Choosing the proper size for your Family Sauna

Posted September 16th, 2010 by admin and filed in Saunas

When people think about adding a sauna to their home, they sometimes let the space they have available dictate the size of their new sauna. Often this leads to the specification of a larger sauna than is actually needed. For a couple or small family sauna, the 5×7 sauna is the perfect size. If more space is available, a shower, and/or a lounging/changing area, is an excellent extension to make your sauna experience more enjoyable.

Those accustomed to sauna bathing know that the top bench is considerably hotter than the lower bench. Having a full width lower bench permits bathers with different preferences to use the sauna at the same time, but in a shallow sauna there isn’t enough room to make the lower bench full width. Unless the sauna is at least 5’ deep, there’s only room for a narrow step bench which provides a step up to the upper bench and a footrest for people seated up there.

As for the width of the sauna, many people prefer to lay down during their sauna bath, so you need benches that are long enough for prone bathing. With our Precut Sauna Kits you lose an inch from the cedar T&G that covers your wall framing, and with our Prebuilt Saunas, which have modular wall panels that are 2.5” thick, the inside dimensions are 5” less than the outer dimensions, hence the recommendation of the 7’ width.

With the 5×7 size, not only is the lower bench full width, but you even get a bonus L shaped lower bench, rather than just a straight bench. That’s one upper and one lower bench that can each accommodate a prone adult, and one seat for a third adult still remaining.
If you need a sauna with enough upper bench space to accommodate two prone adults, then the 6×8 – pretty much the largest size we’d recommend for a residential sauna – would be the proper choice, but for most sauna bathers, the 5×7 is quite suitable.

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6 Responses to “Choosing the proper size for your Family Sauna”

  1. Towels and rugs. Even though sweating is a byproduct of any great sauna experience, it can cause discoloration and staining from accumulated perspiration and body oils. One of the easiest ways to minimize this is to use towels over benches and backrests, and rugs over floors and duckboards. Even wrapping your lower half with a towel will make difference in your sauna benches’ appearance. Rugs placed over floors and duckboards are good for wiping feet before stepping up on to lower benches and more “feet friendly” during the cold winter months.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Velma, and thanks for commenting.

    As far as we’re concerned – Towels good, rugs bad!

    We’re all for sitting on and leaning against a towel, and such should be de rigueur in a sauna, but you lost us talking about a rug on the floor!

    The towel is a personal single use item. You take it into the sauna with you and take it back out with you, and then it gets thrown in the wash.

    A rug on the floor is another thing entirely. Yes, people track dirt on the floor, but would you want all that dirt and perspiration collecting on a relatively easy to clean hard wood surface, or on a fuzzy rug (yuck!)?

  3. Alec Patrick says:

    The Sauna should be planned for ultimate enjoyment and relaxation. If possible, the space should be large enough for adequate seating and reclining. As a guide, allow 2′ of bench space per person, for sitting purposes; it is necessary to have a 6′ long bench to accommodate a reclining bather. Bench widths should be 20″ for an upper bench, and about 16″ for a lower bench. Do not plan a Sauna with angles (which will cut bench space and add wasted cubic footage. Two levels of benches are very important in a good Sauna-the upper bench is necessary to make use of the heat (which rises to the ceiling level). The lower bench can be used as a step up to the upper bench or as a sitting bench at the lower temperature level. For complete relaxation, a small dressing room with cooling bench or benches should be located next to the Sauna. This room might also be used as a combination cooling/exercise area.

  4. admin says:

    That’s really all the same advice we’ve been giving our customers for over 30 years, except that we would disagree with your point about angles. If the sauna is large enough (e.g. at least a 5×7), one of our “cut corner” saunas doesn’t really sacrifice much bench space.

    Planned properly, cutting the corner on a large enough sauna only costs you some of the floor space in the sauna. What’s more, with Almost Heaven, a cut corner sauna doesn’t cost more than its rectangular counterpart, so unlike many of our competitors you don’t have to sacrifice your hard earned money either if the cut corner design appeals to you.

  5. Within reason, try to keep your room smaller rather than larger. The upper and lower benches are the main components you will use to sit and lay down in the sauna. After allowing for the depth of each bench, (typically 19″ each) you should then plan on space for your heater, plus an area of 4″ around the front, and two sides.

  6. admin says:

    Agreed about keeping a sauna small. We’ve counseled countless customers to not allow their available space to dictate the size of the sauna. Sometimes sizing the sauna down and using the extra space as a changing room or shower is the best solution. Our benches are typically 20″, not 19″, though they are customizable and can be larger or smaller.

    As far as spacing around the heater goes, Tylo heaters must have 4 inches between the side of the heater and the wall. Due to the Thermosafe coating on the front of the heater (which keeps the front a safe to touch 104 degrees Fahrenheit), however, you can have the bench, or your knee, practically resting against it.

    Thanks for the comment!

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