An outdoor sauna is a great feature to have regardless whether you’re getting one for your vacation home up in the mountains or your backyard. As long as you have the extra yard space for it, outdoor saunas are a great alternative if you can’t afford to dedicate an extra room for an indoor sauna or steam room. Just like an indoor sauna, an outdoor sauna can provide you with a number of health benefits including detoxification, pain and stress relief, weight control, and improved immune and cardiovascular systems, among others.

If you’re buying one or considering building one yourself, it all starts with the basics, and that involves the wood used for your main structure. While saunas can be built using different wood types, cedar wood such as the western redcedar is a very popular choice for sauna construction because of the number of benefits it offers for outdoor saunas.

One of the main reasons for using cedar wood is that it naturally resists rot, which is a critical feature for an outdoor sauna that’s always exposed to heat and humidity from inside, as well as the environment outside. The wood’s natural oils allow it to resist water, which makes it a very low-maintenance building material for an outdoor structure.

Cedar wood also naturally repels insects, which is another big advantage for any outdoor structure, or any wooden structure in general. While that means that you won’t have to deal with bugs and other insects coming out of the spaces between the woodwork, it also means that you won’t have to worry about termites eating away at your outdoor sauna and compromising its structural integrity.

Finally, cedar wood is naturally beautiful and fragrant—two characteristics that are perfect for outdoor saunas. The wood ages well, is comfortable to the touch (ideal not only for the walls and ceiling of the sauna, but for the benches and floor as well), and releases a pleasant fragrance when heated.