Sauna Wood

So you’re thinking of building your own sauna? Or maybe, you’re ordering from a dealer and trying to figure out what the best sauna wood is for your incoming sauna. Regardless of motive, you’re in the right place. Aside from the size of your sauna, and the stove you choose, the sauna wood is one of the most important pieces of your sauna.

Choosing the longest lasting sauna wood is one of the most important decisions sauna owners make. Historically, many folks assumed that cedar was the only wood used in sauna. Actually, while Western Red Cedar, specifically, is one of the most sought after types of sauna woods on the market, it’s not the most popular wood used in Saunas.

So, what wood is used for saunas?

There are 5 types of wood used to build saunas.

  1. Western Red Cedar
  2. Nordic White Spruce
  3. Canadien Hemlock
  4. Alaskan Yellow Cedar
  5. Redwood

Western Red Cedar

Why is cedar used for saunas? Due to it’s price, cedar is not actually the most popular type of wood used in sauna rooms. Western Red Cedar is one of the most versatile wood types for sauna, because of it’s ability to withstand moisture and resist rot over long periods of time. As a fun fact, many of my friends Grandparents who built their saunas out of cedar back in the 50’s and 60’s, are still using the exact same saunas today. Cedar lasts an incredibly long time in a sauna.

Cedar Kits for Sauna

Because of the fact that sauna dealers are so few and far between, buying a kit to build your own sauna or choosing a prefab unit is often one of the best ways to get a sauna. Interested in a cedar kit? Here’s a link to one of the dealerships we recommend. Saunatec out of Cokato, Minnesota is the top sauna dealer in North America.

Cedar vs Hemlock in Sauna Rooms

While Hemlock and Cedar are two of the most common wood types used in sauna, cedar is the superior choice. Cedar wood, specifically Western Red Cedar, outperforms Hemlock in a sauna when it comes to durability and longevity. Hemlock is more affordable than Cedar wood for saunas, however, it is not generally the preferred choice due to the length of time cedar will last.

Nordic White Spruce

Nordic White Spruce is actually one of the most popular woods used in sauna, due to it’s

Canadien Hemlock

To the untrained eye, spotting the difference in Canadien Hemlock and Nordic White Spruce is actually very difficult. In fact, many sauna users will tell you that the only difference between hemlock and cedar is actually in color. Hemlock wood in sauna is a popular choice for good reason, price.

Most of the sauna units or kits you’ll find online are constructed using hemlock wood, specifically Canadien Hemlock.

What lasts longer in sauna, hemlock or cedar?

Cedar wood, when maintained properly, is one of the longest lasting sauna wood types available to consumers, and will generally last longer than Hemlock. Both types of sauna wood are excellent building materials due to their moisture resistant properties, and ability to properly dry after use.

Why are saunas built using wood, won’t it get moldy?

Avoiding mold in your sauna is actually very easy. There are a couple things you can do to prevent mold in your sauna, ensuring you have a safe sauna unit for years to come. Despite the fact that wood is one of the first things to mold in nature, saunas rarely experience mold issues, largely due to the wood types used in building them.

Here’s how to avoid mold in sauna

  1. Ensure your sauna is completely level, so water cannot pool on the floor in any way
  2. Prop your sauna door open after every use ensuring healthy airflow throughout the unit
  3. Check sauna benches regularly and replace as needed
  4. Do not leave wet buckets, towels, or other items sitting in your sauna

Avoiding mold in a sauna is actually very easy, most sauna owners will never run into this problem. For saunas inside your home, letting your air conditioning or furnace maintain the homes humidity and simply propping the door open will take care of the rest!