You don't need to live in the lap of luxury to own a steam sauna. Indoor or outdoor saunas are wonderful additions to your home. Convert a spare room or build the sauna outside. Whether you want to do it yourself from top to bottom or use a kit to build your steam sauna, it's a sensational way to relax your muscles and feel refreshed.

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Lava rocks are great for producing steam.

Location

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Use a bucket to pour water over your lava rocks.

There is a difference between saunas and steam saunas. Steam saunas generally require a steam generator outside of the sauna that pipes steam into the sauna building. A regular sauna uses a wood stove inside the room—sometimes with lava rocks, which build heat and produce steam when water is poured over them. However, even a wood stove and lava rocks provide steam. A steam generator needs tubing to pump steam into the sauna. Either way, the first thing to consider is where you want your steam sauna to be.

If you build the steam sauna in a spare room, start with framing your sauna walls and ceiling using 2-by-4-foot frames according to the size of the steam sauna you want to build, according to the website "Repair Home." Allow enough room to be able to stand and allow for one or two benches. The rule of thumb for a sauna is a rectangular shape of 45 square feet.

Materials

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Build a steam sauna large enough to stand in.

Use cedar or some other soft wood that is conducive to heat and resistant to moisture to build the interior of your steam sauna.

Insulate your steam sauna, whether indoors or outdoors. One way to insulate your sauna is to apply a few inches of fiberglass to the interior.

Do the same if you are building a steam sauna in your yard and use timber, such as pine or hemlock, as your building materials as they are more weather resistant, according to the website "A Garden Building Co."

When building your steam sauna inside your home, ensure the location has ventilation so the heat of your future hot room won't invade other areas of your home.

Steam Source

Decide what type of heat or steam source you want to use. A variety of heating methods—such as infrared, electric, lava heaters and wood stoves—are available. A wood stove has a nice aroma, if you don't mind fetching and storing wood for the sauna. However, it is close to the authentic type of sauna used in Scandinavian countries.

Purchase sauna rock, such as peridotite, which is quarried Finnish rock, or use American rocks such as basalt or hornblende, which is a re-crystallized rock resistant to high temperatures, according to the website "Cyberbohemia." Some special nurseries or garden stores have lava rocks for saunas, but the best place to purchase lava rocks is at a pool or sauna store.

Use a bucket of water and ladle to pour water over your sauna or lava rocks once heated to help build steam.

Be sure to drink plenty of water while using your sauna so you don't become dehydrated. Steam is a healthy way of eliminating toxins in the body and to relax muscles and is also a great way to unwind after a long day at work.