How to create the perfect accessible wet room
Wet rooms have become a luxury set up, in their own right, they are a great way to give your bathroom a hint of glamour and to really maximise your space. However, wet rooms have a greater role than just making your bathroom look a little more luxurious. Known for their minimalist style, wet rooms make a great accessible bathroom. With no shower enclosure to step into or bathtub to climb in and out of, wet rooms give you all the essentials of a bathroom without the risk. Making your home your own.
In this post, we will go through what exactly a wet room is, how to get one fitted and everything you will need to make your wet room perfectly accessible for you.
What is a wet room?
Wet rooms are a popular bathroom style in European countries, think floor-to-ceiling Mediterranean tile with an open shower and greenery delicately placed throughout the room. The wet room trend has now well and truly made its way over to the UK, they are functional accessible and can even raise the value of your property when installed correctly.
So, what makes a bathroom a wet room?
To put it simply a wet room is a bathroom where the floors and walls are tiled (normally) and tanked. Meaning they have been sealed with a waterproof membrane and have a non-slip surface, making your bathroom spacious and accessible. To make your wet room as effective as possible they tend to be designed with a (slightly) sloping floor which ensures that all water and excess water flows directly into the drainage system.
Wet rooms are not always designed with accessibility in mind, however, they are particularly good for those whose movement is restricted such as the elderly or those with disabilities.
What can I do to make an accessible wet room?
Although wet rooms tend to be designed with a minimalist approach there are multiple ways to make your wet room accessible and suited to your needs. If you are unsure on what adaptations would best suit you, we would recommend seeking the advice of a reputable company and/or contractor to assess your space and your needs.
Possible wet room adaptations could include:
Wall hung basin
Half height shower door
Anti-slip safety flooring
What's great about wet rooms is there is no set structure, you can make the space and design completely unique to you and your needs. If you're looking to turn your bathroom into an accessible wet room, we recommend seeking the services of home adaptations specialists so that they can work with you through the consultation to installation process. In the UK there are also government grants and funding available to assist in making your home more independent and safe for your day to day life.
Disability accessible wet room must haves
So now you know how to make a wet room more accessible, let's look at the functions of these adaptations:
High rise WC or a comfort height WC are a great addition to make your wet room more accessible. Their main function is they require less bending and so decrease the pressure on your joints when lowering yourself onto the seat.
Wall hung basin
A wall hung basin isn't necessarily a specialist addition to a bathroom, however they are a key element in making your bathroom more functional. What's great about a wall hung basin is there isn’t an intruding pedestal underneath the basin. This allows the user to sit and position a stool under the sink while washing, shaving or just getting ready for the day. These basins are a real stylish addition to any bathroom and can be installed and set at a height that is comfortable and optimal for the user.
The star of the show in any accessible bathroom. Secure and fully adaptable for independent or assisted showering. A shower seat offers a comfortable and stress free showering experience and another layer of design to your wet room. There also a range of options available to suit your needs and your space including but not limited to:
Cushioned seat and backrest with additional arm support
Wall hung shower seat
Custom built shower bench
Half-height shower door
Installing a shower door at half height is a great way to minimise excess water running throughout the rest of your space. While wet rooms are fitted with sloping floors, drainage systems and non-slip flooring some users might feel more comfortable with a half-height shower door to minimise the chance of any slips and accidents. This is also a great privacy option if you frequently have carers to your home.
One of the most essential features of a wet room, particularly when it comes to making your space accessible, is non-slip safety flooring. There are a multitude of colours and styles available so you don't have to sacrifice the aesthetic of your wet room.
This is our must have for any wet room, it gives the user complete peace of mind and confidence in the bathroom. Additionally, most anti-slip flooring is made out of vinyl material making it ultra durable and affordable.
Particularly in the shower and sink area of your bathroom, we would recommend installing wall boards. These boards protect your bathroom walls from any damp or moisture and are practically maintenance free. Most wet rooms tend to be populated with tiles but these often require hands on cleaning and a lengthy installation process. With wall boards or shower panels you can choose from a range of designs to match your space, and have a quick and easy installation with minimal upkeep.
Grab bars are a quick and easy addition to your wet room. They may seem like a small addition but they offer long term stability and security in your space. Grab bars are typically installed by the toilet and within the shower space, making manoeuvring around wet or tricky areas carefree.
Do you need planning permission to fit a wet room?
In most cases, no planning permission is required for the installation of a wet room, however, you will need to follow building regulations specifically when designing a wet room for a new build project.
For further guidance please see the Building Regulations Act 2010 to ensure any work on your property is in line with government guidelines.
Cost of accessible wet rooms
The cost of an accessible wet room can vary depending on what adaptations you require. However, on average wet rooms cost around £8000. If you are looking to only open up your bathroom space, install grab bars and other basic accessibility aids it can cost as little as £4000. But if you're looking to replace and renew your bathroom with a new design it can cost up to £1200 or more.
It's also essential that you consider any labour costs. While these costs won't add an exponential amount to your overall cost, it is important to factor them into your budget or grant application. Different contractors will charge on hourly or daily basis. Based on a cost per day basis you can expect to pay £200 per day for labour costs. Again, these costs may vary depending on the equipment needed and difficulty of your project. If you require help with funding, there are often government grants that can aim to help cover some of the costs of mobility aids within your home, this includes adaptations to your bathroom, living room & bedroom. Get in touch with your local contractor here.