Wet room or shower enclosure, which is best for your project?
Matt Toms, Product Development Manager at Impey Showers discusses which is best for your project. Innovation has meant wetrooms are now more reliable and easier to create than ever, while shower enclosure options offer an alternative solution – with this range of choice just how do you go about choosing what is best for your project?
Usually the choice of Shower enclosure or wetroom will come down to personal preference based on functionality or aesthetics.
A wetroom is a fully tanked (or waterproofed) bathroom with a walk-in shower area, which is level with the surrounding floor. The actual floor of the shower area slopes gently towards the drain both to ensure the water flows away efficiently and also to help contain the water, preventing it from migrating into the rest of the bathroom.
The ultimate solution is a wet room, not only does it look great, you also have the added benefits of safety, convenience and peace of mind. There are three simple ways to work out the best type of bathroom solution for your project.
1 - Suitability of the substrate – wetrooms are suitable for all floor types, but the need to excavate an existing concrete floor can make a shower enclosure more cost-effective. In some cases there maybe obstructions within the floor construction that can make the installation of a wetroom floor former impractical, in these situations a shower tray can be more installer friendly.
2 - Drainage – early specification makes wetroom drainage easy with provision for sub-level drainage. In existing properties this may not be possible, so running above level pipework may mean that you have to go for a traditional shower enclosure. However, pumped waste drainage solutions with a low flow rate shower can help overcome situations where gravity drainage isn’t possible.
3 - Level access - traditionally only a wetroom could provide level access, however sub-level shower trays area really great option to deliver a flush-level feel. It’s important to remember that with any kind of level access the waterproofing requirement for a shower tray will need to be as robust as a fully tanked wetroom. If you’re going to invest in a fully tanked room then you do not need to compromise and can install a wetroom.
Using product innovation to overcome the technical challenges of installing wetrooms
If you’ve chosen a wet room, even with early specification there is still the requirement to make wetroom installation effective on site. Innovation in products means that it’s easier to create a wetroom that will be as robust as the design.
Specifying products such as Aqua-Grade not only reduce installation time by 50% but also create the perfect wet room drainage gradient for new screeded solid floors. The colour coded modular sections click together to form any size of matrix to be filled with screed ensuring that installation on site meets the gradient in the specification and achieves the ideal slope for performance.
Specifying Aqua-Dec EasyFit as a floor former gives peace-of-mind once the project gets to site. The product features a rotating drain plate which offers a choice of drainage points to overcome any in-situ joists or pipework.
With the addition of some intelligently designed floor drains it is possible to install a wetroom in almost any situation. The ability to cater for different outlet orientation (vertical and horizontal), gravity or pumped waste and of course different floor finishes, e.g. tiles or vinyl.
Consideration should also be given to the fact that the drainage grate is the only visible part of a wetroom installation; it must not only perform well but also be styled to suit changing trends, replaceable for future upgrades and easily accessible for maintenance and cleaning.
Waterproofing is an essential element of an effective wetroom; using a self-adhesive tanking membrane with preformed detailing and jointing tape at junctions provides a robust watertight solution to ensure that the wetroom performs as designed. Modern Self-adhesive membranes such as WaterGuard, which is epoxy friendly, are a huge time saver with far less mess and cleaning up required than traditional paint-on solutions. Tiling can begin almost immediately after installation is complete.
You can read more on technical considerations for designing a wet room by reading our blog post.