What Is a Wet Room Bathroom?
Spacious and luxurious wet room bathrooms provide a spa-like experience in your own home.
If you’re a fan of spacious open concept kitchens and dining rooms, consider incorporating the same aesthetic into your bathroom. A wet room bathroom essentially blends the shower and bathroom into a single space, combining the convenient, watertight construction of a shower with the sophisticated feel of an open concept floor plan.
According to Ezra Laniado, founder and president of Landmark Construction in Los Angeles, wet room bathrooms have been around for a long time, especially in homes requiring wheelchair access to the shower. “They’ve gained popularity of late because of the trend toward homes with a more minimalistic open concept design,” he says.
What Is a Wet Room Bathroom?
According to Laniado, “A wet room bathroom is designed in a way that the shower flows seamlessly with the rest of the bathroom, and allows water to splash everywhere without damaging the walls or flooring.” There are no shower pans or curbs, permitting users to move freely from the shower to other parts of the bathroom. The floors and walls are tiled.
How Is a Wet Room Bathroom Different From a Standard Bathroom?
While a wet room bathroom provides the same functions as a standard bathroom, there are some key differences:
- Wet room bathroom showers flow seamlessly into the rest of the room. Standard bathrooms separate the shower with a curb or other threshold.
- Floor-to-ceiling tile ensures a watertight seal in a wet room bathroom. Standard bathrooms may have wallpaper or beadboard.
- Wet room bathroom floors slope toward the shower drain. Standard bathrooms have a flat floor.
Pros and Cons of a Wet Room Bathroom
- Makes your bathroom appear roomier and spa-like without increasing square footage.
- No shower curb gives you more flexibility when designing the bathroom layout. Lanaido says you gain an extra four inches of space otherwise taken up by the curb, and the shared space permits more creativity.
- No curb makes the shower accessible to all.
- Increases the resale value of a home, according to Laniado, because it’s essentially a bathroom remodel.
- Enlarging the shower pan to include the entire bathroom floor and wall tile significantly increases the cost of a bathroom remodel.
- Depending on the layout, can be harder to keep clean and dry because water goes everywhere.
- Bathroom storage and furniture pieces must be waterproof.
- Limited variety of materials. Drywall and medium density fiberboard (MDF) can’t be used. If the sink is in a heavy splash zone, Lanaido says, “you might want to consider a wall-mounted sink basin that does not have any wood or metal that could be susceptible to corrosion.”
Can You DIY Retrofit a Standard Bathroom Into a Wet Room Bathroom?
According to Laniado, not all bathrooms can be converted into wet room bathrooms. It’s not just a matter of removing the shower curb and tiling the walls. The shower drain needs to be set lower than in standard bathrooms, and the entire floor needs to be sloped toward the drain.
Laniado says this would be a challenging project for a DIYer. He recommends hiring a professional to ensure the plumbing, tiling and flooring are installed correctly.