Traditional Sauna Frequently Asked Questions

Buying a traditional sauna is a major investment in your health and home. Here are some frequently asked questions we have selected from our years of experience that we think will help you.

Unlike most traditional saunas, our barrel saunas are designed for both indoor and outdoor use. Red Cedar is naturally resistant to decay, and the ball and socket design of the staves makes for a robust seal and solid structure for outdoor use. Additionally, the thick softwood staves are excellent at retaining the heat of the sauna and the circular barrel shape provides excellent distribution of heat.

Roof covers are available here and are highly recommended for those in very wet or snowy climates.

We also offer an array of traditional indoor saunas and luxurious sauna cabins, so we have something for everyone!

Red Cedar is the preferred lumber for traditional saunas for several reasons. It is one of the few kinds of wood naturally resistant to rot, decay, and mildew, and as such, can readily be used for indoor or outdoor construction. Also, because it’s a very soft wood, red cedar allows your body to be in comfortable contact with the wood even though the air in the sauna room is very hot. Unlike some cedar wood, Western Canadian Red Cedar carries no harmful toxins and doesn’t cause respiratory discomfort. Many sauna users enjoy the sweet, fresh scent of Western Canadian Red Cedar.

We also offer several other wood types, including clear cedar, fir, and spruce.

Western Canadian Red Cedar does not need treatment. Naturally, the wood will turn a silver color over time due to the effects of sun and rain - with no detrimental effect on the wood itself. If you wish to retain the rich, natural color, treat the exterior of the sauna with a UV inhibited stain that will resist the weathering effects of sunlight and rain. Your local paint professional can assist with a suitable product.

Never treat the interior of the sauna room.

Our barrel saunas can be used in any environment, but in all cases, it is important that the surface supporting the sauna is firm and level (a slight taper for rain run-off is fine.) Suitable surfaces include wood decks, concrete patios, paver stones, pressed gravel, etc. The barrel saunas can be placed directly on the ground due to the synthetic plastic cradle supports which create a barrier between the wood and the ground.

Barrel saunas are very easy to assemble and can typically be put together by two people in only a few hours. The saunas come partially assembled and the sections simply need to be fitted in place. The sauna comes with pre-assembled front and back ends and requires the staves to be placed around the ends and then tightened with the stainless bands. Bench sections are pre-built and simply need to be installed after the room is assembled. Easy-to-follow instruction manuals are included with the sauna.

Traditional indoor saunas come in a kit with many parts pre-assembled. Most of the wiring is already taken care of. Two people can assemble it in a few hours, using basic household tools.

The costs of operating a wet/dry sauna are very minimal - negligible under normal use, much like the cost of a clothes dryer or electric oven. The sauna operates on efficient 220 volt electricity and draws less than 30 amps of power. Unlike a spa or other household appliance, it only runs when you want to use it. You heat up the sauna no more than an hour or so before you want to use it and then shut it off when you’re finished, usually 20-30 minutes later.

Heat-up time is based on ambient temperature, so the sauna will heat faster when the outside air is 50F when compared to, say, 20F. Optimal sauna temperature varies by individual; some people like their sauna at 165F while others like it at 190F. However, as a rule of thumb, the sauna will heat to 165F in 30-40 minutes, and to 190F in less than 60 minutes.

For most units: The sauna heater requires 220v power and must be hard-wired to the electrical source. A 4.5kw or 6.0kw heater will require a 30 amp breaker and 10/2 wire and an 8.0kw heater will require a 40 amp breaker and 8/2 wire. The light requires 110v, 15 amp service with an in-line on/off switch.

Check the electrical specifications for your specific model and ALWAYS have a licensed electrician do your wiring according to local electrical codes.

Very little maintenance is required. Depending on the humidity and weather conditions in your area, you may need to tighten the bands or place additional filler staves in the sauna after a period of time, usually in the first few months. This is because any swelling and contraction of the wood will occur due to moisture absorption, and the desired effect is to have the wood “swell” or expand into the bands. You may want to periodically scrub the floor or benches of the sauna with a mild solution of water and baking soda but other than that, simply enjoy your sauna!

Our traditional saunas are handcrafted in the U.S. at our partner manufacturing facility in Renick, WV. Our track record underscores our commitment to quality and service. By using only high-quality materials, the traditional saunas will last a lifetime. All of our traditional saunas come with Harvia brand heaters, the world standard for safety, quality, and efficiency. With our traditional saunas, you can be confident of an authentic sauna experience in a sauna built by a recognized leader in quality and craftsmanship.

Our traditional saunas have a limited lifetime warranty on the cabin and 5-year warranty on the Harvia heater through the manufacturer. You won’t find a better deal anywhere else, complete warranty information is available here.

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