Composites – To cut costs many factories use a composite material, combining ABS on the inside with acrylic PMMA sheets on the outside. This creates a brittle product. Products that use this type of acrylic will have higher rates of shipping damage and typically have a noticeably bad finish.
Fibreglass and Reinforcement – Fiberglass is used to add strength and durability to acrylic. Typically a steel support frame is placed in areas that have a high potential for cracking and breaking. Cheaper manufactures will not use as many layers of fiberglass which makes the unit lighter and more breakable. All the manufactures of steam showers Bathroomgetaways carries have at least 4 layers of fiberglass backing making them the most durable steam showers on the market.
Free Floating Glass
Some manufacturer’s designs use free floating pieces of glass that are then placed in a aluminum frame and bolted in, then sealed. SSWW or Royal steam showers are one of these manufacturers. Through our experience these steam showers are not only more difficult to install but also are much harder to seal from leaks. Although some manufacturers still use this design it has become obsolete in recent years.
Sealed Glass Frames
A much better design of steam shower emerged at the end of 2007. This design style has individually sealed pieces of glass in an aluminum frame. This is not only a stronger design but also completely seals the unit. Since assemble the frame which is already holding the glass this method is quicker and also minimizes the use of silicone and other sealants.
Is It Tempered- Glass used in steam showers should be tempered. If it is not tempered glass do not buy the shower. Tempered glass is a safety glass similar to what is used in windshields. Instead of breaking into shards when broken it creates small round granules
Glass Thickness Glass thickness is one large determining factor in the overall quality of your steam shower. Most steam showers have 4-5 mm glass which is around 1/5 of an inch thick. The Oasis line of steam showers has a few showers that feature 8mm glass. This is slightly thicker than 1/3 of an inch and makes a huge difference in the quality of the shower. Some manufacturers claim they use 8mm glass but they do not. The difference in weight of the two glasses is huge. A 47 X 35 walk in shower with 5mm glass weighs in at about 530lbs. A steam shower featuring 8mm glass weighs in at around 775lbs. This reason alone is enough for most manufacturers to shy away from a thicker more durable glass.
The Water Flow / Testing
Pipe Clips – To minimize water leakage, stainless steel clips provide stronger and longer lasting protection to water leakage over the plastic clips used by some manufacturers. These clips should all be tightened prior to installing your steam shower, these tend to loosen themselves during shipping.
Valves – The flow, temperature control and water pressure within the shower will be valve controlled on most steam shower systems. The quality of the valves depends on the manufacturer. This is one thing to be sure to ask about before purchasing a steam shower.
Water Testing – Every steam shower carried by Bathroomgetaways.com is completely tested before leaving out warehouse. This means it has been assembled and hooked up to both water and electrical connections to ensure the complete unit is in working order prior to it leaving our facility.
Thermostatic Temperature Valve – A thermostatic mixing valve has a built-in anti-scald device. This comes standard on every steam shower offered by Bathroomgetaways.com. These valves will keep your water temperature constant. Some steam showers also have a safety switch on them to prevent younger bathers from using water that is too hot.