Steam Shower (Bathroom Design Ideas)

A residential steam shower is an affordable way to relax in the comforts of your home and potentially has very good health benefits. It is “Spa Day” redefined.

Bathroom with dual sinks, steam shower area and white tub


What Is a Steam Shower?

A steam shower is a glass-enclosed standalone stall that offers the typical features of a bathroom without a tub, which is sealed so that moisture doesn’t leave the stall. A steam shower operates on cold water, which passes from a water line and generates wet heat through a steam generator.

The generator’s electric heating element then raises the temperature of the water to a boil at 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The steam from the boiling water is channeled through a pipe from the generator and released to the shower enclosure through the steam head with no risks of burns.

The steam produced creates a soothing, warm, and moist environment, which provides a chance to relax, comfort those stiff muscles, and invigorate tired bodies without running hot water for an extended period.

It’s important to determine the right size of steam generator for your shower enclosure. A generator too small for the shower’s space will not create a perfect immersive steamy experience. Additionally, if the generator is too big, it can be wasteful as well. 

Benefits of Adding a Steam Feature to Your Shower

Enclosed steam shower with sitting bench

Everyone deserves indulgence, especially at the end of a long and tiring day – when you want to relax, those achy muscles melt into a soothing cloud of steam and emerge feeling renewed. Instead of having to go to a health spa, you can enjoy this kind of pampering in the comfort of your home by converting your ordinary bathroom shower into a humidifying shower.

It promotes blood circulation. Warm vapor and an increase in perspiration help open small blood vessels and improve blood flow, which easily delivers oxygen around the body, lowers blood pressure, and keeps the heart healthier. It also helps repair broken skin tissue.

It is good for your skin. Opening pores allows the release of sweat, which helps cleanse the outer skin as it releases trapped sebum. Warming skin by steaming opens pores allowing to rinse away dirt, dead skin cells, bacteria, and other impurities that clog the pores.

It hydrates dry skin and lubricates the skin. The warmth and moisture help increase oil production, which naturally moisturizes the skin. It also promotes collagen and elastin production, which results in firmer and younger-looking skin. Vapor prepares the hair follicles for easy waxing and also makes shaving easier.

It relaxes the muscles, especially after a workout. The heat from the vapor can penetrate deep into the muscle tissue, helping reduce muscle soreness and soothing nerve endings.

It can help loosen stiff joints. Warming up by using a humidifying shower before a workout helps prevent injury and helps loosen up stiff joints, which enables you to reach maximum mobility during workout activities.

It reduces stress. Heat causes tension to melt away, making the body release endorphins and decrease the level of cortisol, making you feel relaxed and rejuvenated. It may also help promote deep, restful sleep and increase the potential for natural sleep patterns.

It can aid in the removal of toxins. A humidifying shower can help remove excess toxins from the body and has been shown to help the body get rid of excess sodium. It stimulates the reduction of metabolic waste products in the body.

It helps improve your respiratory health. It gives relief from congestion in the sinuses and lungs, helps clear stuffy nasal passages, and helps loosen bronchial secretions. Vapor soothes the throat and may act as a natural expectorant. Vapor can be used to treat colds and may provide temporary relief of respiratory symptoms.

It may help with weight loss. A humidifying steam treatment may help burn extra calories in a 15-minute session at a 114°F temperature alongside a healthy diet and exercise. Sweating can stimulate the body and increase wellness, along with losing excess water weight. (Do check with your physician regarding your health and amount of time in a humidifying room)

Cost of Steam Room Installation

Walk through shower with wall mounted sprayer and rainfall shower head

The average cost of a prefab shower insert for an average 3 feet x 3 feet x 7 feet enclosure is about $4,350. This comes with a 3-kilowatt generator complete with all required fittings which costs $3,810.

Plus, the labor cost for installation is about $540, which includes the site’s preparation, the unit’s assembling, the plumbing supply, the pipes to your drain, and the electrical wires needed to be hooked up to the generator’s 220-volt electric cable and digital controls.

While a custom shower will cost an average of $4,000 to $14,200, the cost will vary depending on the size and features of the stall. Materials, including the humidifying generator, can range between $3,000 and $8,200. The labor cost for installation, including the tilers, glass fitters, plumbers, and electricians, is an additional $1,000 to $6,000.

Cost of Steam Enclosure and Glass Shower Door

White bath tub beside an enclosed area with glass partitions

It is important to consider the thickness and type of glass used. Half-inch glass or 3/8-inch-thick glass is recommended. Clear glass is less expensive than rain glass. Glass wall enclosures would cost around $700 to $1,900, and glass shower doors cost $500 to $1,300.

Wall Tile Installation

For a 3 feet x 3 feet x 7 feet enclosure, the cost to install 12 by 12-inch wall tiles would be around $640 to $1,300.

Steam Generator

White-walled bathroom with dark wood window door frames

A generator unit with a 90 to 450 cubic foot capacity having 4.5 to 12 kilowatts would cost around $500 to $2,000, depending on the power and volume. There are also packages available on the market, which include the control panel, pressure release valves, and vapor heads.

Other price factors should be considered, such as lighting, controls, materials, flushing, and other extras such as sound systems, seating, and aromatherapy oil wells.

Pros and Cons of Steam Showers

Curved glass shower door, marble backsplash and recessed lighting


Helps Reduce Stress – As discussed earlier in this article, a humidifying shower reduces stress, heals your body, saves up space than a standard soaker tub, and saves money and time.

Conserves Water – Vapor showers also help conserve water; a regular shower using a water-saving showerhead will use up 50 gallons of water when being used for 20 minutes, whereas 20 minutes in a only uses 2 gallons of water.

Increases Home Value – More home buyers are considering purchasing homes with high-end features, which means that the addition of vapor showers will have an increase in property sale value.

Adds a Spa-like Feel – Spending a day in the spa means extra expense for membership fees as well as travel time, while by bringing the same elements of the spa into the home, homeowners will be able to enjoy all the benefits of a spa day within their own home. Many enclosures have showers with benches that enable you to relax and luxuriate, just like a spa resort.

Smaller Layout – Vapor showers use less space than a sauna or a humidifying room, and because these units are smaller, there is minimal cleaning and maintenance for the homeowners.

Walk in shower with granite bench

Cons – There are also risks associated with these kinds of showers, which you should be aware of before you go out and buy an enclosed vapor bathing space for your bathroom.

Dehydration – Due to the heat from the steam, there can be a risk of dehydration, so it is highly advisable not to spend longer than 20 minutes inside the wet vapor chamber. It is recommended to drink plenty of water before stepping into the stall.

Potential Health Risks – Due to extreme heat, people with certain medical conditions are advised to avoid them, such as pregnant women, anyone with heart disease, those with very low or high blood pressure, those with diabetes, anyone with epilepsy, those taking antibiotics, and users of mind-altering drugs such as stimulants, tranquilizers or alcohol. These people should not use vapor showers without consulting a doctor first.

Mold Growth – Certain types of bacteria and germs may grow and spread such as fungal infections that can thrive in warm and humid conditions due to the ideal environment provided by a humidifying enclosed stall. It is advisable that when you are inside wet heat-enclosed baths, wear a towel and shower shoes.

Electrical Usage – While wet heat showers certainly conserve water when in use, they increase electricity consumption as they heat up the water to produce steam.

Evaluate and consider how much you will utilize your humidifying baths daily since it is not cheap to install and you might end up spending more money than you’ll get out of it.

Bathroom with vanity countertop and black cabinets, floor-length mirror and alcove tub

Finally, if you are not working with experienced contractors, there can be all kinds of water damage-related maintenance issues that can be caused by the large amount of moisture coming from your shower.

On a closing note, humidifying showers are usually great investments and may increase the equity of the home. But it is more than just a luxury shower since vapor offers many physical health benefits.

They can be an effective means to heal and treat several ailments since vapor has remarkable healing qualities. Humidifying showers are nothing like normal designs; the experience afterward extends beyond rest and relaxation; it improves one’s physical well-being and mental health.

A lot of credit goes to modern technology for making it possible to have a spa-like experience and obtain the benefits of humidifying showers without leaving the comfort of your home. For more bathroom-related content, check out our article about walk in shower designs.

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