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Katherine 02-01-2006 09:32 PM

Sauna Wall construction help
 
Does anyone here know how to build sauna's?? I sure could use some more basic understanding to the construction process. It is a freestanding building with 2'x4' framing 16" oc. and Cedar/Cypress lap siding exterior with cedar/cypress T&G inside and on ceiling.

Neither my builder or CAD drawer knows how to build the Sauna walls. I've told them all i know from internet research, but i can't explain some of the requirements: Please correct me if this is wrong and help me understand the air space behind T&G siding and air gaps on top & bottom of walls for keeping the wood & insulation from getting wet.

This is what I've learned so far and what I want to do:

Nippa Wood Burning sauna stove/with rocks
Monolithic slab with drain to septic (to pass code here in Florida)
6" cement curb to keep water from "wicking" going into the wood. Our sauna is also used for bathing (we will pour buckets of water over our heads for rinsing & cooling down)
PT sill plate (what size??) on top of curb
Outside wall 8" wood lap siding on vapor wrapped (what kind?)
UN-treated (??) 1/2" plywood
2'x4' framing (is this ok to be UN-treated studs like the plywood?)

R-11 OR R-13 fiberglass Batting insulation. Will R-13 fit??

Aluminum vapor barrier (loosely fitted, overlapped, taped with heat resisting kind).

T&G interior wood paneling (NO plywood underneath just the studs)

NOW how does this interior wood go onto the wall studs and have a 2" air space. How can all this fit into a 2'x4' wall? Do we have to use furring strips? if so, HOW? Also I have never seen gaps at the top or bottom of the walls for venting on pictures of others' saunas.
How does this get constructed?

:) Any help would be greatly appreciated, Katherine:)

bob the builder 02-04-2006 01:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Katherine
Please correct me if this is wrong and help me understand the air space behind T&G siding and air gaps on top & bottom of walls for keeping the wood & insulation from getting wet.
Can't really think of a reason for an air gap in the ceiling t&g, except for the fact that you are probably going to want foil on ceiling to reflect the heat back. The gaps on the walls I'm going to assume is for fresh air. This also could be achieved by using an air intake and exaust. I don't think I would want my exaust to high on the walls because of losing warm air. I don't think I would be to concerned about getting wood and insulation wet because of the dry heat and the fact that the sauna probably won't be used all that often considering the hours in a day.



Monolithic slab with drain to septic (to pass code here in Florida)
I can't believe that you need a drain on a concrete floor unless it is a commercial site but I don't work in Florida either.
6" cement curb to keep water from "wicking" going into the wood.
Also I would install some anchor bolts to keep your wall from blowing away, probably code. I also would use construction adheasive on bottom of sill plate.
Our sauna is also used for bathing (we will pour buckets of water over our heads for rinsing & cooling down)

PT sill plate (what size??)
Same size as walls

Outside wall 8" wood lap siding on vapor wrapped (what kind?)
any will do, but I'll say tyvek because it is common
UN-treated (??)
sure spf
1/2" plywood
2'x4' framing (is this ok to be UN-treated studs like the plywood?)
yes

R-11 OR R-13 fiberglass Batting insulation. Will R-13 fit??
yes

Aluminum vapor barrier (loosely fitted, overlapped, taped with heat resisting kind).
fits loose because of shrinkage from heat

How can all this fit into a 2'x4' wall? Do we have to use furring strips? if so, HOW?
insulation fits between the studs. attach foil to interior face of studs. If you choose to fur out the wall's buy some 1x2's and nail to stud, then with gap at top and bottom of interior siding you have allowed your wall to breath.
Also I have never seen gaps at the top or bottom of the walls for venting on pictures of others' saunas.
How does this get constructed?
You haven't seen it because it would expose your foil at top and bottom of wall and that wouldn't look real finished unless you installed a cover vent. On saunas I have noticed that a gap under the door could be used as an intake.
:)

I have never installed a sauna before so take what I have said with a grain of salt. Odd that I tore one out of a basement remodel I started today though.

Bob

Katherine 02-04-2006 03:28 AM

WOW! Bob--you sure know and understand a lot about Sauna building for not having built one yourself. Thanks for the reply--been checking for a reply twice a day--I love this forum. I understand a little more now. It is 3:30 AM and I can't sleep.

We will be using the sauna a lot. My husband and I are retired--the sauna baths helps our aching bones and relieves our stress. One at night just before bedtime helps me sleep better too! I'm hooked!! Ours will have more water on floor so the drain to septic was neccessary to meet code here. Our Finnish friends in Michigan have a wooden floor in their sauna and the water goes through the cracks to the rock layer on the ground below.


A Finnish saying goes:


"Build Sauna first, then house!" :D

Which is what we are doing.

This morning I picked up the permits for our house & Sauna--it took 4 weeks! The sauna plans passed without all the details that my builder needed (his company didn't draw up the plans for us because originally we wanted another builder).

My husband & I took them to our new builder right away, and he said that he thinks a cement block wall with foam insulation would be better for him to build. Earlier he told us about the issues of walls rotting, health problems because of PT materials, etc.--it sounded like he was brushing us off. He even said what if we sold our house and years later the walls rotted for the new owners. I guess he thinks it would come back on him. :confused: I don't understand his thinking--he has been in commercial building for 35 years and just a couple years now building homes.

He would only be liable for one year, right?

Well, doesn't the ceiling have the same issues? Heat/steam rises!

I am having intake/exhaust vents put in (and yes I've read about the space under the door working as a vent)--but I've also read about a space behind the T&G wood siding interior for extra protection in keeping the insulation dry from condensation caused by the high heat--180 to 200 degrees--is how we like it!

I guess that is what the furring strips are for.


I told him I didn't know about the foam insulation/heat mixture & toxins--he said no more than fiberglass batts. I then told him I wanted rockwool (mineral wool insulation) it's safer.

Well, back to the "drawing board" or should that be "saw horse?" I wish you were here Bob!!

:rolleyes: Any thoughts on all of this??
Thanks, Katherine


bob the builder 02-04-2006 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Katherine

Earlier he told us about the issues of walls rotting,
That problem would be resolved by foil as vapor barrier to protect insulation and furring out walls so condensation on foil can evaporate and escape the room through vent, or window or other means.

health problems because of PT materials,
Just don't burn the treated and you will be fine, 200 degrees is not considered burning. Also don't use your sill plate as an actual plate for eating dinner!!!

He would only be liable for one year, right?
Tipically
Well, doesn't the ceiling have the same issues? Heat/steam rises!
You can do the same thing you do to the walls, I would install aluminim vents in 12' lengths to give it a somewhat more finished look.

I am having intake/exhaust vents put in (and yes I've read about the space under the door working as a vent)--but I've also read about a space behind the T&G wood siding interior for extra protection in keeping the insulation dry from condensation caused by the high heat--180 to 200 degrees--is how we like it!
Sounds good go for it.

I guess that is what the furring strips are for.
Yes


I told him I didn't know about the foam insulation/heat mixture & toxins
Don't use the foam insulation
--he said no more than fiberglass batts. I then told him I wanted rockwool (mineral wool insulation) it's safer.
Either would work

I wish you were here Bob!!
Me too even though Wisconsin winter has been mild I could see a warm vacation...

Also after your done using your sauna you could just open a window to let the moisture escape if it is that much of a concern...

Bob


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