Can You Use Your Shower as a Sauna? (Pros, Cons, and Advice)

With a busy schedule or an uneven work-life balance, getting to a spa to relieve the mounting stress, aches and pains might seem out of reach. But what if there was a way to achieve such relaxation from the comfort of your home? 

Your home bathroom can be converted into a sauna – for a price. A regular shower that meets the necessary requirements can be converted into an infrared sauna for about $2000. A complex install for a steam shower can run upwards of $15,000. For a quick, easy, and affordable steam room, seal your bathroom enclosure to ensure the moist air builds up.

Read on to learn about the requirements for turning your bathroom into a sauna, plus the pros, cons, and costs of each available option. 

Can you turn a regular shower into a sauna?

Planning to place a sauna in your home and considering the best possible location? When it comes to saunas, you can install them either indoor or outdoor, with infrared saunas and electric saunas being better suited for indoors.

Since it’s recommended that you shower before and after your sauna session, the bathroom may seem like an ideal location for your new sauna installation.

The installation of a sauna – even in a room that is already set up for water and steam – can be rather pricey. The amount spent on a sauna is based on a combination of the type of sauna (whether or not it is prefabricated), the enhancements that are needed for the room to be compatible with a sauna, and any fees for professionals. 

Installation of saunas can be tackled as a do-it-yourself project, however, when it comes to the wiring for the heat source it is recommended that an electrician do the work. If you are opting for a steam room or steam shower, then you will need a plumber to assist with a water line to and from the steam generator. 

Taking all of that into account, a sauna or steam shower can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 or higher with special add-ons.

While the installation of a permanent sauna can be pricey, this type of modification to your bathroom will increase the value of your home. 

How to turn a regular shower into a steam room

Turning a regular shower into a steam room is more than possible. And for many, it is the most feasible choice when exploring sauna options. It is feasible because it can be done without expensive professionals or kits.

Steam is a v0apor of water or basically, moist heat. Therefore, the concern in turning a regular bathroom into a steam room lies with the production or growth of mold from the steam build-up. To alleviate this concern, you should make sure your bathroom and the surrounding area have good ventilation to absorb the steam after your steaming session.

According to one article, the steps of turning the regular shower area into a simple, steam room are very straightforward.

To turn your shower into a steam room:

  1. Use a towel to seal every crevice that air can escape or enter through.
  2. Turn on the hot water faucet of both the sink and the shower/tub.
  3. Allow the steam to build.
  4. Sit on the toilet or any comfortable area away from the running hot water.
  5. Relax and enjoy.

How to convert a regular shower into a steam shower

If you are considering converting your shower into a steam shower, you are probably wondering if you can use your existing shower, or do you need to remove and replace the shower?

For a shower to be considered a steam shower, it must meet several requirements. The most important of those requirements is that the shower is an enclosure that is completely sealed and that it is no higher than eight feet high.

Oftentimes a regular shower is replaced by a steam shower in order to obtain the ultimate result of a steam room. In order to do so, it is highly recommended that a plumber and an electrician participate in this process.

The plumber will create a line for water to travel to the generator and from the generator to the shower. The generator will heat the water to 120°F. Then the water will come out of the steam shower head as steam. 

The electrician will do the wiring needed for the steam generator and the control panel, making it easy for the user to activate the steam shower with the touch of a button. 

For a steam shower, you will need:

  • A sloped ceiling of eight feet high
  • A sealed enclosure
  • A steam generator
  • A bench

The current specifications of your bathroom will determine the amount of work to be done to install your steam shower.

As steam poses a mold risk, the bathroom you use will need to be insulated and the paint should be mold-resistant paint. If you have multiple bathrooms, the smaller bathroom would heat faster and remain hot for a longer period of time. 

It is estimated that this installation should cost between $5,000 and $12,000. A portion of this cost is from the steam generator itself which has a price range between $1,000 to $4,000. 

Sauna shower kits

A sauna shower kit is a prefabricated sauna shower that can be purchased. When using the kit, you would need to provide the correct specifications of the room the sauna shower is to be installed. 

Even with the use of a kit, you still need to ensure that the wiring and plumbing are suitable for a sauna. 

Sauna shower kits themselves have a price range of $3,000 to $4,500.

What about sauna shower combos?

As the name suggests, a sauna shower combo is a sauna steam shower with regular shower functionalities.

With this combination, you can replace your regular shower and get an all-in-one sauna experience. Depending on your expectations and upgrade requirements, a steam shower combination can cost between $4,000 to $15,000. 

Options and specifications to consider are occupancy, seating, aromatherapy, lighting, massage jets, etc.

How to convert a regular shower into an infrared sauna

What if you are not too keen on steaming in your bathroom and would prefer to stick with an infrared sauna? Is it possible to convert a regular shower into an infrared sauna?

An infrared sauna can be placed anywhere as long as the general requirements for that specific sauna are met. As with steam showers, this type of bathroom sauna requires proper spacing and enclosures that can withstand heat (therefore, no plastic material).

There is a shower sauna conversion kit that costs about $2,000 for this exact purpose. The kit comes with: 

  • An infrared sauna panel
  • Sauna curtains and rods
  • Basswood sauna stool
  • Pedestal for the sauna panel

Adding a sauna to a bathroom

Part of a post sauna routine includes rinsing off. Therefore, adding a sauna to a bathroom can be a very good idea. The size of the sauna that you add will be dependent on the space you have available. 

No matter the type of sauna your choose, you will require a power source. For the 120-volt infrared heater. If the sauna is a dry sauna, then the requirement is a 220-volt electrical hookup for the heater. 

Check out this video for an idea of what you can achieve when adding a sauna to you bathroom.

Bathroom with sauna floorplan

As with any sauna installation, the layout relies heavily on where you plan on placing the sauna and how many people the sauna will accommodate.