Practical, accessible and ultra-stylish, wetrooms are increasingly finding their way into self-builds and it’s easy to understand why. However, while it may be exciting to choose the finishes and furnishings for this room, it’s essential to consider the basics first.
In order to enjoy your wetroom for years to come, it’s important to get the installation right from the outset. Drainage and ventilation are key elements before you even begin to think about the aesthetic features. Signs of leaks and mould will surely put a damper on your shiny new suite. But specifying and installing these systems correctly will no doubt save you significant costs and replacements later on down the line.
David Osborne, Managing Director of Roman, reaffirms the increased popularity of these luxury products: “The market for inclusive designed products such as wetrooms and walk-ins is continuously growing due to the UK demographics and due to this growth much research has gone into inclusive design over the last 10 years and manufacturers have been producing many more inclusive products.
“Wetrooms not only look super stylish, but they are also extremely practical as they make showering easily accessible for the elderly and less able, they provide doorless entry (wide and easy access) and there is no step up into the showering area. A wetroom can be built to fit nearly any dimension and shape of bathroom or en-suite and are now available at all level price points.”
Clear the air
• Don’t underestimate the importance of getting the ventilation right. As wetrooms are typically much bigger and wetter than the average bathroom setup, it is vital to ensure there is enough ventilation to prevent damp and mould building up.
• Don’t leave the choice of ventilation to the last minute. Make it part of the design process so that it doesn’t detract from the overall design aesthetic of the bathroom.
• Don’t just buy a standard fan. Many of today’s options have been specifically designed for wetrooms.
• Do consider a model where the ventilation incorporates a light, allowing you to complete two functions in one appliance. What’s more, some models come with a choice of cool white light or soft warm light – so you can choose which is best to suit your daily habits.
• Do go smaller if you can. Some of today’s compact fan options are just as powerful as their larger counterparts, meaning you can benefit from all the functionality while retaining a neat, discreet finish.
• Do consider noise rating. After all no one wants to soak in the bath with a noisy fan in the background. We’d recommend a fan with a noise level no higher than 40db to maintain comfort.
Making the grade
CCL Wetrooms offers some practical guidance on how to prepare your wetroom for an elegant and effective drainage system.
The first step to ensuring your wetroom can drain properly is to create the right gradient. There are a number of ways to do this including buying premade wetroom decks. No matter what method you choose, ensure that your wetroom deck has the proper gradient or you could be left with puddles all over your floor that don’t drain and can lead to moisture issues.
Once the gradient is correct, you need to choose your drain. We recommend a linear screen or linear wall drain. Make sure you check the flow rate of your fixtures. If your shower has a higher flow rate than your drain, water will backup and pool which can cause serious problems.
Now that you have your drain, it is time to install. Fix the drain to either the floor or floor joists as specified. Make sure you adhere to the fall guide for your drainage pipe. We recommend 12mm per linear meter. Once the drain is installed, it is time to tank the room.
When tanking, make sure you have the provided cover tape or other covering over the drain. This will prevent foreign objects, adhesives and other material from falling into your new drain. If something does fall down the hole, it could require a huge amount of work or even reinstallation of the drain to fix the problem.
With the tanking done, you need to adjust the height on your drain. Different drains may have different height adjustments but with CCL drainage solutions, you use 1mm spacers to move the grill height up or down. Your goal should be to ensure the grill is flush with the tile. This prevents trip hazards and ensures proper drainage.
How to make your wetroom leak-proof
Although often utilised for wetroom flooring, concrete screeding is riddled with risk. James Dadd at AKW highlights a cost-effective alternative for creating a leak-proof wetroom.
There’s no room for mistakes when laying screeding – if laid incorrectly it can cause drainage issues, which can make the wetroom a slip hazard. A cost-effective substitute is the installation of a wetroom former: a purpose-designed, underfloor shower tray with a built-in gradient that helps to achieve a leak-proof draining surface.
When choosing a former, there are four key points to consider:
• Load bearing. A former with a load capacity of up to 25 stone should be adequate for a typical installation. However, some formers have load capacities of up to 40 stone to cater for the user plus a wheelchair or carer and allow for the point load bearing of a shower seat if required.
• Drainage. Drains can be square (centrally offset) or linear (located against a wall). Ensure they are approved for wetroom use and that there’s enough depth in the floor to install the drain. Because wetroom formers have a built-in gradient providing the correct drainage, there is no need to establish a slope like you would with other shower floors.
• Size. Formers from leading suppliers come in a wide range of sizes and, despite their strength, can be trimmed to size using a regular handsaw to ensure a seamless fit.
• Waterproof tanking. This is fitted before adding tiles. The latest tanking kits are quick and easy to apply. Advanced systems are self-adhesive and ready to tile immediately, with no drying time required.