To floor or not to floor your sauna, that is the question.

At least it’s likely a question you have if you are considering installing an indoor sauna unit in your home. As is industry-standard, our traditional indoor saunas (Respite series, Element series, and some luxury saunas) are made to use your existing floor as the flooring inside the sauna. For some, this is no problem, however, for others, this may be a source of confusion in determining if your existing floor is an adequate base for your sauna.

When making this decision, consider the following aspects:

  1. Is my existing flooring water-resistant? 
  2. Is my existing flooring level? 

If the answer to either of these questions is no, you might want to consider some different groundwork, literally, for your sauna space. 

Our concise explanation for what you want to have beneath your feet in the sauna is: Concrete, ceramic, vinyl, laminate, tile or other solid flooring work well. We do not recommend carpeting.

When breaking this down further, remember heat rises, so the temperature near the bottom of the sauna will not be much higher than room temperature. In addition, though you do want a water-resistant material, especially if you’re planning on sprinkling water over the stones, there shouldn’t be large amounts of water pooling on your floor. If you have any questions about drains in saunas, we have answers. We don’t recommend anything that requires sealants or varnish as they could contain chemicals. Essentially, you want flooring that can withstand spills and sweat and is easy to wipe up if needed.

Sauna Flooring Options

With these points in mind, here are some options for what you can lay down under your sauna: 

NOTE: Please follow flooring manufacturers regulations.

  • Tile: This is a great option as it’s easy to wipe up and clean. Just keep in mind that some types of tile can be more slippery than others when wet. For many installing a sauna in a bathroom, the tiling is already laid, so no additional renovation is needed.

  • Concrete: If you have an unfinished basement or garage with concrete flooring, setting your sauna right on top is almost as easy as it gets. If you’re concerned about getting cold feet (literally) when stepping in or out, lay out a duckboard flooring on top of the concrete as a buffer (check out the cedar flooring kit custom made to fit the saunas in the Respite series or the cedar entrance mat!)

  • Luxury Vinyl Planking (or something similar): Easy to snap together, easy to wipe up, and an abundance of beautiful aesthetic options. Make sure you’re going for a water-resistant or waterproof subtype of planking if this is the option you select. If you’re wanting a buffer between your existing floor and the planking, consider putting down plywood first.

  • Sheet vinyl: This option allows you to get creative as there are a lot of designs. You’d likely want a moisture barrier between your existing floor and the sheet vinyl. You may have to service this option more frequently than others, but it is inexpensive and easy to install.

Of course, this is just a start, and we recommend talking to your local flooring specialist to determine what options they have available and what would work best for you. We are always here to help as well—just give us a call at 888.355.3050.

Do you have any flooring success stories? Stop by any of our social media channels and let us know what worked for you!