For decades, steam showers have been very popular at health clubs and gyms. This is due to the fact that they invigorate a tired body, soothe aching joints and help to relax muscles.
The focus of steam shower manufacturers these days is the home spa market. They offer homeowners a wide selection of products, ranging from equipment that provides conventional showers with added steam capabilities to complete steam shower units. These products offer the ability to have a steam shower installed in a residential bathroom to provide the ultimate in luxury and comfort.
Due to the fact that steam showers in residential homes is a fairly recent phenomenon, a majority of homeowners don’t really know what to look for when wanting to purchase one.
Steam Shower Basics
So what exactly is a steam shower? It is an enclosed, small room that has a steam shower generator and vapor-tight door.
Water is heated to a boil by the steam generator. The resulting vapor is then delivered into the enclosed shower room. The floor, ceiling and walls of the room need to be made out of a material that is resistant to moist, hot vapor.
The steam generator heats water to a boil and then delivers the resulting vapor into the enclosed room. The room’s walls, ceiling, and floor must be made of a material that is impermeable to the hot, moist vapor
Is A Steam Shower The Best Solution For You?
Purchasing a steam shower is different than purchasing a washing machine. A contractor will most likely need to install it, so you have that cost in addition to buying the equipment. You also need to be aware of the fact that steam adds a lot of added moisture to the air, so the bathroom and shower enclosure may need to be modified or designed so that it can handle a high volume of steam. Otherwise, you could end up with moisture damage and/or mold problem.
Steam showers aren’t suited for everyone. Individuals that have certain medical conditions- like diabetes and high blood pressure- shouldn’t use a steam shower without first consulting with a doctor. Steam showers shouldn’t be taken by very young children or pregnant women.
Weigh Your Options
A steam shower can be purchased in the form of a complete kit that is ready to be installed. Or a steam shower generator can be purchased and then installed into a custom-built enclosure. The first step that you need to take is deciding between a custom-built steam shower and a manufactured, prefabricated steam shower. Also, if you are planning on having a custom steam shower installed, you will have to select the kind of steam generator you want to purchase.
Modular Steam Shower Units
The easiest and quickest way to obtaining a new steam shower is having a modular unit installed. All-in-one prefabricated modular steam shower units tend to cost $3,000 to $5,000 and come with such features as multiple shower heads, steam dispenser, modular seats and integral doors. You will be able to enjoy either a regular shower or steam bath. Some of them have whirlpool bathtubs in the base.
These waterproof enclosures are made out of easy-to-clean acrylic and have been designed to prevent the water vapor from getting into the other parts of the bathroom which can result in damage to the paint, wallpaper and walls.
Basic models are configured and sized so that they fit into the same space as a conventional shower and bathtub unit. Therefore, no excessive reconstruction needs to be done in order to replace the existing tub. A majority of them have been designed so that they can be easily installed and hooked up to the existing plumbing.
Since modular units are made out of acrylic, they don’t integrate visually as seamlessly with a bathroom the way custom-made showers that use the same stone, tile or other materials for the enclosure as the materials used in the other parts of the room.
You can purchase a modular steam shower at a hot tub store, home sauna store or online. Make sure that you compare several different brands since each of them has its own special and unique features. Some of the most popular brands include Aqualusso, Steamist, Finnleo, Wasauna, Insignia and Kohler. As an example, the acrylic steam shower by Wasauna is reinforced with fiberglass, which offers greater resilience. A variety of different ultra-modern designs are offered by LineaAqua, including a freestanding circular enclosure which is made with tempered blue glass called the Caesar model.
Luxury and Custom Steam Showers
A custom steam shower might be the best solution if you would like to have a steam shower that blends in beautifully with the rest of your bathroom.
Basically a custom steam shower is any kind of enclosed shower designed for handling water vapor that gets connected with a steam shower generator. The shower is usually completely tiled to the ceiling, walls and floor, and has some kind of seat and a door that seals completely.
Usually custom steam showers are built from scratch when a bathroom is being remodeled or built. A custom job allows you to add whatever amenities you want, ranging from rain towers to rain showers.
Depending on the kind of equipment and finishes that you select, along with the work that is involved, a custom-built shower will most likely cost quite a bit more than a modular unit will. The least expensive might be a simple shower conversion. For this kind of steam shower, a shower door will need to be installed that seals, any un-tiled and exposed surfaces will need to be tiled and a steam generator along with its controls will need to be installed.
How to Select the Best Steam Shower Generator For You
The steam generator is the heart of any steam shower. It produces the steam (water vapor). You will need one if you are constructing a new steam shower.
They usually connect to the house plumbing system. There is a reservoir made of stainless steel with an electric heating element that is controlled with a thermostat. When the heating element is turned on, it boils the water which produces vapor. The vapor gets delivered into the shower via a special dispenser located on the bottom part of the wall. Since the vapor is heated to a high temperature, the nozzle is usually shielded and/or insulated to protect against burns.
You can install the generator as far away as 25 feet from your shower, allowing it to be hidden under the floor, in the attic, in a closet or under the vanity. Controls are available that allow the user to monitor and set the temperature. The control panel might mount on the outside or inside of the enclosure, or both.
In order for enough steam to be produced for the shower enclosure, the generator needs to be the right size.
Some generators reduce output automatically after they have reached a pre-set temperature, which allows for a steady flow of hot, moist air rather than just short bursts of steam.