Saunas

We offer a full maintenence and install service for all Saunas, whether they be commercial or domestic. We have compiled the following advice  for your information to help. We're always happy to advise on new instalations, whether they be custom build or a ready made self install sauna.

Location

Locate sauna as close to the showers as possible.  If sauna must be in the pool area provide a rinse-off shower so that water and chemicals from pool and/or hot tub are not brought into the sauna room.

If possible provide a cooling bench on the outside of the sauna. 

Flooring

Flooring should absolutely be of tile - Do NOT specify wood for the flooring!  Any tile suitable for shower use is suitable for sauna use.  Slope tile towards FLOORDRAIN - Floordrain mandatory in a commercial sauna!

Curb

Floor tile should be turned against the wall for a 4" to 6" curb around the perimeter.  If such a baseboard-tile or curb exists on the outside you can wrap tile through door opening and cut jambs short.  A curb will permit hosing the floor without damage to wall panels.  Middle supports for benches can be cut shorter and a galvanized bolt with a rubber foot inserted at the end - this way no wood is in direct contact with the floor.

Wall Tile

With large rooms, or any room for that matter, in Commercial application the wall(s) behind the heater should be tiled with Porcelain tile.  Tiled walls will reduce fire risk as well as minimize water damage from water being thrown onto the rocks.  Tile must be Porcelain - ceramic will shatter.  Use Fire rated mortar and grout.  Apply tiles over minimum of 1/2" Wonderboard or similar (high rating in wet locations a must).  As an option you may also tile a section of the ceiling immediately above the heater - do not tile the entire ceiling!  A 1/4" sheet of stainless or galvanized steel can also be placed in the ceiling above the heater spaced 1" away from face of panels.  Size of sheet should only be as big as the heater. Atrenatively heatboard can be used.  

Wall Framing

Typical walls in commercial saunas are steel studs.  Frame walls 16" o/c max with solid corners - no staggered corners.
R-13 to R-19 batt insulation in the walls and R-38 in the ceiling.
Inside walls should be covered with 5/8" Type-X drywall.  A Type-C construction foil vapor barrier is then applied over the drywall stapled where needed.  Seams are taped with reflective foil HVAC-tape.  Wrap tape and foil into vent openings.  Finished ceiling height should be 84" AFF.  1x4 HemFir/Whitewood #2&btr furring strips are then attached over the foil 16" o/c horizontally(preferably) and screwed into studs with galvanized screws.  Interior paneling is then powerstapled vertically to furring strips with 1/4" Narrow-crown 18-ga 1-1/2" galvanized staples through the tongue-side of the panel (blind nailed).

Door

Do not specify aluminum framed "store-front" doors.  Specify a solid glass door instead of the standard sauna door with wooden rails.  In saunas that are in constant use a door that is solid glass does not warp, twist, or shrink over time.  All-glass doors are 8mm tempered safety glass with Pine 2x3 jambs that are extended with interior paneling wood. 

Benches

Upper benches should be 24" deep and lower ones 20" of which 4" underlap upper bench.  If room is large enough three levels of benches should be used (+16", +32", +44) instead if the standard (+19", +38").  Please contact us for help in design and what is possible.  Benches can also be custom contoured.

Panelling and Wood

All interior wood in a commercial sauna should be Clear Western Hemlock.  Although Red Cedar is the industry standard in North America, it is a wood unsuitable for commercial use.  Due to the high aroma and chemical content in Red Cedar and Redwood many people have allergic reactions to the wood.  Since Hemlock has no aroma or resin it is a suitable wood even for most people with wood allergies.

Heaters

If a wall heater is used (rooms 6x8 and smaller) it should be upgraded to all-stainless steel.  

Controls

Controls and timers should be placed out of reach;  Typical location is the space above the sauna room with an access hatch above the sauna door.  Controls can be set to turn sauna and light(s) on and off at specified times and do not need to be touched except to turn them off or change settings.  Another possible location is in a wall channel along one of the walls.  Controls should still be as near the heater as possible since a copper wire for the heat sensor comes out of the temperature-controller and must be placed inside the room near heater.  Heater can also be controlled by a central computer or a switch at a remote location.

Ventilation

Ventilation is mandatory!  A minimum of (2) 4"x10" vents are needed - one down low behind heater and one in a opposite wall under the top bench.  If sauna location is such that vents can not be punched through the wall they must be ducted in from adjacent spaces or from above.  Very large rooms may have to use mechanical air exchange - a suction fun removes air from room causing a low-pressure sucking fresh air in through the intake vent.  Contact us for help with this; make sure to give us your floorplan.

Miscellaneous

We recommend installing a 3-tier permanent backrest against the backwall(s) - these would then absorb most of the body oil and perspiration rather than the wall panels themselves.  Backrests are rather inexpensive and easy to change out.  As an option a 5-tier bench skirt can be used to hide space under the benches - however, if floor can not be cleaned by hosing do not install skirt. 
If there is a middle bench that terminates near a heater or does not have a lower bench under it a guard rail is needed.  This guard rail can also double as a foot rest.  Other custom features are also possible such as windows, custom backrests, custom contoured benches, etc.

Lighting

As a minimum (1) wall light should be used.   Custom lighting is also possible such as recessed wall lighting, LED low-voltage lighting, under-bench lighting, etc.

Building Saunas for those with a physical disability

Saunas are difficult to build and to design to meet the needs of both able bodied and users with a disability. Design criteria includes:  5-ft turning radius; 36" door (if possible substitute for a 2'8" all-glass door).  After these you still need to accommodate for seating.  Minimum size for an ideal sauna is 11-ft deep by 9-ft wide.

Cleaning and Maintenance

A commercial sauna should be wiped down daily.  A rag with clean water to wipe down all surfaces of the dusty finish that accumulates in a high-use sauna.  Once a week scrub benches and floor thoroughly with a soft bristle brush.
Once a month or as needed lightly sand benches and backrests and door handles with #220-grit paper.
1-3 times a year turn off heater for a day, allow rocks to cool, and remove them all.  The re-stack the stones as per instructions leaving plenty of gaps for air to move through the heater.  Replace as needed.  Replace all rocks as needed (a Sauna that runs 20-hrs per day rocks should all be replaced as soon as they grey / white over  - approximately every year or every other year).  If chlorine water is poured on the rocks they will turn white and crumble and elements will erode.