Everything to know about Wet Rooms

Wet rooms are growing in popularity as a way to add luxury and value to a home. If you’re interested in putting in a wet room but you’re not sure how to go about doing so, use this helpful guide to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is a Wet Room?

A wet room is a fully waterproof bathroom with a walk-in shower that sits level with the rest of the room. In place of a traditional shower tray is a gently sloping floor that guides the water toward the drain. The walls and floors are also fully tiled, eliminating the need for an enclosed shower cubicle. However, depending on the size of your wet room, you may still choose to install a partial shower screen to contain the spray.

What are the advantages of a wet room?

  1. Accessibility: Wet rooms can be easier to access than traditional bathrooms with raised shower trays or bathtubs, as there are no trip hazards. This makes them ideal for people with mobility issues or disabilities.
  2. Space-saving: Wet rooms can make efficient use of space in smaller bathrooms as they do not require as much space as a traditional bathroom.
  3. Stylish and modern: Wet rooms are often considered to be more stylish and contemporary than traditional bathrooms, and can add value to your home.
  4. Easy to clean: Because there are no nooks and crannies for dirt to accumulate, wet rooms are often easier to clean than traditional bathrooms.
  5. Versatility: Wet rooms can be designed to suit a wide variety of tastes and styles, from minimalist and modern to more traditional designs.
Wet Room
Wet Room

What are the disadvantages of a wet room?

Wet rooms can offer a variety of benefits, such as easy access and a modern look. However, they also have some disadvantages, which include:

  1. Cost: Wet rooms are generally more expensive to install than traditional bathrooms, as they require a tanking system to prevent water damage.
  2. Slippery floors: The floor of a wet room is constantly wet, which can make it slippery and increase the risk of accidents, especially for children and the elderly.
  3. Drainage issues: Wet rooms require specialized drainage systems to prevent water from pooling and causing damage. If the drainage system is not installed correctly, it can cause problems with flooding and water damage.
  4. Limited privacy: Wet rooms are typically designed as open-plan spaces without a shower enclosure, which can be uncomfortable for some people who prefer more privacy while bathing.
  5. Humidity: Wet rooms can create a lot of humidity, which can cause problems with mold and mildew if not properly ventilated.
  6. Maintenance: Wet rooms require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent mold and mildew growth, as well as to keep the drainage system in good working condition.

Overall, wet rooms can be a great addition to a home, but they require careful planning and installation to avoid potential issues.

What is the difference between a wet room and a shower?

A wet room is a larger bathroom or shower area that is designed to be completely waterproof. Instead of an enclosed shower area, a wet room typically features a large, open space with a drain in the centre of the floor. The entire room is waterproofed using special materials, such as tiles or vinyl sheeting, and the showerhead is typically mounted directly onto the wall or ceiling.

The key difference between a wet room and a shower is that a wet room is a fully waterproofed space that allows water to be directed anywhere within the room, while a shower is typically a smaller, enclosed area within a bathroom that is designed to contain the water to a specific area. Wet rooms are becoming increasingly popular in modern home design because they offer a more open and flexible layout and can be easier to clean than traditional shower enclosures.

Do I need planning permission for a wet room?

No specific planning permission applies to wet rooms, but building regulations may apply if:

  • The wet room is being built as part of a home extension.
  • An existing bathroom is being converted into a wet room.
  • The wet room is part of a new build.

Are Wet Rooms More Expensive Than Showers?

When redesigning a bathroom, the shower area is typically the most expensive portion. Since a wet room is essentially a giant shower, you should expect a higher cost. The exact price depends on numerous factors, including the type of subfloor, tiling and materials you choose, as well as whether you replace other fixtures like the toilet and basin. However, the resulting enjoyment and added home value usually make wet rooms well worth the cost.

Do I Need Underfloor Heating in a Wet room?

Underfloor heating isn’t required in a wet room, but it’s another luxurious feature you can certainly add whilst the floor is under construction. Electric or hydronic underfloor heating will keep your wet room tile floors comfortably warm for a truly spa-like experience. Having heat rise from the ground up also helps standing water dry faster.

Wet room Ideas for a Small Bathroom

Because the shower area in a wet room has no size constraints, even the smallest bathroom can be converted into a wet room. Keep these tips in mind as you consider how you might design a wet room in your small bathroom:

  1. Use glass walls: Install a glass wall or partition in your wet room instead of a traditional shower curtain or door. This will give your small bathroom a more open and spacious feel.
  2. Go for a minimalistic design: Keep the design of your wet room simple and minimalistic. Avoid too many decorative elements that can make the space feel cluttered.
  3. Use large-format tiles: Use large-format tiles on the walls and floors of your wet room. This will make the space look bigger and create a seamless and clean look.
  4. Create a feature wall: Add a feature wall to your wet room to make it stand out. Consider using a bold color or pattern to create visual interest.
  5. Add a skylight: If possible, add a skylight to your small bathroom. This will bring in natural light and make the space feel brighter and more open.
  6. Install a wall-hung sink: Use a wall-hung sink instead of a traditional vanity to save space and make the room feel larger.
  7. Incorporate storage: Add built-in storage to your wet room to keep the space organized and clutter-free. Consider using recessed shelves or niches to save space.
  8. Use lighting to create ambiance: Use different types of lighting to create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere in your wet room. Consider using dimmer switches to control the mood.
  9. Create a wet room with a bathtub: If you want to have a bathtub in your small bathroom, consider creating a wet room with a built-in tub. This will give you the best of both worlds.
  10. Use natural materials: Use natural materials like stone or wood to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your wet room. This will make the space feel more relaxing and spa-like.

Some additional tips to keep in mind are:

  • Position the drain as far from the bathroom door as possible to minimise the risk of water escaping the room.
  • Install neutral-coloured, large-format stone, ceramic or porcelain tiles to create a sleek, minimal look.
  • Install concrete or tadelakt (a waterproof Moroccan plaster) for a rough, industrial look.
  • Only use floor tiles designed specifically for bathroom floors so they won’t be as slippery.
  • Choose your sanitary ware carefully, knowing that it might get wet. Wall-mounted toilets are a brilliant choice to prevent water from pooling at the base.
  • Decide whether you want shower valves to be exposed or concealed.

Do you have a vision for creating a relaxing, high-end wet room in your Dorchester or Somerset home? Bathroom Inspirations is here to bring that vision to life. We have the expertise, dedication and creativity needed to transform your dull, dreary space into a bathroom you’ll truly love. In addition to wet rooms, we can also design and install cabinetry, tubs, shower enclosures, tiling, fixtures, underfloor heating and much more. To learn more, feel free to explore some of our work or schedule an appointment to visit our showroom in Dorchester.