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How to Build a Steam Shower

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How to Build a Steam Shower

Steam showers are growing popular by the day. Likewise, they are becoming more and more affordable. They are not only a luxurious way to wind down a hectic day but are packed with health and wellness benefits.

They have become a favorite for most homeowners because they hardly take much space and they don’t cost insanely high like other spa fixtures. The maintenance of steam showers is also very minimal. And to top it up, they significantly increase the value of a house.

A real estate analysis done by Zillow showed that homes with steam shower units sell for a whopping 310% more than houses without.

Let’s delve into what steam showers are, how they work, their benefits, and how to build a steam shower in your home.

What is a Steam Shower?

ARIEL Platinum Steam Shower

A steam shower is a standalone tightly sealed type of shower that produces steam. The steam shower room is a relatively smaller unit and comes with a seating area or a foldable seat. The core component of a steam shower is a steam generator.

Most home owners prefer steam showers because they consume less water compared to other spa fixtures. They also use less water, about 2 gallons, compared to a regular shower that uses more than 50 gallons.

Steam showers are also easy to use, come with a control panel and all you have to do is press the buttons according to your preference. You can choose the temperature and duration of your bath.

Compared to other spa fixtures, steam showers work instantly, you don’t have to wait for minutes before you can have your luxurious bath.

How Do Steam Showers Work?

Moen Shower Digital Bathroom Controller

Once you step into your steam shower room, you press the button on the control panel to input your desired temperature and duration. This activates the steam shower generator to start boiling the water. The hot steam is then fed into the shower system and then dispersed through the showerhead. The steam then fills up the steam room letting you soak up in the steam.

Aside from the controls, some modern steam showers feature mood lighting, conventional showerheads that allow you to quickly rinse yourself after your steam shower, and built-in sound systems. For an even more spa-like experience, some allow you to add essential oils for a scented steam bath.

Benefits of Steam Shower

If you are still on the edge about getting yourself a steam shower, here are more reasons why you need to invest in it:

  • First and foremost, steam showers are a perfect way to relax after a long stressful day. The warmth of the steam promotes blood flow all over your body, making you feel less tense, less anxious, and more calm and relaxed. Spending a few minutes in your steam shower is indeed a great way to wind down your day.
  • Steam has always been used to clear stuffy or blocked nose especially for people with sinuses and respiratory issues. It opens up the lungs and nasal passages.
  • A steam shower is also a great way to lower your blood pressure. A study, linked the moist heat to reduce blood pressure.
  • A 2012 study proved that indeed a steam bath improves circulation which is beneficial in improving heart health. The warmth causes your blood vessels to open up allowing for improved circulation of blood.
  • A steam shower after an exercise is a great way to clear metabolic wastes on the muscles that cause post-exercise muscle aches and soreness.
  • Steam opens up the pores on your skin which allows for toxins, dirt and contaminants to come out freely. This reduces the occurrence of pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads.
  • A steam bath before sleep can tremendously improve sleep. Likewise, it can help reduce snoring. According to the sleep doctor, Michael J. Breus, a steam bath helps to clear the nasal passage to reduce snoring and make you sleep relaxed.

Steam Shower Installation

Now that you understand how a steam shower works and also learned about the immense benefits of steam showers, let’s have a look at what you should consider before you install a steam shower.

Things to Consider before Installing a Steam Shower

1. Size and Location

It’s important that you consider the size of your steam shower as it will impact its efficiency and the amount of power needed. Consider getting a large enough size but not too large that you end up consuming way more electricity than you had planned for.

As for height, experts recommend getting a low ceiling of about 7-8 feet but not more. Sloping the ceiling is also crucial to prevent dripping so have it sloped at half an inch from the seating area. If installing for a commercial place, make it two inches.

Have your stall located away from the outside walls. This is especially for the colder months.

2. Materials

Consider materials that are not absorptive such as ceramic and porcelain tiles. They will retain the heat as opposed to granite, concrete, and marble that expend heat. This is because they have a higher porosity.

For the floor, ensure the tiles have an anti-drift strip to prevent slipping. This is important for your safety.

3. Steam Generator and Location

EliteSteam Luxury Home Steam Shower System

Have the steam generator as close as possible to the shower unit but not too close, experts recommend at least 25 feet away from your shower room. You can place it in the attic, basement, or the nearest closet to the shower. Wherever you choose, ensure it’s not exposed to extreme temperatures and is also easily accessible.

When placing the steam generator, remember it will need to have a direct power line, a water line and a drain line connection.

Steps for installing a DIY Steam Shower

Here is a step by step guide on how to install a DIY steam shower in your home. Ensure to follow through to the end for a successful installation.

Step 1: Prep the Wall

Once you’ve purchased your steam shower kit, the first thing you want to do is to choose where you want your steam shower room to be.

The next step from there is to prep the wall with the right materials. The material of the wall will affect how much steam you need and ultimately how much heat you require.

Steam Shower Room Walls

To keep your steam shower cost down and power consumption down too, choose a material that will consume less power while retaining the heat like tile and natural stones.

Before putting the tiles, first protect your wall with a vapor barrier and then layer it up with a Durock wallboard. This should protect your wall from the damages caused by vapor and moisture.

Step 2: Install the Enclosure

It’s time to install the enclosure but before that ensure the floor is level. Be gentle when placing the enclosure. Attach the base using self-tapping screws.

Step 3: Connect the Electrical Circuit

I would advise you to get a professional to install a grounded electrical circuit. But should you choose to do it yourself, ensure you use a separate circuit from the main home circuit. Any wrong move in this step can get you electrical shocks when enjoying your shower.

Also, install an exhaust fan (outside the shower) at this stage as well as a ventilation duct. It’s important for ventilation as well as preventing mildew and mold from the excess moisture.

Step 4: Install the Door

Steam Shower Room

Now you are ready for the door installation. For this, you have to be very specific when taking door measurements. If you don’t want to leave the door open, order a transom so that your shower walls can stay dry. Otherwise leaving the door open is the best practice.

Step 5: Testing

Start by checking if all the electrical connections are done properly and working, then test if the controls are working. Enjoy your shower from there!

Best Selling Steam Showers


Q1: How do you size a Steam Shower?

The size of your steam shower will largely depend on the current size of your bathroom. There are steam showers as small as 3’x3′. For a better guide, talk to your seller or use this virtual sizing tool. When deciding the steam shower size, also consider the capacity of the steam generator.

Q2: Can my existing Shower be Converted to a Steam Shower?

Absolutely possible if space allows. You will however need to have it enclosed, prep the wall, and get a steam generator.

Q3: How long should Steam Showers Last?

The recommended duration is 20 minutes after which you should take time off for your body to cool down, preferably in a place with fresh air. If however, you start to feel dizzy, nauseous, or uncomfortable, step out of the shower and get some fresh air.

Q4: How often should you take a Steam Shower?

Ideally 6 times a month. It’s unsafe to take regular steam baths.

Final Thoughts

That’s basically it about how to build a steam shower, its benefits, and how they work. Important to remember is to get the right material, proper size steam generator, and prepare your wall. These will highly impact energy consumption and consequently your energy bills.

You want to bring the spa experience right in your home without denting your pockets or worse running into negatives every month.

With that said, a steam bath is a worthy investment; I am yet to meet anyone who regrets their purchase.


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