Lee Reed, product manager at bathroom and tile retailer Easy Bathrooms, offers some advice on designing a the perfect wet room, from initial considerations, to how the process works, and some design ideas.
A wet room could be considered the height of bathroom luxury. Perfectly accessible, perfectly minimalistic. A sloped floor takes the place of a tray, and opens up the space as one, big shower.
But this sleek, contemporary room requires careful planning, expert knowledge and specialist kit. Failing to do so can result in unwanted leaks and costly problems further down the line.
Before you start:
Before you decide on installing a wet room in your new home or changing your bathroom, it’s important to think about the space. While it doesn’t have to be huge, your bathroom should be big enough that the rest of your suite, toilet rolls and towels don’t get sopping wet when you turn the shower on. However, if it is a small room, you could always think about installing a shower screen.
You should also remember that this isn’t a cheap, quick fix. Unless you’re an experienced DIY-er, we’d say that installing a wet room is a job best left to the professionals, and the best plumbers and tilers will — and should — charge a reasonable fee for their work. You can expect to pay at least £5,000 for this.
Getting the floor level right
If you are building a new home, it will be fairly simple to create a level floor, but if you’re renovating an existing property, then the shower area will need to be lowered to make room for the extra depth of the waterproofing, adhesive and tiles. A space will be cut out of the joists and the plumber will ensure that adequate waste drainage is in place.
Installing the wet room tray
Then, a wet room tray will be installed. This is a shower enclosure that is tiled over, to achieve the slope which allows the water to flow away. Choose a central or edge drain depending on your preference.
Waterproofing the area
After the tray is fitted, the room will need to be fully waterproofed. Creating a barrier between the tiles and the underlying floor, this is the most essential part of the project.
This can be achieved in two ways. Firstly, you could use a wet room membrane kit, which is glued to the underlying floor and sealed with tape. Or, a thermal waterproof boards offer extra protection, which can be used as an additional or alternative solution.
Finally, the flooring can be laid. Very large format tiles may be difficult to cut to the required angle around the drainage point, but small or medium sized tiles will be perfect. Stone or concrete-effect products will help to finish off the sleek look, while also having natural anti-slip qualities.
- Install underfloor heating to help dry out the floor and for a luxurious feel — who doesn’t love toasty toes when they step out of the shower?
- Be sure to choose a thermostatic or electric shower for ultimate control over water temperature and to reduce the risk of a drop in pressure, which can lead to scalding. Plus it means no waiting around for the water to heat up!
- Add a shower screen to contain splashes and stop the whole floor area from getting wet. Alternatively, build a wall to separate the shower and create a sense of privacy.
- Pair your shower with a freestanding tub to create a bold statement which finishes off a bathroom with your desired look and style.
- Choose a wall-mounted storage unit to stop water pooling around its base. This type of furniture is also perfect for a small bathroom to create the illusion of space, while cleverly maximising square ft and giving you the ultimate storage solution.
- Mix a stone/concrete-tiled floor with patterned wall tiles to create a modern contrast. White gloss or hexagon tiles are a great choice.
- Alternatively, fit the wall behind the shower in a textured tile to create a feature, while keeping the colour the same as the rest of the room. This produces a sleek, uniform look while adding depth.
- Go for a concealed shower pack which hides the pipework, for a highly stylised, minimal shower solution.
Have you created a wet room? We’d love to see your photos and hear any other advice you might have over on Twitter!