Do Showerdomes really work?

We installed one of these on our office shower. Does it work?

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Using the shower room at Consumer HQ wasn’t a pleasant experience. About the size of a walk-in wardrobe, the only source of ventilation was an underpowered extractor fan. As a result, even a quick shower generated a miasma of steam that fogged up the mirror and led to dripping walls.

To make matters worse, the room had a persistent musty smell and towels were rarely dry. Enough was enough. We got our hands on a Showerdome, a Kiwi-made clear acrylic lid for your shower that’s touted as a cure for mouldy bathrooms and foggy mirrors. We tested to see if it delivered mist-free mirrors.

Installation

Showerdomes are available from showerdome.co.nz, Mitre 10 and specialist bathroom stores. They’ll set you back $308 and professional installation costs about another $100. It claims to fit “most new and existing showers”, but this only covers shower cubicles. If you have an over-bath shower, you’re out of luck.

There are 13 sizes and shapes, including square, curved and triangular, from which to choose. All Showerdomes are blown to a height of 150mm, so check you have the space above your shower before buying one.

For installation, we took the DIY route. The range of sizes means you may not need to cut the dome to size, but our shower sits in an alcove so we had to trim 5mm from each side of our 1mx1m dome for it to fit. We used a jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade.

The Showerdome comes with support rails and there’s a good installation guide on the website. As recommended, we ran two strips of double-sided foam bonding tape down each rail, with a bead of clear polymer sealant between the strips, then stuck them to the shower walls with the aid of a spirit level. The dome then slides along these rails, which allows it to be removed easily for cleaning.

Unless you’re a reasonably confident DIY-er, we recommend professional installation as the rails need to be well-sealed to keep in the steam.

Does it work?

Yes. We measured the relative humidity (RH) in the shower room outside the cubicle before installation and found it rocketed from 50% to 80% in 30 seconds when our shower was running, nearing 100% within 3 minutes. Once installed, the Showerdome kept humidity in check, with the RH only reaching 70% at the end of a 10-minute shower. In other words, we had dry walls and a clear mirror.

The reason humidity kept creeping up even with the dome installed was, as with many showers, there was a small gap between the top of our door and the support rail. However, flapper seals are available that will plug this gap. We used a waste piece of acrylic from cutting the Showerdome as a makeshift seal, which resulted in the humidity barely increasing at all over the course of a 10-minute shower.

After a couple of months living with the Showerdome, the musty odour is gone and we find towels on the rail remain dry even if the shower’s already been used that morning.

The experience

The Showerdome’s design means water condenses on the edge of the dome rather than the apex, so water doesn’t drip on your head. Also, you may find you can set the water temperature lower as less heat goes up in steam.

In addition, installing a Showerdome may mean you no longer need to run your extractor fan or mirror demister, and you might not need to run your electric towel rail for as long. However, these types of appliances consume small amounts of energy so you’d be unlikely to notice huge savings. The manufacturer claims you can save water by turning off the shower while you soap up, wash and shampoo, because the cubicle stays warm. While we didn’t test this, we think it is optimistic.

Other options

Showerdomes aren’t the only way to put a lid on steam. A similar product called Steam Stopper, with a frosted roof resembling a geodesic dome, retails for $239. Bunnings sells a “Shower Crown” designed for Stein showers for $249. As these products use the same principle to contain steam, as long as they’re installed properly, they should be effective.


By George Block
Technical Writer




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Member comments

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Graham
28 Jun 2018
Don't need a dome

I used a flat piece of clear acrylic and it works fine. DIY https://youtu.be/KHRq3R7OORE and there are no drips from any edges. It's like a mirror after a shower. There's light condensation present which doesn't run down the mirror immediately.

Marco W.
02 Jun 2018
Shower dome

Definitely worth the investment. We had one put in from Bunnings years ago, lot less condensation, other then when you open the shower door. We also have a timed fan and heating rails installed at a later stage. We been always taught to stop water and to soap yourself, it's possible and still warm. I used to produce chlorine gas overseas, and the amount of chlorine in water here is nothing like it. In short a great investment for health and home.

Michele L.
12 Mar 2018
Chlorine inhalation

I have to wonder how comfortable people are who are using these domes and inhaling chlorine from the town water supply since it would be in the steam that is trapped under the dome and would surely be a health risk. If you had a filter on your home mains water supply this would not be an issue. Anyone who wants to do an online search for chlorine inhalation toxicity will find a lot of relevant information. Just something to keep in mind.

Jenny W.
12 Mar 2018
Showerdome

Had one for 5 yrs, other than keeping windows ajar, no other ventilation in bathroom. No damp smell, no mildew, mirror does not mist up. Wld definitely recommend them, the only (small) thing is, when you step out of the shower in the winter, you feel a little chilly! easily remedied with a bathroom heater.

Paul R.
10 Mar 2018
Cubicle Keeps Warm with Shower Off

I have previously commented on this article and can confirm quite categorically that the shower holds heat even though water not running. Have been doing this for approx 16 years and continue to do so.

S M W.
04 Dec 2017
Shower dome.

The shower dome does a brilliant job. Mould in my bathroom is no longer a problem. And yes, heat is retained so you can turn the water off and stay warm.One can also dry oneself in the shower on cold, frosty mornings.

Bryson C.
02 Dec 2017
Showerdome - one of our best buys

We’ve had a showerdome from when they first came to market. It saves hot water because the shower warms up faster and retains the warmth. Also because it does retain the heat, we tend to have much shorter showers. It saves on wiping down the ceiling and walls after each shower. The bathroom needs less repainting (previously repainting the bathroom every two or three years).
However, it pays to leave the shower closed immediately after getting out. By the time you’ve dried off and dressed the shower is cool enough to open to let it dry out. If left closed the shower will grow mould.

Paul R.
02 Dec 2017
Showerdome

On my third dome in third house and wouldn't be without it. I still use the extractor fan as some steam comes out when you open the shower door. Prior to installation a couple of weeks ago my bathroom was awash from ceiling to floor even with an efficient extractor fan operating. They should be made mandatory when a shower box is installed in a house. Dome comment that you can turn water off when soaping up works a treat and have been doing this for approx 16 years now. Must save a lot of water.

Janice L.
02 Dec 2017
Showerdome

Another of those simple solutions that have you thinking "why wasn't that thought of before"! (yes, I know they have been available for a while :-) )

Dave & Eileen
18 Nov 2017
Shower dome versus

Just a note of (sort of) Caution. Shower Domes and Shower Crowns are the same EXCEPT Shower Domes are clear and Shower Crowns say they are opaque but they are BLUE OPAQUE. I thought the blue was the protective film on the Shower Crown but the protective film is clear and the Crown is blue. I took it back to Bunnings and bought a Clear Shower Dome from Mitre 10 (which cost $20 more but the blue wasn't a good look)

Paul K.
23 Sep 2017
Excellent product.

It’s always nice to get a product that works as advertised. We have two Showerdomes professionally installed by the suppliers in ChCh. Brilliant, with steam and condensation in bathroom almost non existent. Very worthwhile.

James G.
19 Aug 2017
My 'shower dome' cost me $8- and I have one for over the bathtub too!

I used a sheet of coreflute (like cardboard but made of plastic so it doesn't absorb moisture). Cut to size, edges sealed with white electrical tape and sat on top of shower. I added additional door trim on the top of the door and 'hey presto' - a shower dome for a MUCH more reasonable cost.
No, it doesn't drip condensated water onto me.
No, it doesn't sag.
No, it isn't dark in there.
In one of my bathrooms, the extractor vent is directly above the shower so I punched a few holes in my coreflute directly below the vent and any steam is sucked right out of the bathroom.
A shower dome will not stop your bathroom from steaming to a smaller degree once the door is opened to get out, however the holes punched in my coreflute help alleviate this problem.
I used two sheets of coreflute over my bathtub, which rest on top of the shower curtain rail for the same effect - though this isn't quite as efficient as keeping the moisture out as the cubicle version is.
Happy to send photos of my (much more economical) creation to anyone interested.

Janice L.
02 Dec 2017
DIY showerdome

Now thats clever

Margaret B.
12 Aug 2017
Recent installation

I had Showedomes installed in my previous house some years ago. They worked really well. I rarely needed to run the fan.

So when I moved to a new place a few weeks ago, I arranged to get Showerdomes installed by an installer listed on the Showerdome website. But the installation was not done the same way as for my previous home. In particular, no plastic strip was placed between the top of the shower and the door, leaving a gap of 3cm, and the dome was just placed on the front of the shower also leaving a small gap.. Consequently, steam is still exiting the shower, and I have to run the fan and wipe up moisture.

I asked the installer at the time about the method he was using, and he said that was how he was taught to install them. I emailed Showerdome to check about the method of installation, but I have received no reply. I am very disappointed that I have not got the outcome I expected from the money I spent.

Kathryn D.
12 Aug 2017
10/10 FROM ME

Showerdomes work! I use less hot water because the shower enclosure remains sealed throughout the duration of the shower time. The bathroom remains fresh and clean, no weeping walls or damp fixtures. Bathroom paintwork looks like new. Highly recommended by me. Would never be without one.

Laraine B.
12 Aug 2017
To stop our bathroom getting mouldy

we squeegee the shower (including the floor and the door) after every shower, then wipe up what's left with an old towel that we hang behind the door specifically for this purpose. Just before we leave the bathroom, we open the windows and close the door on leaving. It's amazing how much this saves in cleaning too. We have no extractor fan and the bathroom is unheated.

Sam Y.
10 Mar 2018
Squeegee after showering, but a warm house

Like you, Laraine, we squeegee after a shower, leave the windows and doors open in summer, and have no steam or mould problems at any time of year: and we have no shower dome.

However, we have a very, very well insulated house (double the building code insulation requirement using woolbock) with high spec windows (European thermally-broken double glazing, with argon gas and low-e coating). We have no heating in the bathroom aside from a bit of underfloor hot water piping in the concrete slab which runs from the wetback in winter - when we turn it on), and no extractor fan. Nearly 9 years now, and no mould. No steam problem.

Graham C.
07 Aug 2017
Showerdome

I fitted both of the showers in our house, which was a relatively simple job. We purchased from a local installer whose advice proved to be invaluable. If you have a large amount to remove from the dome, practice by cutting off a sliver first, use a very fine tooth saw, and an assistant to support the off-cut. Turning the shower off whilst you scrub is not only a power saver, you're less likely to slip and fall so do try it. Rinse off, out with the squee-gee and presto, dry bathroom.

John
06 Aug 2017
Also saves on hot water

The comment in the article that you can turn the water off while you soap up "is optimistic" is misleading. Because the warmth is retained in the shower cubicle rather than billowing out into the room, the inside of the shower does stay warmer and it is entirely comfortable to turn off the water and save on power even in winter.
Both our showers are fitted with showerdomes and we strongly recommend them for this as well as all the other reasons you state.

Trevor W.
06 Aug 2017
A Steamy Affair

We recently moved into a house with shower domes on the showers. They do contain the steam in the shower, but I find the extreme humidity while showering a bit unpleasant. In our previous house we had a good extractor vent near the shower, and that worked fine.

Tom P.
17 Sep 2017
Happy medium for airtightness

Ours also gets quite stuffy - not to an uncomfortable extent, but I wouldn't want to make it any stuffier by sealing off any of the air gaps. There are few enough air gaps that the bathroom fan can keep the room dry, so I think we're at a happy medium.

Janelle B.
05 Aug 2017
would not be without one

I put a shower dome on in a bathroom renovation 5 years ago and did not bother with an extraction fan. I have never had a hint of mould/mildew or any musty smell. You do need to remember to keep the door closed when you have stepped out of the shower until the remaining steam disapates and to return to the bathroom and open the doors to let the air circulate into the shower later.. if you don't open the door, after a while you may get a musty drain smell in your shower

Brent J.
05 Aug 2017
Works very well

Have had it installed for over 5 years now at, brilliant. I'm amazed I don't see more people using them by now.

Julie M.
05 Aug 2017
Showerdome is a great product

Our bathroom is on a boundary wall and has no window. It has an extractor fan which is vented to the outside, as well as a Velux roof window which we had to wind open to ventilate the room. My (then) teenage son used to take very long showers and he didn't always remember to open the roof window. We had constant issues with condensation running down the walls and eventually, mould developed. A friend with an internal bathroom recommended a Showerdome and it solved the problem overnight. We scarcely need to use the extractor fan any more as the bathroom stays perfectly dry no matter who showers or for how long. It's a simple, effective product and I'm really pleased we got one.

Bill E.
05 Aug 2017
containing shower steam makes such a difference

We have a showerdome knock-off on our home shower cubicle. Cold climate so towel off in the cubicle with the door shut, much warmer. Open the shower and the bathroom window when leaving the bathroom, moisture levels back at normal within about 3 minutes.
We also periodically stay in our rental (old state house but with extra ceiling insulation and double glazing). 6 people using the shower in the morning and mould and running windows were a real problem, very difficult to get the house warm. We cut a 50mm sheet of XPS polystyrene to fit as a shower lid and the difference was immediate. Dry house, no bathroom mould, very little bathroom condensation. This shower cubicle was higher than normal, it would restrict the internal height in a normal cubicle.
Regarding turning the shower off to soap up, we had a couple of North African flatmates who did this out of habit, probably had the shower running for less than 4 minutes, used far less water than roadworker flatmate who would stand under it for 20 minutes, getting rid of his aches.
And finally, another benefit of a warm shower cubicle is easier to clean. I hose down each wall and glass panel with water on full hot before I get out to remove the soap splashes and it stays cleaner for far longer

Anna L.
05 Aug 2017
A great invention

We had ours installed at the same time as we replaced our old shower unit. It works really well, just as you say, definitely a lower shower temperature for the same warmth. After 3 years of constant use in a family bathroom there's no sign of mould etc. And the bathroom stays non steamy!

Russell M.
05 Aug 2017
Showerdome is fantastic

We installed one a year ago, absolutely love it, use the shower at a lower temp. because it stays so lovely and warm, no steamy mirrors etc. No problem with mould in shower, just make sure I open the shower door again as I leave the bathroom.

Laurie M.
03 Aug 2017
Poor installation

We had a young guy install our and he was recommended by Showerdome website, however there were gaps and we have noticed mould around those areas!!I guess it's too late to complain now, as it was about a year ago!!The other shower is at least ok.

Tracy B.
29 Jul 2017
No mould or rust

We have had our dome for 4 years, the key is give it 5 or so minutes after your shower and open the door just a bit. This helps air the cubical. Obviously you would still need to clean as you normally would. We have found it invaluable. our bath room walls ran with wet even with extractor fan
now nice and dry.

Suzanne E.
29 Jul 2017
Mould and rust

If the shower retains the moisture does that mean the shower is more likely to get mould? Also are the fittings likely to rust quicker?

Previous member
31 Jul 2017
Re: Mould and rust

Hi Suzanne,

We haven’t heard reports of Showerdomes leading to increased mould in shower cubicles, or fittings rusting out. That said, you’re correct in saying more moisture will be retained in the cubicle. As with all showers, this means we recommend squeegeeing down the walls of the shower regularly (ideally after each shower) and cleaning soap scum from fittings as required.

Thanks,
George - Consumer NZ writer