Designing Wet Rooms for Small Spaces
Adding a wet room
If you are considering adding another bathroom to your home but wonder if you have space, consider a wet room. These, properly laid out, can take up very little space. The absence of a shower cubicle opens up the small area providing ample space This not only gives you the added convenience of another bathroom, it will also increase the value of your home. Homes that have bedrooms that are en-suite are always preferred and thus normally command higher prices when put up for sale.
A wet room doesn't have to cost a lot. The fixtures and fittings can be anything from very basic, to extravagant. If cost is an issue, a wet room could be the way to go as a clean minimalist look in a wet room is appealing.
Space for a Wet Room
The space for the wet room can be as big or small (within reason) as you want. Here in my home in Brazil, I have three wet rooms. One is quite small but totally functional. The shower area is only 34" wide. The ideal lay out is to have all units on one wall, this makes the plumbing easy. Toilet, sink, and shower. As the name suggests, the area gets wet. There is no enclosed shower cubicle or curtain. Some people opt to put either a wall or a barrier up. This is of course an option but not necessary and can make the room seem smaller.
The shower area is best placed at the end of your space. The sink next to it and the toilet near the door. The door can be an accordion type door that folds up thus saving even more space.
Think how you use each of these units and allow space for each. I remember going to look at a newly designed house which had an en-suite. It was far too small. If a person bent over the sink, the shower door was pushed open with one's posterior! A few inches added now will save you a lot of headaches later.
Sanitary Units for a Wet Room
Of course you will need a toilet, bidet (if space allows), sink, and a shower unit. If you are installing these with an idea of selling your property, choose white units. These always look clean and make a room seem larger.
If someone in your family is overweight, allow enough clearance on the sides of the toilet. If the sink is placed too close this could be a problem for some. The other consideration is they may use the sink to assist them in standing. This would put undue strain on the sink unit. If someone is going to need assistance, install a handrail to the side of the toilet. Remember to allow enough space so others won't bump into this.
Leave enough space for a small waste paper bin as well as toilet brush. These can be tucked behind the toilet or inside a vanity unit. If using a vanity unit, you will want this away from water spray from the shower or it will need to be of a waterproof material.
Tiles for a Wet Room
One of the advantages of a wet room, is the ease of cleaning. Tiles are much easier to clean than dealing with a shower cubicle. Your wet room doesn't have to be tiled to the ceiling. It can be tiled up to where water may splash. The rest can be painted to the ceiling. For example if someone in your family is 6' tall. The tiles will need to be above this level as water may splash above when hair is being washed for example. The wall tiles can be smooth but I would definitely recommend textured tiles on the floor.
These will provide the grip needed when the floor is wet and feet are soapy. A rubberized floor or ribbed adhesives can also be used. In some countries they use a wooden tray to stand on.
In the shower area, the tiles should be lower than the rest of the floor. This will keep the water in the shower area and away from the rest of the bathroom. Even just a 1/2" inch lower will suffice.
Drain and Cleaning
The shower area will off course slope towards the drain to remove all the water. If mosquitoes are a problem in your area, place a drain cover that can be closed. You will also need to waterproof this area and there are DIY kits that you can purchase to do this.
A wet room is easily cleaned. I use a squeegee on a long handle pushing all the water straight down the drain. The tiles on the walls can be cleaned using this method as well. If done immediately after showering, water spots and mold won't be a problem.
Hiring a Plumber
If you have never done plumbing work, it may be wise to contact a professional. With him/her you can discuss your needs and they will make suggestions within your budget.
© 2013 Mary Wickison