Can Steam Showers Double as Regular Showers? Exploring the Versatility of Modern Bathing

Are you contemplating the idea of installing a steam shower in your home using a shower remodel specialist but wonder if it can serve as a regular shower too? 

Yes, a steam shower can be used as a regular shower. It combines the luxury of steam therapy with the functionality of a conventional shower, offering both therapeutic benefits and everyday practicality, albeit with higher installation and maintenance requirements.

This article dives deep into the concept of steam showers, exploring their versatility and functionality as regular showers. 

We'll cover everything from the basics of steam showers to their advantages, installation considerations, and maintenance, ensuring you make an informed decision for your home.

Understanding Steam Showers

A steam shower is a type of bathing system that creates a steam-filled environment within an enclosed space, offering a unique and luxurious showering experience. 

Unlike traditional showers, which primarily use water in their liquid form, steam showers utilize water vapor to create a warm and humid atmosphere. 

Here's an in-depth look at various aspects of steam showers:

How Steam Showers Work

  • Water Vapor Generation: A steam shower operates by heating water until it vaporizes. This is achieved through an electrically powered steam generator, which is usually installed in a location adjacent to the shower enclosure.

  • Steam Distribution: The steam is then piped into the enclosed shower area. Specialized shower enclosures are designed to contain the steam effectively.

  • Control Systems: Modern steam showers come with digital controls that allow users to adjust the temperature and duration of the steam. These controls may also include additional features like aromatherapy options or ambient lighting.

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Key Features

  • Enclosed Design: To prevent steam from escaping, steam showers are completely enclosed and sealed. This design is crucial for maintaining the right levels of humidity and heat within the shower space.

  • Seating Area: Many steam showers include a bench or seating area, enhancing the comfort of the user during longer steam sessions.

  • Thermostatic Controls: These ensure that the steam temperature remains consistent and safe, preventing scalding or overheating.

Installation Requirements

  • Space and Size: Steam showers require a sufficiently large and adequately sealed space to be effective.

  • Electrical and Plumbing: Proper electrical wiring and plumbing are essential for the steam generator and control systems.

  • Ventilation: Although steam showers are enclosed, proper ventilation in the bathroom is still important to handle the excess humidity and to maintain air quality.


  • Regular Cleaning: To prevent mold and mildew, regular cleaning of the shower enclosure is necessary.

  • Checking Seals and Components: Periodic checks on the door seals and steam generator components ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the steam shower.

Considerations Before Installing

  • Cost: The installation of a steam shower can be more expensive than a traditional shower due to the additional equipment and complexity of installation.

  • Water Usage: While steam showers use less water per minute than traditional showers, longer sessions can lead to comparable overall water use.

  • Energy Consumption: Operating a steam generator requires electricity, which can add to energy costs depending on the frequency of use.

  • Bathroom Suitability: Not every bathroom can accommodate a steam shower. Factors like size, existing plumbing, and ventilation must be considered.

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Can Steam Showers Double as Regular Showers? Comparing Steam Showers and Regular Showers

When considering upgrading your bathroom, understanding the differences between steam showers and regular showers is essential. 

Both have unique features and benefits, catering to different needs and preferences. 

Let's dive into a comparative analysis:

Functionality and Experience

  • Steam Showers: These are designed to provide a relaxing, spa-like experience. The primary function is to fill the enclosure with steam, offering therapeutic benefits such as muscle relaxation and improved skin health.

  • Regular Showers: Traditional showers focus on efficiency and practicality, providing a quick and refreshing way to cleanse the body. They offer various options, like adjustable showerheads, different water pressures, and patterns.

Installation and Space Requirements

  • Steam Showers: Require a fully enclosed and sealed area to contain the steam. They need additional components like a steam generator and digital controls, making the installation more complex and space-demanding.

  • Regular Showers: They are simpler in design and installation, typically requiring standard plumbing and a shower stall or tub. They are more versatile in fitting into various bathroom sizes and layouts.

Health and Wellness

  • Steam Showers: Known for their health benefits, steam showers can improve circulation, help with respiratory issues, and offer relaxation and stress relief. The humid environment is also beneficial for skin hydration.

  • Regular Showers: While they don't provide the same level of therapeutic benefits as steam showers, regular showers are effective for personal hygiene and invigorating the body and can be more suitable for a quick, energizing cleanse.

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Cost and Maintenance

  • Steam Showers: Generally, these are more expensive to install and maintain. The initial costs include the steam generator and a suitable enclosure. Maintenance involves regular cleaning to prevent mold and ensure the steam generator functions correctly.

  • Regular Showers: They are more cost-effective in terms of both installation and maintenance. Regular cleaning is required, but without the complexities involved in maintaining a steam system.

Water and Energy Usage

  • Steam Showers: Surprisingly, steam showers can be more water-efficient per session compared to long, traditional showers. However, they require electricity to generate steam, which can add to energy costs.

  • Regular Showers: These can vary in water usage depending on the flow rate of the showerhead and the duration of showers. They typically don't require additional energy beyond water heating.

Suitability and Preferences

  • Steam Showers: Ideal for those seeking a luxury, spa-like experience at home. They are suited for individuals looking for health and wellness benefits.

  • Regular Showers: More suitable for everyday, quick, and efficient bathing. They cater to a wide range of needs and are a practical choice for most households.

The choice between a steam shower and a regular shower depends on individual preferences, budget, health considerations, and available space. 

While steam showers offer a luxurious and therapeutic experience, regular showers provide practicality and efficiency. 

Understanding these differences helps in making an informed decision that best suits your lifestyle and bathing preferences.

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The Feasibility of Using a Steam Shower as a Regular Shower

When contemplating the addition of a steam shower to your home, a common question arises: Can a steam shower serve the dual purpose of being a regular shower as well? 

To answer this, we need to consider various aspects of functionality, practicality, and lifestyle needs.

Technical Compatibility

  • Dual Functionality: Many steam showers are designed to function both as a steam room and a regular shower. They come equipped with the standard features of a regular shower, including a showerhead and taps.

  • Water Heating Mechanism: Unlike conventional showers that directly use water from the heater, steam showers require a steam generator. This generator heats water to produce steam, but it doesn’t interfere with the ability to take a regular shower.

Practical Considerations

  • Space and Design: Steam showers require a sealed environment to keep the steam in. This design might feel different compared to the open feel of a standard shower. However, it doesn’t restrict the use of the shower for regular bathing.

  • Installation Space: Given that steam showers need more space for the steam generator and proper sealing, they might not be feasible in smaller bathrooms where space is a premium.

Maintenance and Upkeep

  • Regular Cleaning: Steam showers require more meticulous cleaning and maintenance. The presence of constant moisture and steam can lead to the growth of mold and mildew if not properly ventilated and cleaned.

  • Ventilation: Adequate ventilation is crucial in a steam shower to manage the high humidity levels. This is important not only for the maintenance of the shower itself but also for the overall health of the bathroom space.

Can Steam Showers Double as Regular Showers

User Experience

  • Relaxation vs. Efficiency: While a steam shower offers a relaxing and therapeutic experience, it might not be the go-to choice for someone seeking a quick and refreshing shower, primarily due to the time it takes to generate steam.

  • Adaptation: Users might need time to adapt to the enclosed nature of steam showers, especially if they are accustomed to more open shower spaces.

Cost and Energy Considerations

  • Initial Investment: Installing a steam shower is typically more expensive than a regular shower due to the additional components and installation requirements.

  • Operating Costs: The cost of running a steam generator can add to your energy bills. However, this is balanced against the potential water savings, as steam showers generally use less water.

Health and Safety

  • Health Benefits: For those seeking therapeutic benefits like improved circulation and muscle relaxation, a steam shower can be an excellent choice.

  • Safety Measures: It’s important to follow safety guidelines, like limiting the time spent in the steam to prevent overheating and ensuring the area is slip-resistant.

In summary, using a steam shower as a regular shower is certainly feasible. It offers the dual benefits of a standard shower and a therapeutic steam bath. 

However, this decision comes with considerations of space, cost, maintenance, and personal preferences. The suitability largely depends on your lifestyle, health needs, and how you prioritize the different aspects of the showering experience. 

While it provides the luxurious experience of a spa-like treatment, it requires more upkeep and a higher initial investment compared to a traditional shower setup. 

Therefore, it’s important to weigh these factors against your daily routines and preferences to determine if a steam shower is the right fit for your home.

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FAQs On Can Steam Showers Double as Regular Showers?

Can I install a steam shower in a small bathroom?

Yes, it's possible to install a steam shower in a small bathroom, but space considerations are crucial. Ensure there is enough room for the steam generator and a fully sealed enclosure. Consulting with a professional can help determine the feasibility based on your specific bathroom dimensions.

How much does it cost to install a steam shower compared to a regular shower?

The cost of installing a steam shower is generally higher than that of a regular shower. This is due to the additional components, like the steam generator, and the need for a sealed enclosure. The exact cost varies depending on the model, installation complexities, and bathroom modifications required.

Is a steam shower safe for children and elderly people?

Caution is advised when children or elderly people use a steam shower. The high temperatures and humidity can pose health risks, especially for individuals with certain medical conditions. It's recommended to consult a healthcare professional and always supervise children during use.

How often should a steam shower be cleaned to maintain hygiene?

Regular cleaning is essential for maintaining hygiene in a steam shower. It's recommended to clean it at least once a week to prevent mold and mildew buildup due to the high humidity levels. More frequent cleaning may be necessary, depending on usage.

Does a steam shower use more water and electricity than a regular shower?

Steam showers generally use less water than regular showers, especially if you take long showers. However, they do require electricity to generate steam, which can increase energy consumption depending on the frequency and duration of use.

Can You Use a Steam Shower as You Would a Normal Shower?

While steam showers can be used as regular showers, they come with their own set of requirements and considerations. 

They offer a unique and luxurious experience but require more attention in terms of installation, maintenance, and usage.

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Steam Showers Vs. Regular Showers

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About the author

Hi my name is Jeremy Maher. My wife, 2 kids and I went through Contractor Nightmares for 3 years straight.

Ben, Mark, and I teamed up to start Phoenix Home Remodeling to help homeowners remodel without the common contractor nightmares.

Learn more about Jeremy's expertise and topics he likes to write about on his author page.