Making a splash

Wet rooms are becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners because of the numerous advantages they offer over traditional bathrooms. James Roberts explains the considerations installers need to be aware of.
The bathroom is a key environment for achieving a relaxing and comfortable ambiance. The wet room is one design that has gained increasing popularity in recent years and will continue to do so, due to the simple but aspirational environment it creates.
Installers and specifiers have reported a steady increase in the number of wet room projects being undertaken recently, yet many homeowners are still unsure about the ease with which a bathroom can be transformed into a luxurious wet room, as well as the key benefits it can deliver. Alongside ensuring the bathroom is in keeping with modern trends, a wet room can increase space, add extra value to a property and offer numerous advantages to families whose homes need to be suitable for multi-generation use.
Essentially a wide, open plan space that incorporates the shower as part of the whole room, a wet room achieves a stylish, spa-like quality through its design-led aesthetic, which can be complemented by a range of accessories. In addition, it adds a sense of luxury to a bathroom – rather than simply focus on the room’s practicalities.
Shower economy
In an age when many people prefer the shower to the bath, it really has become a question of whether the bath is necessary at all – a question that has gained momentum when the issue of water-saving measures is also considered. With an average shower output of 12 litres per minute, each five-minute shower saves 110 litres when compared to filling a bath. For a four-bedroom house, this roughly equates to a cost saving of £194 a year. On top of this, an open-plan design means the bathroom is easier to clean and maintain.
Status symbol
The wet room also has a perceived high-value status, due to its association with luxury spa hotels. This is considered a bonus to a property’s resale value and can substantially increase its desirability in the long run. The current economic situation means many homeowners are looking to increase the value of their property through refurbishment instead of moving house.
Wet rooms are also an attractive prospect for families looking to support three different generations within one home as they easily enable assisted care. With families increasingly choosing to take care of elderly parents in their own home rather than placing them in a care home, a wet room makes assisted care in the bathroom possible.
Should the homeowner wish, a wet room can also incorporate shower screens. This potentially makes assisted care when showering – whether for elderly relatives or young children – a more straightforward process. For example, AKW’s Larenco Duo shower screen range has been inclusively designed with two full-height, split glass doors, connected by a unique ‘duolinx’ handle to lock the doors together. The split door option offers a convenient and multi-purpose solution for those requiring care assistance or, alternatively, it can act as a splash guard for parents bathing young children.
Design concerns
Naturally, the biggest concern for many people when it comes to designing a wet room is draining and waterproofing the bathroom. As long as the wet room is fitted by an experienced and skilled installer, there’s no reason why any leaks should occur. A high quality former – essentially an underfloor shower tray – should be used to guarantee the room is watertight and properly sealed.
It is worth noting that many formers are designed with just two fall planes to drain water, meaning they are only suitable for alcove installations. This can create a step, a potential trip hazard for those using the environment. Formers with more fall planes – such as AKW’s trimmable TriForm, which features four fall planes – can be fitted anywhere in the bathroom while delivering significant safety benefits and effective performance over competitor products.
Wet rooms can also be fitted with an underfloor heating system, offering extra comfort and warmth when using the bathroom. Not only will underfloor heating add a sense of luxury to the environment, it can help save money in the long run.
Wet rooms allow the bathroom – for the first time – to truly evolve, from serving a simply practical purpose to being an indulgent living space that can be enjoyed and promote relaxation in an otherwise stressful world.
Wet rooms are more than minimal bathrooms. To many they are sanctuaries, places of peace and quiet enhanced by the calm atmosphere their design and ethos encourage. Furthermore, they can increase a property’s value and help prepare a home for multi-generation occupancy. Many people are starting to invest in wet rooms, and this number is set to rise in future.