Categorized | Construction, Installation

Steam Shower Wall Material Application Guidelines

Posted on 15 September 2010 by Lynda Ziemba

Tile, Stone, Marble, Glass… There are many beautiful options available when selecting wall materials for your steam shower environment. As each manufacturer may require a different application method, be sure to refer to the procedures and warranties for the product you select.

Virtually all tile types will work in steam room applications. However, most applications include permeable products which allow vapor to pass through. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to insulate the wall cavity using a waterproof membrane. This is a specialty membrane which bonds to the substrate and to which tile can be bonded.

A waterproof membrane should be used where ceramic tile is specified, as cement-based grout easily transmits water and vapor. This can be installed on top of, or behind, the cement board. A surface application of the membrane prevents the cement board fasteners from puncturing it. Some manufacturers may require both a waterproof membrane on the front and a vapor barrier on the back – refer to the manufacturer’s application procedures for details.

When using ceramic tile, refer to the Tile Council of North America Installation Guidelines.

Nearly any stone may be used in your steam shower applications, typically in 3/4” thickness. However, over time steam can permanently change the elements in the stone creating various reactions including “bleeding (red streaks), color changes, and surface dulling. Using a dense, resistant stone with a low absorption coefficient such as granite or compact marble will provide optimal results. Refer to the manufacturer’s application procedures and warranties for specific details about the product you select.

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