How to Install Sauna Benches

To understand the installation of sauna benches you need to understand hot air. First of all, you already know that hot air rises. That’s why sauna ceilings are low because that’s where the heat is going to go.

Since the temperature difference in a sauna can be as much as one degree for each inch of elevation, proper placement of the benches in a sauna room is very important.

Tips on Installing the Sauna Bench

Sauna benches are not just places to sit! Their location in relation to the heater and the height they are mounted on the wall will determine what kind of heat each bather will experience.

You probably already know that ceilings in home saunas have a maximum height of 7 feet so that the sauna heater can operate efficiently and the room is better able to contain the heat. From this starting point, the position of the benches should have these specifications:

Cedar Sauna Bench
  • A bench should be a minimum of 6’ long to allow bathers to lie down. The minimum size that can be installed for sauna benches is about 3’ to 4’ but this will only work for a one-person sauna where the user will be sitting down.
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  • If you’re building your benches from scratch, the planks should have 1 cm spacing between them for air circulation, and be made of a sauna wood (i.e., Western Red Cedar) that won’t be affected by the heat. Be sure to countersink the screws in the bench, otherwise they will become extremely hot and can cause accidental burns. Also, if you’ve installed cladding on the sauna walls you won’t need backrests on the benches.
  • Sauna Bench Headrest

  • The best sauna designs offer two levels of seating. The lower bench has a height of about 18” and extends about 18” out from the upper bench. The upper bench is about 36” high and 19” or 20” wide.
  • Again, the upper bench is hotter than the lower bench during the sauna operation. For this reason, if you only plan to have a single bench you can raise it higher in the room if your sauna plans allow for it, or you can lower the ceiling to 6 1/2 ft.
  • Sweat More on the Top Bench?

    If you’re wondering why it feels like the temperature is hotter on the top sauna benches, remember your physics class: you know that hot air rises, and you also know that the steam created by the water poured on the rocks raises the humidity briefly in the room.

    This heated air creates convection current in the sauna as it rises and spreads to the ceiling and back down the walls pushing down cooler air towards the floor. (Cold air cannot come down unless hot air rises to take its place.)

    The higher the temperature, the greater the volume the pushing hotter air wants to occupy. It completes the current by pulling along the floor to replace new air that is rising from the stove. Thus, the top bench in the sauna gets the hottest löyly!

    You will like to take advantage of the presence of two sauna benches by moving up and down during the sauna. If you’re ordering any sauna parts or presently planning your sauna and are looking to buy a pre-cut or pre-built design, consider getting a two-bench sauna kit if at all possible.

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