Steam showers are popular additions to bathrooms. Adding a steam generator to a shower allows you to sit and relax or bathe and shower as normal. Steam can be added to many shower types and styles to enhance the room’s use. You can install a dedicated steam shower, a steam shower with other features, or add a steam unit to an existing shower.
The national average for installing a steam shower ranges from $8,000 to $15,000, with most people spending around $11,000 to install a new 48” x 36” steam shower with porcelain tile walls, a shower door, fold-down seat, and sealed door. This project’s low cost is $3,800 to install a prefab 36” x 36” acrylic prefab steam stall shower unit with a fold-down seat and door. The high cost is $25,000 for a luxury 60” x 60” porcelain slab steam shower with a built-in bench, steam generator, shower wall jets, updated plumbing, and mood lighting.
|Steam Shower Installation Costs|
|National average cost||$11,000|
A steam shower is an enclosure that fills with steam, allowing the user to sit or stand for 10 to 15 minutes. Most steam showers double as a standard shower, allowing you to rinse yourself after steaming or bathe normally when not using the steam.
Steam showers have a generator installed in the wall with a small nozzle near the bottom of the shower. When turned on, the generator produces steam, entering the shower through the nozzle. The shower can function as a standard shower when the generator is off, and the nozzle does not heavily impact the appearance or function.
Steam can be added to most showers, provided the enclosure can be sealed with a tightly fitted door to prevent the steam from escaping. Because the water vapor of the steam is made of fine particles, most steam showers are made from non-porous materials like acrylic or glass, porcelain, or ceramic tile, which can be easily cleaned. Steam showers come in many sizes and configurations and can have other features, such as shower jets, saunas, and jetted tubs.
Steam can be added to any shower type. This means you can add steam to a standard shower with a single shower head and pressure-balancing valve. You can also add steam to a jetted shower with multiple water sources and a thermostatic valve system, sauna, or jetted tub enclosure. Each configuration can usually be found in a prefab unit that is ready to install or custom-built from your selected materials. This means you can choose a readymade unit with your features if you want a custom tile shower with specific placement of body jets, mood lighting, and glass.
Generally, prefab steam showers are less expensive to purchase and install. They come in one large piece, ready to be hooked to your water supply rather than needing to be installed and plumbed in individual pieces.
Below are the average costs for each steam shower available in prefab and custom installations, assuming an average size of between 48” x 36” and 60” x 60” for luxury units.
|Type||Prefab Cost (Installed)||Custom Cost (Installed)|
|Steam Shower Only||$2,800 - $6,200||$4,000 - $10,000|
|Steam Shower Tub Combo||$4,000 - $7,000||$6,000 - $12,000|
|Steam / Sauna Combo||$4,800 - $7,800||$10,000 - $15,000|
|Steam / Jetted Tub Combo||$5,000 - $10,000||$10,000 - $20,000|
|Steam / Jetted Shower||$5,000 - $10,000||$15,000 - $25,000|
The cost of a prefab steam shower fully installed ranges from $2,800 to $6,200. The cost of a custom steam shower fully installed averages $4,000 to $10,000. Steam showers are typical shower installations with a tightly fitted door, non-porous walls and floor, and a steam unit. They come in many sizes and shapes and may have a molded bench or fold-down seat. They can start at around 36” square or be much larger, with most people opting for steam showers of around 36” x 48” because this is a comfortable space. You can go larger and include built-in benches or extra showerheads for multiple users. In this case, you need a shower at least 60” x 60” in size. They can operate as a standard shower when the steam is not in use.
The cost of a prefab steam shower with a tub combo is $4,000 to $7,000 installed. The cost of this setup installed with custom materials and installation averages $6,000 to $12,000. This setup combines a standard bathtub of several sizes and depths with a shower, doors, and steam unit. This combo can be used as a standard bathtub, shower, or steam shower. This setup requires tightly sealed shower doors on the tub. For this reason, you cannot use a bypass door but must use a door and panel setup, which can be more difficult to navigate.
The cost of a prefab steam shower/sauna combo is $4,800 to $7,800. This setup with custom materials and installation costs $10,000 to $15,000. Steam showers provide a “wet” heat by using steam or hot water vapor. Saunas give you dry heat with no steam or water vapor. Both can be a pleasant experience, and for families with different preferences, you may want to opt for a combo unit. In these units, there is a steam generator and sauna heat generator. Depending on your unit, they include a bench and may have standard shower elements. Many people choose a removable wood-slat bottom when the unit is used as a sauna.
The cost of a prefab steam shower with a jetted tub averages $5,000 to $10,000 installed. This setup with custom elements and installation costs $10,000 to $20,000. There are a few ways to create a steam shower and jetted tub combination. Readymade units are available with a fully enclosed unit above the tub, which you enter by climbing over the edge. You can also arrange them side-by-side for a fully enclosed space, with a half wall on one side starting at the tub’s surround. You can also use a jetted tub in an alcove setting and include a set of shower doors and a fold-down bench. Jetted tubs are much deeper than usual tub/shower combinations, so be prepared to climb over the higher tub.
The cost of a prefab steam shower with jets averages $5,000 to $10,000 installed. The cost of this setup with custom materials and installation averages $15,000 to $25,000. These are typically large luxury showers designed to be walk-in. They normally start at around 60” x 60” to accommodate the extra jets, but they can be larger. They usually have a built-in bench and shower jets with a thermostatic valve system and may have more than one shower head. These setups typically have features like mood lighting or aromatherapy included.
Like standard shower installations, steam showers come in many shapes and configurations. These include corner showers of several shapes, such as curved, neo-angle, square, and rectangular showers that can be installed in a corner, alcove, or along one wall, or large walk-in showers that may have three glass walls or be a large alcove-style installation.
Shape does not influence costs much, but many shapes typically come in a set number of sizes, particularly when opting for a prefab unit. Corner units are typically smaller, while rectangular and walk-in showers are larger. For this reason, corner units tend to be less costly, while walk-in steam showers tend to cost the most.
Costs include a shower door enclosure, so the more glass the enclosure needs, the higher the costs. Below are the average costs to install a steam shower in several shapes in prefab and custom installations.
|Shape||Prefab Cost (Installed)||Custom Cost (Installed)|
|Corner||$2,800 - $4,000||$4,000 - $6,000|
|Curved||$2,800 - $4,000||N/A|
|Square||$3,000 - $5,000||$4,500 - $6,500|
|Neo-Angle||$3,000 - $5,000||$4,500 - $6,500|
|Rectangular||$4,000 - $6,200||$6,000 - $10,000|
|Walk-In||$4,000 - $6,200||$6,000 - $10,000|
Creating a corner steam shower costs $2,800 to $4,000 for a prefab unit. The cost of this unit installed with custom materials averages $4,000 to $6,000. Corner steam showers are not as common as rectangular or square showers because they are not very spacious, usually only 36” or 42” in width. However, this is a viable option if you do not have much room in your bathroom and want to create a steam shower. Corner steam showers can be pre-plumbed prefab units with doors, or you can build one custom with your choice of surround material. Use a neo-angle shower pan and door configuration to create custom doors for a corner unit. In this setup, your door is made of three panels that join at 45º angles. Prefab units are available in neo-angle and curved door setups.
The average cost to install a curved-front steam shower is $2,800 to $4,000 for a prefab unit with doors. If you do not have much space, a prefab curved steam shower maximizes your area. This model cannot be custom because the doors must fit tightly across the surface and must be manufactured with a prefab surround rather than tile or slab with glass doors. Curved showers install in a corner, and the steam unit has the surround, base, and ceiling. They usually measure between 36” and 42” in width. The doors are sliding, curved acrylic, and fully plumbed for showering and steam. This configuration is more spacious than a neo-angle corner, which cuts in on the sides at 45º angles. These are also one of the least expensive options for prefab steam showers.
The average cost of a prefab square steam shower is $3,000 to $5,000. The cost of a custom square steam shower averages $4,500 to $6,500. Square steam showers are meant to save space. They typically average around 36” or 42” square - large enough to shower in and enjoy steam on a fold-down bench or seat. Some square steam showers have at least two glass walls, particularly if installed in a corner. They can be designed and plumbed into an alcove, giving them only a single glass wall. If the unit has two glass walls, you need a larger steam unit to accommodate the glass, despite the unit’s smaller size. Glass does not hold heat as well as solid walls, meaning it is harder to create long-lasting steam.
The cost of a prefab neo-angle steam shower averages $3,000 to $5,000. The cost of a neo-angle steam shower with a custom installation averages $4,500 to $6,500. Neo-angle steam showers are also a good space-saver because the shower pan and shower doors move off the walls at 45º angles. They meet at a straight section across the front. It uses less space than a curved corner shower, but you have slightly less space inside. Each wall usually extends about 36” to 42”, but the overall square footage is smaller. Using a fold-down bench while you steam is likely preferable in a shower this size than attempting to build a permanent bench.
The cost of a prefab rectangular steam shower averages $4,000 to $6,200. The cost of a custom rectangular steam shower averages $6,000 to $10,000. Rectangular steam showers are the most common type and can have starting sizes of 36” x 48” up to lengths of 72”. For a rectangular shower, you can have an alcove set up with three solid walls and one glass wall or two solid walls and two glass walls. The former gives you more steam for less energy than the latter. Rectangular steam showers often have space to add a built-in bench at one end rather than folding a bench down or bringing in a shower stool. Prefab rectangular steam showers come in several sizes, alcove and not, so you have options no matter your bathroom size.
The cost of a prefab walk-in steam shower averages $4,000 to $6,200. The cost of a custom walk-in steam shower averages $6,000 to $10,000. Technically, any steam shower that does not have a tub can be considered a walk-in unit. However, most people use the term synonymously with a larger rectangular shower with no curb or a minimal curb and a bench on one end. This shower is the most comfortable, spacious, and easiest to use. There is often enough space for wheelchair users to transfer, and the lack of curb or very low curb means it is easier to navigate by people of all abilities. These showers usually start at 48” x 60”, but they can be smaller if no bench is included.
You have several options for creating a steam shower surround, depending on if you opt for a prefab unit or create a custom shower. Typically, prefab units come in one solid piece, which means they are most likely acrylic, which is created in a mold. You can find a fiberglass steam shower unit, but this is less common because the material is usually made in a few pieces. Swanstone also makes prefab units and panels for custom showers.
Custom showers can be made of many materials except natural stone. Stone is porous and absorbs steam, causing several issues like discoloration, mineral deposits, mildew, and algae growth. Below are the cost breakdowns for creating shower surrounds using prefab and custom shower materials.
Prefab steam showers are readymade units plumbed for water and steam. They usually have a floor, two or three walls, and a ceiling and are designed to sit in corners or alcoves. They also come with the shower door and steam unit included. They are most commonly made of acrylic because there are no seams with acrylic units, so there is less chance of vapor escaping. Fiberglass and Swanstone are two other good materials - fiberglass because it insulates well, and Swanstone for its many decorative properties. But these materials have seams that require sealing. The costs below are for the full unit, uninstalled, and based on the material. Labor costs do not vary by material for prefab installations.
|Prefab Material||Average Costs (Unit Only)|
|Acrylic||$2,300 - $5,000|
|Fiberglass||$2,500 - $5,000|
|Swanstone||$3,000 - $6,000|
Custom steam shower surrounds can be constructed of many of the same materials as a custom standard shower. You can have solid walls made of panels, such as Swanstone or solid surface slabs, tiles made of non-porous materials like ceramic, porcelain, or glass, or large porcelain slabs. Any material used in a custom shower needs grout, caulk, or a seam. Using materials with fewer joints or seams, such as porcelain slabs or solid-surface walls, can keep your shower cleaner and more airtight. If you use tiles containing grout joints, consider using a non-porous material like epoxy to help prevent steam absorption.
Most materials used in custom showers are sold and installed by the square foot, allowing you to create custom showers of any size, shape, and configuration. Below are the average costs for the different products.
|Surround Material||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Ceramic Tile||$1.25 - $100|
|Porcelain Tile||$3 - $30|
|Swanstone Walls||$7 - $15|
|Glass Tile||$10 - $50|
|Porcelain Slab||$14 - $16|
|Solid Surface||$15 - $50|
All steam showers must be fitted with a tightly sealed shower door. Some companies may refer to this as a vapor-proof door. This is true if the unit is prefab or custom. All prefab units that are plumbed and set up for steam come with a tightly sealed door with the unit. This door may be acrylic or glass, depending on the unit size and shape.
You need a custom door for custom steam shower installations. While readymade shower doors are available, they do not fit tightly enough to create the seal necessary to hold the water vapor in the shower. The shower door must extend to fill the opening across the shower. This means it extends to the ceiling and out to the walls. Separate pieces of glass must seal together tightly. For this reason, some glass door types cannot be used in steam showers, including bypass doors, French doors, and spray panels.
You can add a transom if you have particularly tall walls or like to shower at the end of your steam. This movable pane sits at the top of the door, which can be opened independently to let the steam out without opening the door. The most common setups for steam showers are single doors, doors and panels, and doors or panels with transoms. You can create walls out of glass if you plan to use only one or two bathroom walls for the enclosure. You need to increase the generator size if you do this. The larger the door or glass enclosure, the larger the generator must be. Labor costs for shower doors vary depending on the glass thickness and type and other variables. Below are the average costs for the most common glass enclosures and doors for steam showers.
|Type||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|Framed||$300 - $1,200|
|Swing||$600 - $900|
|Frameless||$900 - $2,300|
|Neo-Angle||$1,500 - $3,500|
|Door and Panel||$2,000 - $4,000|
|Door, Panel, and Transom||$3,000 - $6,000|
|Enclosure||$3,500 - $7,000|
Installation of a steam shower is similar to any other shower and is done by the plumber who installs the rest of the shower plumbing. Plumbers have an hourly rate of $75 and $150. Adding steam is a small component of a steam shower installation - the rest of the installation is identical to any shower installation, except needing a tightly sealed door. This is true if the unit is prefab or a custom installation. With prefab units, everything is in place and needs to be connected to the home’s plumbing and electrical supplies before being fully installed and sealed. This is the easiest method for installation because everything comes ready for installation and sized for the unit.
Custom installations are more time-consuming. The area needs to be roughed for plumbing, sealed, and waterproof backer board must be put up before the walls and floor can be created. The steam unit installs behind the wall in both scenarios - only a small valve is visible at the bottom to let the steam in. Everything for the shower must be selected individually, including the floor and wall materials, shower system type, steam generator type and size, and enclosure type. This means labor costs for installing a custom unit are considerably higher than for installing a prefab unit. Total labor costs vary in both cases, depending on the unit size, materials, and if the plumbing must be updated to accommodate the new shower. Below are the average labor cost ranges to install a 36” x 48” steam shower for prefab and custom projects. Your costs can differ if your shower is larger or smaller or you use luxury materials.
|Steam Shower Type||Average Labor Costs|
|Prefab||$500 - $780|
|Custom||$3,000 - $6,000|
If you have an existing shower in your home, you may be able to turn it into a steam shower. Adding steam to your existing shower means you do not need to add to the room or sacrifice your existing shower to get the benefits of steam. Not all showers can be converted to steam showers without completely replacing the shower and surround. If your shower uses porous materials on the walls, such as stone tile or slab, you cannot convert this into a steam shower.
Otherwise, you need to install a steam unit to make the conversion for $1,200. You also need to install tightly fitted shower doors if you do not have them already, costing $900 to $3,000, depending on the shower enclosure size. If this is all that is required, you can expect the entire process to take about two weeks, including making the doors to order.
If your current shower is not in good condition and has many cracks or signs of moisture behind the walls, you may want to remove it and install a new shower. The average cost to replace an existing shower with a steam shower, including the tear-out and disposal of existing material, starts at around $9,000 to $18,000. This project takes longer, at around three to four weeks in total.
The steam generator is the most important component of your steam shower. They come in many sizes to accommodate the different needs of your shower and home. Generator costs start at $400 for a small generator capable of filling a 36” or 42” square shower with steam. They can cost up to $4,000 for large units designed to work in steam rooms or oversized enclosures on an outside wall with high ceilings and two or more glass walls.
The steam generator comes with the enclosure in a prefab steam unit. For custom units or retrofitting an existing shower to accept steam, you need to purchase the generator separately based on the enclosure size and location.
Steam generators come in several sizes. The size you need is calculated mostly on the cubic footage of the shower enclosure. To calculate this, multiply your shower’s depth, width, and height. For example, a 5’ x 5’ x 8’ shower has 200 cubic feet.
Some materials and areas also impact the generator size. Therefore, you need to multiply your total cubic feet by each of the following multipliers for every factor impacting your shower. For each wall that features one of these, multiply your cubic feet by that multiplier. This gives you the cubic foot range your generator should fall in.
|Glass Tile or Glass Walls||1.35|
A steam room is an alternative to a steam shower. Rather than being a working shower with a steam unit, this is a room whose sole purpose is for steam. The floors, walls, and ceiling are usually tiled or covered in another non-porous material. There are no shower doors or plumbing for a shower, so the setup costs can be lower. The floor must have a drain installed because steam is water vapor, and it must be made of a material that can slope to that drain, such as concrete, mosaic tile, or an acrylic pan. Often, a transom is installed above the door to help release excess steam. Costs for this room are between $150 to $200 a sq.ft fully installed.
Adding a steam shower creates a luxury spa experience in your bathroom. Steam may improve circulation, open and clean pores, relax the user, and increase your home’s resale value.
However, steam showers are not a good idea for children or pregnant women because steam showers elevate your body temperature. This can lead to low blood pressure, dizziness, and dehydration in children and pregnant women.
Porous materials in the shower, including grout in some cases, may absorb the steam easily, meaning impurities in the water absorbs into and stains the surround. Steam showers must be cleaned frequently and are not always the best choice in a humid area.
Steam units are good alternatives to jetted showers and soaking tubs for homes with low water pressure, wells, or small hot water tanks without upgrading water tanks, holding tanks, or overhauling plumbing systems.
The maintenance of a steam shower depends largely on the surround’s materials. Steam showers must be made of non-porous materials, so your biggest issue is keeping the grout clean if you opt for a tile shower. The grout can absorb impurities in the water and stain, so you may want to seal it with a silicone-based grout sealer and reapply it regularly. An alternative to this is using an epoxy grout and caulk for the entire shower, which are non-porous and help eliminate this issue.
Otherwise, after steaming, the only real maintenance is to take a squeegee to the walls and shower door. This prevents water spots from developing after the steam’s condensation evaporates. There is no grout with a prefab unit, so even less maintenance is involved. Clean the walls like any shower and squeegee after each use.
Mineral buildup may be a concern if you have hard water. Installing a water filtration system can help prevent this and keep your unit working better for longer. Otherwise, you may need to follow the instructions by the steam unit manufacturer on cleaning the unit and nozzle periodically to remove mineral buildup.
You may include many features with your steam shower to enhance its use and function. Most of these are completely optional, and some can be added later. However, others must be specified before installing the shower.
Most steam showers include seating. This can be a built-in bench, molded seat, or fold-down seat. Because steam showers are designed to be used for 10 to 15 minutes, seats can improve your enjoyment. Another optional item is mood lighting. Mood lighting can often be tied to the same keypad as your steam shower, allowing you to select the LED lights you wish to see during the shower. Some steam showers also offer remotes to control LED lights and mood lighting. The remote may be packaged with the unit, or you can purchase it separately. Music is another option you can add to your steam shower. This can be tied to your home’s smart system, or you can connect waterproof speakers to your favorite listening device. Other add-ons include glass treatments for the shower doors. Protective coatings help reduce soap, mineral, and other buildups on the glass, making it easier to clean. You can also opt for different glass types, including frosted or tinted glass, to create a more private setting. Below are the average costs for the various items you can purchase with or for the shower.
|Add-Ons||Average Costs (Materials Only)|
|Remote||$100 - $300|
|Seating||$100 - $300|
|Specialty Glass||$150 - $1,000|
|Mood Lighting||$200 - $500|
|Glass Coating||$250 - $1,300|
|Music||$500 - $2,000|
Steam and regular showers allow you to bathe using your choice of shower valve and showerhead system. The difference is that steam showers also give you the option of filling the enclosure with water vapor or steam.
Steam showers must be made of non-porous materials. It also needs a steam generator installed behind the wall and a fully fitted and tightly sealed shower door extending to the ceiling. Standard showers do not require doors and can use many materials for the shower surround that cannot be used in a steam shower, such as stone tile.
Of the two projects, steam showers tend to be more costly because they must have a tightly fitted door and require a steam unit, adding to the material and labor costs. Below are the average costs to install a 48” x 36” standard and steam shower.
|Shower Type||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Standard||$7,000 - $12,000|
|Steam||$8,000 - $15,000|
If you want to use your steam shower to relax, consider a jetted shower or performance shower. These two systems are designed to give you a luxurious and relaxing atmosphere in your bathroom, but they work differently.
Steam showers allow you to sit and relax in the steam for 10 to 15 minutes. This can help you slowly relax muscles while the steam opens your pores. Jetted showers are designed for quicker use, with harder water flow that can massage and invigorate muscles. Jetted showers must use specific plumbing techniques to ensure optimum performance, such as thermostatic valving and pressure balancing loops. They often require you to update your plumbing and water heater to accommodate the higher water flow. For this reason, they are more invasive to add to your home than a steam shower and have higher costs.
Many people who want a way to relax without overhauling their plumbing may find a steam shower to be a better alternative. Below are the average costs to install both styles.
|Shower Type||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Steam||$8,000 - $15,000|
|Jetted||$10,000 - $25,000|
Steam showers and saunas are designed to be areas for users to sit in and benefit from the provided heat. However, they work differently with varying costs and benefits. Steam showers provide hot water vapor and must be completely sealed and non-porous. They also function as regular showers with a showerhead, valve, and other features.
Saunas provide dry heat rather than moisture, so they do not need the same materials or requirements. They are also not plumbed like a steam shower and do not act as a regular shower when not in use as a sauna. They are generally less expensive than steam showers because of this. Below are the average costs to install both systems in your home.
|Project||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Sauna||$3,000 - $6,000|
|Steam Shower||$8,000 - $15,000|
Steam showers can operate as standard showers. For this reason, you may want to add shelving to your shower for holding toiletries. Steam builds up on all surfaces, so use wire shelves in a steam shower for the best results. These cost $20 to $50 each.
Minerals in your water can accumulate, causing the unit to clog. Some units automatically flush to clear the line after use. Some units include this option at no cost, while others add $100 to $400 more. If you do not opt for this feature, you may need to clean the unit manually if it becomes clogged.
If you shave in the shower, an anti-fog mirror may be beneficial when using the steam option at the same time. Anti-fog mirrors use an electrical current to heat the mirror and keep it clear when the room steams up. These mirrors start at $50 to $100 and require an electrician to install.
Bathrooms require a fan to meet building codes. Fans clear excess steam and humidity, removing it from your home to prevent mold, mildew, and water damage. Depending on the fan size, you may need to update it to accommodate your steam unit. Bathroom fans have an average cost of $250 to $500 installed.
The average cost to install a steam shower in a bathroom is $8,000 to $15,000, depending on the shower size and style.
Yes, steam showers are designed to function as a regular shower. This allows you to rinse at the end of your steam.
Yes, a steam shower must be fully enclosed. This means extending any glass doors or walls to the ceiling and keeping all surfaces non-porous and sealed.
You can add steam to an existing shower, but the walls need to be opened to install the generator, and a small hole is made in the shower surround to accommodate the steam pipe.
Yes, most steam showers are regular showers plumbed for steam. This allows you to rinse off after your steam.
No, saunas use dry heat, while steam showers use hot water vapor or steam. Steam showers are also plumbed for showering, while saunas have no plumbing.
The longest amount of time recommended for use in a steam shower is 20 minutes, with 10 to 15 minutes being recommended. Longer than this can result in dehydration, dizziness, or lightheadedness.