Should you turn your bathroom into a wetroom? What even is a wetroom? Read on to find out…
What is a wetroom?
A wetroom is a shower room where the shower isn’t enclosed, and there is no division between the shower and the rest of the floor. You could look at it as one giant shower room, though usually with a sink and lavatory too.
Wetrooms are stylish and minimalist, good for people with mobility difficulties, and will make a washroom of any size feel more spacious and uncluttered, as there’s no bath or shower tray. For this reason they’re also usually easier to clean. You can further increase the feeling of space by opting for a wall-hung sink, lavatory and cabinets, leaving the floor clear.
Waterproofing in a wetroom
The floor in a wetroom needs to slope to allow the water to drain away. Obviously this is easier to do in new builds, but usually it's also possible with renovations.
A wetroom must be waterproofed: this is called tanking. Otherwise, water could leak into the rest of your home, causing major damage. The Bathroom Manufacturers' Association recommends tanking the floor, all the way up the walls in the shower area itself, and to a height of 10cm along the rest of the walls. You can buy tanking kits to do this.
The wetroom door threshold should be about half a centimetre high, to help stop water escaping if the drain does get blocked.
Whatever material you choose for the floor will need to be waterproofed and non-slip. Tiles are probably the most popular wall and floor covering, but for the above reasons, you must only use tiles on the floor that have been designed for bathroom floors. Other options include sheet vinyl, corian – a low-maintenance hard surface – concrete and rubber, which is durable, warm underfoot, available in different colours, and non-slip.
Tiles can be made from ceramic, porcelain, slate, marble, stone and vinyl. Vinyl is popular because it’s cost-effective, available in a wide range of colours and styles, non-slip and softer than the other materials. Marble is expensive but looks luxurious; porcelain and stone also look lovely, with limestone creating a rustic, traditional feel. Porous stone – slate, marble and limestone – may need to be resealed every few months, which won’t be the case with ceramic or porcelain.
The smaller the tiles, the easier it is to create the necessary gradient on the floor; very big tiles can be difficult to cut to the required angle. Mosaic tiles also create a good non-slip surface, as they have lots of grout lines.
Other things to think about
Underfloor heating is great in a wetroom as it helps keep the floor warm and dry. You might still want to separate the shower off with a panel of toughened glass or plastic to stop water from spraying over everything else in the room. As with any bathroom, proper ventilation and extraction is a must to prevent condensation and mould.
South east London architects Bluelime Home Design has been working on home renovations across London and Kent for 13 years, and now has offices in Dartford, Bromley, Erith, Bexley and Croydon. Call 01322 517632 to chat about the architectural services we offer or to arrange a free architect consultation.