Seven Questions to Ask Your Contractor About Installing a Steam Shower
Ready to start planning your steam room installation? Here are seven questions about how to install a steam shower that we recommend discussing with your contractor.
Seven Questions About Installing A Steam Shower You Will Want to Ask Your Contractor
1. What are the necessary technical and building codes?
The first step in any construction or renovation project is to understand what local building codes will and will not allow. Building codes are in place for homeowner safety, and familiarity with plumbing, electrical and framing requirements will expedite the permitting and inspection process.
It is a good idea to contact your local municipal building department to learn exactly what will be required to avoid unnecessary project delays.
>> Here is a good reference for most state and some city building codes.
2. What materials should I use in my steam room?
Materials matter when it comes to your steam shower, and we are here to help you choose the best option for your home.
Simply put, the more porous a material (e.g., marble, shale, granite, glass block, or concrete), the more quickly it will dissipate heat, rather than retain it. So 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.
Materials like ceramic or porcelain will hold heat better and require a smaller generator.
3. Where should I locate my steam generator?
If you’re renovating an existing shower, likely there are connections nearby for power, water and waste. If you’re building a new shower however, your plumbing contractor will recommend placement of the drain and water supply lines.
A 240-volt electrical connection with a dedicated circuit breaker is required for steam shower operation. Also, your electrician can advise the best means for adding vapor-proof lighting in your steam shower.
Moving these plumbing connections can be costly and messy, so determining where to best locate plumbing and electric will help guide your decision on where to position the shower.
4. What kind of moisture seal should be used?
To prevent all of that luxurious steam from escaping, you will want to properly seal your steam shower. Unlike typical bathroom showers, a steam shower ceiling must be sealed against moisture. Installers often use a viscous liquid waterproofing membrane that is painted onto the entire shower interior 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.
Another solution for waterproofing a steam shower enclosure is wedi® board. Similar to the cement backer board commonly used in creating shower enclosures, it is a waterproof, rigid foam tile substrate and building panel. Note, though, that the wedi board does not waterproof the shower; the paint on vapor barrier waterproofs.
Waterproofing windows and doors is another consideration. Either internal or external windows are fine as long as you insulate them properly.
5. How should the various steam-related components (e.g., steam generator, shower head, steam heads, control, etc.) be laid out?
To avoid extra work and expenses down the road, consider planning how each component in your steam shower will be laid out from day one.
Deciding where to install the steam generator is very important, and, thankfully, you have many options! A MrSteam generator can be installed anywhere indoors, in an insulated environment, within 60 feet of your steam room.
>> Check out more tips for installing your steam bath generator.
Also consider the steam shower control location. For maximum convenience, install it in an area near your shower bench so you can easily reach out from where you are sitting.
Sometimes a sloped ceiling is required in a steam shower to prevent condensation from dripping on the bather. This decision is based on the type of tile or finished surface used on the shower ceiling. Smaller tiles with many grout joints may require a slight slope because they tend to drip at the edges, while solid materials, like Swanstone, do not have joints or many surface breaks.
6. What is trending in bathroom design?
You might not associate your plumbing contractor with a savvy knowledge of what’s “hip” in bathroom design, but he or she has to understand the latest trends to successfully plan and execute an installation. Your contractor, having installed steam showers before, is likely familiar with what is popular. Are consumers opting for rain shower or massage shower heads? Reinforced marble or acrylic wall tiles? Your contractor likely has a wealth of information. Tap into that knowledge to keep your steam shower and bathroom hip and modern.
Think of your steam shower installation in a holistic sense; every aspect is interconnected. For example, the type of tile materials you install will impact how much heat is retained in the shower, which will impact your steam generator’s required size.
7. How should I maintain my steam shower?
Maintenance is key no matter what the installation, so ask your contractor how to keep your steam shower components functioning at peak performance. He or she may recommend installation of the MrSteam AutoFlush, which automatically and electronically flushes the generator of impurities two hours after every steambath, improving performance and lengthening system life.
Additional Resources For Installing Steam Showers
With these questions answered, you will be well on your way to enjoying the full health and wellness benefits of steam. In case you need additional resources for installing your steam shower, we recommend the following articles:
- What Do Builders Need to Know about Steam Shower Installations?