Experience the Ultimate Luxury: A Comprehensive Guide to Steam Showers

Large Steam Shower

If you want to recreate a luxurious spa experience without leaving the house, then a steam shower could be just what you’re looking for.

This home upgrade turns an ordinary shower stall into a personal steam room that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

How Does a Steam Shower Work?

The beauty of a steam shower is that the steaming apparatus is managed with digital buttons. This means you can turn the moist steam on and off at will with basic steam controls, so you are in charge of your hot steam shower’s output.

A steam shower accomplishes steam bath-like effects by using a compact steam generator with an electric heating element. At the touch of a button, the electric-powered steam generator boils roughly a full gallon of cold water. Then, the resulting steam from the boiling water is piped into the stall at or below a safety threshold of 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

What about when you’re all finished up with your sauna-like experience and want to rinse off? A steam shower has the same features as a normal shower, so you can turn the constant steam cloud off and scrub away just like in a normal stall.

And in case you’re worried about going through too much additional water, you should know that bathroom steam showers only use about 1/25 as much water as a regular shower. Even with a water-saving showerhead, a regular shower consumes 50 gallons of water in only 20 minutes!

How a Steam Shower Produces Wellness Benefits

Maybe you’re sold on the idea of enjoying a fresh steam shower every day. If not, however, there are plenty of health and wellness benefits of steam showers to change your mind. Many of these perks are tied to the general wellness benefits of heat.

For instance, covering your body in hot steam can increase your serotonin levels, which helps your body produce a greater sense of overall well-being. In addition, a hot water or steam shower can potentially lower your blood pressure by improving your body’s circulation. This can bring its own benefits, such as superior cardiovascular health.

And if you’re a workout junkie, then a flow of steam may be just the thing to enhance your workout recovery. Among other things, a soft steam shower can help your muscles relax after you’ve given it your all at the gym. The result? Recovery from muscle soreness and less tension post-workout.

If nothing else, a steam shower gives you the chance to experience spa-level self-care right in your own home! 

Design Choices for a Steam Shower

When deciding on the right steam shower design for your home, you need to consider both the appearance and functionality of your shower. After all, a nice-looking shower needs to work, and a working shower ought to look nice!

On the side of having a functional steam experience, for instance, your shower should use non-porous materials to make sure you have a faster heat transfer. This is because non-porous materials, such as ceramic tiles, transfer heat more efficiently, thereby allowing you to enjoy a warm shower experience faster.

Meanwhile, from the aesthetic perspective, your shower should catch the eye, almost like it’s the star of the show in your bathroom setup. One of the best ways to make a steam shower look appealing while also providing more of an at-home spa experience is to install a shower that uses chromotherapy (aka “light-based therapy”).

Basically, a chromotherapy-equipped shower can use different colored LEDs to display various colors. Not only does this allow you to take a relaxing shower that is suited to your desired mood (perhaps you’re feeling like a self-reflective “purple” today), but it also makes your shower that much more attractive.

Create an Insulated Shower Space

In order for the new shower to provide optimal clouds of steam, it needs to feature a water-tight, steam-proof enclosure that will trap steam for your enjoyment. To that end, the shower doors should reach from floor to ceiling.

The perfect place for an enclosed shower space is with a ceiling that is no taller than about eight feet. This is because extra-tall ceilings require a taller enclosed space, which may need a stronger steam unit to make up for the extra volume the steam needs to fill.

Other steam-trapping tips include using a backer board coated in a waterproof membrane. You can use a liquid polymer sealant that can be rolled directly onto your board. You can also use membranes that have been waterproofed through the use of flocked polyethylene.

And when it comes to insulating the shower space, as is the case with many home improvement projects, it’s hard to beat the sheer usefulness of high-quality silicone caulk.

Consider Seating in the Shower

One of the best parts about a sauna or spa experience is spending time relaxing by sitting down and soaking up the constant steam that envelops you. To replicate that sensation at home, it’s a good idea for your shower to include some form of seating.

If your shower is large enough, you may be able to install a unit with built-in seating, such as a bench top located on the opposite side of the steam head. Seating can be flattop or slightly sloped, whichever style you find to be more comfortable.

However, if your shower space is on the small side, you can also install a foldable teak shower seat. These wooden seats allow you to rest comfortably, then you can fold it up and out of sight once you’re finished with your steaming experience.

Make Sure the Floor Prevents Slips

The last thing you need interrupting your steamy self-care experience is a slip in the shower! Safety is such a major priority, especially in the shower (where, along with the tub, the vast majority of bathroom accidents take place).

The best way to prevent shower floor slips is to install anti-skid strips. These strips give your steam room’s floor the extra traction you need to stay on your feet and enjoy your at-home spa with peace of mind.

Use the Right Windowpane Materials

As mentioned above, keeping steam trapped through a complete enclosure is one of the most important elements of a successful steam bath or shower experience. Part of that success relies on having the right windows in your steam room.

For starters, the windows should be double-paned, which prevents heat transfer that could dampen your steamy experience. In addition, you can boost your steam room windows’ insulation by using vinyl-clad windows. This type of window covering is low-cost, low-maintenance, and high-efficiency as far as keeping the heat in.

How to Use a Steam Shower

A steam shower is relatively straightforward to use, but there are a few tips you should keep in mind. For example, since a hot shower affects digestion and circulation, you should treat it like a pool and avoid eating for an hour before getting into the water.

Also remember that too much of a good thing (even a relaxing blast of steam) can be harmful, including spending time in a steam shower. To avoid dehydration, don’t steam for more than a quarter-hour (or until you break out into a full-body sweat, whichever comes first), and always replenish your sweat by drinking lots of fresh water before and after your steam session.

You should also shower briefly both before and after your steam. The first rinse provides a flow of water that cleans your body of dirt, grime, and anything else that could clog your pores (which the steam will open). The second rinse will help your body return to its natural temperature level, preparing you to return to the outside world after your home sauna experience.

If you want to take your steam showers to the next level, you can try out accessories, such as aromatherapy steam heads that release essential oils into your shower space. Another luxury feature of steam showers includes audio speakers, which you can sync with a Bluetooth-friendly device to play your own music, podcasts, or meditation beats.

How to Maintain a Steam Shower

A custom steam shower isn’t too hard to maintain, provided you maintain a consistent cleaning schedule. Take time to clean all shower heads in your house (including your steam head) at least once per year. This will prevent debris buildup that could keep your system from working properly.

You should also keep an eye out for any mildew, mold, or other grungy growth. Clean your shower at least once a month (if not more) to keep any mold at bay and make sure your shower stays attractive and presentable.

Because an effective steam shower produces a large amount of moisture, it’s a smart idea to protect your steam room by installing a typical bathroom exhaust fan in the main body of your bathroom. As long as the fan is outside of the actual shower enclosure, you will be able to enjoy your steamy shower while keeping the rest of your bathroom from turning into a tropical rainforest!

Finally, pay attention to any changes in water pressure or other indicators that your shower isn’t working at its top capacity. If you see any issues, check your water lines for any leaks or similar issues. Doing so could save you a lot of headaches in the long run!

Contact GCS Glass & Mirror to Get a Quote!

If all of this sounds like a dream come true, then you need to contact the bathroom remodeling experts at GCS Glass and Mirror. We have the right experience to guide you through the process of designing the perfect spa shower, customizing it for your space, and installing it just the way you want it. Contact GCS Glass and Mirror today to get a free quote!

Sliding vs. Pivot Shower Door: Which One is Better for You?

Barn Door Slider 1 Stationary Glass Panel & 1 Sliding Glass Door

Whether you’re performing a floor-to-ceiling bathroom remodel or just installing a new shower, you’ll need to decide which style of shower door to equip your shower with. Two of the most common glass shower options are pivot-hinged doors and the sliding door style.

So which one of these choices is the perfect glass shower door for you?

Sliding Shower Doors

Just like the sliding glass door that many people have on their back patio, a sliding shower door runs along a floor track. Unlike a typical exterior sliding door, however, it is possible to install a set of sliding shower glass doors known as “bypass doors.”

Bypass glass shower doors allow either of the pair of doors to slide along their parallel tracks. This means that you can enter or exit the shower from either direction. Other features of sliding shower doors include laminated or tempered glass.

If you prefer a patio-style sliding glass shower door, you can also install sliding shower doors that feature one fixed panel and one moveable panel that slides along a track. 

Framing Options for Sliding Shower Doors

Since sliding shower doors need a metal track to operate, they can’t be completely frameless shower doors, unlike some other shower door options. Instead, sliding shower doors can be either fully framed or semi-frameless.

If you decide to go semi-frameless, your shower door panels will be unframed, with metal framing covering the tracking at the bottom of the door. These frames can be turned into a design choice with metallic finishes suitable for the rest of your bathroom’s style.

Either option will suit you well, though the semi-frameless style works well with modern bathroom décor trends, especially if you install bypass shower doors. Framed shower glass doors typically work well with more historic bathrooms.

Pivot Shower Doors

Similar to the hinged doors located throughout the rest of your house, a hinged glass shower door swings inward and outward around a hinge. Hinge options include wall-mounted hinged shower doors and hinged shower doors that use a pivot.

A typical wall-mounted hinged door shower enclosure is similar to the style of your front door, whereas pivot hinged doors are located at the top and bottom corners of the shower door.

Pivot shower doors work well with more modern bathroom styles, with the pivot hinges themselves being less noticeable and lower maintenance thanks to easier cleaning. Like sliding shower doors, pivot shower doors rely on tempered or laminated glass because the constant movement of the doors requires sturdier material than annealed glass. 

Framing Options for Pivot Glass Shower Doors

Pivot-hinged doors work well with frames, without frames, or with a semi-frameless design. Semi-frameless and framed pivot shower doors are both surrounded with aluminum, though the door panels themselves are unframed in the semi-frameless setup.

Frameless glass shower doors and semi-frameless designs each allow for a more modern look that matches the trendy style of pivot hinges. Like with sliding shower doors, framed pivot shower doors work better for vintage-style bathrooms.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Sliding Shower Doors

One of the clearest perks of bypass-style sliding shower doors is the versatility provided by being able to open the doors on either side, rather than having to contend with one moveable door and one fixed door panel.

For example, with a bypass sliding door, you can open one door to reach your shower’s knob, get the water running, and enter the shower through the other door instead of getting blasted with not-yet-warm water on the door nearer to the shower head. This is similar to the versatility of a shower curtain.

If you’re worried about the long-term maintenance of your home, sliding shower doors also offer an advantage by minimizing or outright eliminating the amount of water you get on your bathroom floor during a shower.

Instead of needing to sop up any water that slipped through the bottom of the door (as may be the case with pivot shower doors), you can shower knowing the water will stay enclosed within the sliding door structure.

Finally, another benefit is the lower cost associated with buying and installing sliding shower doors versus pivot doors.

However, sliding shower doors aren’t completely without faults. For instance, sliding shower tracks are notorious for attracting all manner of dirt, grime, and debris, which means extra work to produce a clean shower whenever you’re giving the bathroom a good scrubbing down.

In addition, sliding shower doors don’t offer as large of a gap to enter the shower because the two door panels need to overlap in the middle. Plus, the horizontal space needed for the sliding tracks means that this kind of shower door won’t be a good fit in the corner of your bathroom the way a typical shower stall might be.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Pivot Shower Doors

As you may have guessed, many of the weaknesses of sliding shower doors are the benefits of pivot hinges. For example, pivot doors are great if your bathroom is hurting for space. You can fit a stand-alone shower stall with pivot hinges in a corner with little issue, which can be a lifesaver for tiny bathrooms.

Plus, pivot-hinged doors allow for a bigger opening into the shower stall itself, since there’s no need for an overlap between separate door panels.

Another perk of pivot shower doors is that their upkeep is easier than that of sliding shower doors. Since they don’t have a track for the door to run along, pivot shower doors require less cleaning. In addition, you never have to worry about a door bumping out of its track or otherwise getting misaligned, which sometimes happens with sliding doors.

On the other hand, pivot shower doors do require a bit of cleaning up after each individual shower. Because pivot showers open out into your bathroom space, they drip water from the shower stall directly onto your tile or another type of floor surface. This requires laying out a towel and possibly needing to dry up after every shower.

Apart from going in and out of the shower entrance, pivot shower doors can also allow water to escape through the gap that runs parallel to the pivot hinges. This gap isn’t large, but the fit still isn’t as tight as with a sliding shower door set, meaning that water can still escape during your shower.

Lastly, while pivot shower doors are great for small bathrooms, they can also create some discomfort if you need to use your bathroom at the same time as someone else. Because they swing outward, pivot shower doors can bump into other people, or even into your sink or toilet (depending on how close together everything is!). 

Contact GCS Glass & Mirror to Get a Quote!

Finding the right shower door style for your bathroom is a big decision, but it’s one you don’t have to make alone. Don’t be afraid to let the bathroom renovation experts at GCS Glass and Mirror guide you through the process of designing, customizing, and installing the shower of your dream.

Whether you like sliding or pivot glass doors, frameless shower enclosures or fully framed custom glass showers, we’ve got your back! Contact GCS Glass and Mirror today to get a free quote.

How to Decide On Clear Vs. Frosted Glass Shower Doors

Glass Sliding Shower Door with 3_8_ tempered rain glass

Shower doors are designed to prevent cold air from entering your shower space during use while containing water to keep your floors dry. While shower curtains are often used for this purpose, custom glass shower doors can be a better option for homeowners who want to add elegance and value to their homes. If you’ve decided to make the switch to glass or if you currently have a glass shower door and want to upgrade it, the next step is choosing between frosted or clear. This can be a big decision, based on budget, personal preference, bathroom size, and privacy needs.

How to Decide On Clear Vs. Frosted Glass Shower Doors 

Choosing the right type of glass for your shower remodel mainly boils down to personal preference. However, you should weigh the pros and cons of each type of glass to help you make your decision based on functional needs, style preferences, and budget.

What Are the Different Types of Shower Doors Available?

There are dozens of shower doors options available, including:

  • Frameless glass shower doors
  • Pivot doors
  • Bypass doors
  • Framed-in
  • Barn doors
  • Neo-angle
  • Bi-fold

Shower doors are a distinctive part of a bathroom’s style and the main focal point. If you’re having a difficult time determining what type of shower door will work best for you and your family, the first step is deciding whether clear or frosted doors will be a good fit based on cost, maintenance needs, privacy needs, and your budget, 

Pros of Clear Glass Shower Doors 

For people that don’t have spacious shower areas, clear glass is the obvious choice. Clear shower glass panels are 100% transparent, lacking any type of opacity. Frameless shower doors with clear glass can provide a sparkly finish and high sheen that can instantly update the look of your bathroom while giving the impression that your bathroom is much larger than it actually is.

Clear glass is a popular option for a couple of reasons:

  • Clear glass can make a bathroom space look larger, allowing more light to flow throughout the space. This can make a bathroom brighter and feel more open.
  • Spot-free, clear glass can make a bathroom look cleaner, more modern, and more elegant.

Cons of Clear Glass Shower Doors

The biggest drawback of clear glass is its maintenance requirements. If you have cleaning issues and cannot stay on top of shower maintenance, transparent shower doors can become a major problem. Daily cleaning, ideally after each shower, is needed to remove streaks and spots. Clear glass doesn’t hide water streaks, water drops, or soap scum, making every small speck of dirt highly visible. Weekly deep cleans and using a squeegee to wipe down the glass after each shower can keep the glass looking pristine. 

Additionally, if you have a large family, privacy can be another major issue, especially in homes with smaller children. Frosted or textured glass can provide more privacy.

Pros of Frosted Glass Shower Doors 

Frosted shower doors are created by applying heated fluorite to the glass. This method results in a refined and soft finish where the glass is melted to create layers that reflect light differently. This reduces the translucency of the glass. Sandblasting is another process used to create frosted glass. With this process, particles are sprayed on the glass at high velocities, stripping off the surface area, and producing a microchipped finish that affects the translucency of the glass.

Since frosted glass masks imperfections, such as fingerprints, drops of water, smudges, splashes of water, water stains, and hard water spots, the glass is very low maintenance, which is a huge bonus for most families.

There are also many design options to choose from. Frosted glass shower panels are available in a variety of patterns and textures, so you can choose a style or pattern that showcases your personal style.

A frosted glass bathroom shower will provide the level of privacy you need if you have small children in the home that need to use the bathroom as you shower.

Cons of Frosted Glass Shower Doors 

If you have a smaller bathroom space, frosted glass doors may not be the right option, making the bathroom feel dark and cramped. Because frosted glass does not allow much light to flow into the shower stall, it can make a space seem much smaller than it is. In a smaller space, frosted glass can also make the bathroom darker, especially if there is limited natural light. This is something you should take into consideration if you plan to sell your home in the future. Many homebuyers pay careful attention to the kitchen and bathrooms in a home. A home with large, spacious bathrooms will be more appealing to potential homebuyers.

Contact the Glass Experts at GCS Glass & Mirror 

As you can see, both clear glass and frosted glass can impact the entire look of your bathroom. Before you make a final decision, consider bathroom size, natural light, privacy needs, and budget. At GCS Glass and Mirror, our glass contractors and design team can help you choose the right type of shower glass for your custom frameless glass shower door and enclosure, creating the bathroom you’ve always dreamed of while adding value and functionality to your home. Contact GCS Glass and Mirror today to get a free quote and learn how we can help you design the perfect shower for your home.