Steam shower Construction
I am building a steam shower an have had to sort through a lot of conflicting information on the web. I know many like kerdi or nobleseal but the inside membranes seem like extra cost, more pieces or strips to leak and more work to install (two layers of thinset). I am looking for feedback on my current plan.
I have an acrylic base and ceiling that are preformed and steam compatible so For the walls I am planning..
2x4 stud walls
pvc or cpe membrane over the 2x4 will go inside the lip of the acrylic ceiling and base sealed to the lip top and bottom
1/2 inch durock over the cpe or pvc membrane
unfortified thinset joints mid wall, but silicone joints between wall panels and between walls and ceiling /base to allow for expansion.
unfortified thinset and grout to adhere my tile with white silicone at ceiling/base and wall junction to allow for expansion.
Based on what I have read having the vapor/moisture barrier outside the enclosure is ok as long as the thinset and grout are not latex modified as this would trap moisture beneath the tile.
Steam Shower Construction - what to look out for
I went out last weekend and visited this failing steam shower. The shower was poorly designed and constructed. With a little effort on the tile crew, builder and plumber this client could be enjoying a weekend steam instead of researching ways of replacing the drain and repositioning the steam head location. I'm not sure at what point the crew above said "%^&* it" and carried on with the build - but unless your careful and plan properly you could have a steam shower that doesn't work and no recourse to have it fixed.
This steam shower the second I've seen on the North Shore that failed in under a year. Buyer beware in Vancouver there is no "Steam Shower Inspection" and you are not required to manage the steam shower's vapour. You need only follow the TTMAC or TCNA if you want your shower to last and your new steam shower spa not to ruin your home. Building a steam shower in Vancouver like many major cities in North America is a very simple procedure. The sad fact is that there is little information or codes to follow.
Your best bet is to tell your builder, your plumber and your tile crew that you want all TTMAC, TCNA or ANSI specifications met for your new steam shower build. Here in Vancouver we build them this way on every job. The TTMAC specifies the use of a modified thin-set in steam shower construction so this means you will need a topical membrane other than Kerdi to build a steam shower and meet the TTMAC steam shower requirements - Noble Seal TS is a better product for steam showers and has a perm rating of 0.05 far exceeding the Perm rating requirement of 1.0.
I have learned from my Ardex rep that they work closely with Kerdi over seas and they have a letter on file from Schluter allowing the use of Ardex's modified thin sets with a Kerdi install. If I where to build a Kerdi Steam shower here in Vancouver I would use the Ardex setting materials and insure that the seams of Kerdi are sealed with Kerdi Fix instead of thin set. I did follow up with Schluter's top tech and he informs me that the "Verbage" in the TTMAC will be updated soon to included reference to following the manufactures guidelines - this will open the doors to using non-modifed thin set in a steam shower here in Canada. The current TTMAC guidelines do require a modified thin set.
Steam Shower Check List: What you need to know!
Here in Canada a modified thin-set is required for a steam showers. If you using durock or concrete board your vapour barrier goes behind the backer board then you tape your seams. If you take this approach Laticrete's Hydro Ban is an excellent product to increase the performance of the showers assembly.
Originally Posted by dradam
I prefer topical sheet membranes in steam showers. Products like Kerdi, Noble Seal TS and Wedi are good options. Since Kerdi requires a dry-set mortar you might look into Ardex's setting materials in conjunction with a Kerdi or Kerdi Board install. Ardex does offer a warranty with this "Hybrid" install of modified thin set over Kerdi both in front and behind I'm told.
You can also use Redguard as a liquid topical membrane but custom wants a 45 mil coverage. Below is a link to their cross section. I'm not sure why they show a void in the membrane and I plan to look more closely into this diagram.
Other than the missing vapour barrier in the ceiling this is a good cross section. Red Guard needs a thickness of 45 mil before it's ready for tile. That is nearly 5 coats with a brush.
When building your steam shower make sure you work on a Steam Shower Check List. AS you research the facts start a list so later you can refer back to it and include it as part of the scope of work for your builder. My steam shower check list is almost ready. Send me an email if you want to see the draft form.
Steam Shower Construction - False Creek Vancouver
We started a new steam shower and the construction is happening as we speak. Yesterday I met with the plumber and framer and we went over the layout. As with any job lay out is key. A steam shower has numerous elements and factors to consider. Often a tile layout and lighting plan should be done first so any framing modifications can take place.
This project will be powered by a ThermaSol Pro Series steam unit and will be equipped with both sound and light. I can not wait to hear the tunes cranking out in this new steam shower. Not only that the client insisted that all of us try it out when it's done! I love that and will take her up on her offer later next month. You don't need to ask me twice and our last steam project (also a ThermaSol) the client invited me down for a steam as well! The ThermaSol steam units start up fast and I found the steam shower experience amazing - Wish I had one. :(
Coming home from a long day working outside I think a quick steam would help thaw out those cold bones when working in Vancouver's damp raining days.
This current job is for a client with mobility issues so grab bars and safety took center stage. We will build a low curb and use a linear drain so the footing is as safe as possible and we are designing the unit to be easy to enter if the client one day is confined to a wheel chair. Once safety was considered the service of the steam unit was the next priority. We have lots of room in the Laundry room and will place the steamer unit above the washing machine and the ThermaSol drain pan will tied into the Laundry waste line.
Flushing a steam unit is important and required to keep them in good working order. The ThermaSol system self flushes and this process uses the actual steam line to do so. You need to have paid those bi-yearly bills to a plumber year after year to understand how clever this design is. Since the ThermaSol unit does this itself the unit works amazing. No wonder they come with the best warranty in the business.