Treating Western Canadian Red Cedar
Western Canadian Red Cedar is naturally resistant to the elements. Left untreated, the exterior of an outdoor red cedar sauna will eventually become a silvery-gray color, and it is fine to let the unit weather naturally in this way. At any point in the future you can pressure wash (low pressure only) the cedar to bring back most of the original red cedar color.
If you wish to retain the rich, natural color of the red cedar, your local paint store can recommend a suitable exterior stain. A transparent stain will retain the full natural color of the cedar. Be sure that it has a UV inhibitor in the stain so that it will best resist the effects of sunlight. Be sure to follow the directions from the stain manufacturer for application instructions. NEVER TREAT THE INTERIOR OF THE SAUNA AND NEVER USE VARNISH OR PAINT ON THE EXTERIOR.
Minimizing Water Seepage
Substantial or driving rain may cause water to seep into the joints between the staves, but this will not hurt the performance of the unit. When assembling your sauna room, it is important that the bands be snug to minimize gaps between the staves. When constructing the Barrel, put as many staves and filler stave pieces under the bands as possible so the bands can pull the staves tight without leaving gaps. Over time the wood will swell into the bands when it gets wet, and then shrink again as it dries. Over time you may need to add additional filler staves into the sauna to fill any gaps caused by shrinkage, and extra staves have been provided for this purpose. Add staves by loosening the band brackets, inserting the additional filler staves, and then tightening the brackets again.
Cleaning The Red Cedar
You should vacuum or brush out your sauna periodically to remove lose dirt, especially if it is located outdoors. Over time the floor and seats may discolor due to perspiration, dirt and general wear. You can remove dirt or stains with a solution of baking soda and water, lightly scrubbing the wood with the solution and then rinsing. Heavier stains or scuffs can be sanded out with fine grit sandpaper. Alternatively, pressure washing the interior of the sauna with a low-pressure, wide pattern nozzle will remove stains and dirt very effectively.
Effects of Geography
The effects of swelling and contraction as well as fading from sunlight will vary depending on the intensity of the sun and the levels of humidity and amounts of moisture in your area. The degree of these effects will not affect the quality or performance of your purchase, but may require you to tighten bands or re-stain your sauna more or less frequently. It is a good idea to check the tension of your bands and examine the degree of fading every few months, especially in the first months of owning your sauna so that you can respond accordingly.
Replacement of Stones
Over time the stones may crack and split due to the fluctuations in temperature the stones experience. Your heater came with some extra stones for you to set aside for future use, but if you ever need to replace stones, only use stones designed for use in your sauna heater. You can purchase of replacement stones from Almost Heaven Saunas at any time.
If you ever damage the quality red cedar, you can purchase replacement staves, doors, and components from Almost Heaven at any time. Also, we often sell Western Canadian Red Cedar boards to people wishing to build matching accents to their sauna. Contact us at any time for prices on any red cedar lumber you may need to customize your sauna setting.
Almost Heaven Saunas offers a full line of accessories to compliment your sauna. From red cedar leg rests, back rests, drink holders, robe hooks and magazine racks to eucalyptus fragrance and more, visit www.almostheaven.com for all of your sauna accessory needs!