Steam room

Create a Room-Size Steam Room in Your Bathroom | Siouxland Houses


By James Dulley Creators Syndicate Inc.

Dear James: I like to sit in the steam room after a workout in my health club. I know where to buy a small steam generator. Do I have to replace my tub or can I just add new glass doors? – Justin H.

Dear Justin: A steam room can be both relaxing and therapeutic. While one might think that steam rooms are used more often during the winter, they are used year round. Summer can actually be a more stressful time for parents with all the activities for the kids, so a relaxing steam room will be welcome.

Depending on the materials and construction of your tub, you may be able to add airtight glass doors and install a small steam generator. But in most cases, it would be much better to convert the area from the tub to a steam room with new materials or build a whole new room for it.

The problem with a steam room is the high level of hot water vapor. If the room or bathtub area was not designed for this, this moisture can get into walls and gaps and slowly destroy building materials inside the walls and ceiling.

You may be able to find special steam room doors at your local home improvement center store. Otherwise, try a professional building supply store or a custom bathroom / kitchen store. Steam room doors look like standard shower doors, but they cover the entire opening and are well sealed.

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A personal steam room doesn’t have to be big. A 4 by 5 foot room is adequate. If you can get by with a small room like this, you should be able to fit a small steam generator, which uses standard 120-volt current. This eliminates the need to install new 240 volt wiring in it.

Tiles are one of the best wall coverings for a steam room. The tile is impervious to hot water vapor and easy to wipe and clean. The thin-set mortar on the walls, on which the tile is placed, will seal well enough. By selecting different colors of tiles, you can create attractive and relaxing patterns on the walls.

Steam generator manufacturers and dealers can advise you on the appropriate size of steam generator required for different sizes of steam rooms. If space is limited, the steam generator can be located up to 20 feet from the steam room and connected with a long hose. If possible, however, place the generator closer to the steam room for better efficiency.

When installing tile, place backer boards on the wood of the wall and ceiling. For a hammam, always use a cement backerboard. Although it is more difficult to work with, it is much more resistant to moisture than drywall. Do not try to fit the backer board perfectly. Leave spaces on the mating edges and fill them with caulk. This will seal well and allow the boards to move slightly without breaking the seal.

Even with a tiled steam room, it is best to cover the walls with vapor barrier plastic film first before applying the tile. Use a heavier film on the floor and run it several inches along the walls under the film on the walls. If steam passes through the tile, it will condense and end up in the drain on the floor.

Send questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.

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