Tuesday, 08 December 2020 14:36

Professional Sauna Installation Tips

    Gilles Darmon, Director of KLAFS at Guncast, shares his dos and don’ts of sauna installation – from the areas typically overlooked by clients and designers, to common pitfalls pre-installation.

    Sauna installation doesn’t need to be complex at all. Many homeowners assume they need a very large room to house a sauna cabin, which is no longer the case. Our products are becoming more innovative and streamlined – the KLAFS S1 sauna, for example, has been designed to meet the growing demand for space-saving solutions and can retract to the size of an ordinary bedroom wardrobe. KLAFS at Guncast offers a full design consultancy and installation service to help our clients in their wellness journey.

    When KLAFS are brought on to a project – either when we’re approached directly by a client or through an architect as part of a wider project – we try to arrange a site visit with one of our expert consultants as early as we can into the process. There are a number of considerations that need to be taken into account early on, and it’s always best that the team and our client are on the same page from day one.

    The first mistake that is often made is assuming that the sauna can be the same dimensions as the room that it’s going in. While virtually any room can be used for a sauna – from small basements to attics with sloping ceilings – a sauna cannot fill up the entire room, and we do have specific space requirements that need to be taken into account. Crucially, we have to allow at least a 50mm cavity around the sauna cabin, for ventilation purposes. This will not only allow air into the cabin but also provide an extra layer of insulation and act as a humidity barrier. We also suggest allowing a minimum 250mm void above the cabin for assembly purposes, and to allow room for ventilation pipes (which can vary from 100 to 180mm). In some instances, it is not possible to have the pipes running on top of the cabin, in which case the void on the side of the cabin must be increased. These are all things that we can advise on, so we always recommend that the client measures their space and sends the measurements to us in the first instance, and from there we will be able to assess the different sauna sizes that they are able to fit into their room.

    On a similar thread, while we’re establishing what the dimensions of a client’s sauna will be, another important factor to consider is the cabin height. Where possible, we always recommend having a low sauna to trap the heat. Obviously within this, a number of factors need to be considered – such as how many tiers of benches the client wants in their sauna, how many people will be using the sauna at one time and how tall the users are. From a design perspective, while saunas with lofty ceilings may look impressive, we’d always advise against this so that the client doesn’t end up sitting in a cold sauna. It’s essential that the sauna installation does not just plan for the aesthetics but is also considering how the sauna will function from a usability standpoint.

    Another area often overlooked during the installation of a sauna – particularly when the sauna is part of a larger renovation project – is the flooring of the room that the sauna is going in. Our sauna cabins sit on top of the existing floor, so if clients have a specific flooring requirement for their sauna, then this needs to be fitted before KLAFS go in to install the cabin. There are a number of different types of flooring that can be suitable for a sauna, from tiles to untreated wood, and we are always happy to offer advice to our clients ahead of the installation process. If our clients do need to undertake any flooring work beforehand then obviously this will impact the timelines of their sauna installation, so we always want to make sure that this has been factored in from the outset.

    Similarly, with flooring, another mistake often made with domestic saunas is that clients think they need to install drainage on the floor of their sauna. While drains are suitable for steam rooms that produce high levels of condensation, they are not required for a sauna. The heat from a sauna will end up drying the drain trap and may release some nasty smells!

    Lastly, when preparing to install a sauna, we always want to ensure that our clients are striking the right balance between design and budget. There are many different types of wood that can be used in our saunas, and each of them have their own properties that will suit some clients, but not others. For example, solid wood cladding has much better heat properties than veneer panels. Similarly, in terms of benches, clients will find that softwood benches are much more comfortable than hardwood benches because of their thermal properties – hardwood will retain the heat and may feel too hot to sit on.

    Our saunas can be made totally bespoke, with clients able to choose from a huge array of personalisation options – from in-built speakers and ‘starry sky’ lighting, to high-tech infrared seats and energy-saving packages. When installing a sauna as part of a larger renovation project, we always try to work as closely as possible with architects, interior designers and developers to really make sure the sauna blends seamlessly with the rest of the scheme.

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