Designing a Wet Room - 5 things that you should consider

A wet room will turn any bath or shower room into a luxurious and practical space. If you are planning your own wet room project there are some important factors that should be considered. Here is Room H2o?s guide to five important wet room planning considerations.

Wet room drainage

When creating a wetroom the shower area and surrounding floor are formed as one continuous surface.  Consequently a wet room drain will often be positioned lower than drain of shower tray or bath and for this reason the location of the shower waste and drain pipe should be carefully considered.  There must be adequate space below the wet room floor in order to achieve a fall of 1:40 on the drainage waste pipe and when constructing a wet room on top of a suspended floor the position of the floor joists must be considered so that they do not impact on the waste position.

Selecting the correct wet room kit and floor former

There are many different types of wetroom formers (sometimes referred to as wet room shower trays) available on the market so it is important to select a former and wet room tanking kit suitable for your particular application.  The choice of wet room floor former will be dictated by the substrate, commonly solid concrete or suspended wooden joists, and the waterproof tanking membrane should be suitable for the floor and wall material, usually stone or lightweight stud construction.

Wet room shower screens and shower head position

In a wet room the choice of shower screen and shower head position should be carefully considered.  If you are planning an open wet room without a shower screen, or alternatively a small wet room where space may preclude the use of a screen, the wet floor former will need to be large enough to collect and channel the water to the wet room drain.

Commonly a frameless glass wet room screen or shower enclosure is installed to contain the water within the wet area.  If a fixed walk-in shower screen is used ensure that it is large enough to contain water deflected from the body when showering and that the shower head is either ceiling mounted and away from the open end of the screen or wall mounted adjacent to the shower screen.  A walk-in shower screen should only be considered a water deflector and therefore some degree of moister will escape into the outer wet room. 

A full frameless shower enclosure can look stunning and will contain the moisture within the wet floor area.  It is still advisable to position the shower head and drain away from the shower door if at all possible as this will help to clear the water and minimise transfer to the outer bathroom floor.

Wet room flooring

It is possible to install a low maintenance vinyl floor in a wet room, however tiles are most commonly used for wet room flooring.  Vinyl floors provide slip resistance and are easy to clean, however they are often found in commercial applications and can look a little industrial. 

When selecting wet room floor tiles slip resistance is an important consideration, a suitable tile should carry a slip resistance rating of R11 or R12 and a matt finish is worth considering.  Within the area of the wet room floor former the tiles have to be shaped to create the fall to the drain gully. Mosaic tiles will generally be slightly easier to lay and provide a greater degree of slip resistance, however they require more grouting and maintenance.  Larger format tiles with narrower grout lines will be easier to keep clean and allow water to drain more easily than mosaics.

If you are using a standard cement based grout ensure that it is flexible, suitable for wet rooms and of high quality, do not be tempted to cut costs here. However it should be noted that cement based grout is NOT waterproof and should only be considered water resistant.  For a completely water proof solution an epoxy based grout should be used.  Professional installation is recommended as epoxy based grout is hard to apply making a high quality finish difficult to achieve. 

Maintaining your wet room

Drying the wet room floor with a squeegee after showering will prevent water soaking into cement based grouts, which can cause it to degrade and crack.  In hard water areas calcium deposits can form on cement grouts and this can be difficult to clean.  On a final note, natural stone wet room floors should be cleaned and sealed regularly to maintain its condition and prevent saturation.

If you are considering installing a wet room and would like some professional assistance Room H2o would like to help.  Let us inspire you, please contact us to discuss your wet room design ideas.

Cut away image of a wet room floor former