How to Install a Level Access Wetroom
When fitting an inclusive showering area, installers are keen to recognise the relevant design elements and understand how they will benefit the user. Specialist manufacturer and founder of the modern-day wetroom Impey takes a closer look at the choices available when creating inclusive showering solutions in domestic bathrooms.
The increasing level of care in the community, resulting in elderly and disabled residents staying in their own homes for longer, means that the need for home adaptations is rising. Installers who work with Local Authorities or Home Improvement Agencies may have noticed a predicted rise in the number of bathroom adaptations to be carried out during 2017. As a recent report suggests: “In recognition of the rising need for adaptations, central government funding for the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) has been increased considerably. In 2016/17 it rose by 79% from £220 million to £394 million and it is projected to increase to over £500 million by 2019/20.”* In addition, those who don’t meet criteria to receive a DFG, are often privately funding their own adaptations and installing an inclusive shower room, in order to maintain a comfortable standard of living within their own homes and prepare for their future needs.
Installing an Inclusive Shower Room
The design and style of a modern inclusive shower room can vary greatly to cater for the needs of a variety of users, including those with diverse levels of mobility. Some heavy-need inclusive adaptations are installed to address the specific requirements of a particular user who is elderly or disabled, and can appear somewhat institutional in style. Increasingly, bathroom installations and refurbishments are considered with the idea of future-proofing in mind; incorporating an element of flexibility into the design, but keeping the outward appearance modern.
In the case of a DFG adaptation you may be installing products specified by an Occupational Therapist or Technical Officer. Whereas, with a self-funded adaptation, the customer will need your installation expertise to help decide upon a best-fit solution for their property and needs.
Level Access Wetrooms
Because a wetroom can be installed anywhere within a property (not just on a ground floor), it enables a highly effective use of space, which can be beneficial in smaller properties.
The best type of floor former for a wetroom is determined by the location of the installation. For installation onto a concrete floor opt for a screed template, which offers a quick and easy way to create a drainage gradient for new-pour solid floors. If you choose a model incorporating an easy-to-use click-together matrix template, like the AquaGrade, installation time can be reduced by up to 50%.
For use in upper floors or attic conversions, a prefabricated floor former is lightweight but also offers strength and rigidity. Opting for a model with a built-in drainage gradient and rotating drain plate, will mean it’s easy to avoid joists or existing pipework. Our EasyFit Dec wetroom floor former, can accommodate wheelchair users and carers and withstand a weight of up to 47 stones (300kg), without the necessity for underboarding; saving you time and money.
Top Fitting Tip:
The success of a wetroom hinges not only on the accurate installation of the wetroom floor former, but, ensuring that the floor is level throughout the room. It’s crucially important because uneven flooring in a wetroom can lead to pooling and/or drainage issues. To enquire further please speak direct to our technical team on 01460 258 682.
Bath-Replacement, Low Level Shower Tray
Removal of a bath frees-up floor space, and offers greater ease of access to an elderly or disabled user. Low level shower trays ensure that users with limited mobility can enter and exit a showering area safely and comfortably. In situations where installation of a wetroom in not possible, users with reduced mobility and disabled users in wheel chairs can opt for an ultra slim shower tray.
With a step height of only 24mm, Mantis is the lowest tray available on the market and comes in seven sizes, including two bath replacement sizes. The small step height also means it can be accessed by a wheelchair user, with no ramps.
Top Fitting Tip:
Quick to install, Mantis can be fitted above or below ground to suit each user specific location and is supplied with a tile upstand and compatible gravity drainage. With a flow rate of 11 litres per minute, the Mantis can easily be cut down to fit a wall-to-wall space where a bath was previously installed.
Understanding Shower Tray Slip Resistance
When selecting a tray for an inclusive shower area, consider slip resistance. Although no shower tray can be classed as 100% slip-resistant, they can be measured and classified according to the level of slip resistance they offer, using a measurement is a called a DIN Rating. The use of DIN 51097 can be incredibly helpful when selecting shower trays for the elderly or less able, as it recreates the showering environment, using barefoot conditions and soapy water as a contaminant. Results are given in a sliding scale from A (most slippery), B and finally C (least slippery).
The DIN Rating offers the closest test to a true showering environment, and can act as a useful guide to which shower trays are safest in varying situations. To ensure user safety, Impey’s Mantis tray benefits from incorporating a slip resistant satin tread pattern that achieves a DIN 51097 Class ‘B’ on slip resistance.
Shower Screens for Inclusive Showering Areas
Some installations require a glass screen, to minimise splash to other parts of the bathroom. From luxury, full-height glass screens to free-standing half-height options, a variety of shower doors and screens are available which are compatible with both shower tray and wetroom installations and can offer varying degrees of support for less-mobile users and their carers.
If a glass screen is going to be used, choose thick, toughened safety glass. Screens which include a floor to ceiling support pole can offer added user stability. Impey Supreme glass showerpanels are contemporary and attractive; providing practical support and ease of entry, compatible for use in a wetroom or with a shower tray.
Also compatible with both wetroom or shower tray installations, half-height shower doors offer considerable benefits for users and carers. They’re a safe and functional option ensuring that carers can communicate with, and assist the showerer, whilst simultaneously staying dry. Half-height shower doors allow maximum space to enter the shower area – ideal for assisted showering or wheelchair users – and are compatible with rails and shower curtains to allow increased privacy when needed.
We launched the revolutionary Elevate half-height shower door - which lifts clear of the floor when opening and closing; ensuring ease of use for care professionals and users.
Most inclusive adaptations will require a combination of vertical, angled and horizontal support rails to offer maximum safety and security.
From attractive polished stainless steel support rails, ideal for a design-conscious homeowner, to a sturdy Maxi-Grip Plus option which can support up to 150KG and has adjustable angles for ease of use – the kind of rail chosen will vary depending on the needs of the user.
Top Fitting Tip:
Position support rails correctly, to ensure maximum user safety and support. This can often vary depending on individual needs, so it’s important to consult with the user(s), take note of manufacturer’s instructions and consult the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) website, if further advice is needed.
For more information or advice about installing inclusive bathrooms, visit our website: www.impeyshowers.com, where you can also book a place on the Impey ‘We Are Wetrooms’ UK training tour.
*Foundations report: The Disabled Facilities Grant Before and after the introduction of the Better Care Fund. June 2016 by Sheila Mackintosh and Philip Leather