Do Steam Showers Need To Be Enclosed And Sealed?

Steam showers are one of the newest luxury trends in home spa design, and you probably want one installed because of its many benefits. However, if the steam makes you feel slightly suffocated, you might wonder if it's okay to have it vented. Do steam showers need to be completely enclosed and sealed? We've done the research for your convenience.

Steam showers ideally need to be fully enclosed and insulated enough to trap the steam inside. However, you don't need to seal even the tiniest gaps entirely. A little steam coming out of the gaps between the wall and the door, for instance, won't affect its performance.

If you plan on installing a steam shower in your home, then it's important to know what type of enclosure is necessary so the moisture from the steam won't damage other parts of your home. Read on as we discuss more about steam shower enclosures. 

shower rain with running water, steam in the bathroom, Do Steam Showers Need To Be Enclosed And Sealed?

Do Steam Showers Need To Be Fully Enclosed?

Steam showers are becoming more and more popular in luxury bathroom designs. They're a great way to have a spa-like treatment any time you like in the comforts of your own home. 

Unlike traditional showers, steam showers use humidifying steam instead of warm water for bathing. It significantly conserves water and saves on energy bills.

shower rain with running water, steam in the bathroom, Do Steam Showers Need To Be Enclosed And Sealed?

Steam showers also have many health and body benefits. It helps relax sore muscles, moisturizes skin, relieves tension, opens up pores to release toxins, and relieves arthritis and asthma.

One of the many questions people ask related to steam shower installation is whether it needs to be fully enclosed. This question may be related to their existing bathroom design or concerns about controlling steam density.

You should typically install a steam shower enclosure in a corner area of the bathroom with specially-treated drywall. It needs to be fully enclosed to trap all the steam inside the glass. This means there should be no gaps in the enclosure's walls, doors, or floor.

shower with flowing water and steam

While it is ideal for a steam shower to be fully enclosed, experts suggest that making it air-tight should not be an obsession.

If there is a tiny gap where a little steam is coming out, it is usually not a problem and won't affect the experience inside the steam shower. While steam showers need not be air-tight, they should be water-tight.

How Do You Make A Steam Shower Enclosure?

Woman takes a shower, with a love heart in the steam of the shower screen

If you plan on installing a steam shower in your home, then it's important to know several construction details to understand the requirements and renovation requirements you need to make.

Steam Shower Enclosures

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A steam shower enclosure usually runs from floor to ceiling. If you have an existing shower, chances are it already has walls, so it would be easier to enclose and seal when adding the glass door and enclosure.

However, you cannot simply retrofit the enclosure into your old shower. You will have to rebuild the entire area to treat the walls and accommodate the steam generator kit, door, and glass enclosure.

If your bathroom is an open concept, you may want to consider adding bathroom drywall to create an enclosed steam area. However, it is not typical bathroom drywall.

Steam shower walls need an additional layer of waterproofing treatment in all areas from floor to ceiling. It needs to be moisture, mold, and mildew-resistant.

Steam Shower Generator

The steam generator is the heart of the system and is what creates the humidifying steam. Here's what it looks like:

View this popular EliteSteam generator on Amazon.

The installation of this generator kit should be outside the bathroom area. A supply pipe connects through a hole delivering steam into the shower area. You will need to place the generator in an accessible area outside the bathroom for easier servicing and maintenance.

Steam Shower Controller

If worried about controlling the steam density inside the shower area, there is usually a digital temperature regulator installed with the system in case it gets too stuffy inside. Another option is placing transom vents to manually release some of the steam.

1. Digital Steam Regulators

A digital regulator controls the amount of steam and temperature, so you can choose whether you want light steam or full steam. Below is an example of a dual digital control panel steam generator.

Check out this complete package SteamSpa generator with a control panel on Amazon.

2. Transom Vents

A transom vent is like a small window allowing you to let the steam out or trap it to control the steam density. It can swivel open and close so you can manually let out steam if it gets too hot or foggy.

You can install transom vents horizontally on top of the door or vertically beside the door. The edges will have a flexible polycarbonate to seal the gaps and prevent steam from escaping.

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How Do You Seal A Steam Room?

sealing seams in the bathroom with sealant

Different parts of a steam shower require waterproofing and sealing. One of the most important areas of the steam shower is the door. There needs to be a gasket at the top and bottom of the door in order to not let the steam out.

If your steam area has an exterior window, you need to make sure it's made of double-paned glass to prevent heat, cold, and wind from going in and out. A good quality silicone caulk can seal the window jamb.

To waterproof a steam shower, use a silicone sealant in all of the joints. Make sure to caulk any holes or cracks in the walls or ceiling. Try this clear GE caulk from Amazon.

You can use polyurethane foam or another type of sealant if you prefer; just make sure it is good quality so it can last a long time without cracking or peeling off.

Make sure that the walls of your steam shower also have protection using silicone caulk. This prevents water from seeping through the seams between tiles.

Use an acrylic-based sealant on cracks in the tile itself, as well as around pipes and other fixtures in the wall. This will prevent mold from growing behind them later on.

Once you have placed the necessary waterproofing, you can test it by running water over every surface inside. The areas where water pools should be caulked again until they stop leaking water.

Lastly, if there are any leaks around pipes or vents, then those should be sealed off with waterproof tape.

Do Steam Rooms Need To Be Vented?

Exhaust fan or ventilation in a shower after steaming bath to lessen molds

What happens to all the steam after your steam shower session? The steam will condense into water and will go down the drain. That's why it's important for the shower to be water-tight and not necessarily air-tight.

Every time you enter and get out of the steam shower, some of the steam and moisture transfer to the rest of the bathroom area. This can make the area prone to mold and mildew. It would be helpful to have a good quality exhaust fan to prevent this.

Bathrooms with steam showers need to have a proper vent. This means it should have an exhaust fan and pipe installation leading out of your home's exterior wall into a safe location (such as a garage).

Here's an example of a bathroom exhaust fan.

Check out this Super-Quite bathroom exhaust on Amazon.

The exhaust fan must be strong enough to pull out all of the moisture in your steam room so that no condensation forms inside during use, otherwise, it could cause mold growth or rust over time.

It is also important to clean and treat steam showers regularly to prevent bacteria, molds, and mildew buildup.

Detergent and water are enough to clean a steam area and scrub off stubborn stains. However, treatment of equal parts vinegar and water is a safe and effective solution you can use without damaging tiles, glass, and caulk. It kills bacteria and prevents mold from growing.

Wrapping Up

shower rain with running water, steam in the bathroom

Steam showers should have ventilation systems in place so water vapor can safely exit the room. For proper planning and to avoid costly mistakes, it's best to consult with a licensed plumber and steam shower contractor to et the job done right.

Thank you for reading through, and we hope we were able to provide enough information to answer your questions on steam shower enclosures. Check out these related steam shower articles below:

Should A Steam Shower Ceiling Be Sloped?

How Big Should A Steam Shower Be?

Can You Paint A Fiberglass Shower? [And How To]

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