by Jaakko M. March 21, 2019 6 min read

Common choices when buying a Dundalk Leisure Craft indoor or outdoor sauna

Dundalk Leisure Craft has a wide variety of different types of saunas, so which one is right for you? I will do my best at answering that with this two part blog post. In this first part, we're discussing the general choices you have with almost every Dundalk sauna on our site:

  1. How to select the right size sauna, with the right wood type?
  2. Should you select an electric or wood-burning heater for your sauna?
  3. Do you need a porch or a changeroom for the sauna?
  4. Should you upgrade to Signature or Lounge sauna interior?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make the right buying decision, as we're diving deeper into the individual sauna details in part two of this Dundalk sauna buyer's guide. Let's start with the most important question, sizing the sauna!

Selecting the right size sauna room

First question: how many people will be using the sauna at one time? This is something that people sometimes over-estimate. Even if you have a large family, all of you are probably not going to be using the sauna at the same time. Especially if your kids are not small anymore, they will probably go on their own turn.

Same thing if you often have a bunch of friends visiting, often the men and women like to go on separate turns. Most often, the saunas are used by two people at a time. If you think you need an 8 person sauna, this is something to consider.

Then again, even if you're just looking for a sauna just for your own use, a smallest possible sauna is not the best choice either. Traditional saunas benefit from having some extra space, as the steam from the rocks has more space to disperse. If I was buying a sauna just for myself, I might still consider a 3-4 person sauna.

I wouldn't want to oversize either, because larger saunas takes a while longer to heat up, and of course the amount of electricity/firewood needed grows. These are not huge differences, just something to keep in mind. There are situations where a large sauna can be really nice, so if you're unsure, give us a call at 888-554-4332 and let's talk!

Of course, the other consideration with the sauna room size is if it will actually fit where you want it to go. Obviously this is more important in the indoor saunas, and even with outdoor saunas, this is something to keep in mind. Another thing to think about is that you want some room right outside the sauna, to have some breathing space between sauna sessions. If you have limited space for the sauna, consider leaving some space free.

Wood type selection for walls / roof

All of the Dundalk saunas are made of red cedar. It is in many ways a perfect wood type for a sauna, as it is weather-resistant, has good insulation capabilities and a pleasant smell. When used inside the sauna for benches, it doesn't get hot. Finally, it doesn't absorb much water, increasing the longevity of the sauna even if water gets splashed around.

Knotty red cedar vs. Clear red cedar

clear and knotty wood in Dundalk mini pod sauna

Knotty wood sides with clear wood front wall

no knot holes in the wood

Sorry, peeping toms! Dundalk saunas don't have knot holes...

There are generally two types of wood products: knotty and clear. Knotty wood shows the branches that have grown out of that part of the tree. Clear wood is selected from the parts of the tree where there were no branches. Because trees tend to have a lot of branches, more knotty wood comes from one individual tree than clear wood. That's why knotty wood gets priced lower than clear wood.

You may also have heard that knotty wood might be not as structurally sound as clear wood. If you go shopping for raw lumber, this is generally true. With certain other types of knotty wood the knots may sometimes even pop out of the wood. Having holes in the walls or roof wouldn't be good for your sauna, so Dundalk has made sure it doesn't happen.

With Dundalk saunas, they use carefully selected knotty wood called "select tight knot red cedar", meaning that the knots are an integral part of the wood. The parts of the tree used in your sauna have grown around living branches, making the knotty wood just as durable as clear wood.

That makes the selection of knotty vs. clear just a question of aesthetics. Knotty red cedar is a great wood choice. If you have the budget for clear red cedar and like the clean and smooth look, go for it!

Heaters: wood-burning luxury or electric practicality?

The selection between wood-burning heater and electrical heater comes down to what you can use. When possible, our recommendation is to select a wood-burning heater. For some reason, the heat from the wood burning heaters feels smoother. Then again, there are many situations where the wood heating is just not practical or even possible (city regulations may prevent it). There's nothing wrong with electrical heaters either!

In fact, I've spent lot more time in electrically heated saunas than wood-heated ones. Electrical heaters are just very practical, especially in cities. You don't need to worry about sizing the electrical heater, as we've taken care of the selections for you. If in doubt, you can always contact us by chat, email or phone 888 554 4332.

wood-burning Harvia heater in Dundalk sauna

Choose a wood-burning heater if possible, if not, electric is great as well!

Changeroom and porch: increased usefulness

Changeroom and porch in Dundalk barrel sauna

Changeroom and porch can make your sauna much more useful

Changeroom and porch can really add to the usefulness of your sauna. In Finland the saunas almost always have some kind of a changeroom, and there's a reason for that. With outdoor saunas, especially if the sauna is far away from other buildings, how far do you want to walk dressed in a towel? With the mosquitoes in the summer, rain in the fall, and snow in the winter? It's just much easier if you can change clothes at the sauna!

Speaking of winter - the changeroom can increase the usability in another way.  When taking a sauna, you probably want to have a few breaks within the sauna session. Consider if it gets really cold outside... you might not want to take the breaks outside, but there wouldn't be an issue sitting in the changeroom. You can have total control over the temperature by opening the changeroom and sauna doors, giving you a perfect temperature room at any weather!

The nice temperature in the changing room can be enjoyed even more by adding windows so you can see outside. Depending on the sauna and heater type, you can have different windows in the front wall, changeroom wall and the back wall.

Porch depends on the other surroundings of the sauna. With the porch, you don't need to build a lot of outdooor seating area around the sauna, and can just enjoy the outdoors on the porch. It is great for relaxing between and after the sauna session. The porch crowns the facade of the sauna, and protects the entrance from the elements.

Bench choices and Interior upgrades

With many sauna types, you can choose between 1 and 2 tier benches. If possible, go for the 2-tier. It gives you more options with the seating, and improves the enjoyment of heat. As heat rises upwards, it is hotter at the top bench, while the lower bench stays at milder temperatures. It is especially recommended if you have small kids. You can enjoy the heat as you like, and your kids can take it easy on the lower bench.

Signature and Lounge bench upgrades

Lounge bench Dundalk barrel sauna

Lounge benches let you enjoy the sauna exactly as you like

Signature seating is available in Barrel, Panoramic and Pod saunas (with Luna, the standard benches are almost the same as signature benches). Signature seating is a more premium choice than standard benches, as it has rounded edges, and cedar walls between the bench and floor. It gives the saunas a smoother, finished look. With Barrel and Panoramic saunas, the Signature seating includes the flat floor upgrade.

Lounge seating is a really special upgrade, and highly recommended. It allows you to set the angles of the back- and feet-rests, so you can really relax and enjoy the sauna in the way you like best! Lounge benches are available with 7 and 8 feet long Luna, Barrel and Panoramic saunas. Like the Signature upgrade, it includes the flat floor upgrade in the Barrel and Panoramic sauna rooms.

Hopefully this blog post has helped you with Dundalk sauna basics! You can read more, as we're diving deeper into the product details in the second part. Or, you can jump straight into browsing the products to buy your own sauna online!

Jaakko M.
Jaakko M.

The author has lifelong experience of saunas, as is natural for Finns. When not busy learning about how Bitcoin makes the world a better place, he's learning more about saunas. Jaakko shares his findings here in Divine Saunas blog!

You can read more about him in the About Us page.

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