Bathroom Showroom

MK-Bathrooms.net

Wetrooms

The concept of the domestic wetroom is relatively recent, but the idea is now fully developed. A number of manufacturers have designed 'tanking systems' which, when installed correctly, fully seals the bathroom against water leaks.
Frequent Questions

Definition
A wet room is a fully water tight bathroom with no separate shower tray. The “walk-in” shower area is usually level with the surrounding floor but with a slight slope to the drain which is fitted directly into the floor. The shower unit and controls are fitted to one of the walls within the wet room.

Wet rooms are growing in popularity in the UK in both domestic and commercial properties and are now having a major impact on bathroom layout and design. They are particularly useful where level entry to the shower area is essential - for instance, for use by someone in a wheel chair.

A wet room is more versatile than a conventional shower tray and enclosure and gives additional options in bathroom design. The concept allows the showering area to blend naturally with the rest of the room.

Wet rooms give a feeling of spaciousness and minimalism. They make the best use of the available space and don’t, necessarily, require a fixed shower screen. Furthermore without any steps there are fewer chances of slips and trips, cleaning is much easier and hygiene levels are excellent.

Some wet room designs include a ‘wet zone’. Here, the showering area is raised above the surrounding floor by up to 150mm. Stepping up into a wet zone may be required to meet particular site conditions but in this case the level floor concept becomes compromised.

Planning
Careful planning is a key element in any new wet room installation. The positioning of all water and power services should be considered before the tanking process commences since the sealed area should not be punctured or pierced after installation. The installation process is also quite detailed and time consuming and allowance for the room to be completely out of use for several days should be made.

Installation
Wet rooms are totally water sealed by the application of special sealing tapes, waterproof underlay’s or membranes and ‘tanking compound’ which, when fully cured, creates a fully water tight area. The application of the tanking compound is carried out before the installation of the wall and floor finishes. Tiling and panelling alone will not create a wet room since some tiles and grout may be porous.

Wet rooms can be installed by a competent and confident DIY-er or by a specialist. Whoever installs the wet room needs to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure correct drainage and no leaks. Joinery, tiling and plumbing skills are required. All manufacturers supply comprehensive instructions and some supply an installation video to make the whole process so much easier. Manufacturers’ websites offer more details.

Important requirements of a wet room
Stable (not flexible) flooring
Correct sloped flooring and floor drainage to ensure no pooling
Effective water proofing by ‘tanking’
Good ventilation
Protection of neighbouring rooms from water migration

Features and Benefits
Flat and level access to the shower area - Easy and safe access ideally suitable for use by someone with limited mobility or in a wheelchair.

Fully water tight - Protects the building from moisture damage and water leaks. Prolongs the life of the tiles and grout.

Shower enclosure or screen is optional - Allows the installation of a shower where a traditional shower tray and enclosure may not have been viable. Can be installed on wooden and concrete floors with no predetermined shower sizes or shapes.

Fully tiled or panelled - Opens up the room and creates a more attractive space. May be contemporary minimalist style or more traditional.

Flexible layout and design - There are no space or size limitations to the shower area.

Slip resistant floor surface - Safety.

No shower tray required - Compatible with underfloor heating.

What to look out for/ things to ask about
Flooring – check that existing bathroom floor, whether of wood or concrete, is capable of a wet room installation. Ensure that manufacturers’ advice is followed.
Size – decide, early on in the planning process, how big you would like the showering area within the bathroom. Some people choose a shower area about the same size as a shower tray. Others go for a much bigger area. Image of wet room.
Shower screen – if you decide to install a glass shower screen (to prevent too may splashes in the rest of the bathroom) be sure to choose one which is specially designed for installation in a wet room. They will have special floor and wall mounting kits. Beware that some shower screens and enclosures are designed only for installation with a shower tray. Ensure that the glass used conforms to the latest British Standards.
Underfloor heating – check what system is best with your chosen wet room system. Electric Underfloor Heating is ideal for remodelled floors and new construction projects. Electric underfloor heating systems are most suitable for bathrooms, kitchens, conservatories and any general living areas where ceramic or stone tiles are laid. A critical element of any wetroom installation is the gradient or 'fall' in the floor of the shower area. Getting the correct angle in the floor is essential to avoid water pooling around your feet.

Frequently asked questions
Q
Do I need to obtain planning permission to install a wetroom?

A
No, not if it is part of an existing building.

Q
Can I fit a wet room myself?

A
A competent DIY-er should be able to install a wet room. Manufacturer’s instructions should be followed. Joinery, tiling and plumbing skills will be required.

Q
Should I ‘tank’ the whole bathroom or just the area where the shower is situated?

A
It is usually recommended that the whole floor is ‘tanked’ with a turn up of 100mm on to the walls. Fully tanking the walls in the shower area is essential.

Q
Can I install underfloor heating win my new wet room?

A
Yes some manufacturers will recommend what compatible system to use. Some systems require electric heating some require piped hot water. Check with the manufacturer.

Q
What tiles are most suitable for tiling the shower area?

A
Mosaic tiles are ideal since they allow easy coverage of the drain slopes without diagonal cutting required for bigger tiles. Bear in mind, however, that smaller tiles have more joints and require more grouting. They can also be more difficult to clean. Grout should be of the waterproof variety and do check that the chosen tiles are suitable for the application.

Q
A member of my family is disabled and is restricted to a wheel chair. Is there any advantage in installing a wet room?

A
Yes – definitely. A wet room provides a level access to the showering area and is therefore ideal for wheel chair use. You should, however, ensure that the bathroom door is wide enough for wheel chair access and that there is sufficient space created within the shower area if a shower screen is installed. The installation of grab rails at certain pints within the bathroom is also a good idea for additional safety.

Q
Why should I bother tanking my bathroom? Surely straightforward tiling of the entire wall and the floor will do the same job.

A
Tiling, adhesives and grouts can be permeable and therefore can allow moisture to migrate into the building structure over time causing mould growth, rot, and in some cases resulting in structural damage. Tanking prevents this.

Q
Can a wet room be installed in any house or apartment?

A
Yes. Wet rooms can be installed virtually anywhere. The style of the wet room may vary depending on your floor type and profile. In some buildings there may be a difficulty installing the drain since there may not be enough space beneath the actual floor i.e. the depth of the flooring screed is insufficient or the wooden joists are not deep enough. Usually the difficulty can be overcome.

Q
Are wet rooms expensive?

A
Interesting question! Every wet room installation varies, depending floor profile wood or concrete, on drain style, waterproofed area, complexity of room design etc etc. A wet room can be installed cost-effectively by a competent DIY-er or it can be installed by one of the many specialist companies now available.

Q
Can a wet room be damaged in any way so that it is no longer waterproof?

A
Yes - you must be careful not to pierce the waterproof membrane under the tiles. Should you renovate your bathroom, remove tiles or puncture the membrane your room will no longer be water tight.

Q
Can a new WC suite be retro fitted later?

A
Yes but you must not pierce the tanking membrane under the tiles. Screwed fixings should not be used - specialist adhesives should be used instead.

Q
Does the size and style of tile matter?

A
No but it is important to consider the finish of the tile and how slippery it will be when wet. Also some tiles are subject to staining with water penetration. If you have a central drain, smaller tiles are easier to lay on the sloped floor.

Q
What is the difference between a wetroom and wet area?

A
A wet room is a room that has been fully waterproofed throughout. A wet area is where the shower area only has been waterproofed.