The sauna: a hot affair

Sauna time is approaching. Photo: Helo

The purchase of the ideal sauna for private use must be carefully considered. In the following you will learn what is essential for a good sauna. Likewise, you will learn how the construction methods differ from each other and how sauna cabins are constructed.

The term sauna comes from the Finnish language and means "room made of wood". But not all wood is the same. Especially not with the sauna. "In fact, there are very few woods that are up to the demanding challenges as sauna wood," knows Till Determann, managing director of B+S Finland Sauna. A sauna wall must be able to compensate for temperature differences of over 100 degrees Celsius between the inner and outer walls without warping. "A Outdoor sauna must withstand even sub-zero temperatures. Some woods are literally torn apart by this," Determann explains.

Logs for the solid wood sauna

As a rule, sauna manufacturers therefore use selected woods from the world’s best growing regions, such as the Finnish polar spruce or Canadian hemlock. Coniferous woods from alpine regions are also suitable for sauna construction. With all these woods, only special parts are used for sauna cabins – they are usually called logs.

For the Premium quality of a log plank is the so-called heart of the tree by far the best piece of wood. In the case of the polar spruce, it sits to the left and right of the tree trunk center. Mother Nature has trained it hard in long winter months and short summers. Here the annual rings are the densest and the wood the hardest. This means two premium planks per log: one on the left, the other on the right of the center.

The wood must breathe

The logs formed from these timbers must be worked in such a way that the cabin structure is stable but not rigid. The wood must be able to breathe and work. The logs should keep the heat exactly where it should be: inside the cabin. The wood absorbs the heat, and gives it off as mild radiant heat. At the same time, the natural wood regulates the relative humidity of the air. Excess moisture is absorbed by the wood, stored and released as needed.

This is how the log plank ensures optimum humidity conditions. Nasal mucous membranes and respiratory tract can regenerate perfectly. In terms of type, the sweat houses built of logs are called solid wood or solid wood sauna. In short: The walls of a solid wood sauna are made entirely of natural wood. In the construction of saunas, each manufacturer follows its own construction path and design.

The element sauna

In contrast to the solid wood sauna builds the other type of sauna in the so-called sandwich form on. It is called element or system sauna. The lining of the interior is made of 12 to 16 millimeters thick profiled wood, such as Canadian hemlock. This is followed by insulation in the form of a mat of mineral wool and finally a vapor barrier made of aluminum. It prevents moisture from penetrating through the profiled wood into the insulation layer.

The finishing touch is the exterior, which for visual reasons is usually made of profiled wood. Manufacturers use painted hardboard, decorative panels or gypsum board for the outer cladding. The advantages of the element sauna: the better insulating properties and lower energy consumption. Furthermore, the construction method offers a high degree of indivi-duality due to the various wall coverings and all conceivable floor plans.

The sauna heater

The central technical element is the sauna heater. It ensures the right temperature in the cabin. When building a sauna, it is important that the heating power of the heater is matched to the size of the cabin. There are two types of sauna heaters: one you operate with wood. It is therefore associated with a higher cost.

The other one is powered by electricity, so its heating time is much shorter. With electric ovens like the "Bi-O Gracil" from EOS sauna technology heating elements convert the current into heat, which it delivers to the heat-storing sauna stones. The heating time should not exceed 30 minutes. For sauna fans who want more space in the cabin or who are bothered by the sight of a heater: There are also discreet variants such as rear-wall heaters or heaters placed under the bench seat.

The control unit

If the sauna heater represents the heart of the sauna, then the control system its brain. It regulates all functions and, above all, safety. Nowadays, it is a small computer with an intuitive touchscreen. With it, depending on the equipment of the sauna, you determine the different forms of bathing (Finnish sauna, soft or bio sauna, steam bath, infrared, Klafs "sanarium"). Also the temperatures, humidity, safety functions, lighting or sound system. You can define your own individual wellness programs at specific times and per person.

Saunas are now also visually and from the material as sophisticated design objects and furnishings. Therefore, the manufacturers design the control accordingly attractive and noble.

Sauna controls are available as apps for smartphones and tablets – for all common operating systems. With it you control the cabin from the road. For example, to prepare it for the sauna session after returning from a walk. A sauna control system must be self-explanatory and so simple to operate that operating errors are impossible.

Emotions in the sauna

Emotional reinforcement can be the pleasant feeling of sauna, by touching all the senses during the process. So today there are few cabins that is not equipped with light elements. In addition to normal, heat-resistant lamps, manufacturers often rely on indirect lighting. How to install LED bands in the walls or other places of the cabins. There are no creative limits to the choice of colors.

For sauna cabins, manufacturers provide different lighting scenarios: either with blinded lamps or with indirect lighting. Even with music you can be pampered while taking a sauna, usually via a Bluetooth connection to the outside.

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