how much does it cost to install a sauna bath

How much does it cost to install a sauna?

Sauna rooms provide a therapeutic environment based primarily on heat. Heat is typically delivered as steam or infrared lighting of carbon heaters.

You will find the cost of average sauna rooms by type of unit heating, its seating capacity, material grade and finish, preparation and special needs, and the labour rate.

Imagine yourself relaxing in your new sauna. All the stresses of life melt away as you build a rolling sweat. You breathe deep, and life seems to all come into perspective as time slows down. A sauna is a rejuvenation of your body and mind that is proven to have physical and psychological benefits. It’s a healthy way to cleanse your body of toxins and stimulate the body’s immune system.

The sauna dates back to the Nordic region of Finland over 1,000 years ago. It has been mimicked similarly in Russia, Japan, and embraced all over the world. They have a tradition of going into the sauna, then rolling in the snow. It rejuvenates the mind and body to shock it like that. Whether you use it that way or just to relax at the end of a day, a sauna is a healthy way to relax.

Home Sauna Costs

The average sauna installation costs between $3,000 and $6,000. On average, you’ll spend about $4,500. Size and material costs play the biggest roles in what you’ll pay. Labour costs usually account for between $700 and $3,000 of the total price. Prefab options cost between $70 and $120 per square foot.

Typical sauna sizes range between 4 by 4 feet to 8 by 12 feet. The average 8 by 5 feet unit can seat four people. Larger versions that can seat 5 to 7 people will run closer to $6,000.

Relaxing in one benefits your health by removing toxins and bolstering the immune system. Most people don’t realize that you can install one in the home. A professional can help you determine the best options and prices for your space.

Deciding on a Sauna

These days, there are many decisions that a homeowner has to make when deciding to install a sauna. For starters, you will need to decide on the specific size; most saunas can comfortably accommodate one to two people, but larger ones can be built. From there, you may want to have some extra amenities installed as well to enhance the experience. This can include anything from a special light package to a stereo system or anything in between. It is also wise to have a thermometer installed in the unit to monitor temperature safely.

Cost to Build a Sauna

The total price to install falls between $3,000 and $6,000. Larger or more complicated options will exceed this range. Location and materials heavily impact your price. You can choose between indoor and outdoor options.

In-Home Sauna Cost

An indoor sauna can be installed anywhere in your house as long as room allows. A walk-in closet, basement, or garage will work perfectly as your new saunas home. A great advantage of an indoor sauna is that it can be used 12 months out of the year, regardless of the weather. Indoor saunas are generally more expensive than outdoor saunas, however, since you need the sauna to conform to the space you choose, the sauna has to be vented, and nearby spaces have to be protected from heat and moisture. An average 2-4 person indoor sauna will cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. Labor, along with the electrical work involved for the heater, will usually be around the same price as your sauna cost. A typical 5-7 person sauna will cost $3,000 to $5,000 with labor typically costing $2,000 to $4,000.

An indoor unit begins at $3,000 but can get up to $9,000+. In-home options cost more than outdoor units because you must vent it and protect the nearby area from heat and moisture. You can install it anywhere that space allows, like a walk-in closet or basement.

Cost of Building an Outdoor Sauna

Outdoor installations cost between $3,000 and $6,000. They rarely exceed this range since they don’t come with constraints of existing space. The wood material chosen will increase the price. Cedar and redwood are the highest-quality woods for saunas.

These can make an excellent addition to an outdoor living space. It is usually built as a freestanding wood unit but will require a concrete slab to be poured as a foundation.

Prefab Sauna Prices

Prefab kits cost between $70 and $120per square foot. The standard 8 foot by the 5-foot 4-person unit will run you about $2,800. The cost to install a kit will be much less than the price of a custom job. A professional should still perform the installation, but using this type will help save on some costs.

Custom Sauna Room Costs

The average custom installation costs about $7,100. For an outdoor unit, there will be a range of wood to choose from, such as cedar or redwood. Fibreglass or acrylic versions are very durable but somewhat more expensive to repair than wood.

Different woods have their own costs and properties. You’ll go through quite a bit of wood on a custom sauna. Use this chart to compare more and less expensive options.

If you opt to install a door or windows, the materials for those will also affect the price.

A custom job will allow you to add more features and to make it a more customized size and shape.

Electric Sauna Heater

Electric saunas use electrical heaters to heat the space. They are easy-to-control with a thermostat and quite cost-effective, although they increase your energy bills. The average cost of an electric heater is around $400 – $500.

Some advantages of an electric heater are that they heat the space very quickly and do not need a chimney for additional ventilation. They come in various sizes and are clean and convenient to use. 

On the downside, electric heaters will not work if the power goes out. They need a constant source of electricity to function.

Infrared Sauna Costs

An infrared sauna heater uses infrared light to heat the space. These lights use electricity as a power source, so they will not work if the power goes out, and they affect your energy bills.

These heaters work quickly. With just three ceramic infrared lights in a simple box, they can heat a sauna in a single minute and are also easy to set up. Unfortunately, they can almost be too effective at times and become too hot in very small spaces. So, you need a large sauna to appreciate an infrared heater.

Nowadays, far-infrared saunas have become popular all around the globe. The reason is the new technology connected to infrared heaters, which makes this type of saunas long-lasting. Plus, they heat the body without heating the space.

Therefore, there will be no steam or fog like in the traditional sauna. Far-infrared sauna comes in two different styles, and you can buy the indoor or outdoor model depending on your needs.

Initial costs

The cost of this type of sauna will depend on its brand and materials. You can expect to pay about $1500 to 5000 for the sauna for two to six people. It is a bit higher price compared to the traditional sauna, but it is worth every cent.

Installation and replacement

The costs of the installation will vary from $0 to 700. If you are not highly skilful, you should find a specialist to install it.

If the sauna is for three or more people, you will need a 120 V/20 amp dedicated circuit, which will require an extra $500. The excellent news is that this sauna won’t need any replacement in the next ten years.

Electricity

The far-infrared sauna will use 1450 to 4225 W, on a monthly level. Overall costs will be approximately $11 to 27, which makes it cheaper in the long run than the traditional sauna.

Warranty

Most manufacturers give a lifetime guarantee for this type of sauna.

Gas Sauna Heater

A gas sauna heater sometimes referred to as a propane sauna heater uses gas or propane as the fuel. Natural gas is relatively easy-to-access in many cities and urban areas, but if you are in a rural location, propane can be used instead. 

Gas heaters are quite expensive, costing between $2,000 and $2,500 on average. Despite their high price, they offer advantages like heating quickly and working without electricity.

Venting is required for a natural gas or propane sauna heater, so they are great for outdoor saunas or those with exterior walls.

Traditional Steam/Rock Sauna

These types of a sauna provide the possibility of relaxing and detoxifying in steam. The temperature inside is not too high. It implies a pleasant 110 to 120 F (40 – 48 C), while the level of humidity is approximately 70 to 100%.

The essential part of this particular model is a steam generator producing wet steam. Let’s calculate all the costs for the purchase of this sauna.

Initial costs

If you are skilful, you can get this sauna for $1800. That means you can buy Steam traditional kits for saunas and save money by installing the DIY, indoor type of sauna. The kit includes all parts for the sauna, including woodwork, hardware, door, flooring, and heater.

There is also the pre-assembled kit for the indoor sauna that you can purchase by the lowest price of $4200. It is a practical solution for you if you are not skilled enough, or you don’t have time to put up the sauna by yourself.

If you have a garden and prefer having an outdoor steam/rock sauna, the price for the pre-assembled sauna kit is approximately $5600. However, you can choose a cheaper version of the DIY kit for just $2600 if you want to invest your skills and knowledge of woodcraft for ultimate pleasure.

Installation

No matter which type of sauna you choose, it is a wise idea to call an expert to install it at your home. The installation will cost from $700 to 1500. In some cases, you should count on additional hardware, such as a dedicated circuit, which may require an extra $1500.

Replacement parts

You should also count on some extra costs for general repairs and replacements for your steam sauna in the next ten years. All in all, it can cost you about $1500 for the heater, stones, and other necessary parts you need to replace.

Electricity

Traditional rock/steam saunas use from 3000 W to 9000 W if you use it regularly. That will cost you about $25 to 60 per month. Compared to other types of saunas, it uses more energy and costs more money.

Warranty

The warranty for the traditional steam/rock sauna depends on manufacturers and brands, but it is five to six years on average.

Residential Sauna Cost Factors

Beyond materials and indoor vs. outdoor, consider these factors for the cost.

Location

You can install in a variety of places. The cost will be determined by how much renovation is necessary to install. Common locations include garages, bathrooms and basement. Placing units in outbuildings is another option.

Two vs. Four-Person Saunas

A small two-person 4 by 4 feet unit costs around $2,000. You’ll pay closer to $4,000 on average for an 8 by 5 feet version that handles four people.

Electrical

The cost to install will include the electrical wiring it requires to set up the system. They require a 220-volt circuit in the existing electrical panel and a 220-volt receptacle nearby. You’ll want to make sure you hire a local electrician to handle all electrical work to ensure everything is set up safely and correctly.

Extras

Any extras you add will increase the cost to install a sauna, but it’s typically these extras that will make your installation comfortable and more functional.

  • Sauna rocks
  • Water bucket with ladle
  • Hygrometer or thermometer

Sauna vs. Steam Room or Shower

Steam room costs between $1,000 and $5,000.Steam rooms and showers work differently than saunas. Rather than heating rocks or water, a steam room generates hot mist and sprays it throughout the room.

Installing a DIY Sauna Kit vs. Hiring a Pro

A DIY kit costs between $800 and $1,200. Contract a sauna professional to help or subcontract out the plumbing and electrical tasks.

  • Plumbers charge between $45 and $200 per hour.
  • Electrician rates range from $50 to $100 per hour.

Labour Costs to Install Sauna

A sauna can be installed anywhere in a home that affords adequate space. Many people opt to place a sauna in the master bedroom, bathroom, or garage. There does need to be electricity and water readily available wherever you choose to install a sauna. If they are not available, you will need to have them installed. A plumber charges $45 – $65 per hour. An electrician charges $65 – $85 per hour.

Remember, that the doors of a sauna open out, so you need to make sure that you have not only enough space to place the sauna in the room but also a sufficient area for the doors to open outward. A custom-built sauna will require hiring a contractor to make the precise designs to carry out the construction. The custom-designed sauna must also be thoroughly insulated, especially in the ceiling where heat readily escapes.

When installing either a prefabricated or custom-designed sauna, the homeowner will normally need to hire an electrician to install a 220-volt circuit in the home’s existing electrical panel. A 220-volt receptacle will also need to be located near the sauna. For such a job, most electricians will charge from $250 to $600 depending upon the complexity of the wiring and the materials needed.

Many factors affect the cost of a custom-designed sauna. Most carpenters charge an average of $70 per hours plus the cost of materials. Overall, the cost to have a custom-built four-person sauna that measures 8×5 feet professionally installed will average $7,140.

Sauna Door

Sauna doors are insulated to help retain heat. They can have a window or not. Doors with windows in them tend to cost more (around $800) than doors without (around $600). Most are sealed with a rubber gasket and held closed with a magnetic closure. The height of the door is usually not less than 80 inches.

Sauna Lights

Sauna lighting creates ambience and comfort. Many people choose coloured lights to set the mood in their sauna. For example, red and yellow lights in the morning to energize or green lights in the evening for relaxation. Coloured sauna lights average $300. Fibre optic and LED are both excellent light choices for a sauna, the average $100. Round and tubular-shaped lights are both popular choices. Lighting is installed in the ceiling but can also be placed on the floor and walls. These extra lights average around $50 each. Overall, the choice of lights in a sauna is a personal one that reflects the homeowners’ taste.

Sauna Bench

Most saunas feature a built-in 6 bench to seat the maximum number of occupants comfortably. A wood bench that seats one average $85. A stainless steel bench that seats two averages $520.

Sauna Maintenance Cost

A sauna will need to be swept out every few days. Also, many owners opt to use a specialized sauna cleaner to remove sweat stains and other oily buildups from the wood twice a year. Teak oil, bacterial, or paraffin oil are all ideal for cleaning and deodorizing a sauna. The oils average from $10 – $25 for 16 oz.

An outdoor sauna will need to be stained every few years to protect the exterior from harmful UV rays—a gallon of wood stain averages $29. One gallon of wood stain will cover 150-300 sq.ft. per gallon.

Sauna heaters should be cleaned once a year. Turn off all power, remove the metal grill and hose it off. Then remove any rocks and hose them off. Allow all items to dry and then replace.

Sauna costs depend a lot on:

Sauna size

We sell sauna kits for homes, spas and government agencies from roughly 4×4 to 8×12, but of course, we can build any size larger as needed. One important note is our prefab sauna kits list the usable space. So a 5×8 sauna is truly 5×8 inside. We do not include the walls in the perimeter measurement. Your outdoor sauna base should be 8″ wider and longer than 5×8!

Sauna heater

You have several choices to power your sauna, most are electric, but some like gas or wood-fired and infrared for other reasons like location, size, and costs to run. The bigger the sauna, the more powerful the sauna heater required to heat it, of course. Some commercial saunas require two heaters.

Special amenities 

Sauna plumbing (not required), a nicer sauna door, windows with etched glass, or extra windows and sauna height and flooring choices are wonderful and do add up.

Finish touches

Other finishing touches can add extra expense. E.g., there are also some nice lights available now, bench facing and infrared emitters or lights make your sauna more comfortable

Accessories – Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Sauna Control Panel

A sauna control panel lets the user control the temperature and humidity of the sauna interior. The panel averages $290 – $600.

Mood Lighting

Mood lights average $100 – $1,000 depending on the kind and size. The lights change colours and typically range from blue to green. You can choose the colour to fit the mood.

Seating

A four-person sauna bench averages $85 – $650 depending on the material.

Radio/music

Many people opt to have speakers or a stereo installed in their sauna. The price of a radio/stereo can range from $100 – $1500 depending on the system that you purchase.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • All saunas require adequate vents and airflow. Fans and airflow systems must be wired by an electrician, who charges $65 – $85 per hour.
  • The sky’s the limit when designing your sauna. You can opt to have coals, steam generators, water softeners 7, radio players, salt injection and even infusions. Cost for such perks can run from $100 – $2,000 depending on what enhancements you want to purchase.
  • A carbon monoxide detector 8 is needed when installing a gas sauna. The average cost of a carbon monoxide detector is $75 – $160.
  • When having the parts of a sauna shipped you should always inquire how they will be transported. Prefabricated saunas often have free shipping.
  • Metal is normally not used in a sauna unless it is stainless steel because other types can corrode. Stainless steel benches and handrails 9 are common, however.
  • The wood of most saunas will require an application of wood preservative every few years. A gallon typically averages $30 – $45 per can.
  • Certifications needed for a sauna include RAL guidelines (the Quality Assurance Board for Sauna, Infrared Cabin & Steam Bath Construction), VDE (seal of quality for sauna control panels and sauna heaters, and Blue Angel which is an ecolabel for safe and environmentally friendly products.
  • A small portable sauna that is already constructed and can be moved from location to location averages $150 – $200.
  • Installing a prefabricated sauna is very straightforward. A pre-built sauna comes with assembly instructions and all the parts that you will need for quick, efficient installation. It typically takes the average person less than 24 hours to set up the sauna and have it operational.
  • Nowadays, a sauna can easily be purchased as modular units or kits. All that is required is a few tools. An 8×5 foot sauna that seats 4 people can be purchased for $2,640 – $4,790.
  • Most prefabricated saunas come with a five-year warranty while a custom-built sauna would only have a warranty on the purchased components like the heater and door.
  • There are numerous benefits to sauna versus steam rooms and hot tubs. A sauna naturally improves the skin’s tone, helps circulation and induces sleep. It also increases a home’s resale value. However, it is not good for children. The space required for a sauna can take up excessive room in a home or on the property. If a person is humidity-sensitive, then a dry sauna is a better option than a steam room. Although a steam room offers the same physical benefits as a sauna, it works poorly in humid climates. A hot tub is another common way to ease sore muscles, improve circulation, and relax. However, unlike a sauna, a hot tub is far less energy-efficient.

The best way of finding out the cost of your project is to get quotes from local sauna installers. This will give you a sense of what market rates currently are.

All the costs and prices quoted were sourced at the time this article was written. They are indicative, may vary locally, are subject to market forces and should only be used as a guide.

Which sauna is the best option for you will depend on your preferences. I have tried to help you to gain the idea of the best models available on the market and their average costs. However, remember that ‘One cannot put a price to health’ and make the right choice for you and your family.

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