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Can You Turn a Regular Shower into a Steam Shower?

If your shower can comfortably fit two people, you have enough space for a steam shower. You may have unwittingly blocked the manifestation of your dream home spa by telling yourself these common misconceptions: 

  • I can't afford it - You can upgrade your existing shower to a steam shower for approximately 20% more than a standard one.  
  • I don't have enough room - If you have a 3'x3'x7' space, that's all you need. 
  • I don't want to do a home renovation - You certainly can incorporate your steam shower design into a complete reno, but it isn't necessary.  
  • I don't really need it - Excuse us? Do you live a busy and stressful life every day where you wear multiple hats, get up early, go to bed late, and have numerous deadlines or people who depend upon you? Do you have aches, pains, allergies, trouble sleeping, or simply need a quiet place to relax? Oh, yes, you definitely need it.   

Now that you know it's possible to turn your existing traditional shower into a home steam room, let's look at how. 

convert ordinary shower into steam shower

How Does a Steam Shower Work?  

The short answer is: enter, push the digital control, and relax. The more technical answer is that once you activate the steam shower controls, clean, fresh water enters a steam generator to create a blissful cloud of water vapor that fills the steam shower unit. However, the steam shower isn't confined to only steam. When done steaming, many people complete their steam session with a cleansing and refreshing rinse in the shower stall.  

While an ordinary shower uses around 50 gallons of water for a 20-minute shower, a steam-generating shower uses only 2.5 gallons of water in the same period.


Top Considerations When Converting Your regular shower To Include Steam 

Here are some top considerations when deciding to convert your existing shower into steam shower:

Steam generator 

This compact powerhouse is only the size of a typical briefcase. Install the steam generator almost anywhere within 60 ft. of the shower, so long as it has approximately 12 inches of clearance around the top and sides for service access and is in a heated space where there is no chance of the pipes freezing.  Installation should be done by a licensed electrician.

Ceiling height 

A mere 7 ft. is all that's required. 8 ft. is ideal. Anything higher may require other considerations, like a transom above the door and a more powerful generator. The reason for limiting the ceiling height is that steam rises, so the higher the ceiling, the less steam will remain in the area where you are.  

Sealed doors and windows 

If you have a window in your moisture-sealed shower, you must ensure it is double-paned glass and waterproof.

Wall and ceiling materials

The less porous your materials, the more efficient your shower will be. While natural stone is beautiful, it won't hold the temperature or prevent steam dissipation as well as ceramic tile.  


Your choice may be dictated by space or by preference. If you have no space restrictions, you may want a full built-in bench that allows you to stretch out. If your shower is more compact, consider a fold-down shower seat that allows easier movement when you aren't using it. 


What Do You Need for an in-Home Steam Shower?  

At a minimum, you'll need an enclosed 3 ft. x 3 ft. shower space with a shower door and a ceiling of at least 7 ft. and no more than 8 ft. This equates to a minimum volume of 63 cubic feet. Larger units may require 160 cubic feet of space or more.

Fixtures should include a door with a watertight gasket, steam generator, steam head, standard shower head, floor drain, and sloped ceiling to prevent condensation. Lighting should be vapor-sealed.  

Now is the time to let your inner designer free by choosing what features you want to include in your steam shower enclosure. What colors and materials fit your design aesthetic? Is it sleek and glass or something more rustic? Are you a tech geek who eschews standard wired controls for a fully wireless control unit?  

What about a total sensory experience? Imagine relaxing in the warm vapor. You breathe deeply, inhaling the soothing scent of lavender or jasmine or the invigorating essence of mint or rosemary. AromaTherapy using essential oils can be incorporated into your steam shower to help take your sensory experience to the next level.  

Think of how loose and relaxed you would feel after 20 minutes on your own, breathing in the gently scented steam and listening to your favorite songs. MusicTherapy is another option that you can add. Finally, consider the healing benefits of ChromaTherapy. Adding different light effects can enhance mood and round out the spa effect.  

Design Your home Steam ROOM With the VirtualSpa  

Having the steam retreat of your dreams is as easy as using MrSteam's VirtualSpa design tool. Enter a few measurements and choose the materials and features you want, and before long, you are on your way to making your dreams a reality. 

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Topics: Bathroom Remodel