Many people want to replace a bath with a shower for one reason or another, but where accessibility is an issue, a level access shower area (often referred to as a wet room) may be better suited than a shower tray & enclosure as there is no step up into the showering area.
This makes wet rooms well suited for people with mobility issues or wheelchair users, or those just wanting a high end hotel type finish!
This customer wanted a shower rather than a bath, but the layout (and drainage) of the existing bathroom combined with the fact that the window reveal was so near the corner of the room meant that fitting a standard shower enclosure into the corner (with a tray & glass enclosure) was impossible.
Therefore a wet room solution was proposed which would allow the showering area to be set back from the corner of the room, allowing the customer to access it from either side around a fixed glass panel (without having a step up to contend with.)
The existing bathroom was removed & the wall tiles and floor covering were stripped – you have to go back to the bare bones for all wet room installations to guarantee water tightness.
Floorboards are removed so that a wet room tray former can be fitted flush to the surrounding floorboards – this is later tiled over.
The position of the tray is carefully calculated within the overall bathroom layout & the existing drainage.
Noggins and joists are then inserted to ensure that the tray edges are fully supported and that the installation is strong.
Hot and cold supply pipework is run up the wall to the intended location of the shower valve.
A 50mm solvent weld waste pipe is run to the soil stack (outside the house) at this time.
Large bore 50mm diameter waste pipe + an adequate fall + solvent welded pipework that is fully supported (so that it will not sag over time) ensure quick runoff from the showering area and no leaks from the new wet room tray.
18mm WBP plywood is then used to make the construction even more solid, and this is primed prior to the installation of the tray former (as it is glued as well as screwed down).
At this stage the trap is attached to the waste pipe and its position is checked so that it will tighten up onto the tray when installed. It is also thoroughly tested for leaks before proceeding.
The tray former is then glued and screwed into position. The screws around the perimeter of the tray will later be covered by the tile backer boards which rest on the specially designed outer lip of the tray former.
The tray is designed to sit flush to the surrounding floorboards (as long as the floorboards are 22mm thick.)
If the floorboards are 18mm thick, then the joists under the tray need to be rebated by 4mm prior to installation as can be seen above.
The waste is then connected up at this time and thoroughly tested to ensure water runs away correctly with no leaks.
PS This tray is a 1000x1000mm tray that has been cut down to 900x1000mm so that the shower area doesn’t protrude out into the room quite so much.
Therefore, I am familiar with the product range and comfortable with the installation to ensure long lasting, trouble-free, wet room installations.
The boards are lapped over the rebated edge of the shower base and sealed with Mega Strength for a perfect seal to ensure water tightness.
When installing a wet room it is very important to ensure that the whole area behind the tiles is adequately tanked or waterproofed.
This ensures that if and when any water gets in behind the tiles, no problems are caused in that you effectively have a waterproof barrier to prevent water penetration into the walls and/or floor.
This helps to keep water in your wet room and not in your kitchen below your bathroom for example.
Here the wet area in and around the shower enclosure has been thoroughly tanked with an all in one tanking kit, with all joints reinforced with special tape to prevent gaps from opening up at wall / floor junctions etc.
The blue tray itself is not tanked as it is 100% waterproof without the need for additional protection.
The wet room tray is now tiled (with porcelain tiles in this example) using a special Epoxy based adhesive on the tray itself (as traditional adhesive will not adhere to the plastic finish of the tray).
All other tiling (on the tile backer boards around the tray and the walls) is carried out with a cementious flexible adhesive as would normally be the case.
You can see that the floor is tiled before the bottom row of wall tiles so that the wall tiles finish down onto the floor tiles to form a better seal, much less prone to water ingress.
The pre-formed fall on the tray ensures that all waste water from the shower flows centrally into the drain, and this necessitates a slightly different tiling pattern over this area as the tiles follow the contours of the tray.
Getting a neat tiled finish like this is not a job for a weekend DIYer as it takes experience to determine the best tile layout and skill to implement it. Having appropriate tools is also paramount to achieving a top quality finish.
This is because the joints between the tiles are actually cut edges rather than manufactured finished edges (as is normally the case) so an accurate, neat cut is essential for a professional finish.
Small, mosaic tiles are a potential way around this as they can follow the contours of the tray former without having to be cut.
Once the floor is tiled and the adhesive has set, the wall tiles are finished down onto the floor tiles.
All joints in between the tiles are filled with a water-resistant flexible grout, and the wall & floor junctions are sealed with a colour matched silicone sealant.
Finally the glass enclosure is fitted which serves to keep the spray from the shower contained. It is made with 10mm thick safety glass which is sealed to the floor with silicone sealant and held to the wall with metal brackets.
A two headed thermostatic mixer shower is also fitted at this time.
Thanks for reading, please get in touch if you have any questions or if you are thinking about installing a wet room yourself.