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A well-executed wet room project can be a great long-term investment … providing every single aspect is done correctly. It should need very little upkeep over the years (apart from meticulous cleaning!) as it does away with the need for a screen or enclosure. However, if the tanking fails, or there are problems with the drainage or water seepage, you could be in for a big repair job.
Tanking & Waterproofing
Creating perfect drainage is vital for a wet room, and it requires professional guidance and input. A sloping floor is installed, which can be constructed using waterproof plywood. There are also ready-made products available, rather like large-scale shower trays. Some are made from solid-surface materials and are therefore waterproof, others act as a framework and will need to be tiled. The term ‘tanking’ is used for the application of a waterproof membrane over the floor and walls (prior to tiling).
Expert bathroom designers often suggest creating a raised threshold between hallway and wet room – to help avoid flooding if the drain becomes blocked or overflows if someone leaves the shower running.
HEATING & VENTILATION
A wet room could potentially feel chilly and unwelcoming if it’s unheated, so treat heating and ventilation as important aspects of the project. An extractor fan is a must, as a wet room is likely to get very hot and steamy, and the hot air must be allowed to escape. Remember, condensation occurs when steam hits cold surfaces. Keep a fully-tiled wet room warm and comfortable with underfloor heating (which will also help the floor dry out) and a towel radiator. A heated mirror and cabinet – with doors - should also be part of the scheme. Avoid open shelves, and provide enclosed storage space for towels, plus a linen bin – there will be an increase in damp towels! Be prepared to give the whole wet room a quick wipe-over every few days to avoid water marks on tiles and surfaces.
WET ROOMS: OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
Whilst creating a wet room can be a daunting project, it can transform the look and user-friendliness of your home. A small bathroom could be much more useful if transformed into a generously-sized wet room and may be easier for older family members to use, especially if limited mobility (perhaps the ability to climb into a bath) is part of the equation. Specify a wall-hung basin and toilet to keep it easy to clean. A steam-clean mop would be a worthwhile investment to keep the floor sparkling.