How to Build Your Own Steam Room at Home

The benefits of steam rooms and saunas are huge and well-known, but many individuals don’t get to go to a steam room often enough. Building a home steam shower may involve a lot of work and a bit of investment up front, but in the long run can save a ton of time and money that would have been spent looking for a gym or spa steam room nearby.

Building a DIY steam shower is a challenging task, so here are some of the most important tips and tricks to help you get started!

Removing the Original Shower

Removing the original shower or tub before building a steam room is one of the most challenging parts of building a steam room at home. Of course, if the goal is to build an outdoor steam room or new addition to the home, this step doesn’t apply (though there are other things to consider, such as laying a foundation).

While removing the shower pan is not always very difficult, getting all the old tile removed can be time consuming. The most important thing when removing the original shower to build a steam room in its place is to set reasonable expectations, though.

Why are expectations so important? There may be unforeseen problems at this juncture. Usually, this comes in the form of water damage behind the tile or under the original shower pan.

This damage can be repaired either by a homeowner or by a professional, and usually is not extremely expensive to do unless there is an inordinate amount of water damage. However, it is important to leave room in both the budget and the timeline to deal with water damage.

This water damage most often occurs in older homes, but can occur anywhere. Sometimes, the original shower was installed poorly, and other times the natural settling of the house has taken its toll and broken the seals in some areas, allowing water to seep through and pool on drywall and other materials.

Sealing a new steam room and building it to the room’s exact specifications and dimensions can help prevent this from becoming a problem again in the future. Having water damage once does not mean water damage is going to repeat itself in the future. Try some of the following to prevent future water damage:

  • Measure doors and sealant strips as precisely as possible
  • Do not cut tiles unevenly
  • Measure twice, cut once
  • Apply both spot/seam sealants like silicone and a high-quality sealant topcoat between the wall and the tile

 Safety and Efficiency

As stated above, making sure that all measurements are accurate and seals are tight is key to creating an efficient and safe steam room. For one thing, it prevents water damage, which can make a home deteriorate much faster and even cause health problems if left unchecked for a long time.

Of course, the other big thing to consider when building a steam room at home is wiring and plumbing. Creating a steam room means effectively utilizing electricity and water—two things that can obviously be dangerous when mixed. Here’s how to make sure electricity stays safe in your DIY steam room:

  • It is always good to house a generator and other electrical equipment as far from the steam room as possible to prevent them from getting excessively wet.
  • Ensure that all wiring is properly insulated, and check it regularly for wear and tear.

Plumbing is perhaps the most complex part of building your own steam room. Even many extremely handy homeowners often choose to hire a professional for the plumbing part of the job, and for good reason—a little extra room in the budget for a plumber now can lead to huge savings later in prevented water damage, leaks, and weak water supplies.

Time

Building a steam room at home is not a fast process. Even for professionals, it often takes several weeks or even a month. This is partially because of the precision work involved, but also because of the time it takes some of the materials to set properly.

For example, the material that creates the steam room’s pan must set for around a week. Silicone and caulk should set for at least 24 hours, and top coat sealant materials must sit for 72 hours or so, depending on the exact product.

Letting everything set for the proper amount of time will ensure that all seals are strong, meaning that no moisture will escape the steam room. This is important both to the enjoyment of the steam room and its durability.

Material Caulk/Silicone (Spot Sealants) Top Layer Sealant Pan Material
Minimum Set Time 24+ hours 72+ hours 72+ hours – 1 week

Additionally, many homeowners use the time required for materials to set to go over plans, admire the work they’ve already completed, and rest to gather strength for upcoming parts of the task. Take a little time to relax and dream of the steam room you’ll soon have in your own home!

Of course, a good amount of time must also be set aside for tiling. Tiling is one of the more difficult and slow-moving parts of the process because it requires such patience and precision. However, having a beautifully tiled steam room in your home is well worth the wait and the work!

 Enjoying Your Home Steam Room

Once the home steam spa is built, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Well, that’s not quite true: there’s also a lot of important maintenance work to be done. However, maintaining a DIY steam shower is quite a bit easier than building one!

Maintaining a home steam shower mostly consists of cleaning regularly to prevent buildup from all the water that condenses on the surfaces. It is also very important to check seals regularly, and repair or replace them as required. A steam room works by keeping the steam trapped in, after all—so if steam is leaking out, the steam room isn’t reaching its full potential.

Of course, it’s also important to check the plumbing somewhat regularly, as well as any other components like generators. While these don’t need to be checked as often as seals, a little maintenance and cleaning will go a long way toward keeping them lasting.

Try the following simple checklist to keep your home steam room well-maintained:

Weekly/As Needed

  • Check door and glass seals
  • Clean all surfaces

Monthly or Bi-Monthly

The most important thing to do with a home steam room, though, is to use it regularly to get all the health benefits of steam. Whether the sauna is used simply as a meditative experience or place to get away from it all, or there are more specific goals such as weight loss involved, using the steam room often will surely boost the positive effects steam has.