Custom Steam Showers: Benefits and FAQs

An oversized custom-built steam shower with a frosted window, 2 shower heads, and glass surround.

Our latest custom steam shower with custom glass enclosure, custom shower bench, and dual shower heads.

One luxury item many of our clients love is a beautiful custom steam shower. If you’ve never seen or experienced one, maybe you have some questions.

Or if you are thinking about adding a steam shower to your dream home, maybe you’d like to have a few more details so you can be well-prepared for designing your own custom steam shower.

In this post, we’ll talk about all the most important ssteam shower FAQs like what is a steam shower? How do you use a steam shower? What are the benefits of steam? Where should you put a steam shower? How is a steam shower different from a steam room or sauna? How much does a steam shower cost?

We’ll also discuss the difference between steam showers, steam rooms, and saunas. And more…

What Is a Steam Shower?

A steam shower is often a standalone waterproof area or stall with a drain, with or without a tub, that offers a relaxing steam treatment. It may also have a regular shower, too.

What are the components of a steam shower?

Digital control panel – Controls all the settings and features (Remote or wired on the wall)

Drain – Even if you are building a separate water shower, you’ll need a drain for the steam shower.

Shower stall – Must be self-enclosed to prevent moisture from getting out into the rest of the bathroom.

Steam generator – Water is quickly heated to boiling by a special steam generator for the shower. 

Steam head –  A slit or hole in a faucet head where steam enters to fill the shower space with luxurious steam.

What types of steam showers are available?

You can either get a pre-made modular steam shower system (a steam shower kit), often made of acrylic, or a custom steam shower, as shown above.

Steam shower extras can be added like

Additional luxuries/technology

Chromatherapy (special lighting), aromatherapy (with essential oils), sound systems, or timers.


Aqua-pressure foot massager, body jets

More shower head(s)

Extra steam heads, rain shower heads, multiple conventional shower heads for a rinse after the steam shower

Ergonomic shower bench

Does a steam shower use a lot of electricity?

No, a steam shower saves electricity vs standing in a hot running water shower. 

Does a steam shower use a lot of water?

A steam shower uses much less water than a regular shower. 30 minutes in a steam shower only uses 2 gallons of water instead of the 2 gallons per minute a normal shower may use.

And with a whirlpool or soaking tub, you’d use 80 gallons of water per bath. So this is quite a water-saving option.

Does a steam shower take up a lot of space?

You could have a separate shower and steam room. But when the space doubles as a standard shower, it saves a lot of room. That is what our clients like to do — have a dual purpose steam shower/conventional shower.

Custom steam shower with half-wall and floor-to-ceiling enclosure beside free-standing tub

A custom steam shower with a glass enclosure beside a sculpted soaking tub in a master bathroom.

What’s the Purpose of a Steam Shower?

A shower steamer immerses your body in healthy steam. The high-humidity environment provide quite a few wellness benefits. And, apart from the therapeutic advantages, it is a relaxing experience that many people enjoy as a luxury spa treatment.

15 steam shower benefits 

Is a steam shower a good idea? Well, it’s like having your own spa oasis at home. There are a lot of good reasons to have a steam shower at home.

Benefits of a steam shower

The benefits of steam are multi-faceted. The greatest one is that it is an indulgent luxury. But it also provides health, environmental, and financial benefits for many homeowners.

Health benefits

Accessible Even for those with limited mobility, unlike traditional soaking tubs.

Arthritis relief Helps achy, inflamed joints loosen up with osteoarthritis.

Immune support — Stimulates the immune system by releasing more leukocytes into the bloodstream to help fight infection.

Improves circulation — by opening blood vessels.

Lower blood pressure — The relaxing experience of steam therapy can allow your body to release aldosterone, which helps to regulate blood pressure.

May improve sleep — Users report they sleep more soundly and deeply after use.

Mental health support – Reduces stress, encourages relaxation, and improves mental health afterward.

Respiratory relief — Helps breathing issues and nasal congestion, coughing, asthma, and sinus congestion.

Skin cleansing — Opens pores, which reduces blackheads and pimples.

Workout recovery  — Heat penetrates sore muscles to help them relax.

Environmental benefits

Fewer car trips — No need to head out to the spa.

Eco-conscious — Uses less water and electricity than a regular shower or bath.

Financial benefits

Improved home value — a popular high-end touch that may add value to your home.

Reduced travel expenses — fewer trips to the spa.

Time-saver — if you don’t have to go to the spa as much and time is money.

Custom Steam Shower With Glass Enclosure

Our latest custom steam shower with a beautiful glass enclosure, custom shower bench, and gray tile.

What’s the difference between a steam shower and a regular shower?

A steam generator heats cold water into steam to create a very humid, warm environment. You get to enjoy the feeling of the steam on your skin and breathing the warm, wet air. And you can luxuriate in the warmth of the environment. 

But a steam shower doesn’t pour water onto your body as a regular shower does. It looks like a shower stall. But you don’t wash in the steam to clean off.

Can a steam shower be used as a regular shower?

If you include a regular shower head in your steam shower, it can be used as both a steam shower and a regular shower. That’s what most homeowners like to do.

Custom steam shower stall with 12-inch square tiles and digital steam shower control panel.

A custom shower with a modern steam system, gray square tile, multiple shower heads, and digital controls.

How to use a shower steamer 

Wondering how to use a steam room or shower steamer? It’s pretty simple. 

You step in, close the door, and just press a button on the steam shower control panel.

This causes the steamer for the shower to activate and begin producing steam. Quickly, you’ll notice steam begin to flow from the shower head steamer.

Then sit on a comfortable bench and relax while the steam surrounds you and works its magic.

You can program the control panel to set the temperature and length of time for your shower steam session. And if your steam shower has upgrades, you can control the sound, lighting, and scent therapy from the panel, as well.

Many athletes like to use a steam shower after a workout. And those who have trouble sleeping like to use it before bed.

When to not use a steam shower

There are some times not to use steam therapy. (Note: If you have any concerns about whether steam bathing is safe for you, please check with your doctor before using.)

Don’t use a steam shower…

For more than 15 minutes to avoid dehydration.

If you have a fever or are ill (unless the doctor okays it).

If you are pregnant, recovering from surgery, have epilepsy, are taking mind-altering drugs, are drinking alcohol, or have other contraindications.

If your doctor advises you not to.

Where should a steam shower be placed?

There are a few things to keep in mind when designing your custom steam shower.

You need glass doors and a glass or wall enclosure that goes from floor to ceiling.

You’ll need to have the steam generator within a certain distance of the shower, itself. For some generators, that means just 6 feet. (But Thermasol generators give a generous distance of up to 50 feet.)

The master bathroom is the perfect place for most people to install a steam shower. Be sure that you have a minimum of 8 ft ceilings.

What kind of steam shower doors are best?

You’ll want to be sure to have a reputable contractor build your steam shower who knows the best steam shower doors to use. But it’s important that the entire steam shower area be sealed and moisture-proof.

So most people choose vapor-proof hinged or swing steam shower doors. The hinged steam doors should open out away from the steam shower area for safety reasons. 

Steam shower doors often have drip rail systems and other design features to keep steam and water in the shower where it belongs.

What is the best steam shower brand?

The best shower steamer in our view is Thermasol. With over 60 years of steam shower innovation, they have all the features our clients look for in a luxury steam room shower experience.

What we love most about Thermasol steam shower generators:

The controls are gorgeous and top-notch, made of beautiful stainless steel. The steam shower generator has a lifetime warranty and a limited in-home warranty.

There are two levels of residential steam shower generators: the ProSeries and AF Series. They use FastStart technology, which works very quickly to get steam going. The generators are quiet and they can be plumbed up to 50 feet away from the shower, itself.

Steam room or Turkish bath in a luxury hotel with one-inch square tile.

A large steam room at a luxury hotel with dual benches that can accommodate many people at one time.

What Is a Steam Room and How Is It Different from a Steam Shower?

A steam room works in a similar way to a steam shower. But it generally can provide seating for more people. And, often, it is separate from a regular shower.

Steam rooms have been used for thousands of years in various cultures around the world. Ancient Greek and Roman baths, Native American sweat lodges, Turkish baths, Japanese geothermal bathing, and Russian Banyas are just a few examples. These were often communal bathhouses that served to improve hygiene, health, and socializing.

What does a steam room do?

A steam room provides moist heat with all the same benefits as a steam shower. However, you can enjoy the experience with friends or other family members or in a communal setting.

It looks a lot like a sauna but uses moist heat instead of dry heat.

How long should you stay in a steam room or steam shower?

With a steam shower or steam room, beginners may want to start with a 10-minute session. Once you get used to a steam bath, 15 minutes is usually the maximum time.

What should you do after using a steam room or steam shower?

After the steam bath, you may want to consider drinking at least 8 ounces of water to rehydrate. And it’s a good idea to take a shower afterward to cool down a bit. If you are recovering from exercising, it’s a perfect time to stretch right after the steam therapy while your muscles are relaxed.

A wood paneled sauna in a spa.

A spa sauna made of wood paneling with tiered benches ready for people to enjoy dry heat.

What’s Better — a Sauna or a Steam Room/Steam Shower?

Both a sauna and steam room use heat and both promise relaxation and health benefits. So what’s the difference?

The main difference between a steam shower vs. a sauna is the amount of humidity involved and the temperature.

A sauna uses dry heat, often involving an infrared lamp,  wood stove, or electric heater. And a sauna generally gets a lot hotter than a steam shower.

A Finnish sauna works by adding water to hot coals to produce steam. But even though steam is used to help produce and radiate the heat, the humidity level is much lower than it would be for a steam room, steam shower, or steam bath.

Here is a comparison between a sauna and steam shower.

A sauna 

Temperature — 160-200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity — 10-20%.

Materials — wood to prevent burns.

A steam shower

Temperature — 100-116 degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity — 100%.

Materials — ceramic, glass, metals, or stone tile.

Sauna Health Benefits

Saunas have also been around for centuries and boast a lot of proven health benefits.

Health benefits of saunas

According to GoodRx, saunas can improve cardiovascular health, help with rheumotoid arthritis, lower chronic pain, and even help with depression. It may boost the immune system and decrease frequent headaches, as well as providing additional benefits.

But there are also people who should avoid sauna use due to contraindications. 

Heart patients, people prone to orthostatic hypotension or low blood pressure, those who are sick, pregnant women, children, and those sensitive to heat may need to avoid saunas or speak to their doctor about whether it is safe to use one. 

Keep in mind it isn’t safe to drink alcohol before using a sauna or during sauna use. It’s important to be sober and awake so that you notice if the heat is causing problems for you.

There are contraindications, and they may be a bit different between saunas vs steam rooms. And just like with steam showers, 15 minutes is usually the maximum time to spend in a sauna.

A Steam Shower Has Many Advantages Over a Sauna.

Here are some reasons we have found clients prefer steam showers over a sauna. The steam shower works right away and there are no risks of burns.

The steam generation is very eco-friendly and the space required for a steam shower is usually a lot smaller than a sauna. Plus it can be combined in the same footprint as the conventional shower.

The steam shower uses wet heat rather than dry heat, which many people prefer.

A Sauna Has Some Advantages Over a Steam Shower.

Some people prefer a sauna at home and that’s great, too. A sauna has some benefits a steam room or steam shower can’t provide:

A sauna often requires less maintenance/cleaning. Some people prefer dry heat and the dry heat may be better for certain types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis.

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A spa steam bath with rain shower heads.

How Much Does a Custom Steam Shower Cost?

A pre-made steam shower kit will cost you anywhere from about $2000-$7000 (uninstalled) at Home Depot. But the more luxurious prefab steam showers can cost up to $10k installed.

A custom home steam shower will generally cost a bit more than a pre-made steam shower since the steam shower installation is built to your specifications on-site and is not mass-produced. According to Bob Vila, prices range from $4k-$25k.

And, of course, the more upgrades you choose to add to your custom home steam shower, the larger/taller it is, the more it will cost. And the more luxurious the materials you want or if you desire a custom shape or custom tiles or more creative benches or more wall panels, the more it will likely cost.

There are also pricing differences between different brands and sizes of steam generators and control panels, as well.

Steam showers tend to have a similar price range as home saunas do. But because they can double as showers and take up less space, a lot of homeowners prefer the steam shower option.

Steam shower - custom built - with partial wall and tall glass enclosure, rain shower head, and custom shower bench.

A steam shower with multiple shower heads and custom bench in a luxury master bathroom.

Ready to Build a Custom Home and Bath of Your Own with a Steam Shower in Columbia, SC?

We are a luxury home builder in the Lexington, SC area and we’d love to build your dream home.

Check out our portfolio and if you are ready to build your dream home in Lexington, SC or the Greater Columbia area, check us out to see if we might be a good fit.

We build luxury homes starting at the $700k mark and up.

Please contact us today.

We build in areas like Pine Ridge, Lexington, Chapin, Irmo, downtown Columbia, Lake Murray, Lake Carolina, and more.