Room for manoeuvre

Room for manoeuvre

With the versatility of wetrooms creating a lucrative market for installers, Steve Saunders outlines some of the design considerations that should be made prior to an installation to ensure the evolving needs of customers are met.
Room for manoeuvre
Without question, the wetroom is a growing trend in the family home as homeowners seek a practical showering space without compromising on the aesthetics of the bathroom. Equally, approximately 27% of UK homes have at least one person with a disability or a serious medical condition, which makes level access showering installations a key area of this market. Add to this those families eager to create a safe bathroom space for their children to use, and there are a variety of situations in which installers can offer an effective solution.
The benefit of wetrooms is that almost any existing bathroom or en-suite can be converted into a wetroom to offer added flexibility. Wetrooms are also often said to offer added value to a property.
Shower selection
While the layout and safety of the wetroom always needs to be taken into consideration, the shower model installed is also crucial. It is important to take into account the design features, suitable accreditations and the needs of the customer in order to recommend a suitable shower model for a wetroom environment. This together with the customer’s water system may make certain types of shower more suitable than others.
Making the most of mixers
Mixer showers often work well in this situation because they complement the simplistic image of the wetroom thanks to their sleek look. Ideal for properties with readily-available hot water – such as those with a combi boiler or a large capacity hot water cylinder, mixer showers have the benefit of being able to incorporate a wide range of bespoke features. Body jets, overhead deluge showerheads and a variety of water outlets can be included as part of a package to create a unique ‘spa style’ wetroom.
Customers keen to make the most of the generous showering space offered by wetrooms often look for stylish extras for added luxury. Solutions such as Triton’s Nene Bar Diverter with Body Jets offers a high performance showering experience, with the added benefit of thermostatic technology to stabilise temperature within 2°C. An overhead deluge shower head, three two mode body jets and a five mode detachable handset are included as stylish additions to add a touch more luxury to a wetroom design.
Emphasis on electric
Customers without such a readily available supply of hot water needn’t be deterred from having a wetroom fitted. For a simplistic yet elegant addition, a slimline electric shower can provide the ideal solution due to its compact design and practical features. Electric showers with thermostatic control are ideal for younger family members and the elderly alike, as the water temperature is continually stabilised so even if water is being used elsewhere in the house there will be little – if any – fluctuation in temperature.
In the case of some electric showers, it is possible to install a separate start/stop button in the form of a wired low voltage remote controlled switch that can provide more independent usage for the disabled or elderly.
Drainage
Given the level access nature of the wetroom, drainage is a key consideration and it is essential that potentially dangerous pools of water gathering on the floor of the showering area are avoided. Selecting and installing the correct pump to remove waste water is therefore of great importance.
While an analogue drainage pump will deliver a constant rate of pumping and a fixed drainage speed, a digital drainage pump will vary the suction rate depending on the volume of water flow from the shower to deliver highly-efficient waste water drainage and also minimises suction noise.
To further improve the autonomy of the wetroom, installers should look for electric shower models that can connect to a drainage pump directly as this has the distinct advantage of not having to find a suitable point in the water supply pipe to fit a flow-switch. This also obviously removes any difficulty with accessing a flow switch in future for maintenance purposes.
Accessorising
When designing a wetroom, installers should consider shower models with additional benefits such as an extended riser rail with an extra long hose to allow for seated or standing showering options. Additionally, installers can offer customers safety features such as a load-bearing riser rail capable of supporting up to 150kg if intentionally or accidentally grabbed.
Using accreditations
A shower that has achieved a variety of accreditations such as CE Mark, Kitemark and BEAB Care certification can be used by installers to trigger extra peace of mind with their customer. In addition to the aforementioned of accreditations, Triton’s newly-launched Safeguard thermostatic electric shower was also developed with the help of a team of Occupational Therapists. This kind of third party association ensures installers can highlight the approval of an independent body when customers are considering which shower to have installed.
Design, safety and aesthetics all need to be considered when it comes to wetroom design and installers who have a comprehensive understanding of all the aspects needed to be taken into account will benefit from profitable sales opportunities as customers continue to look for suitable wetroom solutions.