Sauna walls are a big part of sauna construction and need to be installed properly to ensure the sauna will work correctly. Sauna walls are traditionally made of wood, but can also be made of other materials such as stone or concrete. Both indoor saunas and outdoor saunas must have walls that are durable and able to withstand high temperatures. Sauna walls must also be heat-resistant and waterproof. Without sturdy walls, a sauna would not be able to retain heat properly and would not work correctly. Sauna walls are an essential part of any sauna, whether it is indoor or outdoor. Let's learn

What are sauna walls made of?

Most sauna rooms are made of wood, but the walls may also be made of stone, concrete, or glass.

The sauna dimensions and heat source often decide the material choice for your sauna walls.

There are many factors to consider when designing and building your DIY Sauna walls, including where to place ventilation.

You may also want to consider your electric sauna heater or wood-burning heater needs:

  • Infrared Sauna Heaters
  • Traditional Wood Fired Saunas
  • Mains Powered Electric Sauna Heaters*

*with electric sauna heater wiring that conforms to the NEC Sauna Requirements, this covers 6kw sauna heater wiring that may be necessary depending on your design.

The most popular type of wood used for DIY sauna walls is cedar.

Why Are Saunas Made of Wood?

Cedar is a softwood that has a high natural oil content.

This makes it resistant to rot and insect damage and gives it a pleasant smell. Alternatives to cedar for sauna building are types of wood that are sometimes used for sauna walls, including fir, hemlock, and redwood. Pine wood is a less desirable choice as it is more permeable and susceptible to warping, cracking rot, mold, and bacteria than harder woods; however, with the correct care, it can be a brilliant budget-friendly option.

Because of the building materials being so versatile, we see all kinds of sauna builds, including:

Mobile Sauna and Portable Sauna Trailers


Portable Sauna Trailers

These hot room mobile sauna businesses are always increasing in demand as more and more people learn about the benefits of sauna use.

Even the sauna door, sauna ceiling, sauna bench, outer wall, and floor may be made of wood, making it easy to meet the sauna ventilation guides – essential for achieving the desired löyly. Some saunas have walls and ceilings that are lined with tile, stone, or another material for easy cleaning.

All Sauna walls, including barrel saunas, must be thick enough to insulate against heat loss and to protect the people inside from the heat generated by the sauna stove. The thickness of the walls depends on the type of wood used. This applies to 2 person saunas and luxury 6 person barrel saunas alike.

For example, cedar sauna walls are typically 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) thick, while fir walls may be only 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm) thick.

In addition to being durable and attractive, wood is a good insulator. This is important because the DIY sauna walls must be able to withstand high temperatures. Good quality sauna designs will include temperature measurements taken from temperature sensor readings throughout the sauna.

Concrete, stone, and glass are also used for sauna walls. These materials are less common than wood, but they have some advantages. For example, concrete and stone are more fire-resistant than wood. Glass walls can create a feeling of openness and provide a good view of the sauna wood-burning stove.

When choosing a material for sauna walls, it is important to consider both aesthetics and function. The walls should be durable and heat-resistant, but they should also be pleasing to the eye.

How do they work?

For both an outdoor and indoor sauna, the sauna walls need to be made of a weather-resistant and heat-resistant material. Many people start by considering turning a shed into a sauna as this protects against the weather, one of the key challenges in sauna longevity due to mold, dampness, and rott.

Using wood creates a soft sauna experience, with the timber absorbing much of the noise.

The sauna walls of a sauna room keep the heat inside the sauna. If the walls were made of a material that didn’t hold heat well, all the heat would escape and it would be very difficult to maintain a consistent temperature.

The vapor barrier prevents the heat from escaping through the walls and also protects the sauna walls from moisture.

Sauna walls are an important part of the sauna, and they need to be made of high-quality materials in order to function properly.

Are there any risks associated with sauna walls?

Not really! However, if the sauna walls are not made of high-quality materials, they might not work as well and could lead to lower temperatures inside the sauna.

Additionally, if the vapor barrier is not effective, moisture could damage the sauna walls.

Sauna doors, wall panels, and ceilings are typically made of high-quality wood, such as cedar, spruce, or hemlock. These woods have natural moisture-resistant properties that make them ideal for use in saunas.

But if you use any low-quality wood in your sauna, it will not be as effective in resisting moisture and could warp or rot over time. The foil vapor barrier should also be of high quality to prevent moisture damage.

If you are building a custom sauna, be sure to use only high-quality materials when building or repairing your sauna!

Where can you buy sauna walls?

You can either buy sauna walls separately or as part of a sauna kit. If you want to buy sauna walls separately, you can find them at most home improvement stores or online retailers.

If you want to buy a sauna kit, you can find kits that include everything you need to build a sauna at most home improvement stores or online retailers.

You can download instructions on how to build your own barrel sauna here.

We suggest you get your sauna walls from sauna kits because it will be cheaper and easier to install them that way!

Sauna kits also include other necessary things such as a gas pipe, foil tape, a heater, a fiberglass batt, and other glass elements, etc. To avoid rough opening measurements (such as the ceiling height), we recommend that you buy a sauna kit as it will include all the necessary things.

How much do they cost?

If you are building a home sauna, the cost of the sauna walls will depend on the size and materials used.

On average, the cost of a basic home sauna kit is between $2,000 and $5,000. However, if you want to use higher-quality materials or add custom features, the cost could be much higher.

If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, you could try a DIY Barrel Sauna, including sourcing the materials, pdf plans and step by step build instructions (including internal and external Sauna Bench Space).

One of your biggest expenses for a DIY sauna, after timber, will be your sauna heater. Traditional saunas use wood-fired stoves to improve the ambiance, however most sauna heaters are electric heaters, often 6kw sauna heater wiring is a major challenge for a DIY installer as you will require a registered and licensed professional to complete this installation.

You will also need to consider your heat source. Infrared Saunas have grown in popularity of late, however, they cannot achieve the high temperatures associated with the health benefits of regular sauna use. Traditional saunas, whether wood-fired or electrically heated, are the most popular heat source choices for your outdoor sauna as they can achieve the higher temperatures required to achieve the cardiovascular and neurological health benefits.


To get the most out of your sauna experience, be sure to use high-quality materials when building sauna walls! Kits that include everything you need are available at most home improvement stores or online retailers and will save you time and money in the long run. Just make sure to use high-quality materials to avoid any moisture damage. Thanks for reading!


How to Seal Sauna Wood?

Sealing sauna wood is an important step to protect it from moisture and prolong its lifespan. While sauna wood is naturally resistant to moisture, sealing it helps to maintain its integrity and prevent water damage.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to seal sauna wood:

  1. Preparation: Start by ensuring that the sauna wood is clean and dry. Remove any dust, dirt, or debris from the surface using a soft brush or cloth.
  2. Choose the right sealant: Select a sauna-specific sealant that is heat-resistant, non-toxic, and suitable for wooden surfaces. Tung oil, linseed oil, or sauna-specific wood sealants are commonly used options.
  3. Application: Apply the sealant evenly on the sauna wood using a lint-free cloth, brush, or sprayer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the application method and the number of coats needed.
  4. Drying time: Allow the sealant to dry thoroughly according to the instructions provided. This may vary depending on the type and brand of sealant used.
  5. Sanding (optional): If desired, you can lightly sand the surface between coats to create a smooth finish. Be sure to remove any sanding dust before applying subsequent coats.
  6. Additional coats: Depending on the desired level of protection, you may choose to apply multiple coats of sealant. Each coat should be allowed to dry completely before applying the next.

Remember, proper ventilation is essential during the sealing process to help dissipate any fumes that may be emitted. It’s also important to follow the specific instructions provided by the sealant manufacturer for the best results.

Sealing sauna wood not only enhances its appearance but also safeguards it against moisture and extends its life. Regular maintenance and resealing may be required over time to ensure the wood’s longevity and performance.

What is a sauna rock basket?

A sauna rock backset, also known as a sauna heater or sauna stove, is a crucial component of a traditional Finnish sauna.

It consists of a heating element and a pile of sauna rocks that are heated to create a dry and hot sauna environment.

The rocks absorb and radiate heat, contributing to the overall sauna experience. When water is poured onto the hot rocks, steam is released, creating a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere and steamist sauna. The sauna rock backset is typically located in a corner of the sauna room and can be powered by electricity, wood, gas, or even infrared technology, depending on the sauna type and design.

What’s the best sauna wood?

When it comes to choosing the best wood for saunas, several factors need to be considered including wood fibers. Two popular options are cedar and hemlock.

Cedar is widely regarded as an excellent choice for sauna construction. It has natural oils that provide a pleasant aroma and act as a natural repellent to insects and moisture. Cedar is also known for its durability and resistance to decay, making it a long-lasting option for sauna wood.

Hemlock is another popular choice for sauna wood. It is known for its light color and subtle grain patterns, giving saunas a clean and contemporary look. Hemlock has good insulating properties and is resistant to cracking and warping, making it an ideal choice for sauna construction.

Ultimately, the best sauna wood depends on personal preference, budget, and availability. It is recommended to consult with a sauna professional or supplier to determine the most suitable wood for your specific needs.

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