Creating a Steam Shower

Reference Number: KB-02820
Last Modified: November 2, 2018

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I need to create a steam shower in a bathroom and I need to make the walls vapor-resistant. Is there a way to design this in my software?

Interior bathroom with glass walled steam shower


In Chief Architect, it's easy to setup a custom wall type for rooms such as a steam shower. In this article we will show you how to define a vapor-resistant wall type and create a steam shower, also known as a steam stall with a sloped ceiling.

A vapor-resistant wall needs to at least meet the following criteria in the most common cases;

  • A surface layer of tile.
  • A layer of thinset mortar.
  • Cement Backer Board with mesh taped seams.
  • Vapor barrier.
  • Stud framing.
  • Drywall.

The wall type shown in this article is based on the common structure for a wall of this type. It is always best to refer to the building codes in your area for the correct structure of a vapor-resistant wall.

To define the Wall Type

  1. Click Build> Wall> Define Wall Types .

  2. In the Wall Type Definitions dialog, click the New button to create a new wall type.

  3. Give your wall a new name and insert 5 more layers. We will call this wall Steam Shower - Interior.

    Define the wall layers as follows:

    • Exterior Layers
      • Layer 1: 1/2in. thick Drywall.

    • Main Layers
      • Layer 2: 5 1/2in. Framing.

    • Interior Layers
      • Layer 3: 1/16in. Vapor Barrier.
      • Layer 4: 1/4in. Backerboard.
      • Layer 5: 1/4in. Thinset Mortar.
      • Layer 6: 1/4in. Tile.

  4. Repeat the process above but name the second wall Steam Shower - Exterior and change Layer 1 to an external siding material of your choosing.

You are now ready to draw your bathroom and steam shower. In this example, start with the standard default wall tools, then change the walls to the new vapor-resistant wall type.

If you have already designed a bathroom using the standard wall tools, then you can follow the portion on changing the wall type.

Note: You may receive the following warning for the Steam Shower - Interior type:

"The wall layers just defined have drywall on the exterior of what appears to be an exterior wall. Are these layers defined correctly? The exterior layer should be at the top of the diagram."

This simply means that the program sees the wall type created contains characteristics of an exterior wall, which would not typically have the exterior layer to be made of drywall. You can safely click OK and continue with the rest of this article.

First, define the exterior walls of the bathroom and then add a steam shower with a different wall type.

To draw the steam shower

  1. Click Build> Wall> Straight Exterior Wall .

  2. Draw a basic box room like the one below:

  3. Using the Select Objects  tool select the room and click Open Object .

  4. In the Room Specification dialog change the Room Type to Bath.

  5. Now click Build> Wall> Straight Interior Wall  and add two more walls in the corner.

  6. With the Select Objects  tool, hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard and select both the interior walls you just drew.

  7. Click Open Object  and switch to the Wall Types panel of the Wall Specification dialog.

  8. Use the Wall Type pull-down menu change the wall type to Glass Shower and then click OK.

  9. Repeat this process to change the remaining walls to our new vapor-resistant wall types:

    The left, vertical wall will be Steam Shower - Exterior and the rest will be Steam Shower - Interior.

  10. Now position your walls so they look like the room below.

The steam shower is nearly complete. Now it's time to insert a sloped ceiling and floor drain.

To slope the ceiling

Steam Stalls require a sloped ceiling to prevent condensation build up. To slope the ceiling, we will use the Ceiling Plane  tool to draw a sloped ceiling and control it's pitch.

  1. Click Build> Roof> Ceiling Plane .

  2. Now, left-click and drag the baseline along the back edge of the shower. Then release the mouse button and bring the ceiling plane down to the inside edge of the front wall and left click once more.

  3. Select the ceiling plane and click Open Object .

  4. In the Ceiling Plane Specification dialog, place the radio button in the Lock Inside Bottom Height option and change the Lock Pitch to 1" in 12" or 4.76° and click OK.

  5. Select the steam shower room, click on the Open Object  edit button, and on the Structure panel of the Room Specification dialog, uncheck the  Ceiling Over This Room checkbox.

To define the floor

  1. Open the Room Specification dialog for the steam shower if it is not still open.

  2. On the structure panel, click the Edit button next to Floor Finish (K).

  3. Use the Delete button to remove all the floor finish layers from this room. 

  4. Click OK on both the Floor Finish Definition and Room Specification dialogs.

  5. Navigate to View> Library Browser   and browse to Chief Architect Core Catalogs> Architectural> Fixtures> Showers> Shower Pans and choose the Square Shower Pan option.

  6. Click in the plan to insert the shower pan and resize it to fit the bottom of our steam shower.

  7. Select the shower pan and click Open Object .

  8. Change the height of the pan to 1/2" and click OK.

Now, as an optional last step, you can open the steam shower's Room Specification dialog and remove the default base molding from the Moldings panel.

The steam shower is now complete. The desired door style and other finishing touches can now be added.