Wet Rooms: Your Complete Buyers’ Guide
Are you thinking of incorporating a wet room in your UK home and want some advice on the process of installation and guidance on the types of wet room solutions you can explore? Our comprehensive buyers’ guide is here to help! We will take you through the benefits of wet rooms as well as any negatives, explain who can benefit from a wet room and provide an educational guide for you to make an informed decision about whether a wet room is right for your property.
What is a Wet Room?
A wet room is a fully sealed and waterproofed bathroom that utilises a draining system to convert a bathroom into a full walk-in shower rather than having a separate bath and overhead shower, or walk-in shower enclosure. The term wet room applies to both a full room that has been tanked (waterproofed) and tiled and a separate area that is partitioned using existing walls or glass panels to create a divide.
Walk-in shower enclosures with a shower tray are not considered to be wet rooms. They are separate shower enclosures and it is the design of the room that turns a bathroom into a wet room, i.e. sloped floor, waterproofed floors and walls, and a large floor drain.
Wet rooms were once considered a luxury, but as the costs of materials fall and more cost-effective solutions become available, it is more commonplace to find a wet room in standard domestic homes. With individuals expecting more convenience and less delay in their life, it’s not hard to see why the wet room has become so popular.
If you are exploring adding a wet room to your home, it’s advised to research the advantages and disadvantages thoroughly to guarantee that a wet room will work for you.
Who Can Benefit from a Wet Room?
Wet rooms are versatile and suitable for a whole range of people. They are also a good way to add value to your property, especially if you are considering selling, but it’s advised not to transform a traditional bath into a wet room if you only have one bathroom.
Anyone who wants to save time and have the luxury of a private wet room to shower in is sure to benefit, but there are certain people who would gain the biggest benefits from access to a wet room, as explored below.
Small Bathroom Users
Do you have a small bathroom in your home that feels overtaken by the bath or shower enclosure? A wet room could be the perfect compromise for you. Open up the space and do away with bulky shower enclosure trays – it’ll completely change the feel of the room and make it a more enjoyable, comfortable space.
Wheelchair or Assistance Users
For individuals who use assistance or a wheelchair to get around, a wet room opens up a wealth of opportunity. Say goodbye to awkward manoeuvres and instead, simply enter the room and get on with your cleaning rituals with ease. Wet rooms also create more space than an extra large (and potentially extra expensive) shower enclosure, allowing for improved accessibility.
It’s a point in our lives we are all going to reach, with stiff, aching joints and a reduced level of mobility. No one wants to think about climbing in and out of a bath at this point and certainly trying to manoeuvre around a small shower enclosure, so consider creating more freedom in your bathroom with a wet room. It’s easier to get around and also offers plenty of freedom to install mobility and stability aids including wall holds, grips and shower chairs as necessary.
Advantages of Having a Wet Room
There are numerous advantages of having a wet room, some of which we’ve touched on already, but additional benefits include:
Quality wet rooms are made with bathroom-safe floor tiles, meaning they are slip-proof and easy to clean. When you install a wet room in your home, you also remove some of the potential trip hazards, such as lipped shower trays.
Fewer surfaces, nooks and crannies make a wet room easier to clean, saving you less time cleaning and more time doing the things you love.
There’s definitely something luxurious about enjoying hotel-quality indulgence in the privacy and seclusion of your own home! A wet room will contribute to the overall appeal of your home, not to mention increasing the property’s value.
Shower enclosures tend to come in two standard sizes – square and rectangular. While curved shower enclosures and corner shower enclosures are readily available, and slightly more expensive, they have to be fitted in a certain way. This often leads to losing an entire corner of your bathroom and due to the floor to ceiling nature, it can feel like the enclosure encompasses more space than it actually does.
A wet room does away with this feeling of being enclosed and instead utilises the whole room, making better use of the space. Similarly, the greater amount of space available allows for more customisation and accessorising, whether you need wall-mounted shower shelves, grab rails or a body drier.
A well-prepared wet room that has been installed by experienced professionals will be fully waterproofed from ceiling to floor which prevents moisture and humidity escaping the room. This ensures that you don’t need to worry about leaks appearing over time and can also prolong the lifespan of your wet room tiles and waterproof grouting, future-proofing your property.
Disadvantages of a Wet Room
There are certainly more advantages to having a wet room, but nothing good comes without some things to keep in mind. The disadvantages of installing a wet room can include the following points.
Anyone offering to fit a wet room for cheap is either going to run away with your deposit or do a shoddy job that will cost a lot more than it would have originally to get it fixed and sorted. That doesn’t mean the costs have to be exceedingly high, but you should bear this in mind when considering your new wet room.
Do you keep all your nice towels in the bathroom, possibly hang up a towelling robe for when you are finished or have a lovely wooden cabinet that hides away all your toiletries? A wet room without partitions can create quite a bit of water spray, so it’s important to keep this in mind when designing the room and considering where you want to store all your useful bathroom belongings.
While most working professionals prefer the ease and efficiency of a quick shower, there is value to having a traditional bath in your home, especially when putting a family-suitable property to the market. Without a bath, potential buyers can be put off knowing that it might be an anticipated cost in the future for them to pay out. If you have two bathrooms in the property that are open for full access (not ensuites) there is no harm in changing one into a wet room and in this situation, the investment is likely to offer more positives than negatives.
Having a wet room installed isn’t a simple process and you may need your entire bathroom stripping back in order to properly waterproof every corner and prevent the trapping of moisture which can eventually lead to problems with damp. This is particularly the case if you opt to have underfloor heating fitted at the same time, which can help to dry out the room after use and keep your feet warm in the colder winter months.
What Do I Need to Consider When Choosing a Wet Room?
No two wet rooms need be alike, with a vast choice of styles and appearances, from striking waterproof floor and wall tiles, shaped, decorative drains and the additional plumbing fittings you require such as taps, shower heads, and sinks. When combined, you can create a room perfect for your requirements and tastes and still have somewhere you are proud to show off.
This is the most important step of the wet room process and without suitable waterproofing, your wet room can quickly become a disaster. While DIY guides are available on how to waterproof a bathroom, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional installation firm to ensure the job is done correctly and efficiently and potentially save yourself some expensive repair costs further down the line. Waterproofing (or tanking) a bathroom is normally done using a waterproof membrane that is carefully fitted and sealed around the walls and floor. The wall and floor tiles are then fitted to this membrane using waterproof grout to prevent leakage between tiles.
There’s no wet room without proper drainage, otherwise, you are just continually filling the room with water! Drainage is created using a series of requirements. The floor must have a gradient in order to channel all the water towards the drain and the drain itself must be large enough to deal with the water flow. Drains come in a huge range of designs and styles, from sophisticated patterns to standard grates. There is also the option to buy pre-formed gradient sub-floors or wet-room floor formers which are then tiled on top of – your installer will be able to advise on the best choice for your bathroom.
Turning your bathroom into one large wet room means that there is going to be a lot more water flow, damp left on surfaces and condensation left in the air. To ensure your wet room doesn’t become a paradise for damp and mould, ventilation is key. Ensure that you install an extractor fan that is powerful enough for the size of your room in order to remove the moisture in the air as you shower. Don’t forget, it’s also advisable to wipe down surfaces after a shower to remove excess moisture on walls and furniture and prevent problems with mould.
With a wet room, choosing a heating appliance to put in the room can be tricky due to issues with electrics, however, there are moisture-resistant heated towel rails and radiators that are ideal for wet rooms. Another popular option is underfloor heating. Not only does this feel fantastic under bare feet on cold mornings, but it is the most efficient way to heat a room and if you are already lifting the floor for waterproofing, UFH doesn’t require any further hassle to install. This is another good way to prevent mould growth in your wet room as the underfloor heating will quickly dry the room from the ground up. When installing a wet room in a UK property, having quality and efficient bathroom heating can be the difference between starting the morning the right way and starting the day in a bad mood!
There are plenty of lovely options to customise your bathroom according to your personal tastes, however, it’s important to only use non-slip tiles for the floor. Any other tile quickly gets dangerous when wet and may lead to slips and falls which can cause serious injury on a hard-tiled floor. Natural stone tiles are popular for wet room flooring, however, other stones can be used, including marble, limestone and granite. Make sure your tiles are finished with a non-slip surface sealant to provide increased safety – safety and practicality should always come before appearance and design.
Keep in mind that some tile materials are more porous than others and will need a higher amount of surface sealant to ensure no moisture can leak through or sit in the tiles.
If you’ve got the space available, partitioning is a good way to prevent water from spraying across numerous surfaces and can restrict your shower area to a certain corner or section of the room, making it much easier to clean. Partitions can be created by building in a wall, using pre-made sections in your bathroom or by installing a shower door or glass screen.
When fitting a wet room in an existing bathroom, you’ll need to carefully consider the floor height, whether you’d like to level it to the flooring of the hallway outside the bathroom or if you are happy to accommodate a slight step or small ramp for wheelchair users. Your installer will be able to discuss options and the difference between costs.
Wet Room Inspiration
Are you thinking of having a wet room installed in your UK home? We’ve got some fantastic inspiration for your project, from shower heads to tiles, drains to heating, these are all things to consider carefully before you start your wet room installation.
There are several distinct types of shower design that you can incorporate in your wet room. The classic handheld showerhead with the option for a height-adjustable slide rail is excellent when you need to rinse down the wet room area or clean up messy children. Alternatively, in recent years, the rainforest overhead shower design has been a popular luxury item with many households incorporating these shower types into their bathrooms.
There are pros and cons of both. For example, the handheld showerhead offers narrow coverage and often needs to be installed at an angle to the slide rail making it slightly inefficient in terms of water use. Rainforest showers use a large amount of water, drenching the shower user and making for a sensual shower experience, but are fixed in place above you, so you need to step out of the lovely hot water to lather up or add shampoo or conditioner to your hair. Some homeowners have chosen to install both, freeing up the handheld for directional and spot cleaning and relying on the rainforest shower head to provide an enjoyable shower experience.
The tiles you use in your wet room will be the first thing people tend to notice when entering the room. Tiles can make a room feel larger or encourage a cosier atmosphere depending on the shades used, and you can have some great fun when incorporating mosaic styles or choosing luxury, designer tiles. Modern-day tiles can imitate plenty of other styles, for example, wood effect tiles are fantastic for creating a chic appearance and capturing the beauty of natural timber, helping you to create a relaxing and traditional bathroom experience.
Should you be upgrading a pre-existing bathroom into a wet room, you may wish to repurpose your existing bathroom furniture to save money. However, if you are upgrading or rejuvenating bathroom, you might like to pick out your preferred bathroom furniture before the project begins. There are many designs to choose from, however, in a wet room, you’ll also want to consider where water can get to when it’s splashing off various surfaces.
To keep cleaning simple, consider wall-mounted bathroom furniture, available as an option for both toilet bowls and sinks. Combined with wall-mounted shelving or display cubes and you get to do away with anything touching the floor, making it quick and easy to clean and preventing any damp or mould build-up in hidden spots.
Choosing a drain for your wet room is a personal preference and the only necessary requirement is to ensure the drain you choose has a good water flow, quickly draining the water down and preventing standing water on the bathroom floor. In terms of design, drains are available in both horizontal and vertical arrangements, spreading across the full width of the floor or simply as a space-saving central room drain. There are plenty of different drain appearances available, from grated designs featuring geometric shapes and patterns to floor-width grates that boast cut-out text and pretty borders. Make sure to shop around for the one that suits you best.
The type of heating you choose to have in your wet room will be largely reliant on space and your budget. The preferred method for most wet rooms is underfloor heating; it is the most efficient way to heat a room and feels absolutely wonderful underfoot on a chilly morning. However, underfloor heating is also considered the most expensive option of heating, especially in a bathroom where electrics need to be safely sealed away.
Alternative methods of heating include heated towel rails and wet room air dryers. Not only do heated towel rails keep your clean, fluffy towels warm and dry, but they also produce a decent amount of heat to warm the room. Wet room air dryers are also an option for heating your bathroom. They sit non-intrusively in a corner of the wet room and have jets that pump out warming air to dry you and your wet room after a shower.
Starting Your Wet Room Project
Are you feeling inspired after reading our guide to wet rooms for UK properties? If you want to invest in an improvement for your home, upgrade to additional bathroom space in your growing family property or simply want to add an extra feature to a house you are trying to sell, get in touch with our team today and find out how we can start the process for your brand new wet room today!