What Is a Steam Shower?

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Andy Chaachouh

Subject: What is a steam shower

I just read your article. Where do I start? First of all the price points you are referring to are significantly incorrect. One cannot hope to have a steam shower for $2-3000.00 in material and labor. It is quite frankly, impossible. Materials alone will run you over that price point.
Secondly, Marble is not watertight and neither is tile. One needs to properly apply a waterproofing membrane suitable for steam showers, this is the only correct way to ensure a long lasting steam shower free of troubles. In short, I strongly feel that there is a disconnect between your knowledge base and one that is required to speak knowledgeably about steam showers.


Subject: Just to help you clear things

Just to help you clear things up. Steam units run much higher than that price you listed due to the proper extreme waterproofing procedures. Improper waterproofing leads to extreme failure of surrounding framing and nearby sheetrock. Also steam enters through a separate line, not the shower head. People don't soap up and wash during a steam session. It's usually a steam session or using the shower head stream to rinse off. Ive been working successfully in the construction business for 21 years now so I speak from experience. I might suggest checking with some local companies with NTCA regulated steamroom installs to give you a walk through on realistic install prices and methods. Thanks. :)

Justin Buchanan

Subject: Cost analysis

Your figures in this article are absolutely absurd. 20 years in the tile industry assures me that your research is severely flawed in this. 2-3k wouldn't even cover the costs to build a steam shower to NTCA specifications. Nor would it put a dent into the labor costs involved to have it done professionally. You do angies list and your readers a great disservice publishing such bad information.

David LaFleur

Subject: Your sources?

I was just wondering where you did your research to determine costs associated with installations of a custom steam shower? You are falsely leading people to believe that a steam shower is a simple addition. Please discuss the intricate details that need addressing with a reputable plumber and tile setter prior to supplying consumers with absolutely ridiculous expectations.

Tim Levasseur

Subject: Steam showers

Kaley, thank you for taking the time to write the article above. I would like to respond to point out some items you might have overlooked and correct a few assumptions you've made.

First thing. There are over a dozen critical elements that need to be employed to design and build a steam shower. The controls and steam generator are the easy part although yes, they are essential. Framing, shape, substrate, insulation, drainage, ventilation, tile and setting materials are equally if not more important. Second, marble or natural stone is always pourous. There is stone that is very dense but will absorb water in liquid form in most cases and always water in vapor form. Some porcelain tile can also be highly water resistant but will also allow water to pass through in vapor form in most cases. Regardless, relying on your tile to waterproof or vapor retard is a dangerous practice. The substrate (what the tile is installed on) is the MOST critical area in a steam shower. Vapor proof is the term, not " steam proof" by the way. Care should be taken to properly frame and insulate adjacent wall areas and a vapor proof material or system should be employed and installed per manufacturer and industry specification. There are many available and most will come with long warranties if installed properly.

Have you considered framing? Did you know that the ceiling in a steam shower should be sloped? It's not very pleasing to have dripping cold water on your head as you relax in a steam shower. It's also important to choose where that wall will slope to.

That being said, and there is much more to be considered. The prices which you mention are not come close to what a homeowner should expect to pay for a shower that has a very high amount of liability. Materials to waterproof and steam proof could cost from 2000 to 3000 alone without labor. There is no mention of door cost of drain choice or seating/storage niches. Labor could run from 3000 to 7000 on the average depending on complexity of tile design and size of the shower. That, by the way, does not include other trades.

A steam shower is much much more than you've mentioned here. There are other extremely critical items to consider before lifting a finger to build a steam shower. A licensed and insured professional is a good way to start. Ask if they have been trained by thier manufacturer to install steam showers using their products?

If you wish to contact me to learn more please feel free to email me at the addresss I've left. Thank you.

Tim Levasseur
Wedi corporation


Subject: misleading

I'm not sure where the author is getting her information but she is way off base here. The pricing she is throwing out there is nowhere close to correct, and claiming marble is non-porous shows she really hasn't done any homework of this subject. Articles like this are the reason why I constantly have customers with unrealistic expectations when projects are in the discussion stage.

Jay Bern

Subject: steam shower

Please don't take too much offense, but from a technical and cost point of view, you aren't even in the parking lot of the ballpark.
•A properly constructed steam shower needs to have a perfectly executed water AND vapor proof membrane system, typically costing close to $1000 for materials alone, not to mention a pitched ceiling.
•..."meaning it needs to be enclosed and insulated using non-porous materials like tile or marble."
Marble is actually one of the most porous stones out there. Ideally, the homeowner would have little or no natural stone at all. Porcelain tile is actually classified as impervious, and would be the preferred choice.
•Ultimately, you would need to add a zero to your estimated number to be even close to the proper price range. The waterproofing, steam unit itself, glass door enclosure, and tile selection would very well set a person back between $4-$5,500 alone. Then, you have the cost of the demo, framing, plumbing, plumbing fixtures, electricians cost and his/her materials, and then the labor of the (hopefully) licensed and professional tile contractor to properly construct/waterproof/install the tile.
The more I think about it, the more I'm not entirely sure adding on another $10K would be enough.
Just the $.02 of a professional tradesman.


Subject: inaccurate info

This article is so inaccurate especially based on price. 8 to 9 thousand for a custom steam shower is much closer.


Subject: Steam showers

its important to understand that the tile or stone itself is not a solution to make a steam shower vapor proof. A specific membrane is required beneath the tile. This highlights the need for finding a reputable contractor, aware of all the intricate needs of this specialized project.

I would also highlight that a tiled steam shower will cost significantly more than the author stated, especially the ones photographed in the article.


Subject: Steam shower

Please do your research before writing a complely wrong article. If you have any questions about a steam shower feel free to message me.


Subject: Steam shower

You should do a little reading. You're numbers are way off, qnd you have no idea how to insulate a steam shower.


Subject: Don't devalue the tile trade

Don't devalue the tile trade please. For a steam shower you are actually looking like 8,000-10,000. It would be a shame to pay 2k and have to rip it out. The writer should really look into her pricing.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.