How to Remodel a Steam Shower

Any enclosed shower can be turned into a steam shower with the addition of steam heaters inside the bathtub enclosure. This provides a sauna-type expertise along with a shower cleaning. Even though steam showers are built to last a life, over time you might need something different. Knowing how to remodel a steam shower properly can allow you to work your way into the new setup using a lower budget whilst investing less time.

Quick Fix

If all you are seeking to do is turn the steam bathtub into a normal shower whilst getting rid of the steam generators poking out of the wall, then there is a simple solution, provided you have access into the wall behind the bathtub. For best results, access the rear wall of the bathtub from another room, including a closet or bedroom or whichever space the bathtub abuts. Eliminate the drywall from the adjacent room’s wall to access the rear side of the steam generators. It’s cheaper to replace a section of drywall than it would be to eliminate a tile wall. Then disconnect the generators and slide them out, leaving behind the holes, which you cover with stainless steel caps pasted in place. In the event of smaller holes (1/2 inch or smaller), then fill the hole with an epoxy which matches the shade of your bathtub.

Removing Current Material

With full remodel projects, there is one reality: That which goes. When it’s wall planks, cultured marble, natural granite slabs, ceramic tile or tumbled marble tiles, they all must come off the wall, and what’s stripped back to the wall studs and foundation shower pan. You can salvage the shower fittings to be used in the new bathtub, but eliminate them during demolition. Vinyl panels either peel off or unscrew, while slabs need the assistance of at least another individual to pry them from the wall and move them out of the way. The exact same holds for shingles. You can try to salvage as much of the existing stuff as you can, but you need to realize that a salvage job takes significantly more and requires far more effort than the usual straight-up demolition. Once the wall fabric is off the wall, then disconnect the wiring and pipes to the steam generators and eliminate them (they are generally screwed onto the wall studs), or abandon them in position if you are just changing the wall paneling.

Concrete Board

After everything is removed to the wall studs and the shower pan, cover the wall studs using a concrete board which matches the depth of the surrounding drywall that runs around the bathtub. For corner showers which don’t have a masonry department to match to, utilize the 1/2-inch concrete board stuff. Mount the sheets from the bottom up and utilize at least 1.5-inch screws, spread out each four inches, to hold up the sheets against the wall studs. Keep a space at least 1/8 inch wide between sheets in which they match to allow for expansion, and fill all of the transition points and inside corners and nail holes with silicone caulk once you finish. Boards are cut using a utility knife on straight cuts, or using a keyhole saw for cuts about pipes such as the fittings and steam generators. Keep in mind that not all finish setups need concrete board. Some, such as cultured marble or certain vinyl wall panels, may mount directly to the wall studs. If your finish stuff is wall-mounted, don’t bother installing the concrete board.

New Wall Material

Following the concrete board is set up, cover the walls with your chosen finish material to fill out the shower remodel. Vinyl Bath panels have been glued in place, as are granite slabs and sheet metals, while ceramic and natural stone tile installations have been embedded in a layer of thinset mortar troweled onto the surface. If your setup material calls for it, then be sure to tighten the surface of the concrete board according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure warranty coverage for the years ahead.

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