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What Steam Questions Should You Be Asking Your Contractor?

You have a vision. And it involves you, lounging on a wide bench, enveloped in steam, breathing in aromatic oils, and feeling fabulous. Maybe you’ve seen a few home renovation shows, and you think to yourself, “I can DIY this!”  

Please don’t.  

YouTubing home renovation projects is pretty much the equivalent of looking up your mole on WebMD. You never know what’s going on behind a wall (or under your skin for that matter). Sometimes, you simply must call in an expert.    

A licensed contractor will anticipate many of your steam shower installation requirements and provide insight into the project that you may not have considered (or seen on HGTV).  

Before you start looking for a contractor, we’ve put together a few need-to-know questions to get the conversation started. So, don’t be shy; roll up your sleeves and fire away! 

Have you ever installed a steam shower before?  

All showers are not created equal. You want to select a contractor who has experience installing steam in residential properties. Keep in mind that there are nuances to steam shower installation.  

Steam showers must be completely enclosed to keep the steam from escaping. The shower doors should be watertight. If there are windows or light fixtures in the shower enclosure, they must be vapor sealed. 

Do you have references and pictures of your work?  

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Testimonials from happy clients are great, but pictures of completed projects will show you exactly what results to expect from your contractor. The portfolio may even give you some design inspiration. 

You may also consider using a contractor recommended by friends, family members, or neighbors. It's always great when you can view the finished projects first-hand and get authentic feedback from a trusted source.  

What construction materials will you use?  

Ultimately, you, the homeowner, have the final say on product selections for your bath remodel. However, it’s wise to ask the contractor what materials they recommend for the project, such as: 

  • Vapor barrier that will protect what's behind the walls and ceiling from moisture  
  • Backer boards for tile sub-surfaces 
  • Design and finish materials, such as marble, tiles, custom glass panels and doors 

This is not an exhaustive list by any means. For example, you may need an exhaust fan, a louvre to vent steam, and added insulation, particularly if your steam shower is on an outside wall, or perhaps you want to run radiant floors into your shower space to keep it warm.   

A contractor with experience installing steam can be a vital asset in helping you decide what materials to use to create the ultimate luxurious steam shower experience at home. 

Are you licensed, and do you use licensed plumbers and electricians?   

Whether you want to add steam to your existing shower or create a whole new space, you will need a licensed plumber and an electrician. You may be wondering, what exactly will they be doing?  

The plumber installs the water supply, the steam lines, and the drain from the generator, while the electrician’s role is to install the generator’s electrical connections, the appropriate circuit breakers, and vapor-sealed lighting, to name a few.  

Proper licensing is critical in getting the work done in compliance with local building codes...and getting the inspector to sign off at the end. Rest assured, a contractor that’s on the up-and-up will only hire licensed subcontractors for each trade related to the project. 

Is there a warranty on labor?   

All MrSteam generators come with a manufacturer’s warranty, so you’re covered there. Whether your steam installation is a small upgrade or a total bathroom overhaul, you’ll want to be sure that your contractor is licensed, insured and bonded and that they offer a warranty on labor. Hopefully, the work will go smoothly, the cost will be minimal, and nothing will ever go wrong. 

But, if months later you find a problem with the work, you’ll rest easier knowing you have a contractor’s warranty in place.  

Where will the generator, control, and steam head be located?  

Discuss the location for all the major components of your steam shower with your contractor. Deciding where the generator, steam head, shower heads, and steam shower control will go at the beginning of the project can save time and money. (Nobody likes change orders!) The great news is that your contractor can install your generator anywhere indoors, in an insulated area, within 60 feet of your steam enclosure, and in a space as compact as your bathroom vanity. 

The Key to a Successful Renovation 

Renovating your bathroom to include a steam shower has the potential to improve the sales appeal of your home and contribute to your family's overall wellness.  

Keep in mind that your contractor is there to help you navigate the renovation process, and answer any and all questions you may have. Ultimately, you and your contractor have the same goal: to bring your vision to life. Remember? It’s the one where you’re lounging on a wide bench, enveloped in steam, breathing in aromatic oils, feeling fabulous. Only this time, it’s real.  

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Topics: Installation & Maintenance, Bathroom Remodel