Wet rooms are increasingly large element in the world of bathroom design as a contemporary way to provide drainage. Ultimately wet rooms are shower without a basin that include a toilet and sink. Drainage for the shower is through the floor and the entire room is tanked meaning that the room is completely sealed. This craze has grown in popularity as many people convert second bathrooms with a shower and view this as an ideal way to create space and luxury in an otherwise small and cramped room.
Wet rooms are extensively used on the continent, the difference however between the continent and here is climate. On the continent it is usually warm enough that any leaks from the tanked room evaporate quickly. In this country where it is considerably colder, leaks can cause a great deal of damage through damp and eventual structural instability. This is why it is vitally important when installing wet rooms to have them fitted by professionals. Any leak can be disastrous so quality workmanship is essential.
Wet rooms create a stylish and contemporary look to a room. Due to this they are increasingly being used in the construction of modern, newly built homes. If installed in a second bathroom a large amount of value can be added to a home when it comes to selling. Fundamentally it is more advisable to fit them into smaller bathrooms where space is already at a premium. Installation is not a good idea if it is to be undertaken on the main bathroom, in some cases this has been known to reduce the value of a property rather than increase it. An added benefit is that as the floor has a plughole, cleaning is made that much easier, especially if wall hung fixtures and fittings are used.
That is not to say that the installation of wet rooms is all benefits, there are certain disadvantages. One of these is the problem of splash back; if the shower does not have a screen it is easy for towels and toilet paper to become damp; this why it is a valid option to install sealed cupboards in wet rooms to prevent problems. As previously stated it is most advisable to use professional fitters for the installation process, leaks can be a monumental disaster for the structural integrity of a building, rotting timbers and plaster. Tiling should be placed all over the room and if there is no window it is often advisable to fit an extractor fan to prevent the build up of steam. There are usually maintenance costs associated with the use of wet rooms, taking place every couple of years to ensure the seals are still watertight.
Installation costs vary but will most likely be more than for a regular bathroom. This is because getting the gradient of the floor is an exact science to enable the free flow of drainage water. Additionally the process of tanking requires a great deal of effort with a variety of membranes and layers that have to be added. In some cases it may also be worth installing under floor heating to ensure the shower room is not to cold on those chilly winter mornings. In most cases this will not be a DIY job, getting the professionals in is highly advisable.
Hopefully this has cleared up some of the issues that homeowners may have with wet rooms. Ultimately they are an attractive addition to a property but if not installed properly can be an unmitigated disaster. So for those considering converting a second bathroom, it is advisable to ponder the benefits of tanking to increase space and add value.
Interior design expert Thomas Pretty looks into the popularity of wet rooms and why they should always be installed by professional contractors.