Wetrooms have become an increasingly popular feature in homes across the UK as more people opt for slimline and minimalist bathroom designs. Leigh Price, managing director at Real Stone & Tile, explains key things you should consider before fitting one in your home.
Wetrooms are a great alternative when creating that all important second bathroom, as they can add significant value to your home. They work well with awkward shaped rooms too which is ideal for older houses. Essentially the room itself becomes a shower enclosure – a shower drain, inset into a gently sloping floor takes the place of a conventional shower tray, creating a contemporary and sleek space.
Unfortunately there are a lot of horror stories about wetrooms and these are usually down to poor workmanship and incorrect installation. Draining issues can be the biggest problem especially if the gradient isn’t right for the space.
First and foremost, you need to be realistic. Is the room big enough? Customers often envisage squeezing a wetroom into a small en-suite as they feel that it will open up the space. In essence it will, however, with no screen the water will go everywhere soaking the rest of the fittings and furnishings in there – not ideal.
Another question you need to ask yourself is; what is your budget? Wetrooms aren’t as cheap as people hope and it isn’t a case of a quick makeover. A lot of preparation is needed which can be costly especially when waterproofing.
Here is a brief guide to the installation process and specific areas you need to consider:
Without sounding like a cliché, preparation really is key. Drainage and waterproofing the area is the most important thing as the environment will inevitably get very wet and the water needs to drain as quickly as possible.
A common misconception is that wetrooms have to be downstairs, this is untrue and they can be installed on any floor when the right ‘deck’ is used.
When installing on a solid concrete floor (usually the ground floor), a template which allows creation of the gradient by hand-screeding is a quick and effective choice. Opt for one that can be placed directly onto the subfloor and has adjustable feet for installation on uneven of surfaces.
To install a wetroom on an upper floor, the easiest and most efficient way to create a gradient is by using a prefabricated wetroom floor former. Choose a reputable brand which offers strength, durability and one that can be fitted directly onto timber joists.
Fixing waterproof boards (I recommend those available from PCS) also ensures a solid foundation and should they come into contact with water, it won’t affect its properties or the original timber or concrete structure. The boards need to be applied to the floors and walls where the water is likely to hit.
When the wetroom system is in place, rubberised waterproof tape needs to be stuck down onto every joint (e.g. where the walls meets the floor), to ensure the area is well sealed. Finally, a waterproof tanking liquid should be applied to both the floor and walls to make it extra watertight – two coats are usually recommended.
In terms of drainage, there two options to choose from; square or linear. Square drains are the most popular option as you can position it wherever you prefer. Linear drains offer a sleek look and your chosen tile can even be fitted on to it for a fluid appearance.
One worry that is associated with wetrooms is slipping over which is understandable but it can also be avoidable.
Using mosaic tiles that are attached to mesh sheets can not only make tiling on a gradient easier, but if they have a textured surface it offers better grip when wet. However, as with most mosaic tiles the maintenance and upkeep is high due to the extra grout used. TIP: Try a darker grout so that any staining isn’t as noticeable.
If you’re opting for regular tiles, choose the envelope style when laying them on the wetroom tray as this suits the gradient and looks neater.
If you’re still concerned about accidents, apply a sealant with anti-slip properties. This doesn’t affect the appearance of tile and also offers peace of mind. It can be pricey but ultimately very worthwhile.
There are a variety of accessories which can be introduced to the room to complete the designer look. Adding a glass shower screen can be used to keep the water contained; this is usually advisable for smaller rooms so that the spray of the water doesn’t drench nearby fittings and furnishings.
Long gone are the days of metal baskets to keep shampoos and shower gels in, try incorporating a recess within the wall to store shower toiletries. This provides a minimalistic appearance and keeps everything tidy.
When fitted correctly, wetrooms are a great addition for the home. It is important to choose a design that is right for your room size, so do your homework and ask for recommendations from a range of bathroom and wetroom specialists. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and quiz them on their approach if it is different to other installers. Finally, ask to see case studies of costumers’ projects so that you can gauge their experience and success.
For more information and advice on wetrooms, contact Real Stone & Tile on 0161 485 1373 or visit: www.realstoneandtile.co.uk