here are a few items to consider when you’re thinking of adding a sauna space to your basement.

First Consideration: Location

The location of the sauna will be partially dictated by where plumbing and electric currently are in the basement. You’ll save costs by converting a basement bathroom into a sauna and changing room, and you do not have to remove the toilet and sink if you have some space to work with. A shower is an excellent idea – either right inside the hot room or right next door to it. You’ll use this bathroom when the sauna isn’t on duty, so make sure it’s comfortable and inviting.

a basement sauna

Your hot room must have a good floor drain, and a wood floor can be installed over concrete as long as the underlayment is completely waterproof and all water is carefully directed to the drain. If your basement floor already has a drain, ask your contractor about incorporating it into the sauna plumbing. If possible, locate the sauna near an exterior door so you and your family can cool off in the privacy of your backyard. For the very brave, a good roll in the snow is a must after a sauna, so keep the area clean of clutter.

Hot Room and Changing Room Sizes

The hot room should have a volume of 350 cubic feet or more with at least 45 to 55 square feet for the floor, depending on how many people will use the sauna at once. An 8 by 8 feet room would be ideal for most families. Benches should be two feet wide and long enough to lie down comfortably, and putting two benches opposite each other or in a U-shape is just right for conversation. Sauna benches should be well up off the floor to take advantage of the heat.

Use a small step that is completely slip proof for wet feet. Lower benches are good for kids and older folks. The changing room should be about twice as big especially if there will be a toilet, shower, and sink. Allow plenty of space for moving around, and keep the room uncluttered with as few cabinets as possible. Storage should be up off the floor to allow more room, or in a nearby spot just around the comer from the sauna. Make sure there are comfortable chairs or a bench in the changing room so you can cool down after sauna.

Ventilation in the Sauna

It’s imperative to have proper ventilation in a sauna to remove the heavy heat and humidity. This can pose a problem for an interior layout. You’ll need to have your contractor install a super-duty fan with proper venting to the outside of your home to prevent moisture buildup.

Ducts will need to run through joist spaces and out the basement wall, so if your basement ceiling is already finished a little deconstruction may be necessary. In addition to faithfully using your fan to exhaust the humidity, you’ll also want to ventilate the changing room. A standard bathroom fan may not have enough power to pull the heat out of the room, so an upgrade may be necessary.

Materials to Use in a Sauna

Stay away from wood with knots or pitch especially on benches and the ceiling. Other than that advice, the choice of wood finishes for a sauna is fairly unrestricted. Tongue and groove cedar is common for a number of good reasons: the wood is naturally rot resistant, it is soft to the touch and easy to work with, and it smells good. Responsibly harvested redwood is also good for benches and floors. Clear, high quality spruce could be an economical choice for your basement sauna, but keep in mind that it holds more heat than a softer wood like cedar. Though pine is economical as well, it must be completely clear of knots and pitch.

Once you have a sauna installed in your basement, you may find friends popping over for a visit a little more often! Because heaters and fans are run on timers, you will be able to quickly heat up and cool down your sauna with little maintenance. Enjoy the experience. Sauna time is about more than bathing – it is a unique opportunity to indulge yourself in this long-standing tradition.

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