So, you have decided to install or Sauna, or maybe a Steam Room…or both ?
What should you consider to help you make your choice ?
Firstly ,what’s the difference ?
A Sauna is usually a square or rectangular “cabin” made of timber, with wooden benches arranged at low and high level. The sauna heater is located within the room and is usually electrically operated.
A number of timber options are available, however this is primarily aesthetic, as the type of timber doers not affect the operation of the sauna. Some people will choose Cedar as it smells so good when first cut, but this initial fragrance will diminish as the oil dries out with use.
The sauna is heated to around 80/85 degrees C and has a very low humidity of between 5/11 %, which makes it feel even hotter.
You would normally start off your Sauna session on the lower benches before moving up to a higher bench which is hotter (hot air rises).
A Steam Room on the other hand is more of a building construction, as the walls which are of a pre insulated material are tiled once in situ, the Steam Room is also usually (but not always) square or rectangular, but normally only has bench seating at one level.
The Steam Room is heated via a steam generator which is always located outside the room, and which boils water and turns it quickly into steam, which then enters the Steam Room.
Although moving from a sauna into a steam room feels as though the temperature is the same or very similar, it is in fact around half the temperature in a Steam Room as it is in a sauna. It is the 100% humidity which makes it feel the same.
The operating costs of a similar sized room, Sauna or Steam Room will be the same.
So, how to decide ?
Firstly is your Sauna or Stream Room for home or commercial use ?
If home, its only you or your family’s preference to consider, but if its for commercial use, you may wish to think about your customer base.
As a rule (very generally) men seem to prefer the “harsher” heat of Sauna where women prefer the gentler more humid heat of Steam Rooms.
Budget will also play a part, as in general, Saunas are about half the cost of a tiled Steam Room.
Location may also be an issue, as Steam Rooms will require drainage in the floor of the room itself and also a drain located close to the steam generator.
A Sauna will only usually require a power supply whereas a Steam Room will require power, water and waste.
Ventilation is also a consideration as ideally a Steam Room will have a vent pipe to outside atmosphere.
Heat up times will be similar, and as mentioned previously, operating costs roughly the same.
A sauna will take up to a couple of days to install whereas a tiled Steam room may take seven days from start to finish.
How you enjoy the rooms will also be similar, taking several shorter sessions as opposed to one long “endurance” is best.
The medical benefits are also similar, however those wishing to improve a Bronchiole condition may find it easier in a Steam Room than in the dry heat of Sauna.
You may be fortunate enough to install one of each, in which case you can see for yourself which you prefer, and transfer from one room to the other as the mood takes you.
I hope that you have found this informative and that whichever choice you make you will have many years of enjoyment from your Sauna or Steam Room (or both !).