It’s surprising how often people think of steam showers and steam rooms as modern inventions. In point of fact, the health-and-wellness properties of steam have been known for many years and have been enjoyed by numerous ancient cultures. It is, however, fair to say, that it’s only been in relatively recent times that people have been able to enjoy the benefits of steam in the peace and privacy of their own bathroom or, indeed, steam room. In this article, we’ll talk you through adapting an existing shower into a steam shower and then through creating a dedicated steam room. We’ll then guide you through the key points to consider when buying a steam room generator.
Adapting an existing shower
The key point to remember about adapting a shower for steam is that showers are generally more than capable of coping with steam, in fact, all showers are built to tolerate a certain level of steam, which is just water vapour. Bathrooms as a whole, however, are not, which is why it’s important to ensure that the steam stays within the shower enclosure, rather than escaping into the bathroom. If you’ve bought a self-contained shower cabin then you’re covered. This is the sort of enclosure used for shop-bought steam showers and therefore is perfect for retrofitting steam generators. If, on the other hand, you have a standard shower enclosure then you’re going to need to check your door thoroughly to ensure that it closes well enough to keep the steam inside. It’s OK if there are small gaps, but anything more than a few millimetres and really you should be looking at a new door if not a new enclosure. If you’re in this situation, you could look at the possibility of buying a blank shower cabin and transferring your existing shower into it. This would also solve the issue of enclosing the top of the shower.
Enclosing the top of the shower
If you do want to use a standard shower enclosure then there are basically three ways of doing it. One way is to buy a steam dome. This is basically a clear dome which sits on top of your shower, resting on brackets. These domes are usually made of clear acrylic and are a very aesthetically-pleasing option. Another way is to use laminated marine ply boards and essentially create a mini-dry wall, albeit a waterproof one. This does the job easily and affordably although some people may find it lacking in visual appeal. The third way is to create a waterproof studwork structure above the shower, cover this with a backing which is suitable for tiles and then tile this. This has the expense of using tiles, but is effective and the tiling can be attractive, although it’s debatable how much of it will be seen in most bathrooms.
Add a steam shower seat
Possibly the biggest difference between ordinary showers and steam showers is that traditionally the former have been places where speed was of the essence, in fact speed has long been a major selling point for traditional showers, whereas with steam showers, the general idea is that you sit back, relax and, literally, breathe in the benefits. That being so, you’ll need somewhere comfortable to sit and, of course, you’ll want it to look stylish too. Here at Poshh, we have a range of shower seats for you to sit and enjoy your steam in comfort, they are of the highest quality, so they’ll last over the long term and, of course, they look good too.
Install a steam generator
We’ll talk a bit more about choosing the perfect steam generator later on in this article, but if you’re in too much of a rush to wait, you could head to our section on steam room generators, safe in the knowledge that everything we sell on our site is of top quality and comes from a brand you can trust at a price you can afford.
Building a new steam shower room
If you are able to incorporate steam into the design of a new bathroom (or the redesign of an old one) then you can enjoy a touch of luxury, which is good for your health and wellness too. Aside from the space requirements, there’s nothing extraordinary to consider with regards to incorporating steam. The only really key decision you need to make is whether you’re going to create a steam shower area or whether you’re going to create a wet room with steam. If it’s the latter then you’ll need to think about the standard considerations of a wet room, which we’ll discuss later.
Step one - plan the layout of your steam room
Usually wet rooms are a way to get the most out of the very smallest bathrooms, whereas shower cabins (and shower enclosures) are used in bathrooms which are at least slightly bigger. If you’re planning a steam shower room, we’d suggest the opposite. When you’re operating in a small space, we’d suggest that you use a self-contained shower cabin. You can either buy one with a steam shower or just buy a blank shower cabin and equip it to your taste. If you have a larger bathroom, then you could create a separate steam area with steam benches on which to sit or even to lie down. We’d be inclined to suggest that if you go down this route, you may want to use a self-contained shower cabin for your shower in any case. Leaving aside the advantages they offer in terms of installation (quick, easy and no need for tiling), doing this will mean that if you find that you need to adapt your bathroom later, you will have a low-hassle route to moving your steam generator into your shower. For example, you may decide, or need, to convert your current steam area into an exercise area, but with your self-contained shower cabin already in place, you will have an easy route to carry on enjoying the benefits of steam, albeit in a different way. If you do decide to go down the route of a standard shower enclosure, then remember to make sure that the door seals effectively as this will save you one step if you decide to convert the shower later (as well as being a good idea in any case).
Your steam room will need standard ventilation requirements. If your bathroom has a window, this may well be sufficient, if not then you will need an extractor fan. In either case, the ventilation requirements are neither greater nor lesser than in any other bathroom.
Your lighting will have to cover the standard requirements of bathroom lighting. In other words, you will need general lighting to cover the whole room so that people can move about safely and task lighting to assist with activities such as shaving and putting on make up. Since you will want your steam room to be a special place, you may also want to look at decorative lighting and even therapy lighting. This is lighting which can cycle through different colours or be set on one, specific colour, according to the mood you want to generate.
You will also need your steam generator and, as we mentioned previously, we’ll talk more about how to choose one at the end of this article.
Step two - plan the construction of your steam room
If you are planning on using a self-contained shower cabin then there’s nothing in particular you need to consider. If you’re planning on creating a wet-room then you do have some special considerations, although these are more to do with the nature of wet rooms rather than the fact that there is steam involved.
The floor needs to be sloped towards a drain and completely waterproofed.
The bottom half of all walls needs to be waterproofed and the walls nearest to the areas where there is most water (or steam) need to be waterproofed from top to bottom.
Seats also need to be waterproofed. This means that if you are going to go for real wood, it needs to be treated to withstand moisture. Alternatively you can opt for wood-effect plastic seating. This may sound tacky, but actually if you purchase a high-quality item it can look very realistic and be highly practical too.
In an ideal world, the ceiling would also be waterproofed and have some kind of angle to it, to encourage the inevitable condensation to run off.
Plan your storage, decor, and accessories
Storage is key to the functionality of any bathroom and storage for a steam room has to be planned with particular care since you need to ensure that moisture-sensitive materials (such as paper goods, towels and clothes) are protected from the water and steam. So, for example, in a steam room, you would generally look to have your active roll of toilet paper in a completely enclosed dispenser and have towels in fully-enclosed storage rather than just in baskets or on shelves. Once the practicalities are sorted, you’re free to have fun with decor and accessories. Since you’ll have sorted lighting, how about sound and scent? You could look at bathroom sound systems and aromatherapy diffusers, which are perfect partners for steam.
Picking your steam room generator
Of course, everything we’ve said about creating a steam room hinges on you buying an efficient steam room generator. With this in mind, here are 6 points to consider when making your choice.
1. The overall quality of the steam room generator
The old adage of “you get what you pay for” applies as much to steam room generators as to everything else. Steam room generators are used to generate steam, which means they are working at high temperatures with very hot water; hence safety is a key consideration. This is a compelling argument for investing in a steam room generator from a brand you can trust (like the Insignia steam room generators we sell here at Poshh) rather than taking a gamble on a cheaper one. Top brand steam room generators will have functions such as thermostatic control, overload protection circuits and top notch heat barrier shields to enhance safety.
2. The size of the steam room generator
In our experience, people often assume that steam room generators are big, bulky appliances, perhaps it’s the word “generator”, which makes people think of power generators. Actually, domestic steam room generators are more like the size of a briefcase. The exact size, however, depends on the model and the basic rule of thumb is that higher-power models are bigger than lower-power ones. Although it’s generally fairly easy to find a place for a steam room generator, given that even larger bathrooms still tend to be “the smallest room in the house”, we suggest you take some time up front to look at what sort of size of steam room generator can be reasonably accommodated in your particular bathroom and where you can put it.
3. Connectivity options
Higher-end steam room generators will have Bluetooth connectivity to open up more options for entertainment in your bathroom. They may also come with integrated music options such as a radio and their own (waterproof) speakers.
4. Independent certification
Given the safety aspects of steam room generators, you really want them to be independently certified. At Poshh, all the steam room generators we sell are CE Certified and ISO9001 approved.
5. Simple installation
If you’ve ever experienced the pain of putting together cheap, flat-pack furniture, you’ll appreciate how important it is to buy a quality item, which can be easily, quickly and safely installed.
6. Reliable guarantee
A top-brand steam room generator is expected to last over the long term, by which we mean at least 3 years, which is why we provide a warranty for that time. All the steam room generators we sell here at Poshh are from brands which have been in the business for a long time and show every sign of being in the business for the foreseeable future, so your guaranteed actually means what it says.
Poshh are the UK's biggest independent steam and hydro shower, sauna, home and garden retailer. With over 20 years of experience, we use our unique knowledge and influence in the market to work with the best manufacturers to be able to deliver the finest items and the lowest possible prices