Although steam showers are typically enjoyed in resorts, hotels and high-end spas, many homeowners are bringing this luxury home for daily indulgence. Residential steam shower sales have increased in recent years – and getting one in your own home may be easier and more affordable than you think.
Mike Nail, President of AAA Steam & Sauna in Denver, Colorado, says that his clients are usually surprised by the low cost and simplicity of installing a steam shower in their home. “Clients go to a health club or spa and they don’t think that they can have this extravagance in their home. Once they realize this amenity is fairly easy to install and afford, they very much want to enjoy steam’s many health and wellness benefits in their home.”
When you choose to install a steam shower system into your home, whether you are building a new home or remodeling your bathroom, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure a successful in-home wellness retreat. Here are Nail's steam shower installation tips.
Location, location, location. For steam showers, steam generators and steam heads!
- Not only is the location of the shower itself important, Nail recommends placing the steam head on the same wall as your shower head, or opposite the area where visitors will sit (bench). The location of the steam generator is also key. Make sure your contractor installs your steam generator in an area with easy accessibility in the event it needs to be serviced. About the size of a briefcase, most generators can be installed in a heated attic, closet, bathroom vanity or in even in the space under your steam shower bench (with access panel outside of shower). Nail has often hidden the generator in a nearby closet, decorative bench or cabinet.
Proper construction ensures steam and moisture stay put.
- Proper construction, insulation and waterproofing for your new steam shower space are also very important. According to Nail, installers typically use a viscous liquid waterproofing membrane that is painted onto the entire shower interior enclosure to ensure that steam and moisture stay put. Fiberglass strips are also often added to all shower corners, benches and shelves as an additional moisture barrier.
Materials impact the size of the steam generator you'll need.
- Popular choices include large porcelain tiles, granite, travertine, and small mosaic inlets. While material selection is largely personal preference, Nail warns that material selection will affect the performance of the steam shower generator. “More dense materials will require a larger steam generator, due to heat absorption,” says Nail. In other words, the more porous a material (e.g., marble, shale, granite, glass block, or concrete), the more quickly it will dissipate heat, rather than retaining it. This means that if you choose the natural beauty of marble or stone for your steam shower, be sure to select a more powerful generator to compensate for the “quick heat release” of these materials. Conversely, if a steam room is constructed of less-porous materials (e.g., tile, acrylic or synthetic materials), a smaller steam generator is likely to be sufficient.
Learn more about steam shower material selection in Tile Steam Shower? Marble Steam Shower? What's the Difference?
Technical considerations matter.
- When planning a steam shower in your home, it is important to remember technical considerations and building codes. For example, while planning your steam shower, make sure your contractor installs a conduit from the steam shower control wires to the generator. Nail notes that plastic is preferred for the conduit, while metal is preferred for the steam line due to high temperatures.
In addition to the installation of the steam head, homeowners who want the full steam experience can choose to install add-ons, like chromatherapy and aromatherapy, to enhance their spa-like atmosphere. While these add-ons may seem frivolous, Nail says that upwards of 50% of his clients choose these upgrades, and are always happy with the results: “The response to these upgrades is often, ‘Wow, why didn’t we add these in the first place?’”
Nail emphasizes that steam showers are not as out of reach financially as most homeowners think. “Most homeowners don’t think that they can afford steam in their own homes for as little as $1,500 (basic starter system), and that this is the same technology that is used in the very best high-end hotels and spas,” says Nail. “Whether you’re living in a $200,000 home or a $20 million home, a home steam shower is within reach for most people. Almost all my clients come back and wonder why they hadn’t done this sooner.”
Why wait for a steam shower experience?
Why wait until your next vacation to treat yourself to the relaxing spa experience? Installing a steam shower in your own home is an easy, surprisingly affordable, and stylish way to transform your bathroom into the wellness retreat you’ve always dreamed about.
Learn how you can afford steam in your home with MrSteam's Home Steam Shower Buying Guide!