The concept of the domestic wet room is relatively recent but the idea is now fully developed. A number of manufacturers have designed ''tanking systems'' which when installed correctly fully seal the bathroom against water leaks.
Definition: A wet room is a fully water tight bathroom with no separate shower tray. The “walk-in” shower area is usually level with the surrounding floor but with a slight slope to the drain which is fitted directly into the floor. The shower unit and controls are fitted to one of the walls within the wet room.
Some wet room designs include a 'wet zone'. Here, the showering area is raised above the surrounding floor by up to 150mm. Stepping up into a wet zone may be required to meet particular site conditions but in this case the level floor concept becomes compromised.
A wet room is more versatile than a conventional shower tray and enclosure and gives additional options in bathroom design. The concept allows the showering area to blend naturally with the rest of the room. Wet rooms give a feeling of spaciousness and minimalism. They make the best use of the available space and don't, necessarily, require a fixed shower screen. Furthermore without any steps there are less chances of slips and trips, cleaning is much easier and hygiene levels are excellent.
Planning your Wet Room
Careful planning is a key element in any new wet room installation. The positioning of all water and power services should be considered before the tanking process commences since the sealed area should not be punctured or pierced after installation. The installation process is also quite detailed and time consuming and allowance for the room to be completely out of use for several days should be made.
Installation of your Wet Room
Wet rooms are totally water sealed by the application of special sealing tapes, waterproof underlays or membranes and ‘tanking compound’ which, when fully cured, creates a fully water tight area. The application of the tanking compound is carried out before the installation of the wall and floor finishes. Tiling and panelling alone will not create a wet room since some tiles and grout may be porous.
Important requirements of a wet room:
- Stable (not flexible) flooring
- Correct sloped flooring and floor drainage to ensure no pooling
- Effective water proofing by ‘tanking’
- Good ventilation
- Protection of neighbouring rooms from water migration