Weekly sauna sessions at home have been gaining popularity for years now, with more and more people realizing that it is not beyond reach. With increasing numbers of those who enjoy sweating out their stress in the privacy and comfort of a private space – there’s no reason why anyone should be without one! There is an increasing number of people realizing that they could have an authentic sauna experience without breaking the bank.
If you’re thinking about getting a home sauna, there are several factors to think about, but the sort of wood is among the most important. This is why it’s critical to understand different types of wood for saunas, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each wood sauna. To begin, let’s look at some of the features you should be on the lookout for in a sauna wood!
Qualities of the Best Wood Sauna
Every sauna design is individual; some prioritize function, while others are focused on beauty. Whatever decisions you make for your sauna, there are a few common principles to keep in mind to have a thrilling traditional sauna experience. These include using woods that don’t overheat or secrete resin for the benches and selecting materials that are heat- and moisture-resistant inside. Here are a few more characteristics to look for:
#1. Soothing to the Touch
The key to choosing the perfect sauna wood is finding one that doesn’t absorb heat. If you don’t account for this important detail, your experience could turn out very differently than planned! The high temperature inside a Sauna causes problems when the wrong type of wood (Hardwoods) is used because it can get too hot and become dangerous or uncomfortable!
In general, softwoods radiate heat less than hardwoods, so they are frequently chosen. It is much more realistic to include a wood-burning sauna stove and a kuuma sauna stove in your indoor and outdoor sauna design with softwoods.
#2. Temperature Resistant
Using heat-resistant wood is a very important aspect of setting up your sauna. For example, temperatures in traditional saunas can reach 200°F, and if the wood is susceptible to these high temperatures, it will discolor or deteriorate rapidly. A heat-resistant wood will always prevent overheating while maintaining the integrity of the wood, even when you use sauna wood stoves.
To keep your sauna clean, water-resistant surfaces are a must. This is especially true if you have a sauna with hot sauna rocks that you heat water on to generate steam. You don’t want the moisture from sweat or spilled drinks getting trapped in its wooden panels – which can cause molding and discoloration over time if left unchecked!
When you construct a sauna, you want it to endure for as long as possible, so choose a wood sauna that is robust. You’ll be disappointed if you don’t, since replacing it from time to time will soon become costly.
While some people prefer scented woods, others do not, and this is a matter of personal taste. Some individuals, however, may be sensitive or even allergic to the phenols in wood that generate odors; as a result, more neutral woods are preferable options. Before you pick the wood for your sauna, be sure you know what kind of smell you like and select accordingly!
Hardwood VS Softwood
Softwoods come from trees of the conifer family. These are those with needles, like cedar and hemlock – including pine! Saunas can be made out of any type of these softwood materials to provide you comfort during your session
Hardwoods, on the other hand, are the type of wood that comes from deciduous trees. These have leaves and can be found in poplar, basswood, or eucalyptus for example. The rate of growth of deciduous trees is generally slower than that of coniferous trees. This results in harder and denser wood in deciduous trees than in conifers because the less dense and softer wood in conifers is thinner and softer. So, which is the best option for a sauna?
Softwood is the best choice for saunas because it can handle higher temperatures and has a more pliable consistency. It’s also easier to cut and work with, which makes creating your own spa experience less stressful!
Softwood is also frequently less expensive than hardwood, making your sauna project with softwood more cost-effective. Also, with softwood saunas, it is easier to add sauna accessories like the wood-fired sauna stove and wood sauna heaters.
Finally, one thing to consider is that when hardwood absorbs heat from the sauna, it heats up and gets more uncomfortable to the touch.
What’s the best method for keeping your sauna wood from shrinking or cracking?
The most significant thing to consider when it comes to sauna wood maintenance is that the wood in a sauna must be kiln-dried. Saunas can reach temperatures of 80 degrees Celsius and are kept at a near-zero humidity level.
As it warms up in your sauna, any moisture in the wood is drawn out. Wood is a porous and fickle material that shrinks as it expands. If you let this happen too rapidly, your wood will fracture and crack.
Standard wood with a moisture level of 14 percent or less is likely to crack in a prolonged sauna experience. However, moisture content of less than 9% is achieved in kiln-dried wood by heating it gently. This means that when you heat the sauna made with kiln-dried wood, there is less moisture to move around, and the wood is less prone to fracture and break.
This is why the wood you pick for your sauna must be kiln-dried if you are going to avoid cracks and shrinkage.
What are the Best Woods For Your Sauna?
The greatest advantage of the Sauna is its durability. It is highly robust, free of branches, and has little resin (if any). The proper Sauna does not splinter either. The following Woods have earned a reputation for producing high-quality indoor and outdoor Saunas:
#1. Western Red Cedar
The western red cedar, commonly known as Pacific red cedar or cypress pine, is ideal for sauna benches and interiors since it does not secrete resin or overheat, and it is also water repellent.
The most common wood for saunas is Red Cedar, which is also one of the most preferred by sauna experts. Cedar is both beautiful and diverse in hue, with shades that change depending on the light. It’s sturdy but soft and doesn’t warp under heat or humidity variations found in a sauna.
Cedar has a low density, which makes it an excellent insulator and heat conductor. This makes it easier to incorporate a wood-burning sauna heater or a wood-burning stove into its design. It also makes the wood more pleasant to sit against.
When wood is excessively dense, it transmits far too much heat, posing a serious burn hazard to sauna users. Cedar, unlike other types of sapwood, does not ooze pitch. Furthermore, cedar is highly resistant to fungus and decay.
The Norway spruce is a light-colored, evergreen coniferous tree of the Pine family. The wood has an almost white color with hints of a yellowish undertone – it’s one among many beautiful kinds of wood found in this world! Spruce is a handsome, natural-looking wood that’s often used for exterior walls in saunas. The brush technique can be applied to enhance its appearance even more!
It is also one of the most popular woods for saunas throughout Scandinavia and other Nordic nations. This is partly because it’s a common species there, and it’s one of the least expensive choices.
Spruce has a distinct scent. Some people appreciate this odor, which may lead to it being regarded as soothing by some – but others may soon grow weary of it, in which case it isn’t the greatest option.
Although spruce is not a high-quality wood to pick for a sauna, it may be utilized in certain places (exterior walls) to reduce costs. If you have a tight budget, it’s also an acceptable alternative.
As a common type of coniferous tree found in Europe and Asia, Scots pines can be used for outdoor sauna walls. The natural patterning on this wood will offer you an exclusive look if modified with heat to create unique designs! A unique brushing technique may also be used to accentuate the natural grain of the wood.
Radiata pines, on the other hand, have no visible knots and don’t secrete resin or splinter, making them ideal for sauna benches. Saunas constructed of this wood can include add-ons such as wood-burning sauna heaters and a wood sauna stove. In addition, luxury may be added to the mix of this timber with wide panels, brushing to highlight the natural pattern and the darker hue from thermal modification.
#4. Poplar and Aspen
Poplars and aspens are both deciduous trees. They have a similar growth rate to many other plants, but their wood is easier on the skin because it’s not so heavy or dense – making them perfect for saunas!
Poplar and Aspen’s trees produce a light-colored wood that has little to no odor, and the timber from these trees is frequently rather light in color. Poplar saunas are also supposed to provide greater health benefits than other woods.
Among the many benefits is the fact that these trees don’t usually have a lot of knots. Also, they don’t radiate too much heat, making them a form of heat shield, and they don’t secrete much sap.
Is it possible to tell the difference between poplar and an aspen tree? The main distinction between the two is color – aspen is a lighter shade, whereas poplar is often a pale yellow.
However, because these woods are among the most costly of those commonly used for saunas, if you don’t have a huge budget, they could be out of your price range.
Should You DIY Your Sauna?
There are always some individuals who ask about how to build a sauna – which is why we are often curious about the kind of wood that should be used. If you have the expertise and time, building a sauna yourself is feasible. However, there are a few things to consider before you begin, and a few questions to ask yourself.
Is it Cost-Effective?
Even if you build your sauna, it is still rather pricey, and all of your hard work would be for naught. There is no doubt that it will be less expensive than hiring someone to do it. While the materials might appear to be low-cost, the costs of production are still significant.
Keep in mind that it isn’t just the wood you’re seeing! It’s got framing, foil, and wiring. insulation, your door, and your stove. Also, if you don’t have the time, resources, or access to trade rates, your raw material costs will still be significantly high.
Do You Have the Time for It?
When you want a sauna, visiting The Sauna Life is much easier and straightforward. We can get your sauna built and delivered in about three days (depending on size) and you’ll be left with a fully operational, ready-to-use sauna.
When building a sauna, it is important to have the necessary skills and experience for construction not to take too long. If you aren’t a professional, investing time and effort into building a sauna will likely take up too much of your time. This is why it is highly recommended that you choose a reputable sauna business for your small or large sauna.
The Sauna Life is a company that has been in operation for three years and counting, providing superior saunas. With every sauna project we handle, our competence is attested to by the numerous positive reviews that keep coming in. Yours could be next if you choose us today!