Element sauna and solid wood sauna – what are the differences?

Element sauna and solid wood sauna are two typical variants of saunas for personal use in your own home or garden. Basically, it can not be said that one or even the other variant of a sauna is better or worse. Because this depends not least on personal preferences, but also on the structural conditions on site.
Element sauna and solid wood sauna - what are the differences?

Element sauna and solid wood sauna – what are the differences?

Element sauna and solid wood sauna – what are the differences? If you are thinking about buying a home sauna, you should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both types of sauna to make a reliable purchase decision. As the name suggests, the so-called element sauna is composed of several and different wooden elements that have already been prefabricated industrially. The construction is accordingly easy to accomplish, such a element sauna can be however owing to the modular structure if necessary just as fast again dismantled.

Individual components and construction of element saunas

The so-called sandwich construction is typical. Prefabricated, individual elements are constructed in several layers and are joined together. The individual components consist first of a necessary framework, the wooden shell, the vapor barrier and finally a special insulation and outer layer. A frame of so-called squared timber, for example, made of spruce, forms the framework of an element sauna.

The inner wall made of wood is called a shell, for this purpose, typically timbers are attached to the framework, i.e. the frame, and securely connected. The individual wooden slats are fixed fairly close to each other, usually with a tongue and groove joint. These special wooden joints can be conveniently plugged together at the respective corners. Finally, follows the so-called vapor barrier, which is attached to the inside of the boards as a heat-resistant layer.

Element saunas must always be optimally thermally insulated

Vapor barriers are often made of pure aluminum. The main task of the vapor barrier is to safely prevent the penetration of moisture into the underlying insulation layer. This is because moisture in the insulation layer could quickly lead to the spread of germs such as mold. The insulation layer, as the fourth layer, consists of special insulated material, which in any case must be heat-resistant. Often for this purpose of insulation is used glass wool, rock wool, or even soft wood fiber.

In order to keep the sauna heat in the cabin, the insulation layer is crucial. Because only in this way can the sauna heat be stored for a long time. If the insulation layer does not function correctly, this can be noticed, for example, by the fact that the inside of the sauna cabin does not get properly hot, despite the correct functioning of the sauna heater.

Professional construction according to manufacturer’s specifications helps to avoid problems

So, when building an element sauna, do not skimp on the insulation layer, on the choice of materials, but also on the processing. Finally, the outer layer follows, again tongue and groove boards are attached to the frame, which can also be made of completely different materials. The advantage is, for example, that a sauna cabin can be erected comparatively quickly at the location of choice even with limited or restricted space availability.

Also, the dismantling, if nevertheless afterward necessary, does not make usually large problems. Although the assembly of a sauna in element construction can also be carried out by laymen according to the manufacturer’s specifications, a specialist should be consulted in order to avoid typical mistakes during assembly. In contrast to the element construction method, the solid wood sauna is in the tradition of the typical Finnish bath houses.

Naturally grown solid wood provides a unique indoor climate in the sauna

Of course, there is no exact definition of what may and may not be called a solid wood sauna. However, if we take the rustic Finnish sauna house as a model, only those saunas may be called solid if their basic components were extracted from tree trunks and no further processing with mechanical or even chemical means took place.

The completely natural material wood is therefore the focus of the solid wood sauna. This is because it absorbs the heat generated by the sauna heater, stores it and subsequently releases it evenly. The natural wood can also absorb moisture and produces the typical relaxing and natural sauna smell through the secretions of fragrant essential oils and resins.

Special differences between element and solid construction methods

The solid construction method differs significantly from the element construction method of a sauna. The solid construction method uses only natural building materials and also no artificial insulating materials. Individual, already prefabricated building elements may be present, but it is rare in this construction method. Ceiling as well as wall elements in solid construction are made of solid wood, classically Nordic spruce. These elements are joined to form a closed sauna wall. Insulation is achieved in solid construction from a certain thickness by the wood itself, so an additional insulation layer as in the element sauna is not required.

Typically, the solid wood is processed in thicknesses of up to 60 mm. Due to the special, solid wood construction and the fragrant smell of tree resin, a solid sauna is a real piece of nature in your own home. Basically, the thicker the wood is in the solid construction of a sauna, the better the property of thermal insulation is pronounced. Due to the excellent stability, a sauna in solid construction often performs well for decades without losing significant quality.

The decision between element and solid wood sauna

The question now arises in many cases as to which type of construction is best suited for a home. This depends first on the advantages but also disadvantages and depends on factors such as atmosphere, thermal insulation or construction. For example, the element sauna with its prefabricated construction clearly has the advantage that the sauna dream can be realized even in smaller spaces and, in addition, if desired, couches, windows, or doors can usually be integrated effortlessly.

In the event of a move, this type of sauna can also be quickly dismantled and reassembled without any problems and without any loss of quality. However, the equipment and size of solid wood saunas can also be individually adapted to local conditions. Manufacturers have long since adapted to these needs. Ceiling and wall elements of solid wood saunas usually have to be assembled individually, which is why the assembly time is usually significantly longer. For both types of sauna, therefore, custom-made saunas are also possible.

Choosing the perfect sauna is always an individual decision

When it comes to thermal insulation, element saunas usually perform better, simply because of the additional thermal insulation layer. In the solid construction method, on the other hand, the solid wood takes over the thermal insulation completely. Element saunas offer a rather non-uniform and thus varied appearance in terms of type, shape and size, which is seen as an advantage by many sauna lovers. Individual requirements and wishes can usually be implemented without any problems due to the almost endless selection of additional elements, wood types and decorations.

As with the solid construction, element saunas have pretty much the same atmospheric conditions. Relaxing warmth and a sense of well-being are the focus of every visit to the sauna. A sauna in massive construction produces this relaxing warmth to the maximum. However, the visual aspect also clearly contributes to the typical feeling of well-being, which is also more pronounced in a solid construction method due to the naturally grown wood.

A sauna, no matter what kind, is a good investment in health and well-being

Homey ambience and coziness are therefore clearly in the foreground in saunas with solid construction. This quite subjective feeling can then nevertheless be the decisive factor for the decision to buy a sauna. Both types of sauna have their own specializations and strengths, and it cannot be said that one type of sauna is better or worse than the other.

It is a question of personal feelings, individual taste and lifestyle. Whichever sauna is ultimately purchased, it is in any case a sustainable investment that pays off again and again. Soothing relaxation, purification, and detoxification of the body and many other health-promoting aspects will soon become noticeable.


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