Steam shower - steam generator recommendations

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by JuanSigned, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. JuanSigned

    JuanSigned New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Utah
    I'm doing a complete gut and remodel of my master bathroom. The shower will include a steam shower. I've googled and googled and haven't found much in the way of discussion. Some of brands offer quick steam, others offer 2 heating elements and they all have optional "fancy" control units. There's just not a lot of chatter from folks that have steam showers to help me decide if maybe I'm over looking some feature that might make it worth the extra $$$'s. Are they all the same or is there something I should be looking for?

    The other concern I have it putting an electronic control right in the shower. I just know over time (years) it is going to go bad. I'll be putting the control wire in a conduit so it will be easier to replace when it fails. The engineer in me would have put the fancy electronics outside the shower and just a bulb thermostat inside with the water, soap, calcium deposits and steam. (But everyone seems to do it the same way, so maybe it's ok)

    Opinions / suggestions for brand and features would be highly welcomed.
  2. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,843
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Steam Shower Recommendations by John Whipple (North Vancouver)

    I have worked with many different steam shower generators. My favourite to date is ThermaSol's.

    I like as well Mr. Steam and of late Steam Mist is looking better and better.

    The key with any generator is sizing it for the space and tile installation. Factoring in exterior walls, benches and ceiling heights as well goes a long way.

    These are my top five steam shower recommendations and how to size them.

    Even more important than that is choosing the right drain, waterproofing and vapour prooring systems. I currently have four recommendations.

    1. Noble Company's NobleSeal CIS
    2. Noble Company's NobleSeal TS
    3. Laticrete's Hydro Ban Sheet Membrane
    4. Dal Company's DalSeal TS

    Products I do not recommend for steam showers are;
    1. Schluter Systems Kerdi Board
    2. Schluter Systems Kerdi
    3. Dry wall as a backer board
    4. Ardex 8+9
    5. Red Guard
    Once you picked that you need to consider thin-sets, tile choices and on an on.



    JW - "When it's perfect. It's Good Enough."

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers
    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
  3. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,843
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Roma Steamer for Vancouver

    Not a good pick: The Roma steamers are not one of my favourite choices. I make this not because I do not like the steam or the look but rather because of the speciality cartridge require for our local water.




    JW - "When it's perfect. It's Good Enough."

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers
    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,331
    Location:
    New England
    I bought an electric towel warmer made by the Mr Steam company. Had an issue with it after 5-years, and they bent over backwards to help out and resolve the issue. Based on that, I'd seriously consider them if I needed a product they made.

    There are some quite specific guidelines on building a successful, long-lasting steam shower. The TCNA handbook lists and describes in detail various tested, approved methods. You owe it to yourself to check this out and abide by their guidelines. Doesn't matter which method you choose, but attention to detail is far more critical with a steam shower than with probably any other shower you could put together.
  5. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,843
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Steam Shower Code and Guidelines in Vancouver

    There basically are none. As a homeowner or builder you need to specify the design of the vapour proofing yourself. Time and again I hear the nightmare story of a brand new steam shower failing after a few short years of use.

    The risky penetration is around the steam outlet itself. Here is where I think the ThermaSol shines the best. My blog page shows a recent installation and key planning steps.


    JW - "When it's perfect. It's Good Enough."

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers
    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  6. polonyc

    polonyc New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    nyc
    I would recommend Thermasol. Based on simple 2 things: constant steam (very relaxing) and the Lifetime warranty. So far we didn't have any issues but when we needed some suggestions during installation they were super helpful. Also, I saw that you have engineering background - you will appreciate the construction of the unit. Best of all hands down. Look at their steamhead (pretty cool, still do not understand how it works:) We had some other brands before an I really like the steam experiences with this unit.
  7. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,843
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Remember that steam rises. Lowering your ceiling height might make a smaller steam generator work more efficiently.

    On one job we used a Kohler steam generator. I recommend this only to people who like light fine mist. Not full wet steam.



    JW - "When it's perfect. It's Good Enough."

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers
    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  8. JuanSigned

    JuanSigned New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Utah
    Well, in hopes of creating some information out there here's what I bought - a Mr. Steam. Why? In trying to do my due diligence I found very few comments about any brand of steamer. There are a few "review" sites pumping one brand or another, but I have a hard time trusting their reviews when they are selling what they are reviewing. Sites like these don't have much chatter. (and this one has none that you can find cause the search function is broken:( ) At the very least I know people come to the internet to complain when something doesn't work, so I take that lack of comments as a good thing. What I did instead was read the online installation and repair manuals trying to find something that would tip the scale one way or the other. The results of that were not too productive, seems steam generators are basically glorified steam kettles. They all have pretty much the same features.

    So, what's left? In the end I liked the way Mr Steams' steam port looked, the size and wall mount-ability for my application. And, the local supply house was selling them for the same price as the on-line outfits. (that way I can help out the local guy and have it in my hands quicker than having it shipped.) All in all not very good reasons for buying something that cost $,$$$ but its the best I could come up with.

    I'll post a review when its up and steaming.
  9. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,843
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    My two top recommendations for Vapour Proofing are.

    Noble Company's NobleSeal TS
    Noble Company's NobleSeal CIS

    Next in line

    Laticrete Sheet membrane.

    Avoid membranes from Schluter like Kerdi Board, Kerdi. If you can find Ardex thin-set then Kerdi DS is an option but only with Ardex setting materials. I have quit using all things Schluter do to excessive restrictions placed on us installers by the maker of the orange membrane.


    JW - "When it's perfect. It's Good Enough."

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers
    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  10. JuanSigned

    JuanSigned New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Utah
    Here's the update and video of the steamer install.

    [video=youtube;h1kYXPJfJ6U]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1kYXPJfJ6U[/video]
  11. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,843
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Perm Ratings for steam showers

    Find the membrane with a low perm rating. Build your stream shower as if it was expected to work out full time.

    The membranes from Noble Company best in class - In my opinion.


    JW - "When it's perfect. It's Good Enough."

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers
    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  12. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,843
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  13. Jbangi

    Jbangi New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    Fantastic website. I have been working on a new steam shower installation in the basement of my home. It's pretty difficult to find any good information out there on what exactly goes into making a lasting steam shower. Here's what I have so far:

    1. The basement ceiling would only allow approximately a 6 foot steam shower installation so the 2"/ ft slope of the ceiling would have made the entryway rather short. The basement floor consisted of approximately 2-3 inch thick concrete over gravel. I lowered the floor of the steam room and entryway by 11" and tapped into a nearby sewer line. I had some room under the stairwell and decided to put in a small 1/2 bath there as well. The pipes have all been run and I'll post some pictures when I get them.

    2. I had some questions regarding the waterproofing of the steam shower. Once I put down the cement backer board, I was planning on using Noble TS as the pan liner with either Red Guard or Noble TS on the walls and ceiling. Red Guard seems like it would be easier to use and a bit cheaper. Is there any reason why this wouldn't work? I haven't seen anyone come out and say that Noble TS can be used as a pan liner, but most of the pictures of their installs show it being used on the floor. Any difference between Red Guard and Noble TS?

    I'll get some pictures posted in the next few days, I would greatly appreciate any advice on this project.

    Thanks,
    John
  14. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,843
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  15. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,843
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Steam Lights by ThermaSol

    [​IMG]
    Photo from no-curb.com

    If you are looking for music and light. The light from ThermaSol is awesome - if you can afford the price tag...

    Great light but very hard to install well. Make sure you understand the installation of this light start to finish before ordering this item.


    JW - "When it's perfect. It's Good Enough."

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers
    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  16. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,843
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Best Steam Outlet Housing for a private steam shower


    I have seen many failures in steam shower builds where the steam outlet is installed in a poor location or poorly vapour proofed. One of the reasons why I love thermaSol steam units is because of their steam head housing rough in. made from solid brass it is a thing of beauty.

    Most steam shower makers allow the steam head to be screwed onto a brass pipe and then fit into a street 90 Wing Back fitting. I don't so much love this approach and much prefer the ThermaSol rough in for this (shown in the photo below).


    [​IMG]

    The back side brass fitting connects to the Wing back 90. Then the trim simple slides into this housing. A couple of compression washers and a little silicone keep the trim on. The steam escapes by building up pressure and moving or pressing on the spring.

    I'll get a few choice pictures uploaded soon.




    JW - "When it's perfect. It's Good Enough."

    www.No-Curb.com - my blog site on Barrier Free, No Curb, No Dam and Hobless Showers
    (604) 506-6792 jfrwhipple@gmail.com




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