What is a wet room and should you install one at home?
If you’re looking to renovate your existing bathroom and want to stray away from the norm, a wet room could just be the perfect solution.
Offering a stylish and functional alternative to the traditional bathroom, wet rooms deliver a contemporary open showering experience. They’ve soared in popularity over recent years, and it’s not a surprise as to why. But, they might not be everyone’s choice.
In this blog, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about wet rooms and the benefits they can offer, we’ll share our experience and professional knowledge to help you make an informed decision on whether one would be the right fit for your home.
Let’s get straight to the point, what is a wet room?
A wet room is a type of bathroom or shower area in which the entire space is designed to be fully waterproof.
If you take a look at your traditional bathroom, you’ll notice that it features a separate shower enclosure or bathtub, and the rest of the space typically isn’t designed to be waterproof. A wet room, on the other hand, comprises an open space, traditionally fully tiled, with waterproofed floors and walls.
This innovative design prevents water from leaking into other parts of the building, ensuring efficient drainage towards a dedicated drain. For a long time, that drain was located centrally in the room, which made the installation difficult when there were issues such as tricky joist position or conflict with other bathroom suites, but with the introduction of products such as the Kessel in-wall shower drain, TECEdrainline linear waste and BEWI pre-sloped insulation construction boards, the room layout can be more freely designed and accommodate the water drainage better. The idea behind this is to create a seamless and easily maintainable space where water can flow freely, without the need for a shower tray or bathtub.
The rising popularity of wet rooms as residential bathrooms
Historically, you’d typically find wetrooms in commercial spaces such as gyms, hotels and luxury resorts. They’re commonly used in changing rooms where individuals require shower facilities before or after using the pool or other amenities, or to create spa-like bathrooms and luxury settings.
However, over the last decade or so we’ve seen an increasing demand for at-home wet rooms, from those who want to integrate that little bit of luxury into their homes with a seamless and sophisticated design. In fact, Construct UK’s research suggests that they are now present in around 8% of British homes.
But, why are they so popular? What’s all the fuss about? Let’s take a look.
The benefits of at-home wet rooms
Wet rooms offer a contemporary and minimalist aesthetic that appeals to modern design sensibilities. The open layout and seamless surfaces contribute to a sleek and stylish appearance that is becoming increasingly popular with homeowners.
It makes sense. We’ve moved into an era where both minimalist and maximalist bathroom design philosophies harmoniously co-exist. Central to this trend are wet rooms, which have become a prominent feature in both styles and there are no indicators of this trend diminishing anytime soon.
Wet rooms are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the availability and affordability of various finishing materials. Options like microcement, waterproof wallpaper, and large porcelain slabs are now more accessible. In the past, ceramic and porcelain tiles were the main choices for walls and floors in these spaces. However, they often involved numerous grout lines, which might not be as visually appealing as the smooth, seamless look of finishes like micro cement.
In smaller bathrooms or homes with limited space, wet rooms can be more space-efficient than traditional bathrooms with separate shower enclosures or bathtubs. The absence of barriers creates a sense of openness, making the room feel larger and helping you make the most out of the available space.
One of the most appealing features of a wetroom is its ability to cater to individuals with mobility challenges or physical limitations. The barrier-free, open-space design aligns with the principles of universal design, making them highly accessible and inclusive.
That’s not to say that wet rooms have to be completely free from water barriers such as glass doors. One of our most popular options is the use of the Young 2GS Bi-Fold Shower Door, by Novellini, which allows for the glass to be fully retractable and extended only during shower use. Products like that allow us here at Alfa Tiles UK to redesign rooms in ways that they may not have deemed possible in the past.
Wetrooms are highly customisable, offering a huge range of design options from tile choices and other various finishing materials, to layout and shower configurations. They can easily be tailored to suit individual preferences and designed in a way that complements the overall design of your home.
At Alfa Tiles UK, we can offer a wide selection of additional features and custom options such as rainfall showers, body jets, shower seats and benches, under-tile heating and bespoke glass options so that your wet room space is truly designed your way.
Easy to clean and maintain
Who doesn’t want a low-maintenance bathroom? Due to their clean lines and seamless surfaces, wetrooms are usually much easier to clean and maintain than a traditional bathroom.
No shower enclosures or bathtubs, which are creating potential grime-prone areas, simplifying the cleaning process and giving you more time to enjoy your luxury wet room.
In instances when a bath is required in the room, there are now available materials and techniques to create them as part of the wetroom, finished with the same materials as the walls and floors, in any size needed.
Adds value to your home
Wet rooms are viewed as a desirable and modern feature which can work in your favour if you come to sell your property. Homeowners are increasingly looking for luxurious and upscale features that set their homes apart, and wet rooms are the perfect solution for this.
Providing a sense of indulgence and sophistication, wet rooms can make the home more attractive in the real estate market, and property specialists have suggested that a wet room could increase the value of your home by around £2,000-£5,000.
So, should you install a wet room?
We’ve discussed all of the key benefits of wet rooms, and now the decision on whether you should install one lies with you. However, there are a few things you might want to consider:
What space do you have available?
Wet rooms are particularly ideal for smaller spaces where eliminating the need for a shower and/or bathtub can create a more spacious and open feel. So, assess the size and layout of your bathroom first – if it’s compact, a wet room can be a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution. For a larger bathroom with more space, you might want to opt for a more traditional design, have a look at using the additional area for an indoor sauna or extending the shower area to a 2-person space with a steam generator.
What features do you need the most?
Lifestyle and preferences are important considerations, too. Wet rooms are great for multiple reasons, but if you have a young family or like to take a bath, it might not be the most practical solution if you are planning on installing the wetroom where the bath is.
We have, however, noticed a trend in recent years of newly built properties being re-fitted from baths to shower areas, as more and more of our clients value a comfortable, spa-like shower experience rather than a bath, no matter their age or lifestyle.
What budget are you working with?
The perfect wetroom must be planned and installed with complete precision to guarantee safety and security. Incorrectly installed wet rooms have the potential to cause serious damage to the home if any leaks were to occur, so it’s important not to try to install one yourself, cut costs with inferior materials or hire inexperienced installers.
This means that you’ll need to assess the budget you have available for a wetroom professionally designed and installed to ensure that it meets health and safety standards.
Generally, the sloped under-tile shower trays for wetrooms are on-par, cost-wise, with good quality shower trays, but there are additional costs in waterproofing materials and covering materials like tiles, however, you may save on not purchasing a full glass enclosure.
Consulting with wet room specialists
Above all else, if you’re looking to have a wet room installed at home it’s crucial that you consult with a specialist in that field. A wet room expert will be able to assess your space and make recommendations on the perfect solution for you.
At Alfa Tiles UK, we specialise in crafting bespoke wetrooms designed and installed by our team of experts, and have been for the last 25 years. We listen to your requirements and work with you to design your dream wet room that ticks all of your boxes and fits within your budget.
Working with only the leading wet room manufacturers and luxury bathroom brands, we use the highest quality products and materials in the market whilst employing cutting-edge installation techniques to ensure a water-tight, completely secure finish.
Our idea is simple – to create a fully waterproof, long-lasting and safe area before any of the tiles are even laid.
Visit our showroom
Looking for inspiration? Our showroom in Manchester showcases a range of working wet rooms with full waterproofing so you can get a feel for how your bathroom transformation could look.
We can guide you through the different features and designs available, and talk you through the process with a free no-obligation chat. Get in touch with us if you’d like to book a visit or a design consultation.