Category: Home Improvement

Don’t Build Your Sauna Before Reading This

While many people fear the idea of building their own sauna room in their homes, it is among the best ideas you can have for your home. The best news is that you can even convert an existing room into a sauna room within a short period. If you happen to have some questions, on how to build a sauna, this article will guide you through the important steps. However, you first have to remove the drywall. Be careful. Don’t make the same mistakes as these guys.

Before Your Start

Prior to installing a sauna room in an existing room, you have o ensure that the room has a non-permeable floor, bare joists on its ceiling and bare studs. If you choose to use plywood for your sauna room, you should remember to have a tile under the heater and include an overlay with the sauna duckboard flooring. Mentioned in this article is the procedure you should follow to convert an existing room into a sauna.

You will also need quality tools. Don’t skimp here. Having the right tool for the job is imperative. You will definitely need a good quality chopsaw or table saw with sharp blades to get those cuts clean.

Wiring Work for the Lights

Your sauna room will definitely require wiring for the light switch, the bulbs, the heater wire conduit as well as controls outside the room. If you are considering using a gas heater in the sauna rooms, then you will need a gas pipe. Additionally, the thickness of this pipe has to be carefully determined, based on the number of appliance that will be using the gas supply. In this regard, you will need to consult a gas professional.

Insulation

This is another important task that has to be carried out on the sauna room. Insulating the room is important because it will lower the overall operational costs. The recommended sauna insulation is R-11 insulation for the inner walls and R-19 for the outer walls. If you are using fibreglass to insulate the room, you have the 16 inch and the 24 inch wide roll insulation options.

Installing a Foil Reflector

Adding a foil vapour barrier to our sauna room adds an insulation factor of R-1 to the room. Additionally, it acts as a vapour barrier in the sauna room. This foil should be staples to the interior surfaces of the room, including the walls and the ceiling. While installing the foil, you should have it overlapping by about three inches in order to eliminate the need for using a foil tape. This barrier will prevent the walls from absorbing any vapour, but allows the vapour to accumulate in the room instead.

Cedar Paneling

This is another important procedure while converting an existing room into a sauna. In this regard, you should start by nailing the cedar panel boards in such a way that they are perpendicular to the joists. Proceed this way across the ceiling until the work is complete. After this, you should cut a hole for the light box. This is where your tools, mentioned above will come into their own. Getting a great finish makes all the difference.

Again, you will also need to nail the clear panelling boards over the foil barrier as well as the insulation. Starting from the bottom, all the way to the top, you should now nail the groove and the tongue into place, such that they are horizontal to the studs. You should then add the cedar boards in rows and check whether they are in position after every fourth row.

Additionally, you may also have to cut to pave way for the electrical junction boxes. After you are through, you should use the trim peaces to cover any gaps.

Centre the Heater

Most sauna heaters come with the appropriate number of screws to secure it to the wall. In this regard, you should always use the longer screws on the top and tighten them well. After you have secured the heater in place, you should then wire it to the power source.

With such a guide, how to build a sauna should no longer be a problem. However, it always leaves this work to the professional sauna builders.

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How to Build a Shed – Part 3 – Build Your Own Shed

Part 1 – Planning is here. Part 2 – Materials here.

Now that you have your plans and all the materials you need in place it is time to get your hands dirty. Well at least you should have the most important materials by now. Maybe you want to uy the other stuff a little later…

Start with the Foundation

Depending on the type of construction you would either start by pouring a little concrete foundation or get to work on the wood right away.

The foundation doesn’t have to be poured concrete. The key is that the foundation is a level surface that keeps the wood frame dry. Meaning that there are no areas on the ground where water can collect and soak your wood. That would cause it to rot.

Also, if you are in an area where you have termites, do to bury any wood. If you have to put wood pillars in the ground wrap them in durable plastic or treat them with resin or tar. Maybe even a combination of both. Termites can travel quite far in underground tunnels and they will get inside the wood without you noticing it. When you find out it might already be too late.

If you pour little concrete “shoes” for the pillars to sit in make sure that your wood is dry enough. Wet wood will contract and might break free of your concrete. Having some nails sticking out of the pillars in the area where the concrete goes helps to prevent the wood from moving.

Another option is to use concrete blocks embedded into the ground for each of the load bearing points of the frame. These blocks would be bedded on a mortar mix and levelled against each other.

Walls and Roof

For handling larger parts like roof beams for example get the help of a friend. While doing stuff yourself is cool it is even more fun with a buddy or two.

Pretty all the avice you need can be obtained either by asking people or by doing a search on the internet. Covering every single construction style is way beyond the scope of this HowTo. If you have specific questions on how to do things or what the best practices are do not hesitate to ask me using the comment function below. Like I said earlier, there is a lot of stuff to know but everything can be learned. No rocket science here.

This last stage is complex and challenging. I know this post hasn’t really delivered. So I’ve added a useful YouTube video which goes into more detail.

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How to Build a Shed – Part 2 – The Materials

In our last post on building your own garden shed we looked at the planning stage. Now it is time to make a shopping list. It does not have to be as extensive as the one I made in the picture but the more you can plan ahead the better organized you will be and the more smoothly the build will go. Believe me there are few things more frustrating than being on top of a ladder, holding heavy pieces of wood in place ready for securing only to find that you don’t have the right fixing.

If you bought the ready-made plans I recommended in part 1 this is going to be way easier because you will exactly see what you need including measurements.

If you made your own plans, again, try to be as exact as possible and also think about the supporting structure and what you will need for that.

If you are unsure it is always better to buy a little less than you need instead of having too much stuff left over in the end. Just make sure that what you need will still be in stock when you come back. That’s often not the case with special offers and promotions because everybody buys it and it might be out of stock soon.

What Material Will Your Shed Be Made From?

Most of the people will want to build wooden garden sheds because, as I said, wood is cheap, easy to work with and looks nice. When you buy wood keep an eye open for leftovers. Often you can get a great deal on pieces that were part of a bigger package. Most decent hardware stores also offer a free service for cutting wood. So, if you need 50 pieces to a given length you might save yourself some work by having them cut it with the big saw. This is another example for how it pays off to have all the measurements down before going shopping.

Tools

If you need to buy tools go for a good brand. Don’t buy the cheapest electrical saw you can find and that’s on special for 20 bucks. It’s definitely worth investing a little money here because a decent tool will just last you way longer ad you will be able to produce higher quality work. Some things can be bought cheaper on the internet, a look into the Home Tool Helper which has great reviews of most of the tools necessary for this sort of project.

Getting the right tools in building projects makes such a big difference. Having observed many professionals over the years, the main difference between the them and the average DIYer is the fact that they use the right tools for the job. If they don’t have the right tool, guess what? That’s right. They go out and buy it. It’s really that easy. In my shed build I was struggling to make mortice and tennon joints. I really just needed to get a plunge router, but did I get one. Noooo. I struggled on with a drill and a chisel. Made the whole thing much more difficult.

Anyway, lesson now learnt.

In the next installment of this build a shed series we’ll look at the construction phase itself.

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How to Build a Shed – Part 1 – The Plan

Being a big fan of any kind of do it yourself project of course I was facing the task of building a shed more than once in my life. So, how do you approach that? And should you really so it yourself? Here I want to share with you some of my experience on how to build a garden shed by yourself.

My answer would be YES any day of the week. Building a shed yourself is not only going to save you a bunch of cash but it’s also a very rewarding experience. As is building anything nice with your own hands!

If you do not have a ton of construction experience it may seem a bit daunting at first and you might be a little unsure on how to start. Even if you do everything yourself you still have to buy the materials and you don’t want your project to fail. But let me tell you this: If you are passionate about it and willing to learn a thing or two you will succeed and you might even impress some of your peers.

After all building a shed is not rocket science and pretty much everything you need can be learned rather quickly. Not that in some states, depending on what you want to do, you will need to apply for a construction permit.

At fist you should make a plan of what you want. First in your mind and then on paper. Is it gonna be just a wood shed to keep firewood dry or do you want a full-blown garden shed with windows in it where you can hide in case your wife throws you out?

As soon as you have the general idea, try to think about the materials you want to use. Wood is definitely a good idea of course. It is affordable, easy to work with and it looks nice. But what about roofing? A door? Windows?

Make a drawing of your plan how it is going to look from the sides. An architect would call this drawing an elevation. It shows you the dimensions of your walls and which materials are used. That is important to then create a list of stuff you need to buy at your local hardware store. It is definitely worth it to invest some time in the planning and at least make an estimate on the costs. If you see then, for example, that an additional window is going to greatly inflate the costs you still have time to change something. Later in the process it is going to get harder to change stuff like that because you already bought the materials.

Architects always say that a house can only be as good as its plans and although we are talking about a smaller scale here it is somewhat true for your shed. Every little error and optimization you can work out in advance is going to save you a lot of sweat later.

Think about the details. There are a lot of things we take for granted and never think about up to the point where we actually have to figure it out. How high is a door? How much space should I have  between a door and a window? All such things are very important in construction and the standards have been established over hundreds of years.

Don’t worry if it takes you some time to figure everything out on paper. It is going to save you a lot of time later.

Another option that is actually going make it way easier for you is buying some ready made plans from people who have done all that before. There is a great variety of professional plans on how to build a shed available online for the price of two bags of cement really.

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The Problems of Hard Water

Hardness generally refers to the sum of the calcium and magnesium ions in water expressed in milligram/liter of lime stone, CaCO3. These ions combine with ordinary soaps to form insoluble calcium-magnesium soaps which are ineffective for cleansing purposes. Very little cleaning occurs until these ions are present. Therefore, the soap is deactivated quantitatively and much more soap is required when hard waters are used for cleansing purposes.

Hard water also interferes with almost every cleaning task including laundering and dishwashing to bathing and personal grooming. Clothes laundered in hard water may look dingy and feel harsh and scratchy. Dishes and glasses may be spotted when dry. Hard water may cause a film on glass shower doors, shower walls, bathtubs, sinks, faucets, etc. Hair washed in hard water may feel sticky and look dull. Water flow may be reduced by deposits in pipes.

Before looking at the occurrence of hard water, it is worth stating that despite these problems, the introduction of a water softener system can deal with many of the problems at source. There are many options available for such systems and we recommend you review the options before coming to a final decision.

Occurrence of Hard Waters

Calcium and Magnesium which are the main constitutive of hard water dissolved from limestone, dolomite, and other minerals when water comes in contact. Ground waters generally contain much greater concentrations of hardness than that found in surface waters. An example of hard water occurrence in nature can be seen in Figure 1 where a layer of 20-centimeter thick is formed in Eifel aqueduct in Germany during 180 years where calcium has precipitated gradually.

A portion of the ancient Roman Eifel aqueduct in Germany. In service for about 180 years, the aqueduct had deposits of scale up to 20 cm thick along the walls.

Problems of Water Hardness

  • Increased soap consumption in hard waters is probably the most disadvantage of hardness. Much of this disadvantage has been eliminated by the increased use of synthetic detergents, but where soaps are used the increased cost is significant.
  • Process waters containing hardness when used in textile, paper, canning, and other industries can cause considerable deterioration in product quality.
  • Boiler feed water containing hardness can cause scale buildup.

In boilers, the precipitation will damage and slows down the flow of heat into water, causing the heating efficiency and allows the metal boiler to overheat. The damage caused by calcium carbonate precipitate differs, for example, calcite or aragonite (magnesium ore).

  • Health considerations. The World Health Organization says that “there does not appear to be any convincing evidence that water hardness causes adverse health effects in humans” In fact, the United States National Research Council has found that hard water can actually serve as a dietary supplement for calcium and magnesium. Recommendations have been made for the maximum and minimum levels of calcium (40–80 ppm) and magnesium (20–30 ppm) in drinking water, and a total hardness expressed as the sum of the calcium and magnesium concentrations of 2–4 mmol/L. Hardness in water can clog skin pores
  • Hardness in water stain fabrics
  • Hardness in water can clog skin pores
  • Hardness toughen and discolor vegetables
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