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What is a Wet Room?

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  • Written By: Soo Owens
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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A wet room uses a bathroom model to allow the entirety of the room to be exposed to water without structural damages. While typical bathrooms feature a shower or bathing area in which the water is entirely contained, a wet room expands the waterproof walls and flooring to the entire room to allow water to be used freely throughout the space. One of the main benefits of having a wet room is its ability to maximize small spaces.

Wet room designs can offer an efficient answer to limited space problems. It seeks to turn the entire room into usable space, even with the inclusion of typical bathroom elements such as toilets and sinks. Installation of a bathtub or standing shower in a small bathroom can effectively take up more than half the footage. The spatial solution offered by a wet room results from the absence of a discernible bath tub or fully enclosed shower stall, creating instead more space for bathing and maneuvering. Wet rooms can also be created on a larger scale, allowing for certain advantages such as a grander design or greater separation between bathroom fixtures and the wash area.

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One of the first details to be considered in a wet room bathroom remodel is the structural integrity of the building. A house built with steel or other woodless framing may have an easier time handling the potential consequences of a wet room addition, particularly water leakage. A wooden-frame house however is highly susceptible to water damage and can end up needing costly repairs in the event of improper installation of the wet room. To avoid flooding into other rooms, a wet room needs to be completely self-contained and waterproofed. Water resistant material is laid down as the primary foundation, which is then further treated with a waterproof gel, a process known as tanking.

Proper water drainage is another essential component of a wet room design. The floor of the wet room is installed to slope towards the drain, allowing complete water drainage. The drain normally serves as the only outlet for water in the wet room. Installing a second drain may be beneficial for larger spaces. Choices for wet-room floors include non-porous tiles, such as ceramic, which repel water and prevent water seepage into the flooring foundation. Practical reasons usually dictate placement of the main showering area at the end farthest from the door.

Bathroom fixtures such as vanities and shelving may be selected for design unity. Wall mounted sinks and modern styled toilets blend well into the uncluttered, minimalistic design of a wet room. They can be placed up and away from the shower area to minimize exposure to the spray of water. If desired, water splashes can be further localized by erecting a medium height wall between the main shower area and the wet room's fixtures. With proper installation, cleaning a wet room can be as simple as a rinse down of the entire room.

Because of its contemporary design and attractive appearance, wet rooms are becoming more popular as luxury bathroom alternatives. This designation usually entails design elements that enhance the overall look and feel of the wet room by focusing on space, dimension, and aesthetic appeal. For smaller wet rooms, selecting wall and flooring materials that have bright colors and smooth textures creates a sense of openness. Shower heads are generally affixed to the wall, and adding any number of full-featured shower heads can provide a spa-like bathing experience.

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