Categorized | Design

Portable Steam Showers… What You Need To Know

Posted on 31 December 2008 by Lynda Ziemba

The first step in creating your bathing environment is planning the room itself and these attractive units seem to offer all the bells and whistles without the typical construction requirements. I’ll bet you’ve watched some of the marketing videos out there. You may have even found a flattering article in some magazine. But have you really done your homework?

As you contemplate spending thousands of dollars on one of these units, consider this. While many of the leading brands advertise that they are American made, many of the base units used in these enclosures are fabricated in other countries and shipped to the U.S. They are then upfitted with more features and shipped again – to you. What effect does this have on the quality and integrity of the finished product? Although this is quite a common method of commerce, it is not always ideal for the consumer. Particularly when you are dealing with a product which requires reinforced construction and sealing properties.

Reported problems include inferior materials, bad seals, cheap fittings, leaks, poor alignment, inability to find quality installers, rejection by building inspectors, and refusal by insurance companies to pay for damages associated with these units.

As these units typically come with stringent cancellation/return policies, here are some additional things to beware of before you consider purchasing one of these portable units:

  • Be sure to have your installer on board prior to making your purchase. Most companies require a licensed contrator, possibly their own, or you may void your warranty. Ask your installer about their experience with these units. Will they stand behind the installation if there are problems? Probably not.
  • Is the unit designed for use with steam? Have all the seals been tested with steam? Is the unit equipped with a specialized steam door? Installing steam equipment in any bathing environment is quite simple. Ensuring the environment is “steam proof” is another matter altogether and failure to do so can create many problems.
  • What is the product availability? Standard steam shower equipment is available at most plumbing supply houses and even some home remodeling stores. While these stores usually can’t provide expert knowledge or technical product experience, they do allow for some hands-on research. Can you find a local store which sells the unit you are considering?
  • Give yourself plenty of time. These units generally have long lead times when not in stock or when custom features are added – up to 8 weeks!What is the lead time on replacement parts? This too can have extremely long lead times. Can you live without this shower environment for up to 8 weeks when repairs are needed?
  • Is your product shipping from a warehouse or a showroom? Many dealers of these modular enclosures have display showrooms, keep very little stock, and put most of it on display. Are you purchasing a floor model?
  • How will this product look with the rest of your bathroom? Have you invested countless dollars into other areas of your bathroom? Designer sinks with beautiful fixtures, a hat box toilet, and elegant walls and flooring look stunning. Will one these units complete the look?
  • How does this impact your property value? Kitchens and Baths are major selling factors today with features like body sprays, soaking tubs, and steam showers being hot commodities. Does a modular shower rather than a constructed environment rate negatively? Check with a local real estate agent to find out what impact these modular units may have.
  • Verify product certifications. Are they really certified as suggested? “Meets” and “Compliant with” are not the same as having earned the certification. Check UL and CSA listings here.

The safest way to incorporate all those luxury amenities into your bathroom haven is to know the manufacturer of every component in the environment. Many times, when problems arise you must deal with the manufacturer, which is hard to do when their business hours are in the middle of your night and halfway across the world. In the end, there is little wiggle room once you have purchased one of these units.

Nothing can compete with a properly designed steam shower environment for providing the ultimate in refreshing relaxation while reaping numerous health benefits.

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Gregory Hill Says:

    I was browsing for ideas for bathroom suites when I came accross this page via Google and your page caught my attention..

  2. itv online Says:

    I was just browsing for relevant blog posts for my project research and I happened to stumble upon yours. Thanks for the excellent information!

Leave a Reply