Essentially a shower room without a shower tray and/or shower enclosure, wet rooms have become increasingly popular. They are a great space-saving solution for smaller bathrooms and create a spa-like focal point in larger bathrooms. They are also easy to clean as they can be hosed down and have a sleek, sophisticated finish. Here’s your guide to getting a wet room right:
A wet room floor slopes towards a drain so that the water drains away. Your existing floor will probably be fairly flat so you need to create a gradient to direct the water towards the drain. You can do this by installing one of the following:
- A sloping plywood sub-floor (then tiling over)
- A sloping shower tray former (then tiling over)
- A pre-formed shaped tray across the whole floor (no need for tiles)
The floor will probably need to be reinforced to take the extra weight and raised slightly to allow for the waste fittings. If tiling, choose non-slip tiles for the floor which are specifically designed for the bathroom.
If a wet-room is going to work it needs to be 100% waterproof – and this includes all (or at least part) of the walls. The walls of the shower area need to be waterproofed to the ceiling. And if you are planning on hosing down the room all the walls need to be waterproofed floor to ceiling. This is done by applying a waterproof membrane under the tiles – known as tanking. It is vital you create this seal and keep the room water-tight to avoid leaks which could lead to costly damages.
Underfloor heating is a great option for a number of reasons. It will keep the room warm, it helps dry the floor after showering and feels great when walking bare-foot.
Wet rooms should be sleek and minimal so go for large tiles to ensure continuity. The clean, simple lines of a wall-mounted toilet also adds to the modern feel.
Ventilation is important to avoid an excessively steamy room. Also consider good lighting – either electrical or as much natural daylight as possible.
Always try to employ one company to install your wet room. Using the various trades (plumber, tiler, electrician and builder) may cause unnecessary problems. One good tip to remember is to fit the shower in the far corner of the room; this means you will avoid walking over a wet, slippery floor to reach the toilet or basin.