If you’re thinking about installing a wet room in your house, or converting your existing bathroom into one, then it’s no small undertaking. You may have been inspired by a trip to a hotel with a wet room, or you’ve been spending too much time reading interiors magazines (and who doesn’t?) and you’re now wondering if this move is right for you. It’s tempting, but is it something you should do?
Read on to find out more.
CAN ANY HOUSE HAVE A WET ROOM?
Theoretically, yes. A wet room is like a super-sized shower cubicle that doesn’t use the shower screen or the tray. You instead have an open, fully tiled and waterproof showering area. If you have a larger bathroom then you can wall this area off, but if your bathroom is smaller you may need to add a glass screen.
Wet rooms are very modern and stylish and you can get some great looking suites here to create a show-stopping shower experience.
If the wet room is a second or ensuite bathroom, it’ll really add value to your house.
If it’s replacing an existing bathroom, you’ll have much more space as the bath will be gone.
They’re easier to clean, usually, as there’s no fiddly shower tray, bath or moving shower screen or curtain.
Your floor, if the tanking is done properly, will actually be more protected from water than the floor in a regular bathroom.
If yours is a smaller bathroom, you’ll need to take measures to stop towels, clothes and toilet roll from being sprayed with water.
You really do need to pay a professional to do the tanking – even a small leak will, over time, prove to be a costly disaster.
You’ll need to be tiled from floor to ceiling and this isn’t cheap. If you have porous stone tiles, you’ll need to re-seal them twice a year or so, which is laborious.
Replacing your main bathroom with a wet room can deter buyers in the future – most people want one bath, at least.
THINGS TO THING ABOUT
THE WATER DRAINAGE
Realistically, installing a wet room should be done by professionals as you need a gradient on the floor so that water is channelled into the plughole and drained away. After the gradient is created, the room must be tanked (made waterproof) and this should be done by experienced people so it lasts.
Very often, the gradient in the floor is made using a plywood subfloor, which is tanked and tiled. There’s also the option of using a ready-made sloped shower-former, which is somewhat like a regular shower tray. This former is set into place and then tiled over.
If tiled floors aren’t your thing, then you could choose a big pre-formed tray that sloped downwards towards a plughole. These trays can be fitted across the entire floor and so once sealed, they don’t need tiling.
WATERPROOFING IS VITAL
To tank a wet room you need to prime the floor, the lower portion of the walls and all of the walls around the shower. The primer is then covered in a thick tanking solution that forms a membrane, then the walls (and maybe the floor) are tiled over.
RAISE THE DOOR THRESHOLD
It’s a good idea to raise the door threshold height by 5mm or so to prevent water from spilling out of the wet room if the plughole gets blocked. It’s easy to drop towels over it as it’s not in a bath and this can lead to some serious overflow.
So are you thinking about getting a wet room? Or do you already have one, and would you recommend it?