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Having a bench in the shower is an excellent addition to any bathroom. It gives you a place to relax and unwind, and, for some, it is a necessity if they have mobility issues. But the bench can be extremely cold, especially if it is tiled, and takes some time to warm up even with a steamy shower going. Can you heat a shower bench? We've done the research and have an answer for you.
You can definitely heat a shower bench. There are a few different ways to achieve the desired warm results, with some being more expensive than others. A heated shower bench is a perfect answer for anyone who struggles with sitting on a cold bench while showering, especially if that bench is attached to an exterior wall.
Now you know a heated shower bench is absolutely something you can obtain, let's discuss the pros and cons of starting such a project. We'll go over all the details as well as answer some other questions you might have. Keep reading for some invaluable information.
How hard is it to heat an existing shower bench?
If you already have an existing shower bench, to install heat underneath the bench, the whole thing will need to come out. Heating the shower can be done with electric wires or hydraulic pipes that move hot water underneath the bench's surface. As you can imagine, adding a series of pipes will be a big job and will require a contractor's help in most instances. Additionally, you must ensure the type of material of which your shower is made can withstand elevated temperatures from underneath.
Renovating your bathroom or replacing an existing shower or tub is a great time to install heating under your bench seat. If you don't want to have pipes installed to heat your seat, electric mats are encased in a waterproof material that can be installed under the bench seat and have all the wiring in place.
Some shower benches are made with heating elements already installed. If all you're looking to heat is the shower bench itself, these are also an excellent option for you.
All these options would have the wiring and piping controlled by a thermostat to adjust for optimum comfort levels.
Is your space limited? Read our post, "Best Shower Benches for Small Showers (4 Types Inc. Examples)".
How much does it cost to add heating to a built-in shower bench?
Heating your shower bench can be a costly venture. The heated mats installed underneath the bench come in packages starting at around $600 and up. Installing hydraulic piping for your bench will be more expensive as these will all need to route hot water from your water heater. Both options can increase your energy bills, so that is something to consider, though, in a centralized location, the cost wouldn't be significant.
Alternatively, if you can't fit a serious remodel in the budget, smaller portable shower bench options made of teak maintain a much warmer temperature and do not take as long to warm. This could be a viable substitute for a heated shower bench.
Can you only heat a built-in shower bench?
Portable shower benches are not made with a heating option. Most portable options are made of wood, plastic, metal, or a combination of these materials. Due to the materials used and the engineering of a portable shower bench, there is no way to safely heat them without damage to the bench or risk or electric shock. Hopefully, one day soon, this can be an affordable and easy option!
What is the standard size of a shower bench? We have a post about that.
Why would you want a heated shower bench?
There is a multitude of reasons a heated shower bench would be useful. Having a bench itself gives you a place to recharge or remain safe from trips or falls. If that bench is heated, it provides an even deeper relaxation. As we grow older, our bodies require more time to recover from strenuous experiences. If your lower back or glutes are aching from a hard workout, imagine soothing the muscle strain by resting on a heated bench in a steaming shower. If you have the means, a heated bench could be a game-changer.
Can you heat the shower walls too?
Your shower walls cannot be heated. There hasn't been a heating system approved for use in a home for shower walls. Any heating system installed in the shower walls would be a violation of housing and electric codes. At least you can enjoy a warm seat if not a heated wall to lean against.
Can you put radiant heat under a shower?
Your shower floor can be heated just like any other flooring. So long as proper precautions are taken, there is no reason you should not have heated floors and a bench in your shower.
It is essential to note the importance of ensuring all the mats and cables used for installation (if using electric radiant flooring) cannot be repaired if they are accidentally cut during installation. Once the outside of the mat or wire is cut, it is no longer safe and waterproof.
Additionally, the cables or mats used for the shower floor should be separate from the ones used for the bathroom floor. If they aren't kept separate and you have to replace your shower, you would have to replace all the radiant flooring in the whole bathroom, which could get costly. Having separate installations can definitely work to your advantage, though. You can have separate thermostats and have custom temperatures between your bathroom and shower floor. This could be a huge plus on cold mornings!
Are heated bathroom floors safe?
Heated bathroom floors are completely safe. Many people might shy away from using radiant heat flooring in "wet" areas, like the bathroom or kitchen, but there are many safety precautions and tests that take place long before the flooring is installed in your home.
The cables used for underfloor heating go through rigorous testing, including being tested with up to 5000 volts of electricity. The wires inside the cables are surrounded by a sheath that redirects any electrical current leakage away from the surface itself. The sheath is made up of three layers ensuring absolute safety even if there is a short circuit. All these products, each and everyone, including the ones you buy, are rigorously tested to ensure safety.
Due to all the strenuous research and development, you are free to enjoy your heated bench and floors without worry.
A heated shower bench doesn't have to be a passing desire. With some updated bathroom work, you can turn your space into the restful oasis you've always dreamed of. With searching and perseverance, you're sure to find the best fit for your bathroom and budget.
Do you want to go ahead and replace the whole shower now? Read our post, "How Much Does a Shower Stall Cost (Inc. Installation Fees)?"