The first time you step into an outdoor sauna is a life-changing experience that will leave you wanting more.
Unlike indoor saunas, outdoor saunas promote a sense of well-being and comfort within nature, allowing you to experience the traditional setting for a relaxing steam. Plus, outdoor saunas don’t take up any interior space, so there’s no need to rearrange or renovate your home.
In this guide from Divine Saunas , you will learn everything you need to create an exceptional outdoor sauna experience.
Overall, outdoor saunas are built to last for decades. Most saunas hold up anywhere from 15-25 years with the proper care and maintenance.
Regular upkeep of the sauna, both exterior and interior, is essential to keep it in good condition for it to last as long as possible.
Before purchasing, you can identify which saunas will last longer than others by looking at the craftsmanship and type of wood used to build it. You should select a sauna built with durable softwood that is rot-resistant.
It’s important to remember to always choose a reputable brand so that you can be confident in their craftsmanship. At Divine Saunas, we feature Dundalk Leisurecraft for most of our outdoor saunas, a brand that has proven its quality materials and designs time and time again.
Keep reading to learn more about how you can extend your sauna’s longevity for as long as possible.
In the United States, cedar is the top choice for saunas due to its quality craftsmanship and resistance to the elements. Choosing the right wood for an outdoor sauna not only extends the longevity of the building but makes the whole experience pleasant.
While different wood types were once used because it was available in the region, manufacturers now select wood based on specific properties such as: longevity, appearance, and resistance to decay.
These factors, along with modern pressure treatments, have allowed modern saunas to eclipse the efficiency and comfort of historical saunas. However, even if you enjoy a traditional sauna, it is comforting to know that technology has come a long way over 2,000 years of use.
When cedar is used for the interior walls of the sauna, the softwood not only looks beautiful with its varying hues of red, but it also helps to moderate the surface temperature of the sauna so you can lean back against the walls if needed.
Named for their unique appearance, barrel saunas are similar in shape to storage barrels and casks. This particular style has become more popular for outdoor saunas than cabin-type saunas. You may have seen these circular rooms in the spotlight in the past, advertising outdoor saunas.
While barrel saunas are not the only type of sauna you can use outdoors, they use less energy to heat the room, thanks to their efficient use of space. In addition, since the heat comes from the bottom of the sauna, there is little to heat at first, decreasing the total time necessary for preheating.
The wide, central area provides the most space for people, and the heat spends much of its time here as it travels up. Once the heat reaches the top, it is gently pushed back down by the curvature of the barrel, reusing some of its own energy.
The type of wood used to construct the sauna will affect how efficiently the sauna retains heat. Thick planks of red cedar are the most common material used for insulating the sauna and retaining heat while staying cool to the touch.
With routine maintenance and care for both the interior and exterior of the sauna, you can ensure the space lasts for decades. ( 1 )
“[…] traditional sauna rooms are perfectly healthy and sanitary as long as they’re maintained properly.” –HuffPost.com
Below are several tips to keep your sauna clean and enjoyable:
You should always clean your feet before entering the sauna. You can do this in the changing room with a bucket to rinse your feet in, or you can shower before entering the sauna.
Showering helps eliminate any dirt and grime from your body that mold likes to colonize, keeping the sauna in good condition even between cleanings.
You should only use completely chemical-free products for your sauna or a product specifically recommended for use in saunas.
In most cases, using citrus water or a mixture of warm water and baking soda is the best choice because it is gentle enough to clean the wood without damaging the interior coating.
Using chemicals in the sauna not only puts your health at risk without proper air-out time, but it can add wear to the wood with frequent use.
While it seems like a no-brainer to keep the sauna off when it’s not in use, it should remain off while you are cleaning the interior as well.
If possible, keep the door open to provide steady airflow throughout the space.
The additional heat will not help the cleaning process and could be hazardous to your health, especially if you use products that contain chemicals during cleaning, even accidentally.
After removing all loose accessories like towels and the water bucket, you can pressure wash the interior on the lowest setting to give the sauna a thorough scrub-down.
Only use this method if you are trying to remove mold or hard water deposits from the walls, which could be the result of infrequent cleaning. Also, remember that pressure washing can wear down the wood interior over time, even on the lowest and widest setting.
Every year, you should check the condition of the wood on the outside of the sauna. It is crucial to keep the sauna well-oiled and protected over the years due to exposure to the elements.
If your sauna has accrued any dirt or debris, you can gently power wash it on the lowest setting possible, taking care to reach the grooves between the wood planks. Setting the power washer on low makes it gentle enough to scrape off residue without harming the wood or oil coating.
Every year, you should oil the exterior with an approved wood-penetrating oil treatment. Purchase this oil as an accessory where you purchased the sauna, or as an alternative, you may find many natural, gentler products. If possible, choose an oil that provides the most UV protection.
Hard water can cause a buildup of raw minerals and chemicals over time, staining the interior of the sauna and creating an unpleasant lime residue inside the sauna. This buildup can be difficult to remove, especially once the sauna has cooled.
It is important to avoid the use of hard water both during your sauna session as a source of steam, as well as when you clean the interior.
Once you have finished your sauna session, open the door to allow the humidity to escape for a few hours. The more steam you use during the session, the longer it will take to evaporate completely.
You should always wipe the wood with an absorbent towel to remove any remaining moisture on the inside benches or flooring. Remove the towels after use, and never use a dirty towel to wipe down any surface.
Not only will this help reduce the risk of developing stains, but the wood will last longer. You should also remove any remaining water from the water bucket so that it does not sit in the bucket for an extended period.
At Divine Saunas, we help you find the perfect sauna experience with quality craftsmanship built to last for decades.
With any outdoor sauna, the interior and accessories can be replaced over time, though they will last for many years. Skilled craftsmanship and quality materials determine the final lifespan of the space. ( 2 )
“To keep your in-home sauna working at optimal levels, it’s important to keep it clean and well maintained.” –Forbes
No wood lasts forever, which is why it’s important to perform routine sauna maintenance to keep the wood in top condition for as long as possible. By taking care of your investment, it will continue to provide you with luxurious and restful sauna sessions for years to come.
Our featured brand, Dundalk Leisurecraft, even offers an impressive 5-year warranty on lumber and parts, apart from normal wear and tear and/or natural weather conditions, to ensure that the wood can help create an authentic experience.
Every outdoor sauna built by our recommended manufacturers is reliable and made to order, allowing you to customize the space to perfectly suit your needs.
It is not common to have to replace the accessories in an outdoor sauna. Replacing accessories is typically done if you are changing something out for other features or selecting a different style.
Cleaning the stones is not necessary, as every time you pour water over them, cleansing occurs. Therefore, replacement or additional cleansing of the stones is not required at any point.
After a decade or two, you may wish to replace or upgrade the heater as it will struggle to heat the room as efficiently. The water bucket, often made from the same wood as the sauna, is the most likely accessory to deteriorate over time. However, it is easy to replace and should last just as long as the sauna.
Yes, indoor saunas do last longer than outdoor saunas because they are not exposed to the elements. You can expect the lifespan and maintenance of your indoor sauna to resemble the home’s interior when integrated into the structure.
Outdoor saunas must contend with the elements and should be maintained regularly every six months to a year to prevent the wood from rotting or fading, particularly on the exterior surfaces.
Whether you have an indoor or outdoor sauna, you should do interior maintenance to prevent the buildup of grime and debris from weeks of sweat and foot traffic.
No, sauna maintenance is not time-consuming, especially if you compare it to the maintenance required for a pool or hot tub.
After you learn how to take care of a sauna, you will learn to include it in your sauna routine. For example, it is important to shower before using the sauna to keep it clean.
This is particularly true if you intend to use the sauna after a strenuous workout or spend a lot of time outdoors.
Sauna maintenance is quick because you can incorporate much of the care into other actions. For example, you only need to clean a home sauna once a month, and it is easier than cleaning the bathtub.
No, the location of your sauna does not affect its average lifespan. You can place the sauna anywhere on your property and use it year-round without affecting its functionality.
If the sauna was made with quality materials from a reputable brand and you perform routine maintenance on the inside and outside, the wood will not rot or deteriorate. Outdoor home saunas are specifically made to withstand the elements, functioning perfectly even in the middle of winter.
When placing your sauna, however, it is important to place it with caution in mind to protect it from degradation as you would with any exterior building. For example, ensure that there are no overhanging tree branches that could fall during heavy storms, and avoid placing the sauna on eroding soils without a sturdy foundation.
Centuries of tradition have carried sauna technology to where it is today, allowing you to have an exceptional sauna experience powered by the same woodfired stove of old, or with modern infrared light technology.
At Divine Saunas, we help you find the best brands on the market and provide you with everything you need to relax with exquisite thermotherapy. Find the best outdoor saunas in our selection today.
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