Oct 112009

Suppose you’ve decided to add a relaxing steam shower to your bathroom. You know the basics of how it works and the great benefits it can provide your mind and body. You now have a few considerations. What type and size of steam shower do you want to install? And what types of construction materials should you be aware of?

Steam Shower Types

There are basically two types of steam showers: The standalone, or modular type and the kind that is built in.

The standalone steam enclosure is a self-contained, all-in-one type unit. You buy it and install it as a unit. Usually constructed of acrylic and fiberglass, these units include a metal frame with side panels and doors made of glass. Different models come with various options such as aromatherapy, music, and special shower heads.

As part of its installation, the freestanding enclosure is then attached to your current plumbing and electrical systems. Depending on availability of pipes and electricity, you can even place this unit in the middle of your bathroom.

The other type of steam shower is the one you have built-in. Here, of course, what you get is limited only be your imagination and budget. You can determine location, how large you want it, and specific features. And you decide how it will coordinate with the design and look of your current bathroom.

Built-ins typically are more expensive than standalones because of the additional design and installation labor required.

Steam Shower Sizes and Shapes

There are a range of options when it comes to the size of your steam shower enclosure. You can get a single shower or cubicle that accommodates one person. You can also get a double shower. These are bigger than the singles and usually have a shower bench on which two people can comfortable sit. This shower room allows you and a second person to benefit from both the steam as well as the company of each other.

There are additional options when it comes to steam enclosure shapes. As viewed from above, there are steam showers that are square, rectangle, and shaped such as a quarter circle or half moon. Then there are steam showers that can snugly fit into a corner of your bathroom.

You certainly want to be sure you have enough room in your bathroom for the steam shower. Carefully check the dimensions of the unit you are buying or having built against the available space in your bathroom. Typical standalone steam shower enclosures range from small (3 X 3 feet / 1.2 X 1.2 meters) to large (5 X 5 feet / 1.5 X 1.5 meters). Of course, if you’re having the steam shower built, you should be able to specify the dimensions that will help the unit blend in with your bathroom.

In terms of height, the steam shower should not be over eight feet (96 inches/2.5 meters). Steam rises so you want to be sure it won’t rise so high it can’t provide you with its health benefits.

Steam Shower Materials

When considering a steam shower, you should also carefully study the type of materials being used for the shower enclosure construction.

Acrylic is usually used for the shower floor to help prevent the growth the bacteria. The preferred type is continuous or cell cast acrylic – this is usually dull-colored and thick. Be wary of steam shower floors that use extruded acrylic. The materials used to make it often cause floors made from this material to look a bright white.

Also make sure the frames that hold the glass walls of the shower are made of sturdy aluminum. Because the glass walls are heavy, the aluminum frame should be at least 1.5 millimeters thick. The glass itself should be tempered safety glass.

In terms of fixtures, look for chrome plated metals that are made to handle the steam heat.


A steam shower in your bathroom can give you many hours of relaxing pleasure. So when thinking about buying one, be sure to consider the size, shape, and materials used for its construction.