Monday, March 4, 2024

Outdoor Steam Sauna Guide - Enjoying Steam Bathing in the Open Air

Steam saunas bring relaxing and therapeutic moist heat, but did you know you can install one outdoors? Outdoor steam saunas allow you to de-stress while immersing in nature. This guide covers the benefits of outdoor steam saunas, considerations for installation and use, safety tips, costs, and recommendations for designing a rejuvenating outdoor steam sauna retreat.

What is an Outdoor Steam Sauna?

An outdoor steam sauna is essentially a steam room installed outside a home, business, or other facility rather than indoor. It's constructed of waterproof and weather-resistant materials to allow the steam generator and room to function exposed to the elements.

Outdoor steam saunas provide the same benefits of indoor steam rooms including:

  • Deep cleansing and hydrating skin
  • Opening pores and removing impurities
  • Relaxing muscles and relieving pain -Detoxifying through induced sweating
  • Improving circulation and oxygenation

But outdoor steam saunas add the advantage of immersing you in fresh outside air and surrounding you with the sights and sounds of nature while enjoying the steam.

Transform your Dubai home into a tranquil oasis with a sauna steam room installation. Our expert team specializes in sauna steam room installation in Dubai, ensuring precise craftsmanship and attention to detail for the ultimate luxurious and rejuvenating experience.

Benefits of Installing Your Steam Sauna Outdoors

Installing your steam sauna outdoors provides some nice perks:

Sauna Anytime - Use your steam sauna anytime without heating up your indoor home.

Fresh Outdoor Air - Breathe in fresh air instead of recirculated indoor air.

Nature Immersion - Enjoy sights and sounds of the outdoors like birds and breezes while you detoxify.

Space Savings - Doesn't occupy space in your indoor home.

Private Spa Experience - Create a secluded spa-like oasis steps from your home.

Entertaining Option - Host gatherings with the outdoor steam as an activity option for guests.

Healthier Air - Avoid indoor humidity and moisture accumulation on walls and windows by placing it outside.

An outdoor steam sauna offers safety, privacy and the mental health benefits of surrounding yourself with nature while enjoying your steam session.

Considerations Before Installing an Outdoor Steam Sauna

While wonderful to have, outdoor steam saunas require some planning:

Weatherproofing - The sauna must be insulated and waterproofed to withstand rain, snow and sun year round.

Moisture Venting - Proper ventilation is very important to let moisture escape and not build up excessively when not in use.

Electrical Supply - Ensure outdoor electrical outlets and wiring are sufficient and protected for powering the steam generator.

Location - Pick a level, well-drained area, not too secluded or noisy. Run electricity, water and drainage to the site.

Safety - Prevent unsupervised access with locks, fences or landscaping. Install lighting for nighttime use.

Zoning - Check if permits or restrictions apply for outdoor residential saunas based on zoning laws and neighborhood covenants in your area.

While outdoor installation involves challenges, with thoughtful planning your backyard steam sauna can provide an amazing spa-like retreat right at home.

How Much Does an Outdoor Steam Sauna Cost?

Typical costs for adding an outdoor steam sauna run $3000-$7000 on average depending on size and amenities, similar to indoor sauna installation. Key costs include:

  • $1500 - $2500 for structure construction - weatherproof walls/roof, seating, waterproof lighting and floor drains. Labour for assembly.
  • $1000-$2000 for steam generator & heater - Power requirements vary, more pricey for stronger outdoor-rated models. Installation labor.
  • $500+ for electrical and ventilation - Running new electrical line, wiring, vents and exhaust fans add additional costs. Permits may apply.
  • Land preparation - Grading, drainage, pouring pad if needed will increase budget.
  • Design expenses - More intricate architecture, premium building materials and amenities increase overall costs.

Ongoing maintenance for an outdoor steam sauna involves inspecting and protecting the structure from weathering, cleaning and replacing water filtration, cleaning and sealing benches, repairing any wear and replacing steam parts over time.

Recommended Materials for Outdoor Steam Saunas

To withstand the elements, outdoor steam saunas should be constructed from weather-resistant materials:

  • Red cedar or teak wood - Naturally weather-resistant lumber that withstands moisture.
  • Exterior-rated drywall - Moisture-resistant drywall sheathing adds needed insulation.
  • Tempered safety glass - Tinted for privacy and better heat retention. Withstands impact.
  • Metal roofing - Prevents leaks and resists weather better than shingles.
  • Concrete or tile floor - Does not warp or grow mold like wood floors. Provides good footing.
  • Marine-grade waterproof surfaces - Protects benches and wall accents from moisture damage.
  • Stainless steel hardware - Resists corrosion much better than regular steel.

Choose the most water, mold and rust-resistant building materials that can endure ongoing outdoor exposure. Pay for quality materials upfront to avoid frequent repairs down the road.

Ideal Location for an Outdoor Steam Sauna

When selecting the ideal spot to install your outdoor steam sauna, consider:

  • A level, graded area with good drainage to prevent water pooling around the structure.
  • Near your home for convenience but tucked away for privacy. Keep out of direct eyesight of neighbors if possible.
  • Close proximity to your electrical service for easy hookup to a GFCI-protected circuit.
  • Locate by trees, gardens or landscaping to enhance the nature experience while inside.
  • Placement away from roads, driveways or noisy areas. The peaceful spot will aid relaxation.
  • Access to water lines if wanting sinks/showers. Placement above ground frost lines if adding plumbing.
  • A soothing view while inside - pond, flowers, mountain vista. Pick the scenery you’d enjoy gazing at through steam room windows.
  • Not directly under large trees that could drop leaves, sap and twigs onto the sauna.

Choose your location wisely to create the ideal outdoor sauna retreat right at home.

Designing an Outdoor Steam Sauna for Optimal Enjoyment

A well-designed outdoor steam sauna provides safety, relaxation and convenience:

  • All-weather construction - Fully insulate walls, ceiling and floor. Waterproof roofing and moisture barriers.
  • Proper ventilation - Install moisture resistant vents. Fan to remove steam after use. Prevent mold growth when not in use.
  • Comfortable ergonomic seating - Contoured, smooth sanded benches. Multi-levels for leg comfort. Wrap with marine-grade waterproof cushions.
  • Convenience amenities - Cooler of chilled face clothes, towels, water bottles. Mirror, storage bench, robe hooks.
  • Safety - Provide exterior lighting, slip-proof flooring, emergency shutoff switch for steamer. Fire extinguisher rated for electrical.
  • Tranquil ambiance - Soft lighting, peaceful colors like blue-green, relaxing audio system or sounds of nature. Fountain, live plants or salt infusions can enhance the serene atmosphere.
  • Easy-clean surfaces - Tile or waterproof paneling along wet areas for easy cleaning. Drains to remove splash mess. Stainless accents.

Get creative in designing both the steam sauna interior and surrounding outdoors. Tailor it to provide your ultimate serene escape surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Maintaining and Protecting an Outdoor Steam Sauna

To keep an outdoor steam sauna in top condition for years requires diligence:

  • Inspect sealants and weather stripping around doors/windows periodically and replace if wearing or cracked. Prevent leaks.
  • Keep roof clear of fallen leaves and debris that could impede drainage. Clear drains and gutters.
  • Wash siding and benches periodically with mild cleanser and rinse well. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Watch for any mildew or mold growth inside or behind wall panels and clean immediately if found.
  • Apply protectants to wood benches and accents to prevent weathering damage and cracking.
  • Drain and flush steam generator/tubing with descaling solution to prevent mineral deposits from building up.
  • Wipe down glass doors and windows frequently so they don’t permanently fog or etch.
  • Cover or bring cushions/supplies indoors if leaving unused for extended periods.

The diligent care and weather protection you provide your outdoor steam sauna determines its longevity and ongoing functionality.

Using Your Outdoor Steam Sauna Safely

While outdoor steam saunas provide wonderful benefits, be cautious:

  • Hydrate well before and after use to prevent dehydration from sweating. Have water on hand.
  • Limit sessions to 10-15 minutes until you know your tolerance. Then no more than 20 minutes maximum as you adjust.
  • Cool down slowly when finishing to allow your body temperature to fall gradually. Don't jump into a cold pool.
  • Avoid alcohol before or during use as it increases dehydration risks.
  • If feeling unwell, dizzy or nauseous, exit immediately and get medical help if symptoms persist. Don't take chances.
  • Sit or lie down initially until you know how your body handles the heat. Avoid standing right away.
  • Have an emergency phone or call button accessible.
  • Keep the steam generator and surfaces clean to avoid bacterial infection spread.

While very low risks, be prudent and keep safety top of mind, especially when first using your new outdoor steam sauna retreat.

Choosing the Steam Generator

Steam generators create the moist warmth by heating water and converting it to steam vapor. For outdoor installation, you'll want an exterior-rated generator designed to withstand the elements. Look for:

  • Heavy-duty stainless steel casing. Avoid regular steel which rusts.
  • Weatherproof, water-resistant exterior electrical box and connections.
  • GFCI protected circuit plus grounding for added safety.
  • Automatic drain valves to remove water after use so it doesn't sit.
  • High-output heating elements that power up quickly.
  • Adjustable thermostat to customize steam temp.
  • Auto shutoff timer for safety if you forget to power down.
  • Descaling system to routinely flush out mineral deposits from the water. Prolongs life.

While pricier, an outdoor-rated steam generator withstands moisture, humidity and temperature fluctuations better for long lasting performance.

Top 5 Outdoor Steam Sauna Kits

For convenience, you can buy an all-in-one modular outdoor steam sauna kit that includes the structure and generator:

  1. Clearlight Cardio - Fir wood construction, built-in heater and controls, lighting, glass door. For 1-2 people.
  2. Dream Sauna - High-grade Canadian Hemlock wood. Durable stainless steel heater, roof and door handles. 6 kW heater capacity provides extra power.
  3. HAUS LIFE - Made from Western red cedar for natural weather protection. Ergonomic two-level bench layout provides comfort and space.
  4. ALMOST HEAVEN - Elegant acrylic panels on framing. Comes with stones, bucket, ladle and sauna scents. Easy to assemble modular construction.
  5. Steam Planet - Constructed of weather-resistant Nordic spruce wood. Can customize size for 2-6 person capacity. Safety tested and certified.

Look for weatherproof construction, excellent steam output, ease of installation and positive customer reviews. Kits save time and provide tested designs.

Maintaining Outdoor Steam Sauna Hygiene

To keep your outdoor steam sauna hygienic for continual enjoyment:

  • Sanitize between users by spraying benches and surfaces with disinfectant cleaner and wiping down. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Deep clean weekly by scrubbing all surfaces with multi-purpose cleaner and rinsing away buildup. Use mild antimicrobial cleaner if needed.
  • Open doors and vents after each use to air out and prevent mold/mildew from moisture. Turn off steamer when not in use.
  • Drain and flush steam generator/tubing monthly to remove scale and mineral deposits using descaling solution.
  • Change water filters for the steamer on schedule based on gallons used to remove impurities.
  • Replace towels/linens frequently and launder on sanitize cycle to kill bacteria.

Following a consistent cleaning routine keeps your outdoor sauna in pristine shape for years of use. Maintaining excellent hygiene ensures a safe and healthy sauna environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How cold can it be outside and still use my outdoor steam sauna?

Most outdoor models can operate effectively even in below freezing temperatures thanks to well-insulated designs and powerful heaters. Enjoy a warm steam even on cold winter days.

Is it safe to use my outdoor sauna during a thunderstorm?

No, you should power off and avoid using your outdoor steam sauna during an electrical storm due to electrocution risks. Wait until storms have fully passed and weather is calm first.

Is a roof required for outdoor saunas?

Yes, having a fully enclosed and waterproof roof is highly recommended for outdoor saunas even if under a deck or pergola. This prevents damage from rainfall and moisture since steam rooms involve water and humidity.

Do outdoor saunas require a permit?

Depending on municipal zoning laws and neighborhood codes, permits may be required for installing an outdoor sauna. Especially if adding electrical, plumbing or drainage. Check with your local building permit office to be sure.

Can I convert my outdoor sauna to a cedar closet or shed later?

While possible, it would likely require replacing the steam generator and modifying ventilation. The sauna construction is geared for high humidity and moisture levels a closet wouldn't suit. Easier to keep it a steam sauna or sell it.


Escape to your personal outdoor spa with an open-air steam sauna right at home. Careful weatherproof construction and an outdoor-rated steam generator will allow you to enjoy soothing moist heat immersed in nature for years. Locate your steam sanctuary in a private, convenient spot and relax as you rejuvenate both mind and body with the wonderful benefits of outdoor steam bathing.

Outdoor Steam Sauna Guide - Enjoying Steam Bathing in the Open Air

Steam saunas bring relaxing and therapeutic moist heat, but did you know you can install one outdoors? Outdoor steam saunas allow you to de-...