In spring 2008 we bought an old house. A very old house. The house is 100 years old. But the foundation is only 50 years old - the house has been bought somewhere else and was then moved. When we inspected the house for the first time the basement was dark and dirty and... you wouldn't want to spend time there. I noticed the basement was smaller than the house and covered only a part underneath the main level. Well, I thought, better than nothing. But later, after we bought the house and when I started to do some improvements I noticed an opening between the ceiling and the wall of the basement. The opening was not very big, I could not stick my head through it to see what was on the other side. So I got a ladder, a lamp and a mirror and discovered another room behind the wall. Only then did I realize what it was - a concrete cistern to hold water. Such cisterns are very common in rural Saskatchewan, many farms have them or used to have them. Farmers collected rain water or hauled water to fill the cistern, that was their main water supply. Later the owner of the house got running water and the cistern was abandoned.

I called my gang (my family members) and told them about the good news and asked: what do you guys want? An inside swimming pool, a bunker, a sauna room or something else? After a brief discussion we agreed it will be a sauna.
I will skip the part of how I rented a hammer and how I spent an entire weekend breaking the wall and making an entrance in the side of the cistern for a door. Never again!

The Sauna.

It was my second sauna I built in Canada. This time I decided we will spend no more money and do the environment (and our budget) a favor. I used leftovers from the home renovation. Vendors try to convince you that cedar is the best for the sauna. I used cedar when building my last sauna, but for benches I used regular studs and I didn't notice any difference. So I used the wood which we removed from the walls inside the house (old owner tried to do some improvements to the living room but it looked so ugly that I had to remove the boards). I fished the light out from the garbage bin when my neighbour threw it away, found the glass for the door in same garbage bin, bought the cable on a garage sale, got fiberglass insulation and plywood from a recycling company ("Habitat for Humanity", I can highly recommend them, got most of my stuff from them). The heater was purchased on Ebay, much cheaper than buying directly, shipping was free. I built the sauna during 2 or 3 weeks, usually spent a couple of hours after work and some time during the weekend. Below are the results of my work.




here is my sauna


door closed. after picture was taken I put a door knob on the door


view from inside the room


one side of the sauna, upper and lower bench. upper bench can be removed (flipped over) easily


different light makes a different impression


covered the floor a little bit


"main level"


a good safety guard around the heater is a must


thermometer comes from the same manufacturer as the heater and was inexpensive. the small piece on the left is the temperature sensor. You are supposed to put it under the ceiling but I use this trick (to put it lower) to reach higher temperature, when sensor shows 70 it is almost 100 Celcius.


another picture


i placed the light underneath the bench. it has to be dim and relaxing


doesn't look bad, not sure why my neighbour threw it away :)


digital wall control and light switch


heater relay outside the sauna, includes a GFI


just a picture


self made door and self made (improvised) door handle


i use the spray bottle to spray water on the rocks, it is my own invention, produces heat and steam, works much better then just spilling some water on the rocks


upper level, for tough guys like me ;)


here is the breach I made in concrete wall


On the floor you can clearly see how wide the wall was


I tried to put sime kind of frame on the sharp edges. On the left - my wife got a nice storage room for all our belongings


and a shelf


guess I should have covered the concrete wall... across (under stairwell) you can see my hunting stuff


maybe I will paint the basement walls later



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