Sauna is a traditional piece of equipment. A sauna is a heated room with a temperature between 70-100 degrees Celsius. It increases your skin temperature, and as a result, heavy sweating occurs. It is so because your heart rate rises while trying to keep your body cool. Due to this, you will get multiple benefits by using a sauna. You can ease your muscle and body pain, improve cardiovascular health, eradicate skin problems, and reduce stress levels.
You will find several kinds of saunas. Each is different from the other in many aspects. While some center on practicality, others are decorative. But apart from these, as a sauna user, focus on its primary built material: wood.
So, if you want to construct your sauna, and you want the most suitable and durable wood for it, you should contemplate a few factors while choosing any wood type. But you might be wondering where you will find those considerations, right? Well, do not worry, as below we have penned down the example of the best woods that will offer your sauna durability and protect it from various issues. But before delving into the best wood types, you need to get some knowledge on softwoods and hardwoods to know the best wood type better.
Softwoods versus hardwoods
First, you need to understand that hardwoods originate from deciduous trees. It means you will obtain hardwoods from basswood, poplar, and eucalyptus. These trees grow slowly, and as a result, the woods are denser and harder than softwoods. On the contrary, as the name suggests, softwoods are relatively softer than hardwoods and are also easier to cut. You will obtain softwoods from evergreen trees like cedar, pine, hemlock, and many others. Though these woods are softer, they offer durability and are affordable also. Besides, unlike hardwoods, you can get a comfortable sauna using experience when the wood absorbs sauna heat.
Also read: Wood-burning sauna
Best wood for sauna
Now, you have some knowledge about hardwoods and softwoods, and it is time to go through the below best woods for constructing your sauna.
Western Red Cedar
Thuja plicata or western red cedar is the preferred wood type for saunas. This wood has vibrant colors with hues and is also suitable for insulation as it has a low density. When you make your sauna using this wood, you will see that your sauna heats faster and cools down quickly. That is why most people prefer to use it as it offers the most comfortable sitting experience. In addition to all these, unlike other wood types, western red cedar does not bleed pitch. On top of all, it is highly resistant to decay and fungus.
Alaskan Yellow Cedar
It is one of the best wood types for making saunas as Alaskan yellow cedar can resist decay and fungus adequately. It is also appealing to the human eye as it has an outstanding yellowish appearance. So, you can use it for constructing your sauna.
Populus tremula, or common aspen, is a deciduous tree that grows around Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa. People prefer to use it to make sauna benches. It is so because this wood does not produce splinters, secrete resin, and get extremely hot. It also has a unique look with light toning and smooth texture. Due to this, you can also utilize it for constructing the sauna walls.
It is probably one of the best wood finishing materials for a sauna. Common alder, black alder, or Alnus glutinosa has a pleasant texture with a reddish tone. It is also a deciduous tree that belongs to the birch family. It offers a strong and water-proof wood that protects the sauna from overheating. So, you can consider this as one of the best woods while making a sauna.
It is almost the same as Western red cedar as you will locate many similar characteristics between them. But some factors distinguish them and make redwood a little more desirable than cedar for making the sauna. When you use redwood with a red texture, it changes to a grey color with time. It is so because when the body oil and perspiration come in contact with redwood, it creates a chemical reaction. In addition, redwood is costly as compared to western red cedar. But if you overlook these facts, redwood is a sturdy and durable wood material for saunas.
Also read: Best wood for infrared sauna
If you want to make your sauna beautiful without spending much, you can choose pine wood. It is cheaper than other kinds of wood and suitable for sauna construction. You will get a pleasant pine smell when you take a sauna bath. However, the only drawback is that pine has knots that fall out with time. As a result, it creates holes in the sauna and makes it bad-looking and problematic. But you can utilize many commercial products to eradicate this issue.
As the name indicates, Scots pine or Pinus sylvestris is a coniferous tree that belongs to the pine family. People loved to use this wood for making exterior sauna walls. It is so because scots pine reacts adequately to thermal modification and retains its appearance.
Radiata pine or Pinus radiata is also a coniferous tree. Unlike other pine woods, it does not have knots and does not overheat, splinter, and secrete resin. Due to all these, people prefer to use it for making sauna benches. It has a pretty darker hue look that provides a luxurious touch to the sauna interior and exterior.
Western Hemlock is also a preferred wood for sauna construction. The wood is strong and durable. However, western hemlock wood is not as decay-resistant as other wood types. In addition, it also emits a sour smell when newly installed. But instead of all these, it is one of the well-liked woods for sauna lovers.
Also read: How to build a wood-burning sauna stove
Tsuga canadensis, eastern hemlock, or Canadian hemlock, is softwood with a light buff and coarse grain color. Due to this appearance, it is suitable for outside sauna walls. The wood is durable, know-free, and does not warp. Besides, it also helps the sauna to radiate heat evenly. On top of all, when you take a sauna bath, you will get a relaxing and delicate fragrance from Canadian hemlock wood.
This well-liked hardwood is suitable for sauna construction. Native to Australia, this wood has a reddish-brown texture. Unlike other wood types, it tends to grow faster. The fascinating fact is that eucalyptus is eco-friendly as you can repeatedly replant and regrow them. However, it is more expensive than other sauna-making woods.
Picea abies or Norway spruce is an evergreen coniferous tree that belongs to the pine family. People also called it European spruce. This wood is white with a slight yellowish undertone texture. People use it for making exterior sauna walls. So, you can choose it for your sauna construction and brush the wood to make it more appealing.
The appearance of Poplar or Populus is yellowish with a smooth texture. It belongs to the willow family and is best for making saunas. You can construct sauna benches and interiors with this versatile wood. It is all-around because it does not secrete resin, splinter, and overheat.
Liriodendron tulipifera, Tulip tree, or Magnolia has a golden hue texture with a cream color. It has patterns that almost resemble Ash and Radiata pine. The low-density property of this wood is suitable for constructing sauna exterior and interior paneling and benches.
It is an example of hardwood that is light-coloured. It is relatively cheaper than other sauna-making woods, and people who do not like the fragrance of cedar prefer this as basswood has little to no smell.
Also read: Wood-burning sauna heater
To sum up, these are some of the best wood options you can consider while making a sauna. By going through the above segments, you can learn to select a wood that offers durability, safeguarding your sauna from decay, fungus, moisture, rain, and snow. You also need to choose a wood that provides added comfort so that you can take the sauna bath adequately and reap the benefits. Therefore, consider the above wood types, settle for one, and build your sauna.