What is a Steam Shower?
Whether you’re interested in stress reduction, glowing skin, relaxation or a variety of other wellness benefits, you’ve likely heard that a steam shower routine can help. But, you may be wondering, what is a steam shower?
A steam shower or steam bath is simply an enclosed, fully tiled space with a steam system installed that heats water until it vaporizes and then releases the resulting steam into the enclosure through a steam head for your enjoyment. It’s a simple idea—but doing it efficiently, reliably, and beautifully is an art and a science. (It’s also distinct from a sauna – discover key differences between steam baths and saunas here.)
While regular showers may release some steam, it’s not as effective as a fully immersive steam shower system. Many gyms and spas offer large steam rooms that seat multiple people at once, but with so many wellness benefits, it’s becoming increasingly common to incorporate this water-efficient and compact amenity for personal use at home. Steam showers can fit into nearly any shower as long as it’s enclosed, insulated and sealed.
Comprised of four primary parts, the components below explain how a steam shower system operates.
What are the parts of a steam shower?
The steam room generator powers the steam system by boiling water. It’s about the size of a briefcase or a bit larger depending on the model. It can be installed up to 60 ft away in a closet, vanity, attic, or basement - basically any dry location - with 12 inches of space around three sides and the top of the generator for ventilation.
Installed inside the shower and away from direct steam flow, the control lets you manage your steam session. You can choose to control everything from temperature and duration to music, chroma lighting and aromatherapy. MrSteam offers sophisticated, slimline controls that fit every design style and need. Explore control options here.
This is where the steam is released. It’s installed on the shower wall, about 6-12 inches above the floor and opposite the seating area. MrSteam SteamHeads are sleek and fit seamlessly into a variety of interior décor styles.
4. Plumbing and Power
The system runs on low-voltage household electric power (208v or 240v). You will need a dedicated power box, a water line to the steam bath generator, steam line from generator to shower and a drain line.
FAQ about Steam Showers
What are the benefits of a steam shower?
While stylish and eco-friendly, a steam shower creates a special environment that may contribute to a variety of health and wellness benefits.
- Healthier skin – a steam shower doesn't just give your skin a deep cleansing. It opens up pores to streamline the absorption of skincare products.
- Easier breathing – the high humidity created by the steam shower may help you breathe better by easing sinus congestion, opening up respiratory passages, and reducing inflammation. It may become an excellent addition to your cold, allergy, and asthma treatment.
- Better blood circulation – the heat and humidity provided by the steam shower may improve blood circulation. Better blood circulation can increase your heart rate, reduce your blood pressure, give your skin a healthier appearance, and even help wounds heal faster.
- Relaxed muscles– by incorporating a steam shower into your post-workout routine, you may benefit from relaxing your muscles.
- Flexible joints -a steam shower may reduce joint stiffness, ease joint pain, and increase joint flexibility. That's could become a great option for people who live with arthritis.
- Lower stress levels – besides providing excellent benefits for your body, a steam shower may have a soothing effect on your mind. It could help reduce stress and anxiety while improving natural sleeping patterns.
When you take a regular 20-minute shower, you use up around 50 gallons of water. A 20-minute steam shower only uses 2.5 gallons. That's 20 times less water.
This eco-friendly approach comes with a financial benefit. It costs less than $1 to run a steam shower.
In addition, Mr. Steam contributes to the planet's safety by packing all steam shower parts in 100% recyclable packaging. Meanwhile, all our steam shower generators are made from recyclable stainless steel.
Increased Home Resale Value
When you install a steam shower, you increase the value of your property. According to Zillow, adding a "steam shower" to your listing can raise the sale value by as much as 30.7%.
Why get a steam shower instead of a sauna?
Steam showers and saunas can yield similar benefits. However, getting a steam shower can be much more advantageous. Here is why:
- Space – a steam shower takes up much less space than a sauna. You can remodel a regular shower into a steam shower. To install a sauna, you need to give up a significant section of your property.
- Design – when designing your steam shower, you can choose from a wide variety of materials. You can select whatever fits your needs and décor. With a sauna, you are pretty much limited to wood.
- Health and beauty benefits – the temperature inside your steam shower is usually between 105°F and 115°F while the humidity is 100%. In a sauna, the temperatures range between 160°F and 200°F while the humidity is only about 10%-20%. This might take away the respiratory benefits and contribute to skin dryness.
Overall, a steam shower can have a higher return on investment while providing a wider range of benefits.
How much does a steam shower cost?
The total cost of a steam shower depends on several factors:
- Size of a steam generator
- Type of controls
- Type of steamhead
- Wall materials
- Add-ons (SteamTherapies)
- Installation costs
A package for a smaller (3'x3'x7') shower can cost as little as $1,550 (+installation). However, if your shower is large and requires a large steam generator, the cost of the generator may go up to $3,000 (+installation).
Shower wall materials can define the size of the steam generator. For example:
- Porous materials (marble, granite, glass block) – add 50% to the shower size calculation and call for a larger steam generator.
- Nonporous materials (ceramic, glass tile, porcelain) – don't add anything to the cubic feet calculation for the purpose of choosing generator size.
Some materials may require more time and labor to install than others. This can impact the final cost of your project.
While SteamTherapies have a high potential to reinforce health and wellness steam shower benefits, adding them to your steam shower project can increase its cost. Mr. Steam offers such advantageous SteamTherapies as:
If you add all of these therapies and the latest control technology to your steam shower project, the price could rise to $6,375, plus installation costs.
How much does the steam shower installation cost?
The cost of installation varies depending on:
- Labor costs (vary by location)
- Size of the shower
- Number of additional features
- Types of materials
For example, transforming a standard small shower into a steam shower can cost $6,595. Out of this amount, you pay $820 for materials and installation, $1,000 for professional labor, and $4,775 for steam shower features.
Another example is a transformation of a room with a tub and a shower into a tub with a steam shower. The total project cost is $7,445. Out of this, materials and installation add up to $1,420, professional labor is $1,000, and steam shower features cost $5,125.
In both cases, the costs of materials and labor are around 30%. A good rule of thumb is to allocate 25%-35% of the shower project budget to materials and labor.
What kind of maintenance is required?
Steam showers are easy to maintain, especially if you arrange:
- Autoflush – so the generator automatically flushes after each use.
- Water softener – so mineral deposits don't affect the generator's operation.
If you have these two features, you only need to arrange manual steam shower cleaning once every few years. To learn more about maintenance, you can always ask Mr. Steam experts for a professional consultation.
How can I estimate the cost of my ideal steam shower setup?
You can take advantage of Mr. Steam's VirtualSpa design tool to evaluate your steam shower project costs.
Learn More About Steam Showers
Ready to explore more? Visit a dealer showroom to experience our steam showers firsthand to get a feel for the options and find a home improvement installation contractor.