How Much Does it Cost to Build Your Own Sauna?

how much does it cost to build your own sauna

Are you considering building your own sauna? In this post, we’ll break down how much does it cost to build your own sauna at home. We’ll take a look at how much materials and labor cost for different types of saunas and give you some tips on how to get the best sauna within your budget.

How Much Does Saunas Cost to Install?

Having a sauna at home can be a great way to create a personal spa experience, but it’s important to factor in all the costs involved. 

Short answer: A sauna can cost: 

  • Around $6,000 and more for barrel saunas
  • From $7,000 for a small DIY saun
  • About $10,000 (or more!) for a custom-built sauna

It is important to factor in costs associated with shipping, transportation of components, and costs for installation. Also, a typical sauna may not include the cost of the heater in its cost, so it needs to be added on top.

For simplicity of this comparison, we will need to make a few assumptions and simplifications: 

  • All saunas in comparison are pine or spruce timber saunas 
  • No shipping costs are included in any price estimate 
  • No heaters are included in price estimates 
  • We are not going to include infrared saunas and steam saunas in this comparison as these two are completely different systems and have different requirements
  • All costs quoted are in Australian dollars 

To narrow down how the total cost for your home sauna, you need to consider various factors. What size do you want for your sauna? What type of sauna to choose? Will you go with an indoor or outdoor sauna? What type of heating do you want to be equipped with? Do you want a prefabricated sauna, or do you prefer a custom build? We’ll cover these questions one by one. 

Typical Sauna Costs by Size

Sauna SizesPrice Range
2 Person Sauna:
180 cm W (or Diameter) x 150 cm L x 180 cm H
$5,000 to $6,000 
4 Person Sauna with or without porch: 
180 cm W (or Diameter) x 240 cm L x 180 cm H
$6,000 to $7,000
6-8 Person Sauna: 
210 cm W (or Diameter) x 240 cm L x 210 cm H
$7,500 to $9,500
4-10 person sauna: 
210 cm W x 270 cm L x 210 cm H
$8,800 to $10,000

The first thing to consider in choosing a sauna is its size so that you can see whether it can fit your space at home or outdoors. Of course, larger saunas cost more than smaller saunas. But along with that, the difference in prices of equally sized saunas is mostly due to the material/ wood used, and the extra features which we will discuss later.

What Type of Sauna to Choose? Square Sauna vs Barrel Sauna 

If we compare two outdoor saunas of a similar size and materials, one being a traditional square frame and cladding sauna and one being a barrel sauna, you will find that the costs are quite different. 

The barrel saunas will cost significantly less than a traditional square sauna. The difference in costs is because of how each of these saunas is built. 

The frame and clad saunas require several elements in their structure being: 

  1. Frame 
  2. Internal cladding 
  3. External cladding 
  4. Insulation 
  5. Vapor barrier 

On the other hand, the barrel saunas only have one element: staves. The staves typically are thick enough to create a solid and integral structure. At the same time, the staves have a good finish on both sides to create internal and external cladding and finish. The staves are also thick enough to create good thermal insulation. 

On top of that, the cost and time of the assembly of the barrel sauna will be significantly less due to being simpler and more efficient. 

Pitting the two against each other, it will be about $7,000-$8,000 for a frame and a clad sauna while only $5,000-$7,500 for an equivalent barrel sauna.

Indoor vs Outdoor Sauna Cost

So where do you want your sauna? Do you have a spare space outside, just beside the pool? Or maybe you’re thinking of having the basement to better use? Tell you what:

An indoor sauna may cost you more than outdoor barrel saunas

This is because you need to have an indoor sauna properly vented, insulated, and sealed. The heat and moisture should be kept well in the sauna by using proper insulation, while any excess heat and humidity should flow out through a vent. These extra requirements will add up to the cost, as well as installation time. You can consult your sauna manufacturer for insulation and venting if they are provided with your sauna package. 

The average cost of insulation is about $15 to $30 per square meter, while a simple forced ventilation system may cost you an additional $400-$700. It may not be much, but it’s still added expense to consider. In addition, some saunas require a drainage system on the floor.  

On the other hand, outdoor saunas typically do not require additional forced ventilation. They can rely on existing passive ventilation. The only additional costs for the outdoor sauna to consider may include the cost of the following: 

  • roofing for the sauna ($400-$900)
  • weatherproofing the surface of the sauna (external wall lining, painting, or sealing with oil for timber surfaces) 

In general, all the outdoor sauna costs are still lower than the indoor equivalents due to higher ventilation and insulation requirements.

Cost of Sauna with Various Heating

Wood Burning Sauna Heater Firewood Sauna Stove with Flue Kit 15kW
Source: Shym Saunas

The heater is ultimately the heart of the sauna and can affect the cost of the final product. Whether you prefer the firewood heated option or electric the prices of heaters can vary significantly and need to be added on top of the sauna cost. 

If you are choosing a firewood heater for an indoor sauna, the cost for such installation will increase drastically due to additional ventilation requirements. 

Some of the typical costs of the heaters:

Types of SaunaAverage Cost
Wood-Fired Sauna Heater$1,500 to $10,000
Electric Sauna Heater $400 to $4,500

Take note that it’s important to pay attention to the sauna package you are buying online, as some sauna suppliers provide heaters with the package already, and some let you choose your heater type. 

In terms of the installation cost of the heater, a wood-fired sauna heater installation can be less expensive since you won’t require an electrician to assist with installation. However, make sure to consult your supplier regarding firewood heaters, as there could be some serious health safety and fire safety concerns with operating such a heater. 

It is essential to get the installation of either heater right from the beginning. Moreover, the operational expenses of either heater can vary according to your power rates and firewood costs in the long run.

Infrared Sauna vs Traditional Sauna

Sauna Electric Heater 4.5-6.0 kW 240V Inner Controller for Spa

We also know that the selection of your heating source will depend mostly upon your preference, not cost. As for our company, we enjoy and find relaxation with the traditional way of sauna heating rather than the infrared ones. 

Moreover, infrared saunas are recommended for indoor installation. So, with that, even an infrared sauna can cost lower than a wood-fired sauna, you may not prefer the former if you will be installing the sauna outdoors. 

Prefab vs Custom Sauna

Prefab vs Custom Sauna
Photo from Unsplash

In terms of affordability and ease of installation, a prefabricated sauna is the better way to go. These sauna packages come in kits that you can assemble yourself, with detailed instructions and manuals from the manufacturers. The installation will be a simple assembly process- no need for any preparations or extra purchases. 

Most of the time, it is simpler and less expensive to purchase and assemble a prefabricated kit, as compared to doing a fully custom build from scratch. The prefab versions would typically be designed and made in the most efficient and economical way which will be very comparable in price to the fully custom build versions.

Cost
Prefab Sauna$4,500 to $18,000
Custom Sauna$5,000 to $20,000+

How Much Does a Custom Sauna Cost?

If you have the time for a total do-it-yourself custom sauna, you can build your own wood-fired sauna starting from $5,500, depending on the choice of materials and complexity of your sauna. You can start from scratch and source everything with the available materials in your area. You can check out the wood prices available, as well as find alternative materials to keep the price within budget. 

On the other hand, you can also have yourself a sauna customized by a supplier. With custom-made saunas, you can have the freedom of almost everything you want for your sauna. For a custom sauna from a supplier, the starting cost may start from $10,000-$15,000 and higher. 

As compared to prefab saunas, custom saunas may take weeks to build, while prefab ones can be up and running in one to two days. With that, labor costs will further drive the price up. 

Additional Costs

Outdoor/Indoor Western Red Cedar Barrel Sauna with Front Porch 4 Person

Take note that there are still additional costs to consider, whether you’re going for a custom or a prefab sauna. 

Transportation/Shipping

This is undeniably a factor that can be an additional expense, given that wood and other sauna needs are bulky pieces of materials. 

At Shym Saunas, we can deliver your package to our warehouse closest to your address so you can pick them up yourself to lessen shipping fees. Here are our average shipping fees for the major cities: 

  • Melbourne: $500-$600  
  • Sydney: $700-$900
  • Brisbane: $900-$1,000

Finishing and Accessories

Do you want to go affordable, or go luxury? Several manufacturers provide various styles of saunas. For example, you can go for our Western Red Cedar Barrel Sauna with a panoramic glass, perfect when you want to view the scenery outside while in the comforts of your sauna.

Outdoor/Indoor Western Red Cedar Barrel Sauna With Panoramic Glass and Porch 4 Person File name: 3-1-1-scaled.jpg

We also have a Western Red Cedar Barrel Sauna with a front porch for additional seating and convenience. 

Outdoor/Indoor Western Red Cedar Barrel Sauna With Panoramic Glass and Porch 4 Person

Each sauna kit purchased from us comes with a set of essential accessories. You may also want to purchase additional accessories for your saunas, such as buckets and ladles, lamps, thermometers, backrests, and others. Most suppliers and manufacturers also include these items in their stores, so it’s easy to find and purchase them when you buy your sauna. 

Related Products

Wrapping Up

We hope we’ve guided you on how much you need to build your sauna. In summary, you can either: 

  • Start with a small sauna of your own starting from $6,000-7,000 plus your hard work
  • Purchase a barrel sauna at around $5,000-$6,000 ready to assemble that you can either install indoors or outdoors (additional ventilation may be required for indoor installation) 
  • Build a custom-built sauna that you designed yourself at a premium cost to maximize your space and have the freedom for design. 

If you’ve ever considered having a barrel sauna for yourself, you can check out our products and give us a call at 04 22 88 00 83. You can also drop us an email at art@shymsaunas.com.au for inquiries.