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Unread 10-19-2012, 01:33 PM   #1
evanwellens
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Steam Shower Advice

I know there's lots of content here , and I've searched , but still haven't found a few details I was hoping someone might have some advice on. Going to put in a steam shower and probably use Ditra or Kerdi board for water proofing. Question is travertine a decent choice for a steam shower ? I like the look but wondered if it was porous enough to cause issues. Also the Kerdi handbook specifies any backer ( if I go ditra for cost effectiveness ) , but I've read here Gypsum is not acceptable. What would you guys recommend ? Thanks in advance , and AWESOME site , so glad I found it !!
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Unread 10-19-2012, 05:18 PM   #2
Celtstone Surfaces
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Travertine will be fine.
Do you have a photo of the tile you can post?
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Unread 10-20-2012, 11:11 AM   #3
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Evan,

I make it my standard practice to talk customers out of travertine in any wet area, especially a steam shower. Not my first choice for a few reasons;

1- you'll need a larger steam generator
2- The maintenance will be much higher
3- It will loose its sheen in a few weeks
4- there are many porcelain look-a-likes that are so good you can't tell the difference.

Use cement board only as a backer for a steam shower unless you are using kerdi board.

Have you read Wendy's thread? Make a pot of coffee. Its good reading. Very informative.
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Unread 10-20-2012, 12:49 PM   #4
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I would rather use the trav over anything.
Nothing compares to natural stone.
Also you can create your own bullnose or whatever profile you want.
Instead of buying over priced porcelain bullnose.

Porcelain has PRE determined edges as travertine is normally cut square with no profile. Giving you less waste, better cuts, and more versatile options in layout.

Where you can cut a price of stone into what sizes you want.

Porcalian has to be purchased in the size available.

Should I go on with the benifits of stone over porcelain?
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Unread 10-20-2012, 04:56 PM   #5
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With a through body porcelain you can make your own bullnoses in any shape you want. Besides if pre-sized tiles were such a problem we wouldn't make regular showers out of them.

Choose wisely grasshoppah
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Unread 10-20-2012, 08:07 PM   #6
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Lets put it this way, I've never had anyone come back and say they wish they hadn't used porcelain, but I have had people who wish they hadn't used natural stone.

The real thing is beautiful, but porcelain has many advantages, especially in a shower.
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Unread 10-20-2012, 09:54 PM   #7
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Welcome, Evan.

You appear to have some confusion about Kerdi and Ditra there. Have you got those sorted out, or do we need to address that?

For the record, I would not use Travertine in a shower for which I had primary cleaning responsibility.
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Unread 10-22-2012, 11:09 AM   #8
evanwellens
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re :Steam Shower Advice

Ok after reading the comments from you guys, I'm not feeling so sold travetine, especially if it's going to be high maintenance or complicate things more than they already are.

My other issue is I'm still not certain about about the proper backing for Ditra in a steam shower. I've asked friends who are contractors , but they just tell me not to put in a steam shower in which case use cement backer and a vapor barrier, but I really really want one. A water proof one would be even better ;-)
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Unread 10-22-2012, 11:14 AM   #9
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Evan, if you're gonna build a steam shower, you must have a vapor barrier. That's a membrane with a perm rating of 1.0 or less. Kerdi qualifies under that criterion.

The manufacturer says you can build a Kerdi steam shower with gypsum board as your backing. I would not be comfortable doing that. I'd use a CBU for the backing material and cover it in Kerdi if that was my choice of vapor barrier material.

A steam shower built that way would certainly also be waterproof.

If you elect to build just a shower, rather than a steam shower, you do not require a vapor barrier at all, but the Kerdi would still be a good choice for your waterproofing material.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 10-22-2012, 10:49 PM   #10
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Evan -

Constructing a steam shower out of natural stone provides for fantastic bathing environments.

As with every steam room, it is the wall material that absorbs heat from vapor as the enclosure warms. Travertine warms slowly and persistently, creating a well-balanced steam bath experience.

When the steam generator is sized properly, you can expect a dense mist (fog) and comfortable environment warm-up...the characteristics most every steam bather desires.

Keep the HEAT on!

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Unread 10-23-2012, 10:00 AM   #11
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I see Paul already mentioned my thread. I tried to make it as informative as possible, to show (mistakes and all) how someone who's never done a bathroom before can put in a decent master with a steam shower that will hopefully stand the test of time. Kerdi goes a long way toward making the process DIY-friendly.

I'd avoid the natural stone. Like Paul said, you'll have a bigger power bill because you'll need a larger generator for the space. It has to do with the thermal characteristics of stone that Dave mentions. Slow even heat probably works great in a spa where the steam is on all day, but I generally take 20 minute steams, after a 10 minute warm up for the room. Even porcelain walls don't get hot in that amount of time (which is why I have a towel for sitting upon). Stone would be worse. And harder to clean.
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