If you’ve been in the market for a new means of relaxing athome, you’ve likely been turned in the direction of steam showers. The namealone may seem confusing or self defeating at first however. After all, don’tall showers put off steam given the wealth of water vapor? We all know thefeeling of stepping out into a steamy bathroom after a hot shower all too well.Surely they must all be the same, right?
Actually, there’s a lot more to these steamy marvels thanyou might think. Just take a visit to your local spa retreat and ask for directionsto the steam room. You’re sure to get acquainted with what makes them specialstraight away.
Luckily, you don’t have to take routine trips to the spa toenjoy a good steam shower at all. In fact, you can have them installed right inyour home. As with any part of a “home make-over” however, it canfeel pretty daunting trying to wrap your head around where to get started orwhat type of shower to ultimately chose. In the following paragraphs, we’ll goover every little detail you need to know to make the right choice.
First of all, there are two basic types of steam showers.The first that generally comes to mind is a room or chamber built right into anexisting (or new) room. There is an easier to deal with self contained styleyou may also want to consider however. You may also find the term “purposebuilt” associated with the latter.
Of course, before you dive too far into all the ins and outsof steam showers themselves, you need to get a firm understanding of the spaceavailable in your home. There are a lot of different issues you’re going toneed to consider. For instance, do you have an existing shower that you merelywant to replace? Are you looking to add on an entirely new room? The list ofconsiderations goes on and on.
Aside from just knowing the space you’ll need allocated, youalso have to think of the plumbing and electricity. Both of these elements canobviously prove incredibly problematic for homeowners down the line if any partof their installation or alteration hasn’t been handled properly.Unfortunately, this means you have a lot of homework ahead of you. You may needto consult public records of your architecture, Don’t fret however; a wealth offorward planning will undoubtedly be worth it to you in the end.
Although it’s best to get all of those matters dealt with upfront, it won’t hurt to start dreaming up what sort of features you might want your steam shower to have. It might actually make all of the hard work thatmuch easier if you have a particularly cushy goal in mind. You can make your steam shower a place of true relaxation, complete with differently colored mood lighting and even music playback. There are a myriad of luxury features you can include, and knowing what you’re interested in will help you focus on getting the project done andalso sort out your overall budget. Of course, these are both immensely important.
Now, let’s go over steam showers a bit more closely. Ifyou’re not already familiar, they combine the functionality of normal showers into a self contained unit. They are generally used more for relaxation than day to day cleaning, though you can certainly clean up in them if so desired.Typical running water functions can be accommodated, but the primary purpose is going to be producing and maintaining a high temperature steam for a highly revitalizing experience.
It’s easy to confuse the basic functions of a steam shower to that of a sauna While they both present warm, relaxing environments, a steam room tends to be fairly humid and moist overall. Saunas on the other hand are notably dry and even hotter.
With that basic understanding under your belt, the next matter to take care of revolves around all the whys and hows! If you’re looking to get a steam shower in your home, you first need to consider the essentials of installation. The three primary components are as follows:
1 – The Steam Generator
As you’d expect, steam generators take water and convertthem into steam that will then be piped into your room or stall.
2 – Water AndPlumbing Access
Remember all of the homework we discussed earlier? You need to make sure you have access to the water supply and plumbing system in your home.
This is especially true if you’re going the DIY steam route, and it’ll save yousome extra time (and money) if you’ve decided to employ a contractor. All waterpumped into the steam generator has to have a proper route into it as well as away to drain.
3 – Electrical SupplyAccess
The heating functionality of steam generators must beoperated by electricity. Delicacy and precaution must be applied any time youwork with electricity, especially when you’re pairing it with water andplumbing units. Again, this is a crucial step to be able to check off of yoursteam shower to-do list.
After you have that squared away, you should finally beready to get down to getting your steam shower installed. This is no “flyby the seat of your pants” operation either; there are three basic ways togo about it. You can consider the following approaches:
1 – Simply Alter AShower You Already Have
If you want to retrofit a shower already in your home, youhave to remember that steam showers have to be a fully enclosed area tofunction as intended. Otherwise, all of the steam will fill the remainder ofthe room much like standard issue showers, defeating the purpose entirely. Youmay be looking at a lot of unnecessary work if your shower doesn’t have anenclosed door and ceiling already.
It goes even further. You have to take painstaking care thatall of your existing walls (as well as the drain pan) are sealed off properly.Steam is quite wily and will escape through even the smallest of spaces ifgiven the chance. You likely have a lot of grout work ahead of you.
Having a sloped ceiling is also ideal. You might not thinkof this intuitively, but the slope will make sure any built up compensationdoesn’t drip on you uncomfortably. If your existing shower doesn’t fit thebill, that’s one more extra step that might make you consider one of the otherapproaches laid out below.
Also, try to find out the manufacturer of the shower partsyou already have. In some instances, you might be able to findsteam-appropriate materials such as enclosed doors that fit onto your existingunit. The Kohler brand is an especially good example of this.
Finally, keep in mind that conversion is a potentially heavyproject. The easier DIY route may be to buy a self contained unit to install.If retrofitting is your preferred method however, consider consultation with plumbersand electricians early on to ensure your safety once everything has beeninstalled.
2 – Design &Build A Dedicated New Room
While designing an entirely new room for your steam showermay seem like the most work possible, it may be preferred so that you can makesure every aspect of the project is catered to your specific tastes. You’ll beable to avoid any compromise. Starting from the ground up might even be fasterthan going through the whole routine of surveying an existing room andinstallation to retrofit everything.
Going forward with a built-in steam room will be especiallyuseful in avoiding headaches with rerouting old plumbing and electricity. Youcan make sure the rest of the materials comprising the likes of the walls anddoors are also exactly as they need to be right up front. It’s still a bigproject however, so you may still want to work with professionals to help makesure all of your safety requirements and measurements are within theirrespective ideal ranges.
3 – Purchase A DIYPurpose Built Steam Unit
Self contained, purpose built units can be purchased andinstalled, removing at least some of the stress that comes with the largerprojects detailed above. You still need to make sure electrical and plumbingaccess is available however, alongside all of the other aspects of the earlyplanning stages. Beyond that, the installation is all that remains. Allmaterials (such as the steam generator) will be included in the package,complete with any bonuses you’ve decided to invest in.
As long as you make sure you have all of the room you needand take ample precautionary steps, you should be more than ready to decidewhich way to go with your steam shower. Each style listed above has itsindividual strengths, but any format will ultimately leave you with arefreshing and relaxing experience with a myriad of health benefits. Get all ofyour measurements and size requirements in check, compare the pricing ofdifferent part and fully self contained unit manufacturers, and make sure to lookinto the best warranty for your needs! After all of that, you should be readyto go.