Spa retreats are all the rage in bathroom design, and taking center stage is the steam shower. Moisture sealed shower enclosures with steam generators give spa experiences with a steam-filled shower for health, beauty and relaxation benefits. Steam showers are perfect for:
- Easing sinus problems, allergies and bronchitis;
- Increasing circulation;
- Removing toxins from the skin; and
- Relaxing muscles.
What It Is...
The steam shower is not as complicated as it sounds. A steam generator, usually 1 x 2 feet in size or less, is hidden within 25 feet of the shower – usually within a cabinet for easy access. The generator heats water to the boiling point, which generates steam through a pipe into the shower, which is completely enclosed.
There are usually seats for relaxation as well as regular shower fixtures, some with fancy multiple shower heads with various settings, as the steam shower usually doubles as a normal shower.
Basic modular units with steam generators, molded seats and several showerheads cost in the $2,000 - $4,500 range, and require professional installation unless you have a DIY’er experienced with electricity and plumbing – those two together scare me. Expect professional installation, depending on existing facilities, to run in the $500 range.
What You Want in the Steam Shower
Four considerations for choosing the right steam shower:
- Remote controls operate the controls with a remote to turn on features and use timers. It’s recommended steam sessions don’t go over 20 minutes, so timers can help keep track of time.
- Delivery speed – the faster the better, most models take less than two minutes to build up steam, and more efficient models can generate steam in less than one minute.
- Cleaning – Calcium deposits can build on the heating element, and manufacturers recommend manually flushing units after every 50 uses. Some models offer an auto flush function.
- Textures – The steam and heat make the floor slippery as ice. Look for models that have a textured floor surface to help reduce slipping risk.
Steam showers can add that spa retreat feeling to your bathroom, and with the related health benefits, can be well worth the cost, particularly for people with sinus issues. Steam showers are not for all users though, particularly the younger, pregnant or elderly members of the family.
With steam showers adding value to master baths, expect to get up to 80% of the cost back in an increased home selling price.