In the previous article, we discussed how to choose a location for your sauna and prepare by installing the necessary plumbing and electrical connections. Now let's discuss how to construct the actual sauna!

Framing will have to be installed if there is no existing framework. Framing refers to the wooden studs that the sides and ceiling of the sauna will be attached to. Framework can be made from two-by-four or two-by-six lumber, and there should be upright posts spaced every 16 inches.

Once the framing is in place, the room needs to be insulated. Insulation is placed between the framework studs in both the walls and ceiling to save energy by keeping the heat in the room. The insulation is covered with a vapor barrier to prevent moisture build-up within the insulation. Foil vapor barrier also helps to reflect heat back into the sauna.

The next step is to construct the walls. Tongue-and-groove lumber is used to avoid exposure of metal nails. Exposed nail heads are dangerous because they could burn the skin in the high heat of the room. Saunas in Finland are often constructed with Nordic white spruce, and western red cedar can also be used. Begin at the floor and start nailing the lumber to the studs in the framework. Angle the nails through the tongue portion of the wood to avoid exposure. Cut the wood so that it fits evenly from one corner to the other. Having one person cut the wood while another person installs it allows for maximum efficiency.

Continue adding rows of lumber checking from time to time that they are level. Each wall is constructed in this same manner. The ceiling is finished off last. Installing a pre-hung door is easier than hanging one yourself.

Molding can be applied to the corners of the room to give it a finished look. Finally, benches can be installed. Pre-made benches can be purchased from a sauna supply store, or you can build them yourself. Make sure there are no nails or exposed metal parts on the benches.

Once all the woodwork is finished, you can install a ceramic floor. This is simply a matter of gluing ceramic tiles to the underfloor and filling the spaces in between with grout. Allow enough time for the ceramic cement to dry before applying the grout. After tiling, wooden flooring panels are placed over the ceramic floor because the tiles would be too hot to stand on in the high heat. The floor panels need to be removable to allow cleaning of the ceramic tile.

When the interior work is complete, the sauna heater can be put in place and connected to the electricity. The exterior walls of the sauna can be panelled, and towel racks can be installed outside the door.

Now turn on the heater, and let it warm up for about 30 minutes. Enjoy your sauna!

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