How to Install and Maintain a Home Sauna

home saunas and steam rooms

In the quest for home wellness, the integration of a home saunas and steam rooms can transform your living space into a sanctuary of health and relaxation. This comprehensive guide is designed to walk you through every aspect of choosing, installing, and maintaining your own home sauna or steam room. 

Whether you’re drawn to the dry heat of a sauna or the humid embrace of a steam room, we will provide you with the essential information needed to make an informed decision, navigate the installation process smoothly, and ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your wellness investment.

Key Takeaways

  • Dry Sauna vs Steam Room: Saunas can be wet or dry: Dry Saunas use dry heat, while Wet saunas/ steam rooms use moist heat.
  • Health Benefits: Both offer relaxation, improved wellness, and various health benefits, with saunas focusing on dry heat therapy and steam rooms on humidity-based benefits.
  • Installation: Consider space, installation requirements, and maintenance needs when choosing between a sauna and a steam room for your home.
  • Maintenance: Dry Saunas generally require less maintenance than steam rooms.

Dry Sauna vs Steam Room

The key to choosing between a dry sauna and a steam room lies in understanding their distinct features. Saunas offer a dry heat, typically generated by hot rocks or a closed stove, and create an environment with high temperatures (70-90°C) and low humidity. 

Contrastingly, steam rooms provide a moist heat from boiling water vapor, maintaining a high humidity level at lower temperatures (38-50°C). This fundamental difference in heating method and humidity levels is the cornerstone of the varied experiences and benefits each offers.

Take note, using your sauna as a dry sauna or a steam room can affect where and how you could be installing your home sauna. 

Read More: Wet Saunas vs. Dry Saunas: What is the Best Choice for You?

Home Sauna Space and Installation Considerations

exterior Home Sauna Installation

When considering the installation of a steam room or sauna at home, space is a crucial factor. 

Saunas can be more versatile in terms of installation, with various indoor and outdoor options available, including easier-to-install infrared models. 

Steam rooms, due to their moisture, might require more specific installation considerations, such as waterproof lighting and ventilation systems.

When planning to integrate home saunas and steam rooms, it’s crucial to consider both space requirements and installation logistics. Each type of room has its own set of considerations:

1. Space Requirements

Saunas: Generally, saunas are more flexible in terms of space requirements. They can be installed indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference and available space. Home saunas come in various sizes, accommodating anywhere from one person to larger groups. 

For indoor saunas, common installation locations include basements, garages, or dedicated spa areas. Outdoor saunas, such as barrel saunas or cabin-style saunas, are an attractive addition to a garden or patio area.

Steam Rooms: Steam rooms usually require a more controlled environment due to their high humidity levels. When planning an indoor steam room, ensure that the space is adequately sealed and waterproofed. 

Common locations include bathrooms or bespoke spa areas within the house. The materials used for steam rooms, such as tiles or glass, need to be moisture-resistant.

2. Installation

Saunas: Installation of a sauna varies based on its type. Traditional wood-burning saunas might require more straightforward installation but need adequate ventilation and fire safety measures. Electric and infrared saunas require electrical connections and might need professional installation, especially for indoor models.

Steam Rooms: Installing a steam room is typically more complex due to the need for a steam generator and proper ventilation to manage humidity. The steam generator requires both a water and electrical connection. The room itself must be airtight to maintain the required humidity levels, which might involve specialized construction or remodeling, especially for steam-proof doors and vapor barriers.

3. Ventilation and Moisture

Source: Unsplash

Dry Saunas: Good ventilation is crucial in a sauna to ensure air circulation, providing a comfortable and safe environment. Ventilation helps regulate temperature, prevents the buildup of gases, and maintains the wood’s longevity.

Steam Rooms: Effective ventilation in steam rooms is vital for moisture control and preventing long-term moisture buildup or damage. This includes well-designed air circulation and potentially a dehumidifier to manage humidity levels.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Dry saunas generally require less upkeep and are easier to maintain due to their dry nature. Steam rooms, on the other hand, need regular cleaning and sanitization to prevent mold and bacteria growth, owing to their high moisture levels.

Proper maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of your home saunas and steam rooms. Each has its own specific maintenance needs due to their differing environments.

Ventilation and Dryness

Regularly check the ventilation system to ensure it’s functioning correctly. Proper ventilation keeps the air fresh and maintains the wood’s condition by preventing moisture buildup.

For wet saunas, ensure proper ventilation to manage humidity and prevent moisture accumulation.

Wood Care

For wood saunas, periodic treatment with a sauna-specific wood preservative can protect against moisture damage and maintain appearance. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the wood or produce harmful fumes when heated.


Regular cleaning is vital. Wipe down benches and surfaces with a mild detergent and ensure the sauna is dry after use. For saunas with stones, inspect and replace them if they’re cracked or degraded.

Safety Checks

Regularly inspect electrical components, heaters, or wood-burning stoves for any signs of wear or malfunction.

Regularly inspect the seals and waterproofing elements to ensure no steam or moisture is escaping, which could damage surrounding structures.

Regular Cleaning

Due to the high humidity, steam rooms require more frequent and thorough cleaning to prevent mold and bacterial growth. Use antimicrobial cleaners suitable for the materials used in your steam room.

Heater/ Steam Generator Maintenance

Regularly inspect and clean the heater, following the manufacturer’s guidelines. If you use a steam generator instead of a simple heater, this may include descaling to remove mineral buildup from the water. 

Benefits of a Steam Room vs Sauna

improve overall health and well-being​ with saunas

Steam saunas are renowned for their health benefits, which include improved metabolism, stress reduction, cardiovascular function, and skin rejuvenation. The high humidity in steam rooms aids in loosening mucus and relieving congestion, making them ideal for respiratory health. 

On the other hand, dry saunas are excellent for muscle relaxation and can have a more intense detoxifying effect through sweating.

When comparing the benefits of steam rooms and saunas, it’s important to recognize that while they share some similarities, their distinct environments offer unique advantages.

Steam Room Benefits:

  • Respiratory Relief: The high humidity in steam rooms is particularly beneficial for respiratory health. The warm, moist air helps to loosen mucus and clear congestion, offering relief for those with sinus issues or dry respiratory tracts. Adding essential oils like eucalyptus can enhance this effect, aiding in deeper breathing and relaxation.
  • Skin Health: The humidity in steam rooms can also have a rejuvenating effect on the skin. It opens up pores, aids in detoxification, and can help in skin cleansing and rejuvenation, potentially offering anti-aging benefits.
  • Relaxation and Stress Reduction: The moist heat in steam rooms can be deeply relaxing, helping to reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. This environment can be more conducive to shorter, more intense sessions of relaxation due to the high humidity.

Dry Sauna Benefits:

  • Detoxification and Weight Loss: The dry heat in saunas promotes intense sweating, which aids in detoxification. This process can also contribute to weight loss efforts as part of a broader health regimen.
  • Muscle Relaxation and Pain Relief: Saunas are effective in relaxing muscles and easing aches and pains, making them a favorite for athletes and those with chronic pain.
  • Cardiovascular Health: Regular sauna use has been linked to various cardiovascular benefits. The heat stimulates the circulatory system, potentially lowering blood pressure and improving heart function.
  • Immune System Boost: Some studies suggest that the heat from saunas can stimulate the immune system, helping the body to fend off illnesses.


What are the main differences between a sauna and a steam room?

The main difference lies in the type of heat each provides. Saunas offer a dry heat with low humidity, whereas steam rooms provide moist heat with high humidity.

Can installing a sauna or steam room in my home increase its value?

Yes, adding a sauna or steam room can increase the value of your home by adding a luxury feature that promotes wellness and relaxation.

What are the health benefits of using a sauna or steam room?

Both can aid in relaxation, improve cardiovascular health, aid in detoxification, and offer respiratory benefits, with steam rooms being particularly beneficial for respiratory issues due to their high humidity.

How much space do I need to install a home sauna or steam room?

The space required varies depending on the type and size of the sauna or steam room. It’s important to consider both the physical space for the unit and additional space for ventilation and access. Check with the supplier’s product specification for each sauna model requirement for space. 


Incorporating home saunas and steam rooms into your home wellness routine can be a transformative experience. Whether you prefer the dry heat of a sauna or the humid embrace of a steam room, each offers unique health benefits and an oasis of relaxation in the comfort of your own home. 

Whether you opt for a dry or a wet sauna, you can’t go wrong with barrel sauna kits, which can be used for either. Check out Shym Saunas today for the best barrel sauna for your home!

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