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caring for your air conditioning equipment

Understanding Steam Shower Installation For Your Bathroom Remodeling Project

by Amy Henry

If you've been thinking about remodeling your bathroom, one of the things you should think about is integrating a steam shower. Steam shower enclosures are over-sized shower units that feature tight seals on the doors so that the steam can build up inside the walls of the enclosure. The steam produced can open your pores, stimulate your metabolism and even soothe achy muscles. Before you try to install one, though, you should understand some of the components that you'll need for the steam shower to function properly.

Waterproofing

In order for a steam shower to function properly, it has to be waterproof. If you want to be sure that it is properly sealed, you may want to work with a plumber to take care of this part. He or she can help you evaluate the structure that you're trying to create and find the best waterproofing method for it. For example, some of the steam shower designs are equipped with a layer of plastic over the ceiling and the wall studs. Concrete boards that have been treated with waterproofing sealant are usually placed over that plastic, and then the finish tile is installed to create the look you want.

Wiring

Your steam shower will need to be installed on a power circuit that's dedicated to the shower alone. That way, you'll have a breaker that will override the power feed if something happens to the shower, but it won't disrupt the power in the rest of the house. This usually means having to install an additional electrical circuit with a separate breaker box, so you'll need an electrician to help with this part.

Steam Generating

For a steam shower to be truly effective, you'll need a separate steam generator, because the hot water of the shower won't produce enough by itself. You can usually have the generator installed as part of your shower enclosure, where it will be positioned along the lower edge of the shower and piped directly into the enclosure.

If you'd rather have the steam generator installed some distance from the unit, you could have it installed in a closet or in an under-sink cabinet instead. You'll just need to have your plumber run the lines to feed the steam directly into the shower enclosure from where the generator is positioned. You'll also need to have somewhere for the drain line to run so that any accumulated condensation can run out without causing water damage in the bathroom.

Finishing

The finishing material is usually the most versatile part of the project. Tile and stone are great options, but not the only ones. You may find that you prefer a traditional fiberglass unit instead. No matter what you choose, your plumber will help ensure that all of the seams are properly sealed and the entire surface is waterproof. After all, you don't want to have any moisture seeping behind the finish material. That's an invitation for mildew and mold to grow where it's hidden out of sight.

You may even want to ask the plumber about using natural stone for the tile or integrating other water features to create a real spa feel in your steam shower. Sometimes, the addition of bench seating or reclining areas can help to promote relaxation and ease. You can even ask about installing massage jets or rain-producing shower heads.

Steam showers are indulgent features that can make the upheaval of a bathroom remodel highly rewarding. If you want to save on the cost of a local club membership or spa appointment, consider upgrading your bathroom with the addition of a steam enclosure for your shower. Local plumbing services can help you determine the best design and fit for your project.  

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