The Way to Pick Tile for a Steam Shower

29 Dec

The Way to Pick Tile for a Steam Shower

Steam is significantly more invasive than plain water, thus a steam shower requires more care to build than the average shower. There’s far more to the equation than simply including a steam generator and control pad. Building a steam shower calls for a new and complete system — from the drain to the ceilings to the sort of tile selected — that functions and functions as one.

Some towns have no specific construction code for steam showers, no particular inspections on vapor management and no safety net for your end user. Working with a proficient shower builder and following the recommendations in the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) or the Terrazzo, Tile and Marble Association of Canada (TTMAC) can help ensure that the steam shower provides you long years of service. Building a steam shower using regular construction methods can actually affect a family’s home and wellbeing.

Picking tile is an significant part this process. Follow these 10 tips to help make your steam shower safe, beautiful and functional.

Carolina V. Gentry, RID

The world’s finest hammams (Turkish for steam tub) all appear to have smaller tiles. I have been researching them for weeks and have yet to find out why this is, but when the wheel is not broken, don’t fix it.

There’s plenty of warmth and moisture in any steam shower, needless to say, and little tile in these world class hammams may help with growth and contraction.

Tip: Search for a paper- or film-faced glass tile. This will let you get at least 95% contact in the tile to the setting material on the rear side of the tile.

If your steam bath has light such as this ThermaSol Pro Series, a lighter tile color will cast and reflect more light. The end result is very amazing and very relaxing. This mild system also has audio and connects via Bluetooth to any mobile device.

Tip: Strategy for service access through rainheads or fan locations to get a more hidden look on your completed steam shower. You don’t want to cut into a ceiling years down the road to change a lightbulb.

Lori Dennis, ASID, LEED AP

This his-and-hers steam shower is a superb escape. If space permits, plan an oversize bench so you can sit down and unwind in style.

Solid stone or composite stone is usually the most comfortable choice to sit or lie on. Deciding on this first may help you narrow down your tile selection.

Tip: Many of those tile choices demand a distinctive setting material, such as tile cement or mortar, so make sure your steam shower was created with this in mind.

This large-format ceramic tile offers great traction underfoot, but not all of ceramic tiles do. Start looking for a tile with a good slip resistance rating (A or B is best). Keep in mind that tile grip is harder to wash, so darker tile will appear cleaner for more.

Tip: If you are intending this particular shower for someone with impaired eyesight, do not include inlays or accent tile into the floor — those can look like measures and result in a fall.

Markay Johnson Construction

Curved ceilings require tile. This steam shower is one of my favorites on . I love the glass panel, slab seat and curved ceiling.

Remember that shower floors will need to be presloped before waterproofing to make certain that any moisture that gets beneath the tile can drain. Before starts, this need to be assessed using a flood or leak evaluation.

Tip: Ask your builder to get a 72-hour flood evaluation. You’ll find much more attention to detail out of your tile crew should they know their job will be assessed for a period of 72 hours versus 15 minutes.

Holger hoos design

This ceramic tile offers up all the style of marble without the probability of mineral deposits ruining the final look. Porcelain tile can be more durable than natural stone and can be a thought if wall-hung, fold-down benches will be used.

Tip: Plan the design your benches so that you won’t sit directly with the steam head on your shower.

Narofsky Architecture + ways2design

This white ceramic tile is one of my favorite choices for a steam shower. Using an easy and functional tile such as this can stretch your budget and permit you to afford nicer shower fixtures or another feature.

Tip: It is quite easy to find fantastic deals on small lots of tile — utilize a white tile for a foundation, and you can splurge on accent tile somewhere else in the steamer or the toilet.


Natural stone should not be your first option at a steam shower, but the appearance and feel of stone is so attractive that it can be hard to pass up.

Do your homework and only purchase your stone from suppliers with long histories using their exporter. The installation of slabs in a steam shower is quite catchy and best left to the experts.

Tip: make certain your drain line is sized properly if the shower will get multiple showerheads. A 2-inch drain generally is not enough for over one showerhead.

Stonebreaker Builders & Remodelers

A little glass tile at a good color like this is a smart-looking alternative. Steer clear of clear glass tiles that might look fogged up if water gets trapped behind them.

It’s up to the manufacturer of any glass tile to recommend the suitable setting materials for installation. This is a business principle and encouraged from the TCNA.

Tip: When working on a shower floor or steam shower project, avoid tile using a mesh backer on it. Most aren’t rated for underwater use and can be a risky alternative.

David Johnston Architects

Ceiling tile in steam showers should be tilted at two inches per foot (or more) to prevent water from dripping on the consumers.

Tip: in case you opt to have flat ceilings, maintain a squeegee on your shower for knocking off the water droplets hanging from the ceiling.

What kind of tile do you have on your steam shower? Let us know in the Comments!


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