Want a wetroom, but not sure whether it will work in your home? Read on for theadvantages and disadvantages of wet rooms, along with some expert design tips
Wet rooms are becoming more and more desirable, and they're a great way to add value toyour home. But how exactly do you go about designing a wet room? We’ve puttogether a handy guide with everything you need to know, from what tiles tochoose to specialist wet room companies you can contact about installation.
Can anyone have a wet room?
In theory,yes. Wet rooms are basically shower rooms that do away with the shower screenand tray, and have an open, fully tiled shower area. If your bathroom is on thesmall side you probably will need to include a shower screen to preventeverything getting sprayed.
Installinga wet room is a job for the professionals, as a gradient needs to be createdalong the floor to channel the shower water into a drain and then the entireroom needs to be tanked (waterproofed).
The most common method for creating a gradient is to install a sub-floor made from WBPPly (a type of plywood), which is then tiled over.
Anotheroption is to install a ready-made sloping shower former (a bit like a giantshower tray), which is also then tiled over.
Waterproofing wet rooms involves priming the floor, the lower section of the walls and thewhole of the wall area around the shower and then covering with a syrupymembrane. Once it’s set, the room is then tiled.
It’s also worth raising the bathroom door threshold by about 5mm from the floor in casethe room fills with water (if someone covers the shower drain with a towel, forexample). This will keep the water contained.
Rebecca Milnes, Designer at C.P Hart says, ‘One of the first things to consider whenplanning a wet room is where to position the drain. Ideally the drain should beas far away from the bathroom door as possible to minimise any risk of waterescaping the room.
If you havea wooden sub-floor, the way your joists run is crucial to where your drain canbe positioned. You’ll also need to think about which way the gradient fallstowards the waste will run, to avoid any tricky wedging effects.’
Advantages of wet rooms
Wet rooms are super-stylish and perfect for creating a contemporary look.
As a secondbathroom, a wet room can easily increase the value of your home.
Great forsmall bathrooms – removing the bath creates loads more space.
Wet roomsare, in general, easier to clean. There’s no shower screen or tray to worryabout and if you go for a wall-hung sink and toilet, it’s easier still.
If it’sdone properly, your floor (the bit under the tiles) is better protected than itwould be in a standard bathroom.
Disadvantages of wet rooms
In small bathrooms, watch out for wet towels and soggy loo roll caused by spray from theshower.
You’ll needa professional fitter to waterproof the room – if it’s not done properly,leaking water can cause damage.
Wet rooms should be tiled from floor to ceiling – and that’s expensive. And if you go forporous stone tiles, they may need to be resealed every few months, which ishard work.
Swapping a main bathroom for a wet room could make your home less saleable – buyers wantat least one bath.
What type of surface materials should I use in a wet room?
Tiles are the most popular wall and floor covering, but you can opt for sheet vinyl forthe floor, or even Corian, which is a seamless, non-porous material that islow-maintenance. Concrete and tadelakt (a waterproof plaster from Morocco) willlend your wet room a rough luxe look.
If you are going to use tiles, choose non-porous bathroom tiles like ceramic or porcelain.Porous tiles, such as slate, marble and limestone need sealing every few monthsto prevent water damage. Only use floor tiles specifically for bathrooms on thefloor so they aren’t slippery.
Forgoing ashower tray in favour of a wet room allows the floor tiles to run through tothe shower, which adds visual space to a room. However, not all surfaces aresafe in a wet room.
It is crucial to know the slip rating of materials. I’d recommend using a materialwith a structured, textured finish to give extra grip. Mosaics are a greatchoice for wet areas, as the grout between the tiles gives appropriate grip.’
Can Iinstall underfloor heating?
Many fitters recommend installing underfloor heating as it keeps the tiles warmunderfoot and helps to dry out the water on the floor.
Manyfitters recommend installing underfloor heating as it keeps the tiles warmunderfoot and helps to dry out the water on the floor.
Wet roomdecorating ideas to consider before you start
Before youeven think about getting the builders in, make sure you have thought throughevery element of your wet room scheme. From shelving to shower fittings, takeyour time in the planning stage to ensure that everything will be just as youwant it.
Choose your sanitaryware
RebeccaMilnes, Designer at C.P. Hart says, ‘If you’re embracing the full wet room andforegoing any kind of screen, it is essential to think about your choice ofsanitaryware, as it is likely to get wet from the shower spray or condensationin the room. Opt for ceramics that are flush to the wall and ideallywall-mounted. A wall-hung toilet is a brilliant choice in a wet room, as thereare no areas for water to pool and makes cleaning easier.’
Pick your shower fittings
Decide whether or not you want shower valves to be exposed or concealed. Exposedshower valves work well in a modern country scheme and are also easier to install.But if you want a super-sleek look, a fixed rainwater shower head withconcealed pipework can’t be beaten. If you only install a fixed shower head, itcan be hard to avoid getting your hair wet – annoying if you don’t shampooevery time, and they’re not terribly useful for cleaning the shower. The bestsolution is to include a handheld shower as well.
Side-by-sideshowers are perfect for bathrooms designed for sharing,’ says Jonathan Carterat Victoria & Albert Baths. ‘It’s often a style you’ll find in luxuryhotels and allows plenty of personal space while making a bold statement. Trypairing with a freestanding tub to enjoy the best of both worlds.’
Choose sleek modern drainage
Longing foran invigorating power shower? Then you’ll need to install a drain that canhandle high water volumes efficiently. A flush-fitting, channel-style draincollects water across its full width, effectively preventing floods. Look for adrain with an easy access dirt trap to help keep the water running freely.
Create anatural partition without glass
Many wetrooms have a glass panel for containing splashes, but that’s not the only wayto section off the shower part of your wet room. A tiled partition wall is alsoa great way to stop water from flowing all over the room, while providing theeasy walk-in access that makes wet rooms so popular.
Allocatinga dedicated space for storing shampoo and soap inside your shower area isessential. One of the smartest solutions is niche shelving, which can be builtinto a stud wall at construction stage. Unlike chrome racks and rails, nichestorage doesn’t encroach on your showering space. It’s important to tile theactual shelf on a slight gradient to prevent water from pooling at the back.Add discreet waterproof lighting to softly illuminate.