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How to fit a wet room

Once you've decided on the design of your wet room you need to start researching them

How everything is installed depends on the system type and the kind of floor it is being fitted to. It is possible for almost all systems and under almost every floor. Therefore, the choice of products for your wet room is dependant on you and your personal choice and primarily your budget.

Wet Rooms: The shower base and outlet

There are many options when it comes to the shower base you want in your wet room, it depends on personal taste and the look you want in your unique wet room.

European Wet Rooms - thicker bases
In Europe these style of wet room are the most common, these buildings are most likely to have concrete floors. These are mainly produced by European manufacturers, they are ready to tile and come with a gradient leading to the drainage system. These bases are usually placed into an excavated hole. However when these bases are fitted into a wooden floor, an extra layer of plywood is fitted on tip of the current floor boards. The plywood is very stable and sturdy, which means that the chance of the tiles lifting on a wet room is drastically reduced.

UK Wet Rooms - thinner bases
In the UK and Ireland properties are generally fitted with wooden floorboards and this makes fitting a wet room much more of a challenge. There are shower systems especially designed for this market and are generally very simple to fit, as they are designed to just replace the section of floor they are going in to. These are thinner than the European bases and this sometimes makes people less happy because of the stability and increased risk of tiles lifting on a wet room.

Gullies & Shower Channels for wet rooms
Floor Gully's (normally a small round or square grating) & Shower Channels (long & thin linear channels built into the floor) are simple waste outlets connected to the drainage system. They are generally found at swimming pools or spas. However, they do not tend to go in houses because they do not have a gradient, they have to be built by hand, which is very time consuming and expensive. A floor gully should be built by an expert for a wet room. Shower channels are different because they are straight, so an incline can be built directing the water away.

Wet Rooms: Tanking System

It is extremely important to seal a wet room correctly, there are three different names for this, they are:
  • Wet Room Tanking
  • Wet Room Waterproofing
  • Wet Room Sealing
These types OF Wet Room Tanking vary but they usually fall into one of these;
  • Rubber Paint & Chemical Seals for Wet Rooms
  • Proven advantage of being waterproof and it is simple to apply. It can be applied with either a brush or a roller and the choices are a thicker 'rubber type' polymer that coats the area completely and forms a visible protective barrier. Or a thinner chemical sealer that soaks straight in. Both have similar drying times. The thicker rubber paint has the advantage of being more visible during the build up period. Making it easier for the gaps to be seen and filled more efficiently.
  • Cement for Wet Rooms
  • Joint sealing tape is used to secure the cement. Some people rely completely on third party suppliers to waterproof their wet room. However if a leak occurs in a new wet room then it is almost impossible for responsibility to be placed on anyone.
  • Rolls of Material for Wet Rooms
  • Rolls of material are sometimes used to form a barrier in a wet room. The material is made from rubber, re-enforced matting, or a bitumen style material. This is much more difficult to apply than the rubber paint or chemical system; it also needs someone with a higher level of skill and experience.

Wet Rooms: Wastes and Traps

This means connecting the water pipe from the wet room to the waste pipe or drainage system which will join to the bigger pipes and then the sewage system. A trap must be fitted to this to ensure no unpleasant smells come back in to the room. Some systems are much more complicated to put together as they have multiple parts that need to go together in a certain order. Some systems also require a lot of preparation before the trap & waste system can be fitted. This process is extremely time consuming. You must also consider the volume of water going through the waste pipes and decide if the standard size will be enough.

The many systems available offer combinations of these three criteria, each with advantages & disadvantages. We will try to make the decision easier for you, but before you can make any decisions on your wet room, you need to do a little research.

Wet Rooms: Existing floor

What type of floor is suitable for a wet room? Generally there are three different types:

Wooden flooring and Wet Rooms
This type of flooring is very common in the UK & Ireland. It covers the supporting joists or beams. The joists or beams support the whole floor & sometimes even the 'studded' walls dividing a space into different rooms. Wooden flooring is found in most houses especially on the 1st floor and in older buildings. These floors do have some movement, after about 3 to 5 years much of a building will have 'settled'. Movement is more of an issue in newer homes, especially those less than 2 or 3 years old.

Concrete floors and Wet Rooms
European homes are usually made of concrete. Made in a variety of ways, this is a very strong, and is an extremely stable floor. Commonly found on the ground floor of buildings, throughout apartment blocks, or in recently built structures.

Other flooring for Wet Rooms Combination floors are much harder to define and less common they exist such as a wooden framework, with a floorboard covering floating, not fixed, on top of a solid concrete floor. Sometimes found in older apartment blocks.
  • How big is the wet room area going to be?
    A shower area should be the same size as the base you have chosen. Generally people have shower trays the same size as a traditional shower tray, however there is a trend towards larger shower trays. A larger shower tray does cost much more, but the further away the parts are means that the waste pipe won't have to handle as much water.
  • How enclosed will the area of the wet room be?
    The more enclosed the area is the more it will cost however the water will be more controlled. Completely open wet rooms will allow water to go everywhere, so single screens are a good compromise between control & freedom of movement.

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