Picture of Building an Outdoor Sauna
guacamole 001.jpg
Since I became a homeowner several years ago, I always wanted to build a Sauna. I blame it on being raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where there are many people of Finnish decent. A sauna is a small hot room(140 F to 200 F) where you go to sweat. It promotes relaxation and supposedly good health. I’ve seen a few inside homes and a few outside homes, also some in spas and health clubs. A popular but somewhat peculiar activity is to heat yourself in the sauna then either roll in snow or jump into cool water.

For a little more information visit:

Shown in the first two photos are examples of traditional outdoor Sauna you might find in Finland or other countries in northern Europe. The third photo is my building.

Step 1: The beginnings

Picture of The beginnings
I have on my property an old concrete block out building which was used to store nothing but junk really. It is not too far from the house. Voila the perfect location for a sauna. I also had an old iron fire place insert sitting around just slowly rusting. Voila a perfect sauna heater.
jdonato1 year ago
Really nice Instructable
dorybob1 year ago

Great work and a project I have long been interested in. There is nothing like the sense of clean after a good sweat and rinsing off the bile. In your case, rubbed off with snow!

Fantastic job, what a hideout on a cold winters night ...

MalgorzataN4 months ago


I'm planning to build a suna too, and thinking about using only pine T&G to cover inside walls.

How are the Menards panels holding up after a year of use?


jimmar57 (author)  MalgorzataN4 months ago
They are holding up fine just oozing a little sap where there are knots.
croftsjoey6 months ago
have you hot boxed it?
ckoss16 months ago

It seems very apt that you'd be drinking beer while building a sauna. Love it!

T-BONE31 year ago
It is sooo warm
Dave Sipe1 year ago

Chalk CAD at its finest ; )

Looks great!

jrytlews1 year ago

Nice hot box!! The UP inspired me to do the same. There isn't much better than a sauna on a cold winter night. Still in the UP?

jimmar57 (author)  jrytlews1 year ago

not still in the UP, I'm in southern MI. I was raised in the UP near Marquette, went to MTU and lived in Escanaba for a while. Wish I could return to live there.

I thought it was going to say "when i was building the bench i wanted to drink a beer"

In Finland, the saunas have a bottle opener on the wall. I would leave my beer just outside the door so it wouldn't get warm, duck out every few minutes to get a drink and rest from the heat.

jimmar57 (author)  sharpstick1 year ago

I know consuming alcohol is discouraged with sauna but we have a bottle of Finlandia Vodka ready for a little nip after rolling in the snow.

renni jimmar571 year ago

What?! No alcohol with sauna? Don't tell tat to anyone from Finland. Ice cold beer is a must with sauna when cooling out.

Floodzo1 year ago
just remember, too much insulation and not enough ventilation in walls and ceiling--> mold. would have left the floor as it was, greetings from a genuine finn, The sauna is from Finland though

Nice work !

The result on your hosts (and maybe yourself) is quite blurry : sign that the result is perfect !!! ;)

fran=11 year ago

what a nice job.where is the bucket of willow branches to hit your skin to clean the pores(when my mother was little she asked my granma why she was getting hit she didn't do anything wrong!!) we fins & most of the old country folks drink beer warm...cheers good job

jimmar57 (author)  fran=11 year ago

we have a bucket but no willow - i think i'll try that, but like my beer cold

You have a happy heart.
It shows in every step.

Thank you for sharing.

Do more of these please.

why did you enclose the stove in bricks? Is that to create thermal mass? How did the stones work out, did they get hot enough?

Just a note - that expanding foam is highly flammable. I wouldn't recommend it for anywhere you have naked flames. But a great 'ible. thanks.

jimmar57 (author)  philby1 year ago

Thanks for the tip. None of it is near an open flame.

jimmar57 (author) 1 year ago

The stove is actually an old fireplace insert. I just needed a way to mount the insert . The brick helps retain the heat for long after we are done with the sauna and the stones on top only get warm, not enough to steam. We put a tray with stones direction on the front ledge of the iron insert and THAT gets hot. It is our source of a little steam. But this is a dry sauna, only need enough steam to create some humidity.