Wet Rooms


John,

I have always wanted to convert our small first floor bedroom into a luxurious wet room with a fancy corner shower unit with horizontal body jets, modern sanitary fittings and secluded lighting etc; my husband on the other hand is worried that if we did all this we may have problems with water coming through our lounge ceiling below. We would be very grateful for any advice or suggestions that you could give us. We live in a fairly modern property in the Calpe area the floors are concrete with a tiled finish.

 
Thanks
Barbara P


Hi Barbara,

The term wet room is not often heard in Spain and relatively little used in the U.K. The concept of wet rooms was brought to the UK from Scandinavia where they do not have shower trays but instead install a waterproof membrane underneath the floor and behind the bottom section of the wall tiles. Even if the grout between the tiles perish water should not pass through the impervious membrane below.
Having a watertight floor is the key to a successful wet room, specifically the floors sub-base on which the tanking is laid needs to be absolutely solid, the tanking (a water proof barrier under the surface of the floor) must be perfectly constructed and finally the finished tiled surface must also be completely watertight by using non porous tiles and water proof grout.  The floor construction and its finish is the most important part of any wet room project, this can be quite an expensive process to get right but get it right you must, as getting it wrong would result in the total destruction of your wet room to rectify.

 

The design of wet rooms can vary from a very small bathroom where it creates the space to have a shower, sink and toilet (where it would otherwise not be possible to fit a shower enclosure), or on the other extreme, an over size room which can be turned into a luxurious bathing sanctuary.
By building in designer shower fittings with body jets, different floor levels, wet and dry areas, under floor heating, hidden storage and using materials such as limestone and mosaic, the larger wet room becomes more like a spa and can be a fabulous feature in any home.

While the overall effect may vary from one of simplicity to a stunning elegant spar type experience, it’s important to remember the following factors when designing your wet room and choosing a builder to construct it.
 
1. MAKE IT WATERTIGHT
The whole room needs to be watertight – this work needs to be carried out by a professional builder using the right products.
The biggest problem area is where the walls meet the floor and it is vital to have a completely watertight seal here.

2. FLOOR DRAINAGE

The floor may need to be strengthened and may need to be raised by around 5 cm to accommodate the waste fittings. The sub-base must be absolutely rigid and the floor must slope gently towards the waste outlet to ensure the water drains away.
Consider your flooring options carefully and make sure that the material you choose is non-slip and not porous.

3. POWER SHOWER
The appeal of the wet room will be lost if the shower is a stream! rather than a powerful jet, it is therefore important to get a good power shower pump. Do not forget to make sure that your waste pipe in the floor is large enough to cope with the flow of water from the shower.

4. LIGHTING
It is important to consider how you are going to light your wet room before you start, a grid of small inset ceiling lights can look very effective but may not be too effective if the room is allowed to fill with steam.

5. CONDENSATION

As with all shower and bathrooms condensation can build up very quickly and this can encourage mould growth in the room therefore, it is vital to have adequate mechanical ventilation, do not just depend on opening windows.

6. GOOD ADHESIVES
Make sure your builder uses the best quality tile adhesives and grouts, this small extra cost can make all the difference to the long term water tightness of your wet room.

7. WALL HUNG SANITARY FITTINGS

It is important to make sure the sanitary fittings, fixings and furniture for the room are suitable for a permanently wet area, wall-hung fittings might be preferable.

I hope my comments have been of help and that they answers some of your questions; the starting point would be to talk to a professional builder to get some ideas of what you can and what you can not do before you start ordering your suite and expensive shower unit and insist that he uses the right materials for the job.

John Phillips (F.I.A.S. F.A.B.E. M.I.B.C.O. F.F.B. M.R.S.H. C.M.W.O.B.O. M.B.I.M)
Construction Buena Vista

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