Installing a Home Steam Bath – Part One
If you are one of those who live for steam, consider getting a home steam bath installed.
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|Are you one of the many who love steam baths? Do you feel that you can't survive without them?
Some live for speed. If you are one of those who live for
steam, consider getting a home steam bath installed. Having
your own "dream steam" bath is the ultimate for many steam bath lovers.
The good news is that getting one may be a lot easier (and less
expensive) than you think.
What Are Your Choices in Steam Baths?
There are two basic choices when installing a steam bath in your home.
You can convert your existing bathtub or shower or you can install a modular steam bath.
If you choose the modular steam bath, there are several steam bath
designs which are self-contained and simply need the appropriate
plumbing and electrical connections.
On the other hand, converting an existing bathtub is also fairly
easy. In this case, however, a steam proof door must be
installed and a steam bath generator
must be connected to the bathtub enclosure.
Why the steam proof door?
Well, steam is a highly penetrating form of moisture, so any room that
has a steam bath must be properly prepared to prevent moisture
damage. If steam gets into the infrastructure of your house
it can cause serious structural damage.
If you are still in the process of constructing a new house, it is a
simple matter to have the builders use the proper materials to steam
proof your bathroom. If, however, you are installing a steam
bath in an existing house, you must verify that the bathroom can
The basic principals in safe steam bath installation are to
1) prevent the steam from escaping,
2) collect the condensed water without dripping on the bathers, and
3) allow the water to drain.
To achieve these three goals, the steam room must be completely sealed
and insulated, it must have a sloping ceiling, and it must have proper
To prevent steam from escaping beyond the steam bath, the structural
materials should be waterproof and have an underlying vapor barrier of
thick plastic. Any sheetrock or plaster used in the
installation must be designed to withstand moisture or covered with a
Walls and Ceilings
The walls and ceilings of the steam room must be covered in a
impervious material like ceramic tile or glass. All the
joints and connections must be carefully sealed with silicone to
prevent any moisture from escaping.
Once the underlying structure has been prepared, the next thing to
consider is the height of the ceilings. In order to maximize
steam build-up and prevent cold spots, the ceiling should be
lower than 8 feet high.
It should also be slanted
to allow condensation to slide down the ceiling rather than drip on the
A slope of 2 inches per foot is appropriate for a steam bath.
If you have opted to convert a conventional bathtub into a steam bath,
you will need to enclose it with a suitable door.
NOTE: Small steam areas (the size of the bathtub) should have
a narrow gap at the bottom of the door to allow for airflow.
Larger steam rooms can be made pretty much airtight.
The bathroom should still be constructed to contain steam even if you
are installing a modular
steam shower. These
units contain steam pretty well but still release moisture into the
surrounding bathroom area. Modular steam showers have the
advantage of having extra features such as multiple shower heads,
built-in seating, lighting, and even CD players and telephones.
In the final analysis, no matter whether you are installing a modular
steam shower or converting an
existing bathtub into a steam shower, you still need to select and
install a residential steam generator and all the
connectors and make sure that everything is working correctly.
That is the topic of Installing a Home Steam Bath - Part Two.
Sauna and Steam Baths
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