If my TV is to be believed, everyone and their mother is doing a massive dream bathroom renovation as we speak. But if that last episode of Bang For Your Buck left you green with envy and your bank account white with fear, you might still be able to get the luxury bathroom remodel you want without having to sell off your firstborn. How? There are a lot of ways, but one of my favorite is the steam shower. Steam showers offer all the functionality of a whole-scale custom shower while totally eliminating all the major expenses that typically put such an upgrade out of reach.
In a “true” custom shower, you often have to build from the ground up, building a base for your shower, rerouting plumbing through your walls, widening drains, tiling, sealing, and then installing your fixtures. But pre-made steam showers like this ZA219 Steam Shower from Aston work differently. In the same way that a shower floor or shower wall is easier to install than a from-scratch tile job, so too can steam showers more or less just be plunked into place, even though they’re much larger and have much more extensive functionality.
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All Parts Included
In a custom shower, each and every component has to be purchased and installed separately. While some manufacturers offer whole shower systems, there’s a lot that goes into a complete custom shower, and often you have to buy all your different shower heads and body sprayers separately. And that doesn’t even include the added expense of procuring and installing a full steam bath system with built in lights and audio, let alone the cost of the shower doors or stone or glass tile. Steam showers like this ZA213 Shower are complete enclosures from top to bottom, with all of that already built in, often costing less than you’d pay for any of those components individually.
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Steam Showers Work With Your Existing Drain
Like a shower floor, shower pan, or shower wall, steam showers install directly into place a few inches above the floor, and are designed to fit standard “shower-sized” spaces so you won’t have to make any structural alterations to install one. They have a flexible hose that connects the bottom of the shower to your existing drain. If your current setup is water tight and reliable, installing a new steam shower is only very slightly more complicated than just setting it into place. Custom showers, on the other hand, often require not only new construction of a larger shower base plus tiling, they also typically demand a larger drain opening, requiring still more invasive and costly construction that you can skip completely by buying a pre-made steam shower like this ZA218 Shower.
Steam Showers Work With Your Existing Plumbing
This is one of the very most important pros of installing steam showers. Where custom showers require you to knock down walls and run plumbing to three sides of your enclosure, steam showers not only connect to your existing drain, but only require the single water input hookup that you already have for your existing shower or tub. The main shower head, hand held shower, rainfall shower head, steam generator, and body sprayers all connect to this single feed via the same kind of flexible hoses you’d find connected to a sink or toilet. Just screw them tight, and this Zaa216 Shower Bath gives you the same effect as a custom shower without any of the pricy demo or construction.
Not Just Easy – They’re Fast, Too
From front to back, top to bottom, start to finish, steam showers are less expensive than custom showers in just about every way. But that isn’t their only advantage. All that expensive construction that goes into a custom shower also takes time. Especially if you’re ripping out walls and floors, that’s the kind of construction that not only seems to last forever, but is also super invasive and disruptive. Having some dudes with a sledgehammer in your master bath every morning isn’t the epitome of romance, and while the end result might be stellar, the journey is rarely glamorous. Steam showers like this Zaa210 Shower do need to be professionally installed, but largely just as a layer of insurance against leaks or electrical problems. Beyond that, it’s not much more complicated than insert tab A into slot B, and doesn’t take a whole lot longer to assemble and instal than your average piece of Ikea furniture, making it a weekend project rather than a months-long process.
Reasonable Water Usage (?!)
This last bit is both a pro and a con. The main reason for building a custom shower is to have lots of water spraying at you from all directions whenever you step in your shower. In a traditional custom shower, that means many, many gallons of water per minute, requiring a larger water heater and expanded draining capabilities. Steam showers don’t require either, but that’s because they don’t put out quite as much water as a fully custom designed system would. Practically speaking, that means they put out maybe 6-10 gallons per minute as opposed to a custom shower that would do half again as much or even double that amount or more. That means that without expensive adjustments, you might not be able to have the same number of shower heads or sprayers on at the same time, or that they won’t have quite the same pressure as a custom shower. That said, what something like this ZA209 Shower lacks in water quantity, it makes up in quality of variety, offering fully 30 adjustable sprayer jets in addition to the standard plethora of shower heads so you can get exactly the bathing experience you want… at a fraction of the start up and maintenance costs of a custom shower.
Low On Space? No Problem!
Perhaps Aston’s most genius application of the steam shower, though, is the steam shower/bath. Like the classic shower/tub combo, this provides the functionality of both a shower and a bathtub in the space of one, but with the added bonus of, you’ve got it, having a fully functional built in shower and steam bath system. So if your dream bathroom aspirations are limited not only by your budget but also by the size of your bathroom, never fear – this ZAA208 Shower Tub is not only a custom shower, steam bath, and tub… it’s also a jetted whirlpool, all in the footprint of a standard bathtub.
So take heart – not everything you see on HGTV is out of your reach. In fact, many of the most luxurious items can be found at surprisingly reasonable prices – you just have to know how to shop with some savvy! Do you love the idea of a pre-made steam showers, or are you holding out and building your budget to make one all your own? Do you love the luxury, or are you looking to get the health benefits of a steam bath without breaking the bank?
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