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Wet Rooms are very much in fashion. The simple principle of being able to walk straight into your showering area without having to climb over a shower tray and shut a door behind you is popular with many people. Wet Rooms can be installed in many different locations such as on a concrete floor or upstairs between joists.

The advantages of a wet room:

  • A perfect solution for small bathrooms – removing the bath or shower enclosure creates loads more space.
  • Wet rooms are easier to clean as there is less in them that can get dirty. If you go for epoxy grouting and wall hung toilet and basin you will get as easy maintenance a wet room as can be.
  • A properly installed wet room is less likely to leak and cause water damage than a standard bathroom – any spilled water just goes down the drain.
  • As a second bathroom, a wet room can easily increase the value of your home – especially if you have more than 2-3 bedrooms.
  • If you are considering to buy an expensive shower enclosure a wet room without one can work out at a very similar price and look a lot better.

And the disadvantages:

  • In small rooms and if you don’t have a screen you can get wet towels and loo roll caused by spray from the shower.
  • The room will need to be professionally waterproofed – if it’s not done properly leaking water can cause damage.
  • Swapping a main bathroom with bath for a wet room without one could make your home less saleable – buyers tend to want at least one bath.
  • Wet rooms should be tiled from floor to ceiling – and that will cost more than tiling just inside the enclosure or above the bath.

Can anyone have a wet room?

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In theory, yes. A wet room is basically a shower room that does away with the shower screen and tray, and has an open, fully tiled shower area. If your bathroom is on the small side you probably will need to include a shower screen to prevent everything getting sprayed.

Water drainage

Installing a wet room is a job for the professionals as a gradient needs to be created along the floor to channel the shower water into a drain and then the entire room needs to be tanked (waterproofed). The most common method for creating a gradient is to install a sub-floor made from WBP Ply (a type of plywood), which is then tiled over. Another option is to install a ready-made sloping shower former (a bit like a giant shower tray), which is also then tiled over. Another method is to use a giant preformed tray (sometimes known as a Hi-Macs system) that slopes towards a drain, and can be fitted across the entire floor without the need for tiling over.

Waterproofing

Waterproofing the room involves priming the floor, the lower section of the walls and the whole of the wall area around the shower and then covering with a syrupy membrane. Once it’s set, the room is then tiled. It’s also worth raising the bathroom door threshold by about 5mm from the floor in case the room fills with water (if someone covers the shower drain with a towel, for example). This will keep the water contained.

What will it cost?

Tanking (waterproofing) your room and creating a gradient in the floor to channel the shower water to the drain shouldn’t cost you more than £1,000. If you are paying a company to tank and install the wet room, including floor-to-ceiling tiles, suite and shower, expect to pay around £6,500 upwards.