Flooring for the Sauna

With the sauna floor now (successfully?) parged and sealed, it was immediately evident that walking on concrete, even in summer, is remarkably cold and uncomfortable in bare feet.

I had always envisioned some sort of easily draining mats to make it easier on bare, or slipper-clad feet.  My first thoughts had generally trended towards picking up some 1×1 interlocking rubber tiles and setting them out throughout the sauna.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t easily source them at a reasonable price.  Home Depot had some gorgeous looking ones that were rubber underneath, and faux cedar on top, but at $45+HST for 10 square feet the cost was just not justifiable.

On the backburner, I had had another thought.  It too involved Home Depot products, but once again, it was me trying to find an unconventional use for something designed for a different purpose.

One sauna floor option that would be neat, but expensive and not very practical, would have been to build a grid of thin cedar strips.  This was in my head, but I couldn’t see myself having the time to build such an item, nor the realism in cost.  I also worried about the actual longevity of such a grid, as it would be roughly treated.

When I saw fence lattice, and then cedar fence lattice, and then a resin cedar fence lattice, I experienced a Gru moment!

I purchased three sheets ($40 each) and headed for home, feeling that perhaps I could get away with using just two, and returning one.  Still much cheaper of an option than the tiles.

The material cut easily with my circular saw.  I had feared that perhaps it would shatter, but not at all.  The cuts were uniform and not sharp at all.

I ended up using all three sheets, as I wanted to completely cover the washing up room without making it look piece-meal.  Fortunately, one of the off-cuts fit into the steam room perfectly.

It looks and works better than I initially expected.  Acknowledging that the floor is already slightly irregular due to the parging, water is able to drain underneath the lattice.  The fact that the lattice is resin means that it can stay wet for extended times without worry of rot.  In the spring and fall, we should be able to easily take it outside to get a good brushing down and drying off in the sun.

Reviews are currently mixed.  There is a low spot close to the main drain that Donna feels collects water and she is uncomfortable with the idea that there may be water there for extended periods of time.  I’m hoping that it will tend to dry out on its own, it just may not be until the day after we take steam.  I can’t see how it would be an issue if it is sealed concrete, with a plastic lattice over top of it.

Kenny feels that water is collecting on top of the lattice straps.  They are slightly textured (wood grain), so that’s possible, but I don’t think it can be avoided, or that it is a major issue.  It dries off very, very quickly, as it is only the thinnest of films of water, and certainly no more than what would be expected of any floor.

Considering the alternatives, I love it.  It makes the floor feel warmer to walk on, and I think it looks nice to boot!

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