ARTICLE Patricia Moore IMAGES Living4media/Van-Berge, Alexander

A spa room at home probably owes its origins to the popularity of luxury spas in high-end hotels. It’s driven by an increase in spending on goods that increase pleasure, plus an emphasis on health and well-being.

For fashion designer Donna Karan a home spa is an essential – as she explained to the Financial Times How to Spend It magazine, she’s had one installed in each of her three homes!

The Pool & Spa Outdoor Living Expo 2016 in Western Australia attracted thousands of visitors wanting to invest in their lifestyle and create a holiday feel to enjoy at home every day, says organiser Carol Harper.

“Our weather allows people to enjoy the outdoors and items like spas that encourage good times at home, with family and friends high on the list.”

The first thing you need to do is talk to your local council, says Refresh Renovations builder Tim Walters.

“Building a spa room is like building any structure. Generally, these can be built outdoors without consent, but if you’re roofing anything about 9sqm, you’ll need a permit.”

Tim says height-to-boundary issues may apply, along with any regulations regarding fencing, stormwater collection, building over sewer lines and similar.

How much does it cost to add a sauna room?

Choosing a home sauna means deciding between a traditional or Finnish timber sauna, and the newer infrared models. While both offer much the same heat-bathing benefits – relaxation, stress-reduction and relief from aches and pains – there are differences.

A traditional sauna, where water is splashed on to heated rock, provides a high heat, low humidity environment. Infrared saunas use light to create heat that goes deeply into the body, inducing the desired benefits at a lower temperature. The health benefits of infrared saunas are resulting in their growing popularity, report Pool Spa & Outdoor, with many homeowners opting to install these in the bathroom.

“Because saunas are generally associated with cold pools or showers, they’re often by a pool, but we’ve done many in bathrooms, rumpus rooms and home gyms,” says Sue Burgoyne, NZ Sauna Manager.

A sauna can be situated in a space as little as a metre square, she says. “However, it’s essential it’s properly ventilated and made from specialised timber, that will withstand the temperature.”

Get advice from your renovation builder and ask about the cost of running and installation requirements, including the type of flooring necessary.

Price: An entry-level kitset sauna starts from around $5,900* + GST. Expect to pay more for a custom made sauna. 

Wooden sauna room option

Costs for a sauna

From $5,900* + GST (excludes professional installation)

How much does it cost to add a steam room?

A home steam room provides much the same benefits as a sauna but with ‘wet’ heat in a tightly sealed enclosure, as opposed to the ‘dry’ heat of a wooden sauna.

With humidity levels at 100%, steam rooms create an environment suitable for people who suffer respiratory conditions.

The latest steam generators can be installed in a fully enclosed, completely waterproofed shower, says Sue Burgoyne.

“A lot of people don’t have the extra room for a sauna and want to utilise the shower space. With added seating, it’s a luxurious option.”

To make an indoor shower steam room capable or when locating a shower for an outdoor spa, it’s advisable to check local council regulations.

Sauna People Co's kitset steam rooms start from $11488.50*

Steam room option

Costs for a steam room

From $11488.50*, excludes installation + GST.

How much does it cost to add a spa pool?

These days a spa pool can be pretty much any size, says Brent Regnaud of Wright Pools and Spas in Wellington.

“With custom-made spas, the only limitations are your budget and your imagination. But the buyer needs to consider longevity, warranties, parts availability and whether the company with which they’re dealing will still be around when they need them.”

The same applies when buying a manufactured pool; don’t let your dreams of massaging away the aches and pains under the stars, be ruined by choosing an inexpensive option with poor insulation and shell construction. Insufficient insulation means greater heat loss and more spent on electricity.

So what are running costs? “Depending on the model, power costs can range from $28 (incl) per month.”

Portability is a huge factor says Brent. “Once a spa pool is in-ground that’s where it’s staying; we move a lot of pools from one property to the next. A spa pool doesn’t add dollars to the value of a property – it adds value to the quality of lifestyle.”

Another option, from bathware specialists Robertson, is the new Kos Minipool, a luxurious overflowing-rim bathtub. Combining Italian design with the latest technology, and with freestanding and built-in models offering seating for up to five, underwater LED lighting and an automatically adjusting hydro massage system – it’s the ultimate in outdoor home spa luxury.

Price: 2 person spa pools start from around $5,999*.

Spa pool option

Costs for a spa pool

From $5,999*, excludes installation + GST. 


You might be interested in checking out this home gym with a sauna

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This home renovation advice article featured on page 38 of Issue 019 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

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*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.

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