One of the trends in bath design has been to create the bath as a home spa, a place to relax and retreat from a hectic life. Often this meant adding a whirlpool or hydrotherapy tub but we are seeing a change. Time, space and water are all limited resources so we look for ways to relax without a big tub.
Steam rooms at home are replacing tubs for many people. All that is required is a space (small or large), a steam generator and a little time. Really.
A steam room does not have to be elaborate although there are a few design rules necessary for success. You will want a seating area. If it is a bench you’ll want to make sure that there is a slight slope to it so that water does not pool. You will also want to make sure the ceiling is sloped. As steam makes contact with the ceiling it condenses into water droplets and a slope prevents these from “raining” on the bather. You should also try to not have the low point of the ceiling at either the wall where the seat is or at the glass. If it is at the seat wall you will find water draining down against the seated person’s back. If it is against the glass it will run down that.
You will also need a steam door. This door will go all the way to the ceiling in order to keep the steam inside the shower. A bath fan is also recommended although this does not need to be located within the shower itself (once you are done with steam turn on the cold water for a moment and that will pull most of the steam out of the air immediately).
Once you have you steam bath created you can add a music system and lights for chromatherapy. There are also systems available for aromatherapy including systems that inject scent into the steam itself. A variety of control options allow control of temperature, time, music, light and scent.
Perhaps the most important thing is to size the generator properly. Too small and the room will never heat properly. Too large and you will find the unit cycles off and on too often and the temperature will be difficult to control.
There is a new collection of generators that offer what is called “proportional steam”. The system incorporates multiple heating elements that work together to maintain steam production evenly, much like simmering a pot on the stove. This creates a much quieter and constant steam experience.
Properly designed an in-home steam room can be used for years of enjoyment!