Nov 16, 2015

Dividing the sauna hot room and changing room.

So far, all we have is one big room. We need to divide this room in to a changing room and a hot room. This is where some planning needs to be involved. Because the hot room has a wood burning stove, and the stove requires certain clearances to combustibles, and because I actually pulled a city permit for this :), things need to be right. So, here’s what I’m working with. My stove requires about 12” from back and sides clearance to combustible wall—i.e. cedar. The stove is about 19”x19” in size. It also requires 48” clearance from the door of the stove to combustibles. Meaning I can’t have a bench closer than 4’ in front of the stove. Now, from the very beginning, the plan for the sauna was to fit about 8 people in the hot room on a good night and a few in the dressing room for after sauna drinks :). We needed to now find a way to make it all work and make things fit. We started with building a stove mockup—true to size, out of 2x4’s.We could then see how it’d look. If you look back to the first posts where we drew a plan, we now realized it won’t work for us. After spending an hour in the cold sauna building after our weekly beer night—the 3 of us devised a plan that should work. We decided that the hot room should span the width of the building—almost 12’. But the width of the hot room would do fine at about 6.5’. We will have the benches in an L shape. The hot room entry door will be slightly off center to the right. The stove will sit to the right of the entry door as you enter and will be in the middle of the short (6.5’) hot room wall. That way we get 12” clearance from the back and extra on both sides. Finally, the hot room will have the necessary “candle window.” I figured an appropriate size of which should be 20”x36”. That window will have the short side on the vertical and long side going horizontally and will start on the far left of the wall. One side note—the glass to use for this purpose is tempered glass. It withstands temps of up to about 500F which is enough. See the helpful links page of the blog for a place in Burnsville, MN where I bought that piece of glass for $32 with tax. Now that we had a plan, we could build the wall. Since the building already had all the framed elements such as doors and windows, I could just copy those to make the wall. As my buddy later told me—the candle window rough opening did not need a header :) But hey—no harm in extra support :) So, we measured our heights from the floor to the ceiling, and added extra for our candle window and door rough openings and assembled the wall on the floor.

Hot room door and "Candle Window" framed.
Hot room door and "Candle Window" framed.

Stove mockup behind the wall.
Stove mockup behind the wall.

Hot room door and "Candle Window" framed another view.
Hot room door and "Candle Window" framed another view.

Once the wall was nailed together, we lifted it up and could play with the actual placement locations to see how the room changed. We ended up running out of time, and simply braced it on both sides without making it permanent. We’ll do that later when we make our decisions.


Read my post about interpreting the sauna stove clearances before dividing your building in to a hot room and changing room:

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