Other than aesthetics, is there any practical reason to add a soffit to an existing shower as we retile? There is a single recessed light above the shower and there is a combination light/vent fan in the center of the bathroom. It's a pretty small bathroom. I had a contractor suggest that the venting would be better by adding the soffit as it would allow the vent to better pull the steam up from the lower section of the shower. Is there any truth to that?
I think you would want the shower ceiling to be the same height as the rest of the bathroom especially with 8 ft ceilings. An average height man with raised arms would touch a 7 ft ceiling. Who wants that? Everybody wants higher ceilings rather than lower.
The only possible benefits of a 7 ft ceiling might be to better confine water vapor and mist to the inside the shower enclosure during showering and to reduce the amount of tiling if the tiling goes to the ceiling, but I don't think this is enough benefit to balance the cramped feeling of a lowered ceiling in the shower.
No. In fact I removed the one in my previous home after years of dealing with peeling paint. I'm honestly not sure whether it was a fashion trend or whether folks felt like it kept the shower bay warmer in a chilly house.