How to Build a Basement Sauna

Lead Image
  • 168 hours
  • Advanced
  • 1,000-5,000
What You'll Need
Red cedar wood, 4x6 foot x 1/2 inch
Treated 2 x 4-foot boards, 1/2 inch plywood
Wooden door
Router with table (or table saw)
1/8-inch bit
Screwdriver bit
Zinc-coated screws
Sauna heater

A basement sauna is a relaxing and healthy way to spend a few moments of leisure time with guests or family members within the walls of your own home. What's more, you can build your own basement sauna and save a bundle. All you will need are a few basic tools, materials, the patience to see the project through, and a set of helpful instructions. Here's how to do it.

Step 1 - Plan Your Sauna

Your sauna will need walls, so plan to build it in a corner where you already have two walls. Doing so will save you both time and material. To cut cost for heating and material, as well as to save time and work, plan to build a small sauna.

Step 2 - Frame Your Sauna Wall

framing in a room

Frame all of your walls and include a four-inch space between your sauna wall and the exterior concrete wall. In addition, when you hang your sauna door, build the door frame with a four-inch space between the door's bottom edge and the basement floor.

Step 3 - Install Your Heater Power Lines

Decide in advance the size of the heater you'll be installing. If you have a smaller sauna, you might get by with one that operates with 120-volts. To heat a large space, you may need a 240-volt heater.

Now is the time to run the power line to the heater. You can save money by doing it yourself. If you prefer hiring an electrician to run it, be sure to let him know what voltage you'd like to plan for.

Step 4 - Install Your Sauna Walls

two women sitting in a sauna

Install .5-inch plywood on the ceiling, floor, and exterior/interior walls of your sauna. Stain or paint the plywood.

Step 5 - Install Cedar Wood on Your Interior Walls

Attach your cedar boards over the plywood. Use your router or bench saw to create tongue-and-groove edges on these boards. Doing so allows you to make tighter fits that will better retain heat in your sauna. To attach the cedar boards, use screws that are zinc-plated.

Step 6 - Install Your Heater

Place your heater either near a corner of the sauna or in the middle of the floor. Ensure that it is designed for use in a sauna and that it can produce temperatures of 185 °F.