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The Best DIY Barrel Sauna Plans You’ll Ever Find

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Are you thinking about installing a sauna at home for your next patio/deck remodeling? Want to enhance your backyard to create more memories and spend more quality time together with your family and friends? If so, you’re in luck! There are plenty of great DIY barrel sauna plans out there. But which one should you choose? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best ideas and help you decide which one is right for you.

DIY Barrel Sauna Plans

Why Barrel Sauna?

If you’re considering a sauna for your home, your best bet for cheaper cost and easy installation is a barrel sauna. Barrel saunas come in packages that can be DIY assembled and come with manuals and video instructions. There are several sauna suppliers you can reach out to which, depending on your location, can serve you with the best cost and delivery times. 

Anyway, here are reasons why you should consider a barrel sauna: 

  1. Heat Efficient: Barrel saunas are built with thick staves that work well as insulators, preventing the escape of heat. 
  2. Faster Heating: The circular shape of a barrel sauna provides faster and even heat distribution. 
  3. Low maintenance: Especially when you plan to have a barrel sauna for the outdoors, maintaining it is not as difficult as other sauna types. The barrel shape will naturally shed rain or snow. 
  4. Some wood types also resist water and insects, such as Western Red Cedars, which make maintenance essentially less.
  5. Aesthetics: You can’t deny the beauty of barrel saunas. A barrel sauna can be the eye-catching centerpiece in your backyard or a hidden gem in an indoor setting.
  6. Movable: In case you need to relocate your sauna, moving a barrel sauna will not be not as difficult as compared to rebuilding a traditional sauna. Moving it from the outdoors to indoors or vice versa will be easier as well.
  7. Simplicity: The design of a barrel sauna and its components are very simple and can be built like a puzzle. Its simplicity does not compromise its quality and durability, yet is still inexpensive and affordable.

Planning Your Outdoor Barrel Sauna  

Barrel Saunas are most commonly used outdoors, as they can endure the outside conditions better than other sauna types. As stated earlier, a barrel sauna heats up faster, resists water, snow, and insects, and is insulated well enough to keep the space warm as you use it.

As wide as the outdoors go, there are a ton of options on where to place your sauna. 


First off, you can simply install a sauna in your garage. If you happen to have an unused space, why not convert it into a space for relaxation? Installing a barrel sauna in the garage can be advantageous as it is protected by the outside weather, but does not necessarily need extra ventilation. Unlike indoor installations, barrel saunas in the garage may not need installations for drain, flooring, and insulation systems.


You can also have a placement for your sauna in the backyard, next to your BBQ area, especially when you plan to use a wood-fired heater. However, make sure that this area is far away from neighbors or the road. Not only the sauna produces smoke that can be a nuisance for others, but keeping it hidden also provides privacy for the sauna users. We want to be relaxed when using our sauna, it’s best to place it somewhere quiet and peaceful.

On the other hand, if you plan to use an electrical heater instead, make sure that the area is easily accessible for electricity. Always remember to have an electrician install the heating system to ensure a safe and efficient heating system.

By the Pool

Placing the sauna by the pool gives easy access to water, which can be invigorating. You can either take laps in the pool first, then relax and soothe yourself in the sauna, or you can take the sauna first and then refresh yourself by dipping in the pool after. If not beside the pool, you can also have it beside a lake for better scenery. For a simple and practical water source, a simple shower can do the job.

On the Hills

Photo Credit: Pinterest

To create the ultimate relaxing experience, you may want to look out for a hilltop or a cliff where you can place your barrel sauna. The scenic spots in these areas can be breathtaking. 

However, make sure you monitor the conditions in the area beforehand: Consider the humidity, sunlight, rain, or snow. Although barrel saunas are durable, extreme natural elements can be detrimental to the materials of barrel saunas. 

Moreover, always see to it that you’ve met local and state laws before putting up your sauna, especially in areas like these.

Location Aspects to Consider

To sum it up, here are the factors to consider when selecting your sauna placement, wherever your sauna may be.

  • Access to water
  • Access to electricity
  • Managing Smoke 
  • Privacy

Building your Sauna Base

Sure, barrel saunas can be placed anywhere outdoors: Besides the pool, in the backyard, in your garden, anywhere! But wherever it may be, make sure you have prepared a solid base before assembling the sauna. Here are the most common sauna bases you can build and prepare before installation: 

Gravel Bed

Wooden Deck

Paver Blocks/ Patio Stones

Concrete Base

Should I Need Roofing for my Barrel Sauna Plans?

If you see wet spots in your barrel sauna after a rainfall, don’t worry! When you use the sauna, it will dry quickly. However, if you don’t want seepage in your sauna, you can go with several roofing options to keep it dry at all times. 

The most common roofing options are:

  • Roof Shingles
  • Sauna Rain Coats and Jackets
  • Metal Sheet Roofing
  • Independent roof Structures or Sheds
    • Pergolas or gazebos work well for electrically heated saunas, but avoid using them when you plan to have a wood-fired sauna to ensure safety.

Panoramic Barrel Sauna 

If you plan to build the sauna in the open, why not provide a display of the outdoors? A panoramic window can be placed instead of covering up the rear with a wooden panel. Planning to build a sauna by the lake, a mountainside, or any other scenic spots? This panoramic glass wall can bring another level of relaxation to the sauna users. Moreover, the dome-shaped glass wall also caters to additional space with the dome bench, as well as better lighting. 

Barrel Sauna with Porch

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Speaking of additional seating, barrel saunas can also have a porch, where you can cool off before going back into the sauna. 

Indoor Barrel sauna

Photo Credit: Reddit

Barrel saunas are more popular outdoors, but you can also set barrel saunas inside, but with some pointers to keep in mind: 

For flooring, placing a carpet under the barrel sauna is not advised. Instead, here are the best flooring types to use under the sauna:

  • Ceramic
  • Concrete
  • Laminate
  • Vinyl

Aside from being waterproof, these flooring types are also good insulators.

Also, indoor barrel saunas require proper ventilation. Any excess heat and humidity should be vented through a vent. This will increase the cost and installation time. Ask your manufacturer if your sauna package includes insulation and ventilation.

Wood selection

It’s critical to choose the correct wood for a sauna. Why? Because it influences the design and heat absorption. Many different types of wood may be utilized, moreover, they can be modified to meet your specific requirements.

Spruce Barrel Saunas

Spruce, one of the cost-effective options, is commonly used in barrel saunas that still provide a high-quality build. Spruce is a light-colored wood with fine textures and white knots. Additionally, spruce has a light scent that you may smell while in the sauna, which many people find relaxing.

Pine Barrel Saunas

Pinewood, like Spruce, is a very cost-effective material for saunas. It is also light-colored and durable. Pine has a pleasant scent and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Saunas built with pinewood may need treatment when they’re installed outdoors.

Cedar Barrel Saunas

Cedarwood is one of the most popular types for making barrel saunas because it’s widely available and naturally resistant to termites, rot & decay. Plus this scent smells great!

Other Sauna Components

Sauna Heaters

For barrel saunas, the layout of the sauna heater will be not much of an issue as they are ready to be installed. There’s no need to worry about the placement of the heater as the holes for vents are already pre-cut before installation. 

The only thing to worry about heaters for barrel saunas is the type of heater you will be using. For most barrel sauna suppliers, you can avail yourself of an electronic heater or a wood-fired one. 

Of course, a wood-fired heater will not be recommended for indoors, unless a proper venting system is installed. While outdoor barrel saunas can be installed with either. Below is a comparison of wood-fired and electric heaters:

Wood-Fired Heater

Photo Credit: Pinterest
  • Reliable: No matter where you are, you can use a wood-fired heater for your sauna. Whether you are out in remote locations, heating won’t be a problem. 
  • Outdoor Experience: The authentic feeling of being in the outdoors is best felt with a wood-fired sauna. Unlike electric heaters, the burning of wood delivers a scent that nature provides. 
  • Least Expensive: Especially in rural and remote areas, using a wood-fired heater will be a no-brainer. Firewood can easily be obtained in the surroundings. Although a wood-fired heater requires additional components such as the chimney, burning wood will be more economical as compared to using electricity in the long run.

Electric Heater

Photo Credit: Pinterest
  • Temperature Control: The easy and accurate control of temperature is a definite advantage of electric heaters. With a dial of a knob, you can easily adjust the temperature of the sauna, instead of adding or removing firewood in a wood-fired heater. 
  • Faster heating: Electric heaters are powerful devices that can convert electrical energy quickly into thermal energy just as you turn it on.
  • Easy to Use and Install: Electric sauna heaters typically come in relatively small packages. Aside from the wiring, electric heaters come as a single component, as compared to wood-fired heaters that require additional parts such as the chimney. 
  • Easier Maintenance: There’s nothing to clean, no dust, and smoke. Although electric heaters can be more costly over time, the time saved in using an electric sauna will be worth the higher electric bill. 

So what do you choose? Regardless, it is recommended to consult and ask for assistance from professionals to install either of the heating systems to prevent hazards and prolong the operational life of the sauna.


Instead of an outdoor porch, your sauna includes a changeroom. A changeroom is a tiny inner room within your sauna where you can change before or after your session. Before returning to the sauna, you and your guests can store items, change clothing, or simply take a break and get some fresh air.

Using the sauna properly requires a cool-down period for resting. Moving to fresh air in between sauna sessions will prevent dehydration. A general rule is to stay in the sauna for about 10 to 15 minutes, or around 5 minutes when you are still beginning. On the other hand, resting can take from 30 to 45 minutes. This res period is where the changeroom comes in.

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for a great way to relax and detox at home, a barrel sauna might be perfect for you. And if you want to build your own, make sure you check out the best DIY barrel sauna plans that can accommodate your needs. 

ARCGO is one of the top Renovation Experts. We specialize in house renovations, patio/deck remodeling, office building renovations, hotel renovations, and many more.

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