Sauna FAQs

How is a Sauna different from other baths?

A Sauna must have a special, insulated room built of softwood; a heater which is capable of heating the room to about 180° F; and stones which get hot enough to produce a good steam when water is poured over them. Anything else is not a Sauna. Also, a Sauna is not a steam bath. Steam is 100% humidity while a Sauna is relatively dry at about 20-25% average humidity (when water is used).

Are rocks necessary in a Sauna?

Rocks are necessary to store heat and to produce steam when water is poured over them. Rocks should be placed all around the heater elements and should completely cover them. In this way the stones will filter the heat from the heater elements for a softer more comfortable bathing experience and provide better steam. Rocks which sit on top of a grill or basket will not get hot enough to produce a good steam and the bather will experience a harsher heat.

What is the difference between a wet and a dry Sauna?

They are the same thing. A Sauna can be used wet or dry. When someone says “wet” they mean that water can be poured over the stones in the heater. If water cannot be poured over hot stones it is not a Sauna. The Sauna bather controls the humidity in the room by the amount of water used. Water can create a more relaxing atmosphere and it aids in perspiration and deep cleansing of the pores. Although use of water is most common, some like to use the Sauna without any water at all for a very dry climate (humidity level 10-15%). Sauna heat and humidity are flexible so it is up to the bather as to how they want to use the Sauna to suit their needs.

Why must a Sauna be built of softwood?

The humidity must be absorbed into the wood to keep the atmosphere relatively dry. Softwoods have this property and are cool to the touch. Hardwoods absorb heat and become too hot to sit or lean against. The wood must be kiln dried to within 9-11% moisture content to prevent shrinkage and warping.

Is an infrared or far infrared cabin a Sauna?

No. The only similarity to the Sauna is the wood lined room. An infrared cabin uses exposed heated elements to produce infrared heat. These elements are located on the back wall, front wall, and usually under the benches. Only the parts of the body that are closest to the elements get hot enough to perspire, similar to a spot heater. Saunas, on the other hand, are meant to heat the entire body via the heated air from a single heater filled with stones. Infrared rooms average about 125° F, whereas Saunas average 175-185° F. Infrareds have no means to create soothing steam or humidity because they do not have heated stones. Use of water is not an option. Some infrared companies claim that their infrared heat penetrates up to 3″ into your body. Even if this claim was true, one should be worried about anything penetrating that far into the body. Saunas safely heat the outside of the body and do not penetrate into it. Are infrareds better for you or do you sweat more in an infrared room? No. Saunas are known to provide the deepest cleansing of any bath in the world. Much of the information being provided by infrared companies is misleading and not factual. Infrareds are not a new type of Sauna. Please click on the infrared PDF file for more information.
Sauna vs Infrared (PDF)

Should a Sauna have a waterproof floor? Is a floor drain necessary?

A Sauna must have a waterproof floor so that it can be easily washed and kept clean and sanitary, and free of odor. We recommend washable floors such as tile, sealed cement/concrete, or heavy duty vinyl. Commercial Saunas should have a floor drain to remove excess water by bathers and for cleaning purposes. Most residential Saunas do not need a floor drain, unless a water hose is used for cleaning. Wooden flooring is not hygienic in a Sauna as it absorbs perspiration, facilitates odor causing bacteria, and it cannot be thoroughly cleaned.

Should a Sauna be insulated?

Yes, insulation prevents heat loss. We recommend R-11 or R-13 fiberglass insulation. The insulation may be standard paper faced. All the walls and the ceiling should be insulated.

How should a Sauna be cleaned?

Damp mop the floor as needed. The benches can be cleaned with a mild soap applied with a wet cloth. To remove perspiration stains on the wall boards light sanding with 120 grit sandpaper may be required periodically. To keep your room looking at its best always lay or sit on towels.

How high should the ceiling be?

The ceiling height should be no higher than 7 ft., as it is important to bring the heat down to where the bathers can use it at bench level. It is also more economical to heat, and the Sauna will heat faster.

Should a Sauna have vents?

We recommend one lower vent, starting at about 4″ off the floor, somewhere near the Sauna heater, and a second vent on any other wall about 6″ below the ceiling. They upper vent may also be put in the ceiling if there is adequate air flow. Venting is not a safety issue; vents only make it more comfortable for the bather. Vents are merely a cutout in the wall or a passageway from the Sauna to an existing room adjoining the Sauna. No ductwork is required. We recommend venting from the Sauna to an area inside the house. The minimal heat that escapes into the house from the vents will not damage your drywall, wallpaper, paint, etc. You may vent to outside air if your desire, but keep in mind that cold air from outside may increase your Sauna heat-up time. The rough opening for the vents we provide in our packages is 4″x10″.

Where can a Sauna be installed?

A Sauna can be put anywhere you have space– inside or outside. All you need is an easy to clean waterproof floor, a 220/240v. electrical hookup for the heater, and for convenience, it is best to have a shower nearby for washing off. Health clubs, hotels, motels, master bathrooms, garages, patios, decks, basements are all ideal places for Saunas.

Is a Sauna expensive to operate?

Heat up time is fast-about 30 minutes-and the Sauna is only on when being used, unlike spas. The average Finlandia home Sauna costs as little as $3 per month to operate, when used for an hour 3 times a week.

Why should I choose Finlandia Saunas?

We have the highest quality in the Sauna industry. All of our interior paneling is 3/4″ thick, whereas our competitors use only 1/2″ material. We believe in our product and refuse to offer the customer anything but the best. We promote and sell only the real Sauna. We invite you to enjoy the Finlandia Sauna experience!