Imagine that you have reached the end of a long day at work… you have arrived home. You are tired, sore and want to warm up after a chilly winter day. Then get out of those old clothes, push a button, stretch out on a comfortable bench and breathe in the relaxing aromatherapy of eucalyptus infused steam. You can now enjoy the luxury of a health spa inside your home. In the privacy of your own special room… you can turn an ordinary shower stall into an indulgent steam bath. The soothing steam vapors (that can be infused with your choice of aroma) benefit your skin and sinuses while the steam makes for instant gratification. Once done then simply shower for a refreshing rinse.
Using your steam room is as simple as pressing the digital controls (you can start it remotely using a remote control unit). Once you have hit the control then the steam generator will efficiently begin to make steam. The generator’s steam elements heat approximately a gallon of water which turns to steam and is dispersed through steam heads in the shower. The steam is a safe 118 degrees Fahrenheit or less… warm and tropical.
You can enjoy the luxury of your steam shower without worrying about water consumption because 20 minutes of usage only uses 2 gallons of water! Of course you will be paying to heat the water. Depending on the proposed shower enclosures volume in cubic feet, you must choose the proper steam unit size. Steam generator sizing is also determined by the material your steam shower lining is made of (tile showers need double the heating unit wattage to properly produce quality steam).
Although the expert do-it-yourself person can install a steam unit, it is recommended you hire professionals to guarantee the job is done correctly. You will want to decide the location of the steam generator, which will need to be as close to the shower stall as possible. A distance within 25 feet of the steam heads is a recommended. A linen closet is often sufficient to place the steam unit as long as it can be easily accessed for maintenance.
Depending on if you already have a sufficient shower stall to install the steam components, it might be necessary to have custom work done. Installing steam heads and the piping that feeds them, adding speakers with wiring to controls and placing steam room doors are possible custom work. It is also possible to install a modular steam enclosure which eliminates the need for much custom work.
Steam showers are fast becoming alternatives to bathtubs and whirlpool tubs for homeowners looking to add the spa experience to their homes. By adding music, light and aroma therapy the steam sauna experience is luxurious and relaxing.
Steam Sauna Basics
- A steam room is a moisture sealed enclosure designed to handle 118 degree Fahrenheit steam.
- The hidden steam unit produces steam that is sent to steam heads installed in the shower enclosure. Digital controls are connected to the steam generator first, then also to a lighting system, sound system and aroma therapy unit if desired.
- Quality steam room systems deliver quick steam (often under a minute), offer remote controls that allow control from a distance, and have an optional auto-flush that makes maintenance easier.
- Steam room costs are variable depending on the customization of the steam room enclosure and the extent of optional equipment desired.
- Mr. Steam and Thermasol are excellent manufactures supplying all the components needed to give you that true spa experience at home.
The Basics of Building a Sauna Room
The moisture that a steam unit generates will ruin your existing sauna stall and your bathroom, unless the entire enclosure is built correctly. Here are the basics on how to make a stall steam proof.
1. Slope the ceiling slightly so that condensing steam directs toward the wall instead of dripping down onto your shoulders.
2. Protect the wood framing with sheets of 6-mil plastic stapled over wall studs and ceiling joists. Overlap all edges by at least a foot.
3. Seal all seams between the backer-board panels (must be waterproof) with mesh tape and thinset.
4. Cover all backer board with a waterproof membrane. Use either two coats of a roll-on liquid polymer or embed sheets of flocked polyethylene in wet thinset.
5. Tile and grout as usual. If using stone, then you must seal the stone. You will need to reseal the stone every couple of years.
6. Seal all fixtures that penetrate the tile, including shower and steam heads, digital controls, and valves.