A wet room is a bathroom, except the whole thing’s designed to get wet. Think floor-to-ceiling tile, waterproof décor and a shower that’s out in the open. Wet rooms are certainly trendy as of late, and it’s no wonder why: They’re functional, accessible and may even raise the value of your home.
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Wet rooms are a popular bathroom style in some European countries. The minimalist concept crams everything a bathroom needs — a toilet, shower and sink — into as little space as possible. In particularly cramped spaces, you might see a showerhead above the toilet and the drain in the center of the room.
The floor is slightly sloped toward the drain so you’re not left with any standing water. Often, the sink and toilet are “floating” models anchored to the wall so there are no extra spaces for water to collect and form mildew or mold. If there’s room, you might also have a waterproof cabinet to store the things you’d rather keep dry.
American iterations of the wet room are usually larger, with multiple showerheads, spa-like tile and perhaps a bathtub. You may also see semi-wet rooms where the shower is tucked behind a small half wall or glass divider.
Benefits of a Wet Room
Here are four reasons why you’d want a wet room:
In a traditional wet room, there are no barriers. That makes the space accessible for household members who may have mobility issues or use mobility aids. Depending on the placement of your fixtures, you can use the closed toilet as a shower seat. It’s also a great setup for pet parents: You don’t have to worry about the inevitable splash-over when you’re trying to give your dog a bath.
2. Easy to Clean
Everything is made to get wet, so it’s easy enough just to spray down the whole room when it comes time to clean. There’s no need for a shower curtain or a bathmat, so the only textiles that need to be laundered are the towels.
3. Makes the Most of Your Space
Not all bathrooms are created equal, space-wise. When you’re remodeling, you may find yourself having to choose between the walk-in shower and a big, luxurious bathtub. A wet room allows you to combine those features in one space. Wet rooms don’t need to be large, either. They can often fit all the fixtures of a full bathroom in the same space as a half-bath.
4. Resale Value
According to data from Remodeling Magazine, you could recoup up to 64% of the cost of a midrange bathroom remodel when you sell your home. A wet room is considered a “high-end addition,” so depending on the quality of the materials, you may see a higher return on your investment.
However, a lot of buyers aren’t looking to go all in on wet rooms. And most buyers are looking for a house with a bathtub. Fixr recommends homeowners keep at least one American-style bathroom. Converting a small half-bath, the kids’ bathroom or the guest bathroom into a wet room may be a lucrative investment.
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Can You Turn an Existing Bathroom Into a Wet Room?
Yes, but it’s going to require a serious remodel — and almost certainly not a DIY one. The drain sits at a lower level than everything else, so the floor will have to be reconstructed with a grade that will allow the water to flow toward it. The walls and floor will need to be waterproofed.
You’ll also run into a lot of limitations with the materials you can put in a wet room. Usually, the only options are tile, porcelain, metal and plastic. Say goodbye to wood accents or cabinetry. You’ll probably have to cover your walls in tile, too.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Wet Room?
Due to the aforementioned extras, it costs a bit more to install a wet room than it does to remodel a traditional, American-style bathroom. Remodeling a traditional bathroom costs about $18,000 on average, where a wet room costs over $21,000. The difference comes down to the price of waterproofing materials. If you choose to install something like radiant floor heating, that’ll cost you extra, too.
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