Sauna Cladding - STEP Profile
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STEP profile cladding is a very decorative choice that creates a modern and contemporary aesthetic for your sauna. It emulates “batten on board” or “rainscreen batten” cladding whilst using less material or a less complicated method of installation. Its finely repeating aesthetic can be installed vertically to help a room feel wider or horizontally to make a room feel taller. It has considerable depth which creates a beautiful texture on feature walls that can be further enhanced by the use of lighting to create contrasting shadows in the wells between the raised section of the cladding.
STEP profile sauna cladding is essentially tongue and groove cladding which can be easily blind nailed through its groove side to achieve a seamless aesthetic free of any visible fixings. It should be fixed into battens using stainless steel type 90 staples, stainless steel 18 gauge brad nails, or stainless steel flooring screws (Finnmark Sauna recommends tongue-tite screws for the screw option). The battens should be installed 90 degrees to the orientation of the cladding at a spacing of roughly 400mm to ensure the cladding is well constrained and supported.
STEP does not have capillary grooves in its back face. This means provisions should be made to ensure that there is adequate airflow behind the cladding and drainage for condensation. If STEP cladding is installed vertically, it should be cross battened (a layer of horizontal oriented battens on top of a layer of vertically oriented battens) or gaps should be incorporated into a single layer of horizontally oriented battens to allow airflow and condensation drainage.
We currently of our STEP range in Thermo Aspen, Dark Thermo Alder, Alder and Aspen timbers.
The process we recommend for installing sauna cladding panels is called ‘blind nailing’. This involves using a brad nailer or stapler (similar to a nail gun) to fire brads or staples diagonally into the groove of each cladding board, before lining up the next board. This ensures that there are no unsightly fixings visible from inside the sauna. Cladding should be fixed onto perpendicular battens so that there is a small ventilation gap behind. This allows condensed water to run down the sauna insulation and vapour barrier, to the floor, and for air to pass through and dry out the STEP sauna timber.
Stainless steel brad nails or staples are ideal as they will provide the best durability in the extreme heat and humidity of the sauna environment. Galvanised nails are the next-best option, but please be warned that these can create marks on the surface of the timber - they will stain black on high tannin woods like Alder and Western Red Cedar.
The appropriate length nails should be chosen so that they will go diagonally through the cladding and get a good purchase in the battens behind. These are usually around 25mm on the application.