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Wet Rooms

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A growing trend in bathroom design in recent years has been towards wet rooms. These are state-of-the-art mini spa areas in your own home with all mod cons and are particularly ideal for the sporty family who like to be in and out of the shower with no time wasted.

These are especially useful if you have limited space and prefer showering to bathing. And they are a doddle to keep clean. Wave goodbye to grotty shower curtains or screens that get grained with limescale.

Many older homes have tiny bathrooms quite out of proportion with the other rooms in the house. If yours is the sort of bathroom where you can’t swing a cat – tub, toilet and wash basin all squashed into a few square feet - you may think the time has come to make some major alterations.

Wet rooms do tend to be quite an expensive option as the floor needs to be lined to make it waterproof, but this doesn’t seem to be affecting the snowballing popularity of the projects.

The latest innovation in washroom design, the wet-room is perfect for creating space with a shower, toilet and basin – but no bath.

What makes it a wet room, as opposed to just a bog-standard shower room, is that the shower is open-plan. This means you can do away with that lime-scaled cubicle and all the water simply drains away through a hole in the floor.

As well as creating a feeling of spaciousness, much of the reason that wet rooms have become the latest big thing in bathroom design is that they create a spa-like ambience that many people are keen to replicate in their own homes.

Much of this is created by the choice of more luxurious shower fittings, with the addition of features such as body jets and removable shower handsets as well as a fixed head. What’s more they are incredibly simple to keep clean with a simple swish around with a mop and few crevices and boundaries to trap unwanted grime.

More people are enjoying the liberating experience of showering under flowing water that cascades across the floor free from restrictions of doors and trays.

It’s usually most practical to site a wet room on the ground floor or in a basement. The entire room must be made waterproof and the floor must be entirely rigid, while having a slight slope in the direction of the waste outlet.

In older houses with wooden floors this can be difficult, as timber is flexible. Check with a builder whether the floor will need to be strengthened. The floor will need to be raised by about 5cm to allow for the waste fittings. Ideally the whole room should be tanked (the floors and walls waterproofed before tiling). Most wet rooms are clad entirely in ceramic or stone tiles.

If you want to create a wet room in addition to your traditional bathroom, space can be taken from a small bedroom or unwanted toilet room.

The appeal of a wet room is lost if you are standing under a dribble of water rather than a powerful flow. The importance of powerful showering equipment cannot be stressed enough. Shower columns are an ideal way to combine all the requirements in one easy to install unit.

But be warned; wet room home improvement design is a complicated process and it is important that you use a specialist designer.