How to start planning and designing your wet room
Begin by considering the shape of your space – from door openings and windows right down to towel rails and shelving – to help determine your layout. If there are elements of your wet room you want to keep dry, a sleek or statement screen can achieve this while still keeping the room open-plan.
‘The rise in both multigenerational living and the trend for replacing a bath with a larger walk-in shower means the need for innovative wet room products like shower screens is increasing,’ explains Jayne Barnes, managing director at Aqata. ‘A single-panel screen can create space in a smaller bathroom.’
If your wet room is a quirky shape, look into bespoke options which take in curved or recessed ceilings.
Which room sizes and shapes suit wet rooms best?
‘You can construct a wet room anywhere; you just need to consider the planning and design. A wet room can be squeezed into a small space of one-and-a-half metres by one metre, which still leaves room for a toilet and basin,’ says Jane Gilchriest of Alternative Bathrooms
‘Although not essential, installing a screen can prevent the whole room from getting wet, particularly in smaller spaces.”‘
Do I need floor to ceiling tiles in a wet room?
A big consideration is whether to go for floor-to-ceiling tiling, a shower tray, or both. With technology developing all the time, new shower tray designs come in a variety of tones and textures, as well as being able to be cut to size and fitted flush to the floor.
‘Different colour options and décors mean continuous shower areas are much more individual now,’ explains Simon Lauer of Villeroy & Boch. ‘Floor-level shower trays have the necessary drainage slope and built-in tray meaning the use of joints and potential for leakage is avoided.’
Similarly, if you’re looking for a continuous tile effect, there are ways to ensure they’ll keep the space watertight. ‘Tray formers act as shower trays below your tiling and have linear wall shower gullies to hide the waste and make the floor seamless with tiles,’ explains Dena Kirby, senior design consultant at Ripples.
‘These are easier to install because they come provided with a full tanking kit to ensure no leaks occur over time. Choose an R10 tile surface or mosaic tile. These have texture and grout lines to help create some additional grip.’
Is it easy to keep a wet room waterproof?
‘If there’s no screen or shower tray, then the wet room must be fully tiled from floor to ceiling to prevent water damage,’ says Jane Gilchriest of Alternative Bathrooms.
‘The material you choose for the tiles can be made fit for purpose, but it’s essential to consider suitability. Natural stone and marble require sealing and more maintenance, whereas ceramic and porcelain tiles need less upkeep and are more durable. A polished surface may require an anti-slip liquid or finish before installation in order to make it safe.’
How can we ensure water is drained away effectively in a wet room?
The whole space needs to be completely waterproof and the tanking system will depend on the substructure of the room itself, so it’s important to consult a professional for advice, says Jane Gilchriest of Alternative Bathrooms.
‘The floor, the lower section of the walls and the whole of the wall area around the shower need to be primed. Once this has set, the room can be tiled. You’ll then need a gradient to direct the shower water into a drain.’
Do you need building regulations for a wet room?
If you’re renovating a bathroom and converting it into a wet room, it’s unlikely you’ll need to apply for building regulations approval, but it will need to comply with the regulations in place for bathrooms in general.
However, if you’re designing a wet room as part of a new-build project, you will need to apply for building regulations approval, as well as considering ventilation, drainage and electrics.
Top image: The aluminium frame of the Crittall-style Velar Horizontal Walk-In Panel (from £575, by Frontline Bathrooms) is all about durability, with easy-clean glass panels bringing a minimalistic edge to contrast with the smooth and textured wall tiles