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Put Down That Sledgehammer! Remodeling Your Bathroom Takes Planning (Part 2)

So, you’re still thinking of remodeling your bathroom... There might be any number of reasons you’ve finally decided to take the plunge but as we shared last week in Put Down That Sledgehammer! Remodeling Your Bathroom Takes Planning (Part 1) you will want to put some serious planning in before you get started. 

So what additional pearls of wisdom—or words of warning—does Bart have for the first-time renovator?

Consider the Space You’re Working In, and Your Contractor’s Expertise

Steam showers have a small footprint and consume very little water—two gallons per 20-minute steam session, on average—so you won’t encounter what Bart calls “the cascade of renovations.”

For example, “A homeowner might install a 60 gallon spa tub with jets, and then be obliged to replace their 40 gallon water heater with a larger one. But maybe the larger water heater requires additional venting, or more amps on the circuit, or has too large a footprint for the space available. Also, you might find it necessary to shore up the floor of the bathroom—60 gallons of water weighs a lot, plus the weight of the tub, plus the weight of the human being in the tub.”

A whirlpool tub is a great way to relax, but installing one can sometimes be anything but a calming experience. Steam showers, on the other hand, offer extraordinary benefits to health and wellness while requiring a much lower-impact installation. Any good contractor can do it, though you’ll want to make sure your installer has experience with steam showers.

“Not all contractors are familiar with steam, but the fundamentals are not so different from what they do every day. A steam generator is just a very small, powerful water heater. It heats water to 212 degrees instead of 140 degrees. Cold water goes in, hot comes out. There’s a drain valve, a pressure valve, and power. There are some nuances, but overall it’s an installation most contractors can understand very quickly with a little education.”

Imagine the Possibilities

Once installed, a steam shower is practically invisible, and yet it can have a transformative impact on your daily life. Imagine starting each day with a meditative steam shower; easing sore muscles after a workout; breathing eucalyptus-infused steam as a palliative for a cold, flu, or other respiratory condition. Says Bart, “There isn’t another product you can put in your home that will do as much for your personal wellness as steam.”

It’s also a very versatile improvement. People steam in different ways, and a fully equipped steam shower can accommodate many different preferences. When you equip your steam shower with an aromatherapy system that infuses different essential oils into your steam; or an LED lighting system capable of turning your shower into a veritable disco of different colors, each associated with different moods; or a sound system to introduce soothing music or ambient sounds to your experience—suddenly, you’ve got a highly functional personal spa that can adapt to the preferences of every member of your household. (And offer a seductive selling point to future owners, if you ever decide to relocate.)

Last Piece of Wisdom for Your Wallet

Let’s get back to the all-important question of your budget. The prevailing wisdom is that you shouldn’t spend much more than 5% of the value of your home on a bathroom renovation. We’ll wait while you do the math. Got your magic number? Good. That’s where you start.

According to a recent Zillow study, homes that listed "Steam Shower" in their description earned a 29% higher resale prices. Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to recoup that much or more when you sell your home—but a good, tasteful remodel, especially of the master bathroom, will almost certainly raise the value of your home. And you’ll get to enjoy it yourself in the meantime, which is the real reason to embark on a renovation.

A great bathroom has the potential to be a place of solace and escape: a mini-vacation waiting just off the master bedroom, where you can find time for yourself, where you can relax and unwind from your busy day, where you can self-soothe and recenter. Sure, it can be visually beautiful, but the most important thing to remember is that feeling good is, ultimately, so much more valuable than having the latest and greatest in stylistic embellishment. Ten years from now, nobody will remember that Moroccan terracotta was the hot trend in tile the year you renovated. But ten years of enhanced daily wellness? That’s a difference you’ll notice.

Bart puts it best: “Just create something that will make your life better. People don’t always think about that enough.” 


Home Steam Shower Buyer's Guide 

Topics: Benefits of Steam, Installation & Maintenance, Bathroom Remodel