Materials matter when it comes to creating the best possible home steam shower. A tile steam shower may need a different size steam generator than a marble steam shower, as this 1:02 minute Mr. Steam video helpfully illustrates.
To understand why heat and steam react differently to natural stone and clay or porcelain tile, we need to travel back to junior high science class. Remember the term thermal conductivity?
Thermal conductivity describes how effectively a material transfers heat. Placing a piece of chocolate atop heated ceramic and marble tile squares, it becomes quickly evident how different materials transfer heat:
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. Your science teacher would have told you that porosity refers to the microscopic gaps in a material that allow other substances, in this case steam, to exit.
Marble’s porous nature diffuses heat more quickly than ceramic tile. Ceramic tile, which is less porous, “holds” heat, hence the rapidly melting chocolate you see above and in the video. Ceramic or porcelain tiles are the most popular alternative to natural stone. Man-made materials like acrylic will also hold heat in a similar manner.
In practical terms, 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.
In addition to material selection, design features such as exterior windows or skylights in the steam shower must be considered along with room volume when properly sizing a steam generator.
Mr. Steam makes it easy to select the right size steam generator for a new home steam shower. Our online Virtual Spa tool provides details on specifications and pricing with just a few clicks of your mouse.
Learn More About Sizing for Tile Steam Showers and Marble Steam Showers
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