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What are tips for how to build a steam shower?

Learn to build a steam shower and increase your home's resale value.

A steam shower can turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreat. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
A steam shower can turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreat.

The soothing warmth and moisture of a steam shower can be a relaxing treat at the end of a long day. Although steam showers are often included as amenities at hotels and health clubs, many homeowners choose to install them in their own homes. This article provides tips for how to build a steam shower.

Steam Shower Location

Before building a steam shower, first consider where it will be located. Moisture that accumulates from a steam shower can damage the underlying structure of a room by penetrating walls and ceilings and causing them to rot. If the moisture isn't contained in the steam shower, it can travel to other rooms of the house and damage them as well. For that reason, the steam shower area must be properly sealed and insulated, and have the right type of drain.

Steam Shower Materials

Start by planning ahead if the steam shower is to be built during the construction of a new home or the remodeling of an older home. Use waterproof materials like sheetrock with a waterproof finish for the walls of the steam shower area. Ceramic tile is a good waterproof option for the walls, ceiling and floor. For joints and connections, make sure to use a good waterproof grout and silicone sealant.

Convert an existing shower to a steam shower by installing a freestanding, modular steam shower and then fitting the area with the necessary electrical and plumbing connections. Take steps to steam-proof the surrounding area using waterproof materials.

Choosing a Steam Generator

The next step is to choose a steam generator, which is the device that will create the steam for the shower. Most steam generator manufacturers provide guidelines for determining which size of steam generator is best for the size of the room. If heat-absorbing materials like marble or glass are used in the shower area, a larger, more powerful generator may be needed.

Most steam generators can be placed 20 to 40 feet from the steam shower itself. That means homeowners can save valuable steam shower room space and place the generator in a hall closet, attic or basement. The generator has to be installed near the water supply, electrical connections and a drain. Make sure the generator is easy to access in case repairs are needed.

For specific installation instructions, follow the instructions provided by the modular steam shower manufacturer and steam generator manufacturer, and check local building codes for proper electrical connections.

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