Design and install a wet room from scratch or turn your existing bathroom into a dedicated shower space.

marble wet room grand design - expert tips for planning a wet room - home improvements - granddesignsmagazine.com 

Image: MATKI 

A wet room can be kitted out with spa-style fittings for the ultimate in luxurious well-being or kept simple and minimal for quick, fuss-free showering. It’s easily accessible and a good option for small en suites – where squeezing in a bath is just not practical – plus, a thoughtfully designed, well-built scheme will be very easy to keep clean

Watertight structure

f you’re self-building, a wet room can be planned at the early design stage, which makes the work easier to accommodate than if you are renovating your home and want to turn your bathroom into a walk-in shower space. With a retrofit, the entire room will have to be stripped back for waterproofing and the installation of new pipework and fittings.

Waterproofing and effective drainage are essential. Get these wrong and water leaks could damage the structure of the subfloor and walls, or cause problems with damp in the future. The basics of waterproofing involve establishing a gradient in the floor to ensure water runs towards a drainage point. The floor and any areas of wall within the splash zone must be lined with a suitable proprietary impermeable membrane.

Read more: 5 key considerations when planning a bathroom renovation

You can buy wet-room shower plates and waterproofing kits with preformed trays that are designed to slope towards the drain, and special tape for sealing the joints between the tray and walls. 

Shower power

The whole point of a wet room is to have the best shower possible in the available space. To this end, it is vital to install a system that will work effectively with your home’s water supply. You may need to fit a pump to boost the pressure if you want features such as spa-style body sprays, or are converting a space in the loft. Seek advice from an experienced plumber before investing in fittings that might not be suitable. To ensure your waste system will handle the amount of water draining away, and to avoid puddles around the room, work out your chosen shower’s flow rate.

design wet room - expert tips for planning a wet room - home improvements - granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: Kaldewei

Flooring tips 

Make sure the surface is level before installing a tiled floor. An uneven subfloor can cause movement in the surface, which will result in cracks in any grout and could affect the tanking below. Choose anti-slip porcelain for safety; polished floor tiles will become a slip hazard. Consider fitting underfloor heating; kits are available that are suitable for wet areas. This will help the space to dry out quickly.

neutral wet room design - expert tips for planning a wet room - home improvements - granddesignsmagazine.com

Image: The Watermark Collection

Ventilation

Good ventilation is essential to prevent condensation, which can lead to mould. Building Regulations state that bathrooms must be ventilated by means of a window opening or an extractor fan, but including both is the best option. An extractor in a new bathroom is required to remove at least 15 litres of moisture per second, with a 15-minute overrun after it has been switched off.

Read more: Ensuite bathrooms: 6 ideas for open plan designs

Sleek design

If you have room, consider fitting two showers, one at either end of the space. This will require two drainage points. A built-in bench and storage niches are also useful additions. Opt for a recessed drainage gully for a sleek finish. The drain is fitted at the bottom edge of the wall and all that’s visible is a linear gap alongside the shower area. 

  

For more bathroom planning advice, read Grand Designs magazine digitally for free now by registering your details

read a free issue of grand designs magazine

 

RELATED ARTICLES

5 design ideas to help create a relaxing bathroom

Eco bathrooms: A guide to taps and showers

Bathrooms in loft conversions: what are the requirements?


Kevins Column

Top self build highlights at Grand Designs Live 2019 hosted by Kevin McCloud

Find top experts, specialist exhibitors and a wealth of inspiration for your self-build or renovation project all under one roof.
visit-award-winning-grand-designs-live-hosted-by-kevin-mccloud

 
 

wet-room-planning-advice
Home Improvements

Planning advice for a wet room bathroom

Read these expert top tips for planning a wet room project.

using-salvaged-wood-for-a-fabulous-floor
Home Improvements

Using salvaged wood for a fabulous floor

Eco Flooring specialise in taking unwanted French flooring and turning into fabulous floors for sustainable homes.
planning-permission-for-a-garden-room
Home Improvements

What planning permission do I need for a garden room?

Make sure you've got the right planning permission before constructing a garden room.
installing-a-home-security-system-tips
Home Improvements

Expert tips for installing a home security system

Install your own home security system by following these expert top tips.
beautiful-bespoke-staircases-for-your-new-project
Home Improvements

Beautiful bespoke staircases for your new project

Bespoke staircases, whether straight, spiral or cantilevered, can be the centrepiece of your self-build project. Discover more about how to raise your game
kitchen-work-surface-installation-tips
Home Improvements

Kitchen work surfaces: tips for a hassle-free installation

Discover the different types of kitchen work surfaces and expert top tips for installation and aftercare.