How to Build an Outdoor Steam Room

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Often found in gyms and spas, steam rooms are a hot, steam-filled room meant for recovery and relaxation. They're powered by a generator that, when filled with water, pumps steam into an enclosed space, releasing moisture in the air. Unlike saunas, steam rooms give off a wet heat that comes with several health benefits, including improved circulation, skin health, muscle and joint relaxation, stress reduction, and more.

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You can reap all of these benefits at home by building your own steam room. The moisture that a steam room releases could damage your walls if placed inside. So instead of renovating your bathroom to accommodate an indoor steam room, build yours outdoors.

Things You'll Need

How to Build an Outdoor Steam Room

1. Build or Purchase a Wooden Structure

You'll need four walls and a roof for your steam room. If you already have an empty structure in your backyard, like a garden shed or other outbuilding, you can use that. If not, you can build your own structure or purchase and put together a kit. The ceiling of your outdoor steam room should be sloped to allow moisture from the steam to condense and drip in a specific area instead of on top of your head. The structure should be tall enough for you (and whoever else will be using it) to stand up comfortably with a maximum height of 8 feet.

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2. Seal and Insulate the Steam Room

Seal the surfaces inside the steam room with sealant and insulate with an airtight and waterproof material — fiberglass or glazed ceramic tile will work well. These materials will prevent heat from escaping and protect the wood from moisture damage.

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3. Add a Bench and a Door

Build or purchase an outdoor bench for you to lounge in while you relax in your outdoor steam room. Angle the seat of the bench instead of building it flat so that the water can drain off of the bench and you can avoid a soggy seating area.

Attach a door to your steam room and install weatherstripping all around it to prevent heat and moisture from escaping the unit. It should be watertight, but it doesn't need to be airtight.

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Tip

If you decide to install a window in your outdoor steam room, make sure it's double-paned to minimize heat and moisture loss.

4. Add a Thermometer

Hang a thermometer in your DIY steam room and keep an eye on the temperature while in use. The ideal temperature of a steam room is between 110 and 114 degrees Fahrenheit, which is relatively low because of its high humidity levels. Strive to keep your steam room in this ideal temperature range or users could faint or burn themselves.

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5. Hook Up Plumbing and Electrical

Before you install your steam generator, make sure your outdoor steam room has access to plumbing and electricity. You'll need a water line that goes to the steam generator, a steam line that goes from the steam generator to the steam room itself, as well as a drain line going out of the generator. You'll also need a dedicated circuit breaker to power the generator.

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6. Install Steam Generator

Install a steam generator to complete your steam room. The size of your steam generator will depend on the size of your steam room and how much it will get used. Most manufacturers have helpful information on steam generator sizing on their products, which will help guide you to the right product.

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