Last Updated on November 25, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford
Wet rooms have been popular in Europe for centuries, but are still a rarity outside Europe. Here are some design tips to create your own.
Wet rooms are bathrooms that have no discernable shower space. Instead the whole room is effectively a splash zone.
The use of timber frames in building construction, and the issues with water leakage has deterred many designers from specifying wet rooms. Now with the increase of steel framing and the advent of reliable waterproofing systems, many are ready to attempt wet room design.
Big Showers Are Better
One reason a house owner may consider a wet room is to save space. In a small room the shower tray and walls can restrict the usable space in the bath. By removing the shower walls there is more space in the room and when used as a shower the bathing space is also increased.
Where possible you should always put in the largest possible shower that will fit. The wet room allows you to have a large shower in a small room.
Vanities and Toilets
If you wet room is very small try to have a separate toilet. Steam and splashes ruin countless rolls of toilet paper, and there is also the issue of a wet toilet seat which may not always be wiped down. If the room is big enough make sure you place the toilet as far from the shower splash zone as possible. Try to install a vanity cabinet with closing doors so that any stored items do not get soaked.
Contain the Splashes
Another ways to minimize the shower splash issues is to install high storage shelves for towels and clothes. Also consider using a ceiling mounted dump shower rather than a wall mounted jet.
Alternatively, putting in a half tiled wall 1.2m high close to the shower will reduce the splash zone and also gives more wall space to hang fittings or even the toilet off.
Related: Types of shower wall materials
Floor Slopes and Containment
The fall on the floor is crucial for drainage and pooling. A fall in the shower area towards the drain will stop pooling, but also consider a second drain, away from the shower head, for those who shower vigorously. A raised waterproof lip at the entrance to the room also acts a second line of containment.
Wall Cladding and Waterproofing
The wall cladding will need to have a waterproof membrane over it but on top of that the best looking option is tiles. If you don’t want to tile the entire room, try to tile to the ceiling two meters from the shower head and from there you can half-wall for the rest of the room. The floor should be tiled as well, as this will add to the luxurious feel and allow for underfloor heating to be installed for even more comfort.
Consider carefully where electrical power points and heated towel ladders can safely go. All electrics need to be positioned out of the splash zone, and in a small bathroom this zone might be everywhere. Check with your local building authority as to what they will allow as different areas have different regulations.
Another variation on the wet room theme is a shower zone. You will need quite a large room to do this, but it does allow for more privacy if there are multiple users of the bathroom. Here a section of the room is walled off and the shower is placed at the end of what could be described as a wet corridor. Any number, size, and shape of shower fittings can then be added for single or multiple nozzles or bathers. Splashes will not reach the main room and the solid wall gives privacy to the bather or other bathroom user.
With wet rooms always remember the basics with all bathrooms: storage, sight-lines, lighting and waterproofing.