Steam Room Construction Basics

Adding a steam room to your home evokes a spa-like ambiance while offering health benefits. A steam room can also increase the value of your home when you're ready to sell. There are a few things you need to know before you start planning construction.

What Is a Steam Room?

A steam room, also referred to as a vapor bath, creates steam and locks it into a sealed enclosure. Steam rooms have been used for thousands of years. Some believe that the steam can help detoxify the body and create a sense of well being. Whatever you believe, steam rooms are relaxing and comfortable.

In order for a steam room to be effective, it needs to be completely enclosed so the steam doesn't escape. The best way to achieve a proper steam enclosure is to utilize a pre-assembled, one-piece system. You can find and install a high-quality vapor barrier on the inside of the enclosure.


The type of flooring is a primary consideration in planning your steam room. The flooring needs to be able to withstand the steam without absorbing it. If the flooring absorbs the moisture, the steam room won’t be as effective, and it can damage the flooring. A ceramic tile floor that has been treated with a special membrane will work great. A fiberglass shower pan or tub can also work.

Wall and Other Surfaces

Just as with the flooring, you need to ensure the walls and windows are covered with a material that will withstand the moisture produced in the steam room. Glazed tiles will not allow steam to penetrate. Dense stone works as well. You should also make sure that the substrate you are using will not deteriorate over time. Even moisture-proof drywall will fall apart after some time. Most experts will recommend you use a cement board instead.

The grout you choose for your steam room can also be an issue. Organic adhesives can break down with excess steam build up. So while green building is pretty popular, this is one application that you want to use traditional man made materials instead.


A thermostat is very important fixture that many people overlook planning their steam rooms. Most of the time the steam generator will include a thermostat, but if your generator doesn’t have one you will need to purchase and installing one yourself.

Steam Generator

The type of generator you need will depend on the size of the room you have constructed. A large room will require a larger generator. You also need to ensure that your home is wired to supply the voltage required by the generator. When you place your generator you need to ensure there is a drain nearby, and can connect easily to a water supply. You also want to place the generator on a slight slope. Placing it on a slope will help prevent the dangerous build up of steam pressure.


It may be best to find a professional contractor to install your steam room. There are many things to take in to account including proper plumbing, electrical connections, enclosures and other factors. While this may be overwhelming to the layperson, a contractor can guarantee that all of these elements are taken in to account.