steam room

topic posted Sat, September 3, 2011 - 5:31 PM by  dave
I have a bathroom that I want to convert into a eucalyptus steam room with showers and benches. Currently in the room are a tub, toilet, ceiling vent and heater vent.
Any suggestions on how to get started? The room is about 6X6 and the toilet needs to stay.
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  • Re: steam room

    Sat, September 3, 2011 - 7:28 PM
    In Finland, virtually every home has a sauna by the bathroom. It's a national passtime, part of their culture. I'll bet they have articles & stuff on easy bathroom conversions.
    In any event you'll have to insulate to keep in heat. And waterproof to prevent condensation entering walls & house structure. You'll have to determine a heat source, wether a wood-fired stove, vented gas heater, or electric heater. Ventilation before/after sauna to prevent mold formation is a must. You'll want a seperate cold shower cubicle.available post-sauna.

    Check Finnish sources for building plan options............
    • Re: steam room

      Wed, September 7, 2011 - 6:14 AM
      We're purchasing the sauna for two as a freestanding unit to put in the corner of my massage studio. The steam shower will be a different option for my clients to use. I'm torn between purchasing a pre-fab unit versus conversion of the existing bathroon. The coolness factor of a full room is attractive and the electrician says it would be easier for him. But the prefab would probably be cheaper.
      Any opinions?
      • Re: steam room

        Wed, September 7, 2011 - 9:30 AM
        DAve, a big roomy wood-lined room would be way neater and way less claustrophobic than a tiny cubicle.... if cost is not the biggest issue. In the long run, a normally sized space would be more commercialy viable.
        • Re: steam room

          Wed, September 7, 2011 - 11:39 AM
          cost is always going to be the biggest issue for me. Space is a close second here. We're in a 1200sq ft condo. I'm buying the sauna through my massage practice because that will be the primary use. The shower is our only shower so it will be primarily ours but also used by my clients.
      • Re: steam room

        Wed, September 7, 2011 - 9:33 AM
        and i thought this was DIY?
        id strip down the room, seal all wood studs
        line with several layers of visqueen then do the wall with t&g cedar
        run horizontally so the water runs off not into the joints
        • Re: steam room

          Wed, September 7, 2011 - 11:48 AM
          brilliant. This is exactly what I need. The actual DIY are beyond my skill set because I want it to be nice. Plus, if I injure myself I can't work and I'm self employed and don't have injury insurance on me yet. I can't afford to hire a general contractor so will have to play that role myself.
          So, I need to:
          -hire someone to gut the room
          -seal all the wood studs (with what)
          -line it with visqueen?
          The guy at the hardware store recommended cement board and some kind of gooey sealer to go over it, then tile.
          I do plan on using tile. The separate sauna will be wood.
          Then I guess it's the finishing stuff like applying the tile, installing the new toilet and shower heads and steam unit.
          I'm thinking I can find handy-men to do the individual tasks. Do I need to get permits for this type of thing?
        • Re: steam room

          Thu, October 6, 2011 - 8:44 PM
          after extensive research I realized this project is way beyond my DIY abilities and ended up contracting it out. It's very expensive and we're very excited. Everything has been ordered and the job will start soon.
          • Re: steam room

            Fri, October 7, 2011 - 2:12 AM
            Eucalyptus raised a flag for me, as I always thought it was not stable enough for any kind of construction. Not even railroad ties, which is why it was planted all over SoCal along RR rights of way, and then not used. Great firewood though.

            Just some observations on the sauna (which, by the way is the only Finnish word commonly used in the English language) in my GF's condo in Finland: Yeah the sauna itself was lined with cedar, T&G run horizontally, with a fully cedar door, door frame, and floor. You want absolutely everything you might touch inside the sauna to be wood or you'll burn the heck out of yourself touching it. The heater unit had a wood rail around it. The ability to put water on heated stones to create steam was a huge plus. There were benches at two levels inside the sauna. The upper one, just about 2.5 feet higher, got you into a higher heat level than the lower, I suppose to accommodate different folks with different heat preferences. There were several safety features, such as power for the heater on a timer (outside the sauna door) with a max of about 30 minutes. No lock at all on the sauna door, which swung out. Tempered glass in the door with a small wood handled metal doohicky (similar to a screwdriver) on a string inside incase you needed to bust out the glass, not so much for exit but to let cool air in. The door had maybe 1.0-1.5 inch gap at the bottom so worse come to worse you could neal down and breath from that gap, or if you passed out there'd be cooler air near the floor. The rest of the bathroom was fully tiled, walls, ceiling and floor. The floor was designed to slope toward the sauna (and shower) with a floor drain. And there was a ba exhaust fan in the bathroom to handle all the excess heat and humidity, also on a timer. Seemed like the fan had two speeds, one to vent general bathroom fumes and one for post sauna use. All bathroom fixtures were either plastic or stainless.
  • Unsu...

    Re: steam room

    Mon, September 5, 2011 - 5:45 PM
    Steam rooms are designed and built to accommodate the incredible humidity.
    Bathrooms ( by building code) are built to evacuate moistur.

    If you convert a conventional bathroom to a steam room without serious conversion measures you won't have a proper set up, instead it'll be haven for mold in the walls.

    So you'll probably have to fiberglass the walls floor and ceiling against the water, install a rot proof doorway, install condensate management in the new flooring, and provide for humidity control, change the geometry of the ceiling to a dome so condensate won't just drip. Basically the room must become a waterproof vessel.

    Or you can build it out of doors and manage all those rot and mold issues by simply building the thing drafty .

    • Re: steam room

      Fri, October 7, 2011 - 6:31 AM
      Nice idea, a wigwam style steam lodge, A wooden frame, a canvas cover, a fire, some hot rocks and a pail of cold water......time to get all that built in an afternoon.
      You could be butt naked and soaking up steam that very evening!
      • OT: Outdoor Sweat Lodges CAN BE DEADLY

        Fri, October 7, 2011 - 11:17 AM
        You also could be dead if you do not know what the heck you're doing. Didn't several people die down in Arizona a year or two back because some idiot, who claimed he knew what he was doing with sweat lodges, didn't get it right?
        • Re: OT: Outdoor Sweat Lodges CAN BE DEADLY

          Fri, October 7, 2011 - 12:29 PM

          I'm not sure its how the lodge had been built.....more how it was mis-used and the lack of supervision but you're right when you say they can be dangerous.
          It is important to either heat the rocks in the fire outside the lodge or make sure the fire has adequate ventilation for air intake and fume egress to prevent carbon monoxide build up.
          It is also important for people with heart conditions and high blood pressure to avoid them and even fit people must avoid extreme dehydration which can cause organ failure as listed in the autopsy report for this incident.
          • CAN *not* BE DEADLY

            Fri, October 7, 2011 - 9:41 PM
            .......hey it doesn't have to come down to red-faced sauna survivors gasping for air clawing the walls having to break out of the sauna. Just make sure you have a really good door on the thing.

            Participants in any sauna or sweat lodge should be assured beforehand -- given to know that they are free to bail out at any time.
            People should never be made to feel that it is somehow uncool or shameful or disgraceful to leave when your heart starts pounding like all heck, or when you're fixing to black out, or anything else. By the way, sauna decorum requires you to go to the toilet beforehand, not as an afterthought. Yes sometimes it's a struggle to stay in there, but always know you are allowed to do as you need to.
  • Re: steam room

    Mon, October 24, 2011 - 5:45 AM
    Thanks to everyone for this great discussion. We finally decided to buy a free standing infra red sauna and Rebath is coming in to rebuild the bathroom into a steam room. It will be pricey, but worth it.

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