…and how to get it right!

I recently had the good fortune to stay in a beautiful holiday cottage. It was a barn conversion, finished to a very high spec. But the wet rooms were dreadful!

They were small, which in itself is not a problem. But there was nothing to prevent the toilet roll and towels getting soaked. The drainage was terrible too, so after a morning shower, you had to paddle for the rest of the day whenever you visited the loo. Overall, very poor design and execution!

Getting a wet room right does take a bit of planning, and someone who knows what they’re doing to help during installation. But done well, they can make for a stunning bathroom space. So here are our top tips, and a rough cost guide to get you started. But first thing’s first…

What is a wet room?

A wet room is basically a shower room with no shower tray. It’s usually an open, fully tiled area. A slight gradient is created along the floor to channel the water into a drain. The entire room needs to be waterproofed – a process known as tanking.

Adding a wet room as a second bathroom can increase the value of your home. A wet room can be a great choice for a small bathroom – removing the bath will create much more space. It can also make the job of cleaning easier – you won’t need to worry about that tricky bit at the bottom of the shower cubicle door!

Our wet room top tips

  • If you have a small space to work with, include a shower screen or tiled partition wall to prevent everything else in the room getting sprayed.
  • Make sure the floor and lower section of the walls (at the very least) are fully primed with a waterproof membrane before tiling.
  • Consider raising the bathroom door threshold by about 5mm in case the room fills with water – this will help keep the water contained.
  • Think about the finish you want. Tiles are often the simplest option, but there are other specialist materials available. There are options, for example, that provide a seamless, non-porous, low maintenance option.
  • If you do go for tiles, choose a non-porous material. Porous tiles (slate, marble, limestone) need sealing every few months which creates a lot more work.
  • Make sure you choose special floor tiles for the floor to prevent slips.
  • Consider adding underfloor heating. It’s nice for warm feet, and helps dry the floor out.
  • Pair your drainage with your shower. If you want a power shower, your drainage needs to be able to cope quickly with large volumes of water.
  • Look for a drain with an easy access dirt trap to help keep water running freely.
  • Consider storage – where will your shampoo go? A recessed shelf built into the wall is one idea but requires factoring in at the planning stages.
  • A wet room can make a great accessible bathroom choice – added features such as grab rails and lower-positioned shower controls should be factored in from the outset.

How much does a wet room cost?

As ever, it depends on the size of your space, the level of finish and the methods used. For example, is your floor gradient going to be created by installing a plywood sub-floor which is tiled over, or are you going to use a ready-made sloping shower former and tile over that instead? Do you have expensive taste when it comes to tiles? The options are vast, only limited by the space and budget you have, and your imagination!

As a starting point, the average cost of installing a wet room is usually between £5k and £10k. This is based on a 4m2 wet room. This cost includes professional installation – something that is really important for this job. If it’s not done properly, leaks can cause significant water damage.

The cost of a wet room is going to be more than if you went for a standard shower cubicle. But the pay offs in terms of space, style and added value are likely to more than cover that in the long run.

If you would like to speak to us about installing your wet room in north Norfolk, please get in touch!