Steamy Structures: What You Need To Create A Steam Shower

Posted on: 15 January 2015

Steam showers are an over-sized shower structure that's sealed tightly to hold the steam inside. The core fundamentals for a steam shower include waterproofing, adding a steam unit and even choosing a finishing material to cover the walls with.

If you want to create a steam shower, you can either hire a contractor to do the work for you or you can build a shower enclosure on your own. Here are some of the things that you'll need to have in addition to a standard shower enclosure if you want to add a steam shower in your house.

Steam Generator

In order to produce the amount of steam that an effective steam shower requires, you'll need to have a steam generator installed as part of the shower system. In most structures, the generator is installed along the bottom edge of the shower wall. If you don't want it quite that close, you can position your generator as far as 25 feet from the actual shower enclosure. So, if you want to hide it from view, you can install it in a cabinet or a linen closet in the bathroom.

Choose an installation location where you can plumb the generator directly into your shower's water supply line. Most steam generators require a drain line as well so that any residual condensation can drain off. If you put the generator against the shower enclosure, it is typically mounted directly to the wall studs and run with some rough-in plumbing. Then, you can put finish material along the edges of the portion of the generator that extends into the shower space.

Dedicated Electrical Circuit

Steam generators require a separate circuit breaker that keeps the system isolated from the lights and other electrical circuits in the house. This means adding an additional electrical circuit and running the wires directly from that breaker box to the generator. It's in your best interest to work with an electrician or a plumber with the required licensing to install bath and shower fixtures and wiring.

Waterproofing Layers

Steam showers require waterproofing, but you have the flexibility to choose the best type for the finish material you've selected. For example, some steam shower structures start with a layer of plastic sheeting to cover the studs and the ceiling. That plastic sheet is then covered with concrete board. Over the concrete board, a membrane or latex waterproofing material should be affixed. Once the waterproofing material is secure, it gets covered in your finishing tile or other cover material.

Steam shower structures that are finished with sheet metal don't require the added layers over the concrete board, because the sheet metal is typically melded together to create a seamless enclosure. Then, you can seal the seams with silicone caulk around the corners to keep water from seeping in around the edges.

Finish Materials

Some finish materials will require a coating of sealant, such as some raw tile, stone or other porous slab materials. Talk with a plumber about the enclosure materials that you can pick from to create the steam shower space that you've envisioned. For example, you may want something traditional with marble tile, or you might find that you want to create a waterfall-like environment with natural stone tiles and textured surface finishes.

Steam showers give you a soothing, relaxing hideaway in your own bathroom where you can enjoy the heat and steam that not only helps you to unwind and release tension, but also opens up your pores and can clear your skin. With the information presented here, you can choose the perfect components for your structure and enjoy the steamy escape.