Adding a sauna to your home can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only does it provide a wonderful way to relax and unwind after a long day, but saunas also offer numerous health benefits. From detoxification to pain relief, improved circulation, clearer skin, and more, saunas are great for your mind and body.

If you’re thinking about installing a home sauna, there are a few key tips to keep in mind to ensure you get the most out of your investment. Here are 5 hot tips for maximizing your home sauna experience:

Choose the Right Sauna Type for Your Needs

When it comes to home saunas, you have three main options:

Traditional Wood-Burning Sauna

This type of sauna uses a wood-burning stove to heat rocks and then the room. Wood-burning saunas provide an authentic, traditional sauna experience with a wonderful scent. However, they do require more maintenance and work to operate. You’ll need to stock up on firewood, stoke the fire regularly, and clean out ashes.

Electric Sauna

Electric saunas use heating elements to warm the rocks and air. They heat up quicker than wood-burning saunas and are simpler to operate – just turn it on, set the temperature, and enjoy. However, the experience isn’t quite as traditional.

Infrared Sauna

Infrared saunas use infrared heaters to directly warm your body without heating the air. This allows for lower temperatures while still providing all the benefits. Infrared saunas heat up the quickest, are the most energy-efficient, and are often the most affordable option. However, they don’t provide the same ambient heat or authentic experience.

When choosing which type of sauna is right for you, consider your budget, desired experience, and how much maintenance you’re willing to handle. If you want minimal fuss but still enjoy sauna benefits, an electric or infrared sauna may be the way to go. For a truly immersive, traditional experience, opt for a wood-burning sauna.

Pick the Right Sauna Size

Sauna sizes generally range from 2-person capacity up to 6 or 8-person. To choose the right size:

  • Consider how many people will realistically be using it at once. Don’t size for a huge group if you’ll mainly be using it solo or with one other person.
  • Measure your space. Make sure the dimensions of the sauna will actually fit in the area you have in mind.
  • Allow for airflow and circulation. The sauna should not take up your entire bathroom or basement. Leave sufficient space around it.
  • Think about usage frequency. If you envision using it nearly daily, size up for comfort. For only occasional use, smaller may suffice.
  • Know the sizes of prefab vs. custom models. Prefab saunas are limited to certain dimensions, whereas custom saunas can be any size.
  • Budget for heating appropriately sized spaces. Larger saunas will require more heating power and energy to get hot.

Finding the sweet spot between spaciousness and heating practicality can make your home sauna even more delightful.

Give Careful Thought to the Design and Materials

Beyond just size, choosing finishes and designs that align with your own style, needs, and sauna preferences can elevate the experience:


The wooden interior surfaces produce the warming infrared waves and pleasant scent. Cedar and spruce are classic sauna woods with beautiful, aromatic grains. Use tongue and groove construction for tight seams.


Ample insulation keeps the heat and humidity inside the sauna where you want it. Fiberglass batts or rigid foam panels behind the wood paneling are great insulators.

Heating System

Wood-burning stoves with venting provide the most authentic ambiance. For infrared, look for low EMF carbon strip heating panels across walls and ceiling. Electric stoves should contain built-in rocks for dripping water.


Look for inward opening, insulated glass doors that won’t obstruct outside the sauna. Handles should remain cool to the touch for safety.


Install subtle accent lighting on walls or ceiling. Using fireproof, moisture resistant fixtures. Keep it low lighting for ambiance.


Proper airflow prevents the sauna from getting stuffy. Look for vents across top of walls or ceiling.


Top-notch saunas include built-in premium features like speakers, chromotherapy lighting, back rests, and more.

Take time to design your ideal soothing sanctuary tailored exactly how you’ll enjoy.

Pick the Perfect Sauna Spot at Home

Choosing where to put your new sauna is an important decision. Consider the following when picking the perfect location:

Inside vs. Outside

Indoor saunas are convenient for anytime use and easier to keep heated. Backyard saunas provide a refreshing outdoor escape surrounded by nature.

Existing Utilities

Locate your sauna where electrical, ventilation, and plumbing (if needed) connections are easily accessible. This prevents having to add extensive new wiring or ductwork.


Find a secluded space away from busy areas of your home for peaceful relaxation. Basements, master bedroom suites, or fenced backyard patios are ideal private sauna spots.


If you’ll use your sauna often, install it somewhere handy like just off your bathroom or bedroom for easy access.


Consider the vibe you want. An outdoor sauna nestled into natural surroundings provides Zen ambiance, while one in your media room can play music.


Protect flooring from moisture with easily cleaned tile, concrete, or waterproof flooring under and around the sauna.


Ensure the space is prepped for proper electrical, drainage and ventilation per sauna requirements.

Finding the right home location results in a sauna space you’ll look forward to escaping to anytime.

Invest in Quality Construction for Safety and Durability

Sauna construction standards are no joke – the high heat and humidity necessitate robust design to be safe and last for many years. Never cut corners.


Top-quality Nordic spruce woodbuiltin Finland is the gold standard for sauna integrity. Canadian hemlock and Western red cedar also rate well.

Moisture Barriers

Use water-resistant adhesive caulking between all panels. Cover interior walls with vapor barrier paper before finish materials.


Install an R-12 or R-19 fiberglass batt insulation blanket behind walls and ceiling to hold in warmth and allow safe exterior touch temperatures.


Proper fresh air vents near the ceiling are crucial to prevent suffocating heat and let humidity escape.


Hire an electrician to install wiring to power the heating elements, light fixtures, and any accessories per code.


Guardrails, handrails, non-slip floor surfaces, and an interior light are smart additions for those enjoying the sauna in bare feet.


Self-closing inward opening glass doors maintain heat while allowing entry and exit.


Floor drains or sloped flooring carry away splashed water while bathing.


Choose brands certified by the Sauna and Health Association of Finland for safety assurance.

While pricier upfront, proper sauna construction will reward you with a safe, functional sauna that lasts for decades.

Maintain Your Sauna for Best Results

To keep your home sauna in peak condition for maximum benefits and enjoyment, be diligent about proper care and maintenance:

Keep it Clean

Wipe down benches with a soft cloth and non-toxic cleaner after each use. Remove towels, bathing suits, etc after sessions.

Handle the Heat

Turn to low between uses to conserve energy and reduce temperature shocks that can crack wood.

Humidity Control

Leave door ajar after use to air out excess moisture that can cause mildew and damage.

Scrub It Down

Deep clean interior at least quarterly using sauna scrub soap and brushes to remove residue and odors.

Check the Rocks

Reposition heating element rocks if they crumble or “nest” together preventing proper airflow.

Fresh Scents

Periodically remove old cedar planks and replace to revive aromatic redolence.

Inspect Wiring

Make sure electrical wiring remains intact with no fraying or damage from heat exposure.

Drain Testing

Pour buckets of water to ensure floor drains and exterior runoff operate smoothly.

Silence Squeaks

Use wood glue to re-adhere any loose planks or trim causing noise when heated.

With periodic TLC, your home sauna will function safely and beautifully year after year.

Frequently Asked Questions About Home Saunas

Many new sauna owners have questions about how to maximize their enjoyment of this wonderful addition to their home. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:

How hot should I make my sauna?

160-180°F is ideal for safety and comfort. Start low and gradually increase to your preferred sweating temperature. Stay hydrated and listen to your body’s limits.

How long should I use my sauna?

Sessions of 10-20 minutes are recommended, especially starting out. Use caution not to overheat. Take breaks as needed.

How often can I use my sauna each week?

2-3 times per week is great for detox and cardiovascular benefits. More frequent use is OK as long as your body responds well.

What should I wear?

In a private sauna, nudity or a towel are common. Bathing suits work too. Avoid heavy clothing that could cause overheating.

Should I pour water on the rocks?

Yes! Ladle water over the heating element rocks during your session to create steam for humidity.

Is it safe to use a sauna after a workout?

Absolutely! A sauna is great for muscle recovery. Just be sure to give your body time to cool down first after intense activity.

Can I install accessories like speakers or lights?

Yes, many modern saunas have custom mood lighting, sound systems, and tech features installed. Just be sure the electrical is handled safely.

Do I need a humidifier if I have a steam shower?

Not necessarily. The hot water vapor from your steam shower provides adequate humidity for your home.

Should I keep the door open or closed when not in use?

Keep it closed but not latched to allow air circulation and prevent moisture build up inside.

How often should I deep clean my sauna?

Deep clean with sauna-safe soaps and disinfectants at least once per quarter depending on frequency of use.


Adding a sauna to your own home can be one of the best wellness investments you’ll ever make. With numerous physical and mental health benefits, saunas are a wonderful way to relax, de-stress and treat your body right. By following these key tips for choosing the ideal sauna design, size and location, properly maintaining it over time, and customizing the experience to your personal preferences, you’ll be able to maximize the benefits and enjoyment of your home sauna for years to come. Here’s to happy, healthy home sauna use!