Stones by zodiac signs

Is it possible to use different stones in a sauna?

In a Russian bath, and not only in it, thick soft steam from tiny particles of water plays a key role along with the correct temperature. And to get such steam, you need stones. And not just any kind, but of a suitable type, without defects and placed in the oven in compliance with the rules. Although the right stones are important, not every person has the time or desire to understand all the intricacies of their selection and installation. Moreover, there is often conflicting information on the Internet. Therefore, we decided to make a short guide to bath stones, collecting in one place basic information about their properties and use. We hope it will make your choice easier and bring clarity to the questions you were looking for answers to.

What is the main thing about bath stones?

  • Safe . They do not splinter and are non-toxic when heated.
  • Durable . Resistance to high temperatures combined with a homogeneous structure allows the stones to maintain their integrity and shape for a long time.
  • Keeps warm well . The stones not only produce steam, but also, due to their high heat capacity, act as a heat accumulator, maintaining heat in the steam room even after the fire in the stove goes out.

These properties are common to all types of bath stones. Different breeds differ from each other only in how well these properties are manifested in them. And, of course, appearance.

Types of bath stones and their key features

Due to the specific requirements, few types of stones are suitable for laying in a kiln. There are only a dozen and a half main ones:

  • Nephritis . The best type of stones for a bath, if you do not take into account the price. Jade has a rich, deep color, is not scratched even by steel, is incredibly durable and has excellent heat retention due to its high heat capacity.
  • Jade . A beautiful semi-precious green stone. It is durable, easily withstands heating to very high temperatures and holds heat well, although not as well as jade.
  • Jasper . A very hard semi-precious stone with a deep red color. Jasper heats up easily and also easily begins to give off heat, so with such stones in the stove the bathhouse warms up quickly.
  • Chromite . A heavy, dense stone that is not prone to cracking. Despite the chromium in the composition, it is absolutely safe even when heated to high temperatures.
  • Quartz . One of the most common minerals in the world. Most often, milky quartz is used for a bath – a lily-white stone that produces soft steam and looks very impressive in the heater.
  • Dolerite . A rock that contains volcanic glass, pyroxene, olivine and a number of other minerals. Dolerite has good heat capacity and fairly high strength, despite the variety of structure.
  • Rodingitis . The stone is soft green in color and practically does not expand when heated. This allows it to last a long time even with intensive regular use of the heater.
  • Talcochlorite . A popular stone for sauna stoves with high heat capacity and impressive temperature resistance – it can withstand temperature changes of more than 1000 ºC in a few seconds.
  • Dunit . A dense, strong stone, which, due to its volcanic origin, can withstand temperatures over 1200 ºC for a long time.
  • Quartzite . A rock that consists almost entirely of quartz. Therefore, its properties are similar: easy and fast heating, hardness, good vaporization.
  • Porphyrite . A grayish stone with a relatively high heat capacity. Easily withstands large temperature changes and does not require frequent replacement in the heater.
  • Gabbro-diabase . A budget stone for baths that retains heat well and is resistant to high temperatures. A good filler for large heaters, especially in combination with other types of stones.
  • Cast iron . Metal blanks that have been given a rounded shape. This is an excellent replacement for natural stones, since cast iron is very strong, durable and retains heat excellently.
  • Porcelain . Elegant porcelain balls, which are similar in heat capacity to jade. Their hardness on the Mohs scale is 9, and this is a record for bath stones.

In the catalog of our online store you can find the main and most popular stones for stoves. It is not at all necessary to choose only one type of stone for a sauna stove. Moreover, in some cases it is even recommended to mix them, and not only for the sake of aesthetics and variety. But more on that later.

Which is better: diked or crushed stones?

Usually stones for a bath are either chipped or rolled up. And the difference between them is not only in appearance.

Breaking rock into small pieces is basic processing. Therefore, split stones are cheaper, but they have irregular shapes and sharp edges, which makes them difficult to place in the heater. On the other hand, due to the same irregular shape, crushed stones produce more steam, since their surface area is larger.

Boned stones undergo processing, due to which they become smooth and rounded. Such stones look more beautiful, they are easy to place in the oven, and due to their rounded shape they are well ventilated. In addition, during processing, the “weak” parts of the stones with fragile inclusions are cut off, so they last longer than chipped stones.

When quantity is important

The role of stones in a steam room largely depends on its type and model of heater. For small electric heaters weighing 10-20 kg, stones are needed not for steam generation, but to protect heating elements from overheating and people from hard infrared radiation from metal. With such a volume, even heat-intensive stones will only smooth out temperature fluctuations, but will not be able to accumulate much heat.

As the volume of the heater increases, careful selection of stones plays an increasingly important role. The general rule is: the more stones in the stove, the longer they will maintain the temperature in the steam room and the more high-quality steam you can get from them. Moreover, by changing the type of stones, you can significantly change the characteristics of the heater itself. For example, for a 200kg stove, jade can provide additional hours of steaming after the fire goes out compared to quartz.

Therefore, try to choose a larger stove and always completely fill the entire volume of the heater with stones. Of course, if you like a Russian bath, and not a Finnish dry-heat sauna.

How to properly place stones in a stove

Laying stones in a sauna stove is not an art at all, as professional sauna attendants sometimes say. There is a set of simple rules that allow even a beginner to cope with this task.

First, all stones must be thoroughly rinsed under running water and dried. Then they are sorted into three fractions: large, medium and small. Large stones are placed on the bottom of the oven with their end down. This allows vertical air flows to better pass between the stones and ensures uniform heating of all layers. If there are large gaps between the lower stones, they are covered with fine rock. A layer of large cobblestones is covered with medium ones, and small stones are piled at the very top.

This is a general principle. But when filling electric and wood stoves there are some peculiarities:

  • For electric heaters, stones of 50-80 mm are used and laid so that they cover the heating elements, but do not rest on them and do not deform them. In this case, you need to make sure that the stones do not lie too tightly, otherwise this will lead to overheating of the heating elements and their failure.
  • In wood-burning stoves, large stones are not only laid down, but also lined with them on the walls of the firebox. This is necessary so that the stones cover the hot metal and provide soft heat.

If the furnace holds a large mass of stones – from 100 kg or more, then you can mix different minerals.

Firstly, this way you can save on filling the heater: for example, put inexpensive gabbro-diabase on the bottom, and jadeite or jade on top. In this case, it is desirable that the expensive stone occupies at least 30% of the volume, and better yet, all 50%.

Secondly, mixing stones allows the differences in their properties to be used to the benefit of the steamer. In this case, the most heat-resistant and durable minerals are placed at the bottom of the heater and near the firebox or heating elements. It is desirable that they have high thermal conductivity – this way the stones will heat up quickly and transfer the heat further. It is better to lay heat-intensive rocks near the outer walls and on top. This will retain heat and ensure uniform heating of the entire mass of stones.

The stones have been laid, what next?

After the first laying of stones, the stove can be used for about a year. If you steam very often and for a long time, then six months. After this, the stones need to be removed and sorted:

  1. All dust, fragments, stones with cracks, burnt essential oils and other defects must be removed from the heater.
  2. The remaining stones must be thoroughly washed and dried.
  3. Place clean stones back into the heater, adding new ones to the required quantity.

After the first maintenance of the heater, you will understand how the stones behave specifically under your steaming mode. If there are a lot of fragments and cracked stones, it is better to replace them with a stronger rock.

Still have questions? You can contact us by phone 8-800-775-95-19. The call is free within the Russian Federation. Or write to us in the Atelier Saun group on VKontakte.

Best regards, Atelier Saun online store

Stones are subject to extreme loads during operation. First, they are heated in a heater to high temperatures, then water is poured on them, which leads to rapid cooling. After this, the stones heat up again. Not every mineral is able to withstand such impacts and not lose its appearance or deteriorate for a long time. The higher the heat resistance of a stone, the less likely it is to chip and the less prone it is to cracking. The following rocks are considered the most heat-resistant:

You can check the heat resistance of a sample yourself by performing a short test. Heat the stone to high temperatures, then lower it into a container of cold water. If it remains intact and is not covered with cracks, this is a good proof of its quality and durability.

Chip or polished stone: which one is better?

There is no clear answer which of these options is better. It all depends on the individual wishes of the steam room owner. The chopped version is loved by sophisticated bathhouse attendants for the strong vaporization when liquid is spilled on them. Polished stone provides better air circulation in the steam room, but takes longer to heat up.

When choosing a processing method, also keep in mind that it is not always physically possible to obtain a beautiful polished stone: some particularly hard rocks are difficult to process, and therefore only processing by splitting the rock is possible.

In addition to the type of rock and its processing method, when selecting, take into account the location of extraction. In particular, you should refrain from using specimens collected near roads, railway tracks, and industrial sites. Such stones are impregnated with creosote and other harmful substances, which, when heated, can poison everyone present in the steam room.

Heat capacity

High heat capacity is one of the main requirements for the heater material. Heaters using stones with high heat capacity quickly warm up the room and are able to maintain the temperature for a long time, which is beneficial not only in terms of convenience, but also in terms of saving energy resources.

Porphyrite has the highest specific heat capacity. Dolerite and gabbro-diabase, jade and soapstone have good indicators. Buying stove stones with good specific heat capacity will be a great success. After all, such a bathhouse will turn out to be truly magnificent.

What types of stones are suitable for a bath

Different rocks and types of stones are suitable for use in a bathhouse. The cheapest option is river pebbles. You can collect it yourself (most importantly, not in environmentally unfavorable regions and not near roads), or purchase it in stores (if you live in the vicinity of St. Petersburg or in the Leningrad region, you can buy good pebbles with delivery at the O. Kamen store) . Flat and oval pebbles are best. They will make the masonry denser, and the circulation of steam between them will be better. Quite often, pebbles are used together with other types of stones in order to save money: they fill the bottom layer of the stove with it, and other rocks are placed on top.

As for other types of rocks, according to experienced sauna attendants, the following sauna stones are best suited for a heater:

  • jade;
  • soapstone;
  • gabbro;
  • rodingitis;
  • serpentinite;
  • quartz and quartzite;
  • peridotite;
  • porphyrite;
  • basalt;
  • dunit;
  • nephritis;
  • lame.

Stones for the heater: main characteristics

Thermal conductivity coefficient, W/(m × K)

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