See the Light: How to Use Windows in Your Steam Shower Project
Being exposed to natural daylight can boost mood, enhance productivity, and improve overall sense of well-being. So why do so many bathroom designs lack a sense of connection with the outside world? Unless the homeowner happens to be Count Dracula, windows and skylights can be incorporated into steam shower enclosures and bathroom designs. In fact, windows and skylights augment that luxurious, upscale vibe so many of us are hoping to create in a home spa oasis. That said, there are some considerations, so let’s shed some (natural) light onto the issue.
Let The Sunshine In
First things first. Why would you want to feature a window in your steam shower area? The main reason is visual appeal: soft, natural light will bounce around the area, making it seem larger and more open. But there are other, more subtle reasons, too. According to scientists, daylight also may help with a healthy lifestyle, by boosting mood and energy, and help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, which controls things like sleep and wake cycles.
There’s also the sheer aesthetic pleasure of gazing upon the outdoors while taking a steam—imagine looking out onto a serene wooded area, a lush garden, or a beautiful body of water.
Lastly, having more natural light in a bathroom is helpful when applying makeup, as it’s the ideal condition for assessing how products look on skin tone. Anyone who has accidentally left the house feeling chipper, only to realize they have two giant streaks of blush on, will understand the value of true daylight in a bathroom.
So where do you put the natural light source? There are actually a lot of options:
- Position a window or windows inside the steam enclosure. You could even have a floor to ceiling window in there for a seamless, stunning appearance.
- Use glass as the top, or ceiling, of a steam shower enclosure, with airspace above it.
- Install a skylight over a glass topped steam shower enclosure, creating a spotlight effect. Or have multiple skylights meeting in the middle, giving an opulent look.
- Have a steam shower enclosure that is made entirely of glass. Fun fact: Shower enclosures are made of tempered glass, commonly called safety class, that is five times stronger than regular glass. The most popular glass enclosures these days are sleek, minimalist, and nearly invisible. But be sure to check out the other options, too, including frosted glass, colored glass, or glass etched with a pattern. Monogram? Don’t mind if we do.
Also, consider which side of the home the windows or skylights will face, especially if you live in a hot, sunny climate. Direct sun could heat the room in summer months. With bigger windows, privacy concerns can also arise.
Choosing the Right Size Steam Generator
Because a glass window or skylight allows for more heat loss, a larger size generator may be required to compensate. This will ensure you’re getting adequate and efficient steam. The MrSteam Virtual Spa tool will help determine exactly which size generator is best for your steam shower project. Other determining factors on steam generator size include the size of the room and the materials featured in the steam shower’s enclosure, such as natural stone, glass tile, composite, and other options.
What are the Best Windows for Use in a Steam Shower?
To keep all that nice fluffy steam in, and avoid issues such as mold or leaks, windows and skylights in a steam shower must be double-pane and double-sealed. These are going to be fixed windows, as opposed to operating windows—that means they do not open to provide ventilation; they are there to provide a view and/or let in more light.
Choose vinyl-framed windows, which are basically maintenance free and provide top-notch insulation to keep the steam inside the steam shower enclosure. When shopping for windows, buy quality windows from a well-known manufacturer. That way you’ll get years and years of use out of them.
Another option: Play with blocks. Glass blocks, that is. Glass blocks let in plenty of light and handle condensation well. The blocks can be set back toward the outside wall of the home, which will create a nice little window sill inside.
To seal the deal, silicone caulk, which you may also see referred to as rubberized silicone caulk, will keep a waterproof barrier for much longer than acrylic caulking. It’s mildew resistant and often used by pros around wet areas, including windows, surrounding pipes, and in the bathroom to seal sinks, toilets and bathtubs. By the way, silicone mortar can be used for glass block installation as well, giving a very clean, modern look.
Want more tips on how to create your home sanctuary using windows, skylights and other glass? See our story, How to Seal Your Steam Shower Windows.