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Sauna Knowledge

What are the benefits of saunas?

Heat therapy has been shown to improve the function of endothelial cells that line every artery in the body resulting in better health and functionality.

There are many other benefits credited to regular use of saunas including:

Respiratory relief
Endorphin release and stress relief
Improved health of arteries
Improved blood circulation
Lower blood pressure
Soothing warmth therapy
Joint and muscle pain relief
Healthy skin tone
Improves skin irritations and acne
Detoxification
Enhanced immune system
Improved digestion and stomach ulcers

What kind of warranty does Sauna Builder offer?

In addition to manufacturer warranties on building materials, Saunabuilder warrants all craftsmanship related defects for 7 years.

Is a permit required to build a sauna, and if so does Saunabuilder provide them?

We provide every service from start to finish including design, drafting services and permit application.

Permit requirements are entirely dependent on the size of sauna and the type of stove. In Calgary, any sauna exceeding 107 square feet requires a building permit. Electric stoves require an electrical permit and must be installed by a licensed electrician.

How hot does a sauna get and what's the right temperature for use?

Every person has a different tolerance for heat, and most have a higher tolerance when the heat is dry. The temperature that’s right for you is the one that allows you to sweats while seated and comfortable.

Traditional saunas heat the air in the sauna to a temperature range between 70-90 degree Celsius. If the sauna temperature is high (80-100C), bathing experiences will be shorter in duration and more intense. Conversely, if the sauna temperature is low (50-80 C), bathing durations are less intense and longer in duration. Splashing water on the sauna rocks provides intermittent bursts of steam and heat, providing each sauna bather an experience customized to their liking.

What do I need to know about sauna safety?

A sauna is a beneficial way to relax the muscles, revitalize your skin, improve blood circulation, and ease mental stress. However, due to the extreme heat produced by these facilities, users should be aware of important safety measures.

Shower before entering the sauna to remove any lotions or cleansers that are apt to melt or drip onto the wood, leaving oils behind that can cause a person to slip and hurt themselves, and creating stains and cleaning problems.

The heat in steam rooms and saunas causes the body to perspire, often in great amounts. Drink plenty of water before entering in order to combat dehydration.

To start, 3 to 10 minutes in the sauna should be enough to cause your body temperature to rise and produce sweat without causing negative physical effects such as dizziness. After you reach your tolerance limit for heat take a break and cool off, and if you feel comfortable returning to the sauna spend just 3 to 10 minutes more in there.

A cool plunge pool can be geat for stimulating circulation but it isn’t recommended to jump directly into the pool from the sauna and back again. The safe choice is to minimize the temperature extremes by letting your body cool for a few minutes after stepping out of the sauna, and pause for a few minutes after stepping out of the cool pool to let your core temperature start to rise naturally before you step back into the hot sauna.

If you are pregnant, raising your body’s temperature to extreme levels may harm the fetus so you should refrain from using the sauna. Consult your doctor for advice on this, but better to be cautious!

In general, pay close attention to your ability to tolerate the heat. If you begin to feel faint or nauseated you should leave the sauna immediately. It’s normal for your heart rate to elevate slightly in extreme heat but it is not normal for it to race or for you to feel it is getting out of control – in this case leave immediately.

Additionally, stay out of the facilities if you have been drinking alcohol or taking illicit drugs.

Consult a doctor about recommendations for sauna use if you suffer from circulatory problems, heart disease, high or low blood pressure, diabetes, epilepsy, or any other condition that may affect how your body reacts to high temperatures.

What do I need to do to keep my sauna clean?

These easy-to-perform maintenance steps will keep your sauna looking and smelling fresh!

Saunas are made with natural wood because artificial finishes create a much hotter surface. It’s important that you do not paint, varnish or stain the interior surfaces of the sauna.

The best method for quick and effective sauna maintenance is to put a rule in place that the last person to leave must dip a scrub brush in a water bucket and give the benches and walls a quick scrub. This 30-second ritual will keep your sauna looking great, smelling fresh and free of germs. If this is done routinely, there will never be a need to use anything stronger than clean water on the wood.

To clean the rocks, wait until they are cool before soaking them in warm, soapy water. Use a mild brush to clean them off and then rinse clean in water. Make sure the rocks are completely dry before you return them to the sauna.

Once your sauna is clean, leave the sauna door open so that it can air out completely. The heat that is left in the rocks and wood will dry the sauna completely in a short time.

If the wood is not scrubbed after each use, dirt or sweat stains will develop. If this happens, use a scrub brush with a mild solution of baking soda and water. Lightly scrub the wood with the solution and then rinse.

To make your benches look new again, lightly sand them approximately once per year.

If mold develops anywhere, use bleach or a sauna cleaning solution to kill bacteria.

If you use your sauna frequently you should mop the floor periodically using a liquid deodorizing cleanser.

What’s the difference between an electric heater and a wood-burning heater?

The sauna is equally effective whether the heat is produced with an electric heater or with a wood-burning unit. One difference is in maintenance, because a wood-burning stove requires that you always have a supply of wood on hand cut to fit, the fire will need to be fed and stoked, and ashes will need to be removed regularly. The trade-off for this effort is the intoxicatingly sweet smell of a burning wood.

What's the difference between a wet and dry sauna?

A dry sauna is a sauna without steam. As soon as you pour water over rocks to create steam it becomes a wet sauna. The air in a dry sauna makes breathing more difficult; wet air is more comfortable for some, however at the same temperature a wet sauna will feel hotter than a dry environment.

How often should stones be changed in a sauna?

For residential saunas used on average twice a week, the stones should be changed once a year.

It is a good idea to re-arrange the stones occasionally. They tend to deteriorate with use, filling the area with fragments and obstructing the circulation of air. Good circulation ensures that the heater works well and will prolong it’s life.

To clean the rocks, wait until they are cool before soaking them in warm, soapy water. Use a mild brush to clean them off and then rinse clean in water. Make sure the rocks are completely dry before you return them to the sauna.

What purpose does a cool plunge tank serve?

Once you exit a sauna and you’re very hot and dripping with sweat, a cool plunge tank provides an exquisite, refreshing experience. Your sweat is washed away, your body is cooled, and you’re ready for another session in the sauna.

Alternating between hot and cold infusions is also a great way to stimulate circulation!

Should indoor sauna owners be concerned about moisture?

Saunas actually don’t produce much moisture at all, however; attention must be paid to the construction details. All Saunabuilder saunas are designed to passively vent moisture. Our unique 7-layer insulation system is one of the measures we employ to provide excellent moisture control.

Can a Saunabuilder sauna be moved from it's original location?

Yes, this is absolutely possible. We have numerous techniques for anchoring saunas to their foundation. These connections can easily be unfastened if a move is required.

Will I need to do any of the assembly work?

Absolutely not! Saunabuilder clients hire us to take their project from design to total completion. We leave only when the sauna is operational and ready for use.

Do you sell sauna kits so I can install it myself?

No, we do not sell kits. We have saunas that we have completed the design work for but these are still customized to each site. All Saunabuilder saunas are cut and constructed on site.

What’s the difference between pre-fab saunas and SaunaBuilder on-site constructed saunas?

Pre-fabricated saunas or ‘sauna kits’ are designed and constructed to be shipped in pieces and assembled by the customer.

With a sauna kit, the floors, walls, and roof are built from a single layer of 2×6 softwood. Generally there is only one choice of material because the entire sauna is built from one layer.

SaunaBuilder saunas are built from scratch using the best possible material and construction practices. We work with clients from the start to finish. In the design process we establish size, shape, function and appearance. Our saunas are built with over 7 layers of building material in walls and ceilings.

No shortcuts are taken with our construction process, we truly build saunas that are beautiful and meet the highest standard of performance, efficiency, durability.

Is there a difference between traditional dry heat saunas and infra red saunas?

Yes, traditional saunas and infra saunas are two totally different experiences. Traditional saunas heat the air within the sauna to 70-90 degree Celsius. Due to the high temperatures, average sauna duration lasts 5-10 minutes before a cool plunge is needed. Traditional saunas are larger in size, typically located outdoors, and promote a social/family experience. Majority of health benefits are derived from exposure to extreme heat. Infra red saunas are typically more of an individual experience, infra red saunas operate at a much lower temperature (40-60 degree Celsius) and warm the bather with penetrating heat rays. Majority of sauna study’s and their benefits published to date focus on traditional saunas.

Are there any hidden costs? Any material or labour costs not included in Saunabuilder prices?

We want to be totally transparent. All labour and material is included in our published prices with two exceptions:

1. Electrical prep work is not included in sauna pricing. We offer this service, we don’t include electrical preparation in our pricing because it’s largely dependant on clients existing wiring.

2. Sauna foundation (the pad that the sauna rests on, typically concrete). Foundations are customized to each project.