What is a steam bath?
in the UK, most of us are familiar with the concept of steam baths
thanks to the famous Roman spa in Bath, Somerset. Founded on the site
of Britain’s only natural hot spring, these impressive thermal
baths date back as far as 70 AD and have remained in use ever since,
cherished and preserved by each passing generation. Known for their
healing properties, such baths appeared across the Roman Empire at
the sites of natural geothermal springs, becoming important social
hubs during this era. Widely believed to have detoxifying properties,
these baths are rich in minerals and associated with the treatment of
various chest conditions and asthma, as well as skin complaints and
general fatigue. Nowadays, steam baths exist both in this traditional
format - particularly in geothermally active places like Iceland - as
well as more modern incarnations. Contemporary steam rooms will
either pump up naturally-heated waters from the ground, or use
artificially-heated water in glass rooms.
the difference between a steam bath and a sauna?
the traditional Finnish sauna is perhaps better known than the Roman steam bath, both function in
similar ways and are believed to have comparable health-giving
properties. There are, however, some distinct differences between the
two. Firstly, a sauna is heated by hot coals - or the relatively dry
steam created from these - whereas steam baths use hot water in a
confined space to generate similar conditions. Due to the high
humidity levels in a steam room, the temperatures reached are lower
than those in a sauna (40°C as opposed to 90°C), with longer vapour
sessions possible. Saunas tend to be constructed from natural
materials such as pine, cedar and aspen, with steam baths usually
tiled and glass fronted.
do I need for a steam bath at home?
you’re a big fan of spas and have the budget to build your own, here’s our simple guide to
getting started. We always recommend enlisting the help of an
experienced professional early in the process to avoid any common mistakes and keep you on the
right track. One of the most important things to get right is the
space in which you’re constructing the steam room. It needs to be
big enough to allow steam to flow effectively, and secure enough to
prevent heat escaping. There should be no additional heating devices
or ventilation systems, and the room should feature an enclosed
shower space. It’s also important to choose your seating carefully
- you’ll need enough space to stretch out comfortably, so make sure
you measure up beforehand. Finally, you’ll need to include a steam
generator with the option of an additional steam shower. This will
get your steam room up and running and should therefore be chosen
do I build a steam bath at home?
you’ve consulted with a professional and thoroughly planned your
project, it’s time to get started. As a rough guide, there are four
main components you’ll need to include before your steam bath takes
shape. The first is the basic enclosure in which the steam will be
contained. This will need to be suitably sturdy and lined with
appropriate materials in order to stop moisture or heat escaping.
Next up, you’ll need to select the right kind of tiles and flooring
- this will make a huge difference to your experience and determine
the overall quality of the steam bath. Thirdly, make sure you pick
the right surface materials for your steam room. Will it be tiled or
wood clad, for example? It’s also vital to pick the right kind of
door - no heat should escape and the surface should be easy to keep
clean. For this reason, glass is the most popular choice. Finally,
you’ll need to settle on the best steam generator and thermostat
for you. These can vary a lot both in price and quality, so make sure
you shop around and enlist the help of a professional.
much will a steam room cost me?
you’re ready to bite the bullet and build your own steam room,
you’ll be wondering how much the whole project will set you back.
Generally speaking, prices start from around £3,500 for a 2-person
acrylic steam room, rising to £7,000 for a modular tiled model. Of
course these costs will vary depending on the quality of the
materials, the labour involved and the completion time of the
project. And if you’re feeling super flush, there’s always the
option to go all out and invest in a luxury hammam for your home!