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Topic: Best materials for foggy steam/shower  (Read 9760 times)
WeWantFog
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« on: November 12, 2013, 08:54:38 PM »

We are building a steam/shower room in our house in Mexico.  The construction of the house is bricks covered with concrete and plaster.  Two of the steam/shower room walls already exist, so that is their construction.  We are adding two walls of glass brick.  The exterior wall will be glass brick with a door in it.  One interior wall will also be glass brick with a door.  The height of the ceiling is yet to be determined (somewhere we got the notion that 7' is ideal), but the construction of it will be brick/concrete/plaster.  We are planning on painting the concrete, but we could tile it if that would give us better results.  The existing floor space is 6.5' x 8.5', making about 11 cubic meters if we settle on a 7' foot ceiling height.  The current ceiling has a lot of angles, but is quite high... about 12 feet.  We'll have some storage space above.

Ideally our steam/shower room will get comfortably warm and have lots of thick, rich, dense fog.  I realize that steam can be defined as hot, moist, clear air and that that is what some people strive for.  Not us.  We want fog, warm fog. 

I have read here that the amount of fog depends on the steam entering the room and contacting a cooler environment.

I'm wondering if the brick/concrete/plaster/(& possibly tile) walls will be good heat absorbers like natural stone.  I'm wondering if the glass brick will pass heat and help keep a cool enough temperature to help create and keep fog.  I'm wondering what an ideal ceiling height would be for a steam/shower room to maximize the fog.  I'm wondering if it would be better for us to undersize or oversize the unit, just based on cubic meters.  At 11 cubic meters we have a choice of 10 or 15 cubic meter propane-powered steam generators.  They also go much higher, but I'm thinking that we may want the smaller unit.  We're not looking for heat so much as fog.  We're not interested in heating the room to 105 or 110 in 20 minutes or anything like that.  The climate here is temperate year-round, not too hot in the summer and not too cold in the winter.  We have no heating or cooling in the house.

Thank you for any thoughts or information.

Paul
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WeWantFog
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2013, 09:06:17 PM »

Another thought:  Perhaps we want a long pipe run to the steam/shower room as well, to begin to cool the steam into fogginess before it gets to the room...  I had always assumed the the shorter the pipe run the better, but perhaps I'm wrong.  The unit will be located close to the steam/shower room.  We could even run the steam pipe in concrete for 6 feet or so before it enters the room.  Maybe that would be a good thing to help dissipate some heat before the steam/fog hits the room.

Paul
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Bernard
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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2013, 08:03:21 AM »

Thank you for the great questions on your prospective steam shower, Paul.

So the goal is for wet, rich, thick and dense fog...and little heat.  Here's how to get it done!

Vapor emissions (steam) from a 'quality' steam bath generator enter the room with latent heat.  This heat is extracted from the vapor by cool air and heat absorbent surface materials.  In simple terms, as this heat escapes, the vapor thickens leaving exactly what you desire...cool mist.  So concrete is the perfect material for your desired bath as it absorbs heat well.

As for the steam line run, so long as it does not have a trap and it is under 30', it will have little impact on your goals.

Now the room height is important.  Taller ceilings allow heat to rise and keep you cooler longer.  Eventually, the heat 'will' stack down and the temperature of the room will be a function of the steam bath generator's size and the length of time it runs.  'Do' slope the ceiling (2' per foot) as in cooler rooms, water droplets will form and eventually rain down.  Both concrete and ceramic tile are fine on the ceiling.  I suggest a ceiling height of around ten feet, however, I would prefer to size the generator for you once you have confirmed materials, exact room size and desired steam shower height.  Also, can you share more on the importance of temperature to this experience.

This will be a magnificent steam bath, Paul.  I am excited for you!
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WeWantFog
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2013, 03:46:36 PM »

Thanks for the input.  As it turns out, we need the space above to have a ventilation window.  So our ceiling will end up at 7'.  They started the destruction yesterday.  It's quite exciting.  The Spanish word for "dust" is "polvo", in case you were wondering.  We have LOTS... chisels, bricks, concrete, tiles... eek.

Paul
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WeWantFog
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2013, 07:16:45 PM »


State of the project 24 November 2013
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WeWantFog
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2013, 04:32:11 PM »


Putting in the ceiling.  If it turns out that the low ceiling doesn't work for our fog obsession maybe we could take it out and just use the vaulted ceiling.  Certainly there'd be no trouble with droplets!  Also I don't think the window would hurt anything either, considering that we want fog more than heat.  We'll see.  Anyway, things are progressing.  Runs for the shower pipes have been chiseled into the brick (Mexican workers are amazing!), once the pipes are run everything will get a nice thick coat of concrete, then it's paint, fire up the generator and see what happens.  Another 3 or 4 weeks I'm thinking.
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WeWantFog
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Posts: 9



« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2013, 10:16:57 PM »


Coming along.  Ceiling and floor are in and lots and lots of concrete.  I'm optimistic about all the concrete sucking up the heat and leaving vapor.  I love glas s brick and the two glas s brick walls are beginning to be formed.  The door guy was out today talking about aluminum frame steam room doors.
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WeWantFog
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2013, 06:30:46 PM »

All is lost at the moment.  They guys doing the glas s block were clueless.  Work will stop.  Confronting contractor in the morning.  Eeek!
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WeWantFog
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2014, 12:28:51 PM »

Moving along again.  New guys for the glas s block.  Plumber is connecting the generator.  Thinking about how to protect it from the elements.  Still clueless about steam doors...

Paul
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WeWantFog
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« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2014, 12:28:44 AM »

We are certainly beyond the (fired) contractor's initial November 22 estimate of 2 - 3 weeks!  But it's coming along.

One thing that seems really interesting is the propane-fired steam generator.   This is our 4th steam room (in our 4th house - not that we own 4 houses; we leave a trail of steam rooms behind us as we sell and move), but all the others were electric.  I don't know if it's a general trend, but the electric ones (all Mr. Steam) had 3/4" steam outlets and the steam came out under a fair amount of pressure with a fair amount of noise.  This propane job (Delta brand) has an inch and 1/4" steam outlet and the steam just seems to float quietly out of the pipe.  We've only tested it a couple of times for a few minutes each time since the steam room itself is not quite done, but it looks very hopeful at this time. 

The painter almost finished today, the major thing left for the steam room itself is doors - one to the outside and one to the inside.  We may just hang some plastic over the openings because we won't be able to wait to try it out.  We're still up in the air about what to decide about doors from the meager selections available here.  Also the door openings are already very narrow and we don't want to make them any narrower than we have to.  AND the door to the outside has to be insect-proof. 

Paul
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