Taking a shower is the ideal way of freshening up – showers are much more convenient than having a bath, considerably more economical and eco-friendly since they generally use far less water, and they don’t require as much space to install. As such, the inclusion of shower and wet rooms are becoming a must-have in modern homes – Jasmin Kraneveldt from Bathroom Bizarre offers some insight into this increasingly popular bathroom trend.
Jasmin explains the difference between a shower and a wet room: “Essentially, a wet room is an open-plan bathroom where the whole area is tiled or finished in the same material as the shower. There is no shower tray, so the shower floor is level with the rest of the floor. Also, the shower is entirely open to the rest of the bathroom – apart from a possible glass splash panel; there is no traditional shower enclosure at all. A shower room on the other hand, is a bathroom that comprises any kind of shower, a toilet and basins – but no bathtub.”
There are many advantages to including a shower or wet room in your home says Jasmin: “Shower and wet rooms don’t require nearly as much space as a full bathroom would, and as such, it is a great way of turning a medium to large bedroom into an en-suite. It also presents a space-saving way of adding a second bathroom to your home, which will considerably increase its resale value.”
She says that if your bathroom is currently very small and cramped, it is wise to consider turning it into a shower or wet room, as removing the bathtub will create a lot more space in the room: “A wet room in particular is a good way of making the most out of a modestly-sized bathroom, as it will allow you to fit in all your bathroom components without creating awkward corners that you have to squeeze around.” However, she warns that a wet room design is not suitable for very small spaces, as everything will end up getting wet when you shower – in these circumstances she says a shower room, with a traditional shower enclosure is more suitable.
Although shower rooms and wet rooms have a perceived high-value status due to their association with luxury spas and hotels, Jasmin says homeowners should be wary of converting the main bathroom in a family home, as any future buyers will expect at least one bathtub in the home for optimum appeal.
Wet or shower rooms can make a small bathroom appear bigger or a big bathroom look more luxurious, as they open up the free flow of space in the room. But Jasmin notes that achieving a look of effortless space requires quite a bit of effort in the designing and planning stage: “Choose the products you use carefully – for an open and sleek aesthetic, choose wall-hung toilets, basins and cabinetry to free up floor space. Consider recessed or cavity cabinets and flat-panelled storage to make the storage blend seamlessly with its surrounds.”
Jasmin offers the following tips on how to design the perfect shower or wet room for your home:
Flooring: Careful consideration needs to go into your choice of tiles. Although dark tiles are becoming increasingly popular, they do show up limescale, so they will need more cleaning. Tiles with neutral tones have the broadest commercial appeal, are easy to keep clean and offer an elegant, up-to-date aesthetic. Be sure to choose tiles with non-slip qualities, such as those with Nano technology or a bit of a texture underfoot, such as the faux wood ceramic tiles from Bathroom Bizarre. Mosaics are also a great option if you can afford them – they come in a wide variety of textures and colours, and boast excellent non-slip qualities ideal for the shower floor.
Glass screens and shower enclosures: These are exceptionally practical additions to any shower or wet room, particular for smaller rooms, as they serve to protect the rest of the room from water spray. Clear glass screens and frameless enclosures are best, as they provide a seamless, unbroken aesthetic with the rest of the room – opening it up and making it seem larger than it actually is.
Drainage: As with any shower, drainage is an exceptionally important part of the installation and as such, installing a shower or wet room is a job best left to the professionals. This is especially true for wet rooms – here a gradient needs to be created along the floor to channel the shower water into a drain.
Waterproofing: As with all bathrooms, it is essential that waterproof grouting is used, especially in all the wet areas, such as behind sinks, and on shower floors and walls. For wooden homes, the walls and floors have to be specially primed and then covered with a particular waterproof membrane to ensure that the surfaces are adequately waterproofed.
Design tips: Make sure your towel rails, shelves, cabinetry and any other sanitaryware are positioned well out of the way of any splashing water from the shower. Also, to avoid having a steamy room, adequate ventilation is essential.
Cabinetry: With any shower or wet room, whether modern or traditional, the finish is sleek, open and unfussy. As such, excess clutter needs to be avoided at all costs, so including adequate cabinetry to store all your showering and hygiene essentials is vital.
Faucets and finishes: Aside from the choice of tiles, if you are going to splash out, this is where you really should choose the very best you can afford. Selecting the finest faucets and bathroom accessories will really give this space that “wow” factor!
Shower power: The shower is the main feature in any shower or wet room and as such, it is important to make sure that the showering experience doesn’t disappoint. Today there is a plethora of various showerheads and shower columns to choose from, offering a variety of spray options and features, from rain-like shower sprays to all-over body showers, for the optimum showering experience. Also, it is critical to ensure that you have enough water pressure in your home for a good shower – if the pressure is low, then you should consider installing a pump system to improve the pressure.
NOTE: All images courtesy of Bathroom Bizarre.
For more information: Bathroom Bizarre (www.bathroom.co.za, 0861 555 000)