How to Tips

Building a sauna from scratch is not as easy as it may first seem. But more than that, it’s also a construction that has to cope with everything from the extremes of searing dry heat to billowing clouds of steam and humidity. The alternative is to choose one of the prefabricated sauna rooms from the Tylo range. It’s a short-cut to success that compares favourably with the cost of a sauna built on site. We have been building sauna rooms since the 1950s. We know what the huge variations in sauna bathing climates demand of the design and the materials used. Here you will find some useful advice on building a sauna.

Hints on building, installing and ventilating a sauna

Building a sauna “plank by plank” with battens and panels, insulation, door, fittings and mouldings, etc. requires knowledge and experience as a carpenter. The alternative is to choose one of the prefabricated sauna rooms from the Tylo range. It’s a short-cut to success that compares favourably with the cost of a sauna built on site. How long it takes to build a Tylo sauna depends, of course, on the model. But full step-by-step instructions and an ingenious design concept make the work straightforward. At the same time you can be sure of a sauna with the carefully crafted finish that is the hallmark of good quality and your guarantee of reliable service for many years to come.

The location of the sauna room
In principle you can install a sauna almost anywhere. The only requirement is that, for safety reasons, the minimum ceiling height is 1900 mm. It’s an advantage to have a shower close by, so the bathroom often makes the ideal location for a home sauna. However, part of the patio or conservatory, spare room in the loft or cellar, or the children’s room once they have flown the nest, can also be the perfect place to create your own home spa.

The layouts of our prefabricated sauna rooms give you a few tips on how to position the benches in a sauna. Split-level seating is a practical solution when you want to offer children – or anyone else for that matter – a choice of bathing temperatures. The lower the bench, the lower the temperature. For the best air circulation in the sauna, the sauna heater and the door should both be placed on the same wall. It is important to make sure that the sauna heater is at a safe distance from the side walls and any heater guards. The instructions supplied give the minimum safety distances for each respective heater.

Choosing and installing a sauna heater
The output of the sauna heater must be suited to the size of the sauna room itself. As a rule of thumb, you need a heater that produces approximately 1 kW for each 1.3 cubic metres. For a sauna room with large areas walled with glass, tiles or other dense materials, you will, however, require a heater with a greater output. The type of sauna that you prefer is also important when choosing the right sauna heater. Remember, too, that electrical installations must be carried out by a qualified electrician.

Walls and ceiling
Inside the sauna, wooden panelling is the traditional choice – and the best as well. You may prefer timbers free from resin and knots, such as alder, aspen and lime. However, spruce and pine are also suitable for sauna panelling if you prefer a more rustic character with knots as a decorative element and the refreshing scent of resin. Behind the wood panelling you will need to insulate walls and ceiling with a layer of mineral wool approximately 5 cm thick. If the sauna backs onto a cold outer wall it is a good idea to leave an air gap between the outer wall and the insulation in the sauna to prevent any condensation penetrating the sauna walls. Choosing a stone finish on certain walls inside the sauna can add an attractive deco-rative touch, but do bear in mind that dense, solid materials on the walls mean that the sauna room takes longer to heat up.

A sauna door must always open outwards and close with a magnetic strip, self-closing hinges or similar so that it is impossible for the door to become jammed or impossible to open. A professionally manufactured door specially designed for sauna use is always the best choice.

Interior fittings
Benches, backrests and decor panels can be designed in many different ways. The quality of the carpentry work, the durability of the construction and the standard of the finish are what give the sauna room its unique character. For quality that you can rely on under all conditions Tylo interior fittings are the obvious choice.

Sauna floors
The best solution is to have the same flooring inside the sauna as in the room outside. It is an advantage to have a floor drain in the sauna room. This is by no means a necessity, but it does make cleaning the sauna room easier.

Sauna ventilation
The best ventilation is the simplest. Accord-ing to the traditional “natural draught” principle there should be an air inlet through the wall under the sauna heater and an air outlet on the wall in the top corner diagonally opposite. The air outlet must always lead into the same room from which the inlet air is drawn. The sketches below illustrate different solutions for different circumstances.

Hints on how to keep your sauna fresh.

To enjoy your sauna room to the full, you should spend a little time now and then keeping it clean and fresh. A clean sauna is not only more pleasant to bathe in, but it also performs better and lasts longer. Here are a few words of advice on what to do.

Surface treatment
Use boat varnish to treat the door threshold and handles, as well as any floor decking, wooden flooring and steps. Applying several coats helps maintain the appearance of the wood and produces an attractive, durable and water-repellent finish. Benches and any skirting panels or backrests should be oiled on both sides with Tylo sauna oil. This odourless oil impregnates the wood to produce a water-repellent surface that makes cleaning easier. IMPORTANT! Leave walls and ceilings inside sauna rooms untreated. If the sauna has glazed wall sections or windows, it is advisable to treat the lower mouldings around the glass with extra care. Condensation often collects here and may damage the wood if these mouldings are not treated with boat varnish or impregnated with oil at frequent intervals.

To maximise the pleasure of sauna bathing it is important to keep sauna rooms clean and fresh. Scrub the benches and floor regularly, preferably with a mild liquid detergent that leaves a pleasant fragrance.

Thermometer and hygrometer
To ensure accurate readings, place these on a side wall to the heater, at a height of 1500 mm above the floor.

Wooden bucket and scoop
Tylo’s wooden bucket has a plastic insert to prevent the wood cracking after prolonged use. Never keep the bucket on the upper benches, but leave it on the floor where the air is coolest. To preserve the beautiful wooden finish, we recommend that you impregnate the bucket with Tylo sauna oil now and again.

Sauna stones
Sauna stones should be of igneous dolerite rock (diabase) or olivine, both of which withstand rapid heating and cooling. It is important to fill the stone compartment in the correct way. Always follow the advice in the assembly instructions that come with each Tylo sauna heater.

Check the stone compartment
It is important to do this a couple of times a year – especially in public facilities and those which are used frequently. Remove all the stones. Vacuum up small particles of stone and grit and clean off any calcium deposits that have formed at the bottom of the compartment. Then replace the stones that are in good condition and, when necessary, top up with new stones from Tylo.

Birch twigs
The best time to make a traditional birchtwig sauna whisk is in the early summer, when the birch leaves have sprouted, but before the forest insects have made their home in them! Tie the twigs (50–60 cm long) in fairly thick bunches. Make a loop in the twine so you can hang the bunches of twigs from a hook in the sauna wall. Store them in a dark, cool, dry place. You can even put them in a plastic bag and keep them in the freezer! When you want to use the birch twigs, thaw them in lukewarm water before sprinkling water over them above the sauna heater. Your birch twigs will be like new again, releasing a delightfully fresh fragrance as you fan or gently beat your body with them. The wonderfully invigorating sensation of surrounding yourself with the scents of summer in the depths of an ice-cold winter has to be experienced to be believed.

Other sauna fragrances
For a long-lasting fragrance, hang a bunch of juniper twigs from the sauna room wall. They not only smell delightful, but they add a decorative touch as well. A few drops of Tylo sauna fragrance in Hints on how to keep your sauna fresh. the water sprinkled over the sizzling hot stones also permeate the sauna room with a refreshing scent that clears your nose and head. Tylo fragrances are pure, natural products and come in a choice of scents: eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, cinnamon, etc.

Special info for steam saunas
As the humidity in a steam sauna can be much higher than in a traditional sauna room, it is important to bear the following in mind. Lower mouldings on windows in doors or walls must be treated with boat varnish and the gap between the pane of glass and the moulding must be sealed with bathroom silicone. This prevents condensation from seeping into the gap. The surface treatment of all other interior fittings is the same as for conventional saunas.

Complement your existing sauna with infra-panels
The Tylo range includes infrared panels for installation in existing saunas. Infrared radiation (IR-B and IR-C) is used in a number of medical therapies as it is believed to ease the discomfort of ailments such as sciatica, gout, rheumatism and muscular pain. Infrared heat is also used by beauty therapists to enhance the positive effect of certain skin treatments.

Quicker heating-up times
With a couple of infrared panels installed in your sauna room you can start to bathe straightaway, without waiting. While the sauna heater is heating up the air, you can enjoy the benefits of the direct warmth spread by infrared radiation from panels installed on the sauna walls and/or between the benches.

Hints on how to plan a steam room.

All Tylo steam rooms and steam generators are supplied with detailed assembly and installation instructions. Please note the following points, however, before commencing installation work.

Source of heating
The steam room is heated up by the steam generator. There should be no other source of heating in the steam room apart from the steam generator itself. The ambient tempe-rature outside the steam must not exceed 35°C. The normal bathing temperature in the steam room is approximately 45°C with 100% humidity. The steam generator only produces steam when the temperature in the steam room is lower than the temperature set on the generator’s control panel. If there are other sources of heating in the steam room, steam generation will stop or be intermittent.

As a general rule no special ventilation is required for steam rooms in homes or those used for only short periods of time. How-ever, for reasons of hygiene and to ensure trouble-free operation, all steam baths that are in use for more than 2 hours at a time must be connected to some form of mecha-nical ventilation that replaces 10–20 cu.m. of air per bather per hour. Otherwise the relative lack of heat-loss in the steam room has a negative effect on steam production.

Materials and design
Steam room materials must withstand high humidity and high temperatures. The floor must be made of a non-slip material and slope towards a floor drain. The roof should be domed or sloping to prevent hot condensation dripping on the bathers below. The simplest solution is to buy a prefabricated Elysee or Excellent room, a Tylette Centre cabinet or a Tylo Felicity multi shower. We always recommend installing a shower in domestic steam rooms. Steam bath lighting must be 12 V or 24 V. Lighting is included in Tylo Elysee steam rooms, Tylette Centre cabinet and Tylo Felicity multi shower.

Steam generator
The steam generator needs to be connec-ted to water, drainage and electricity. In areas with hard water (over 5° dH), we recommend installing a water softener, such as the Tylo automatic descaler on the feed pipe. This is particularly important for steam baths in continuous use. Tylo steam generators may be located up to 15 metres from the actual steam room; for example, in a well-ventilated cabinet or machine room above, below or on the same floor as the steam room. The steam is led to the steam room via copper piping (at least 12 mm internal diameter) insulated with plastic. Ensure that there are no sharp bends or elbows in the pipe where water may gather. Choose a steam generator with a capa-city suitable for the volume, construction and ventilation (if installed) of the steam room in which it will be used. See the table on page 115.

Basic principles for Tylo steam room installations

A steam room may be installed directly on quarry tiles, marble or seamless vinyl floor-covering. Floors must slope towards a wastewater outlet, preferably located in the centre of the steam room.

• The construction is self-supporting. No supporting walls are necessary. Steam rooms may be assembled freestanding, against a wall or in a corner.
• Wall and roof sections are connected using special-grade silicone which both bonds and seals. The sections are then screwed together with the help of sturdy battens to form a safe, stable and absolutely steamtight construction.

• The construction is self-supporting. No supporting walls are necessary. Steam rooms may be assembled freestanding, against a wall or in a corner.
• The air outlet vent in the roof (not over a seat) is connected to a ventilation channel that discharges spent air into the open. Existing ventilation shafts may be used.
• It is advisable to install a shower in steam rooms in domestic properties. This can be done in connection with the steam room assembly work. One suitable alternative is to install the Tylo service section complete with gentle shower and massage shower functions, riser rail and shelf compartments, etc.
• The steam generator may be concealed in a well-ventilated cabinet.

• Install the steam head between 5 cm and 40 cm above floor level. Direct the jet of steam horizontally under the seats. There must be free passage for the steam jet of at least 70 cm (more if possible) before its path is impeded by any fixed object.