Question: I wanted to start by saying that I love your vibe and your designs are beautiful! My dilemma has to do with our master bathroom. We had some water damage which turns out to be good, because ever since we built the house we have hated the size of the shower. We would like to enlarge the shower but still keep an easy to clean tub. We are considering a wet room for the tub and shower area.
Have you done any wet rooms and would you recommend it? We’re not sure if that is a good idea for our space or not. We will replace the floor and I like the vanity, but not sure if we should keep it or not. We can move some plumbing, but as you see two walls are exterior, hence the stub wall. Thanks for your advice!
Answer: Hi Audrey, thank you for your question, it’s a good one! Wet rooms are a great way to save on space and plus I think they just have that cool factor! Because you’re combining the space for the tub and the shower, having a wet room eliminates some of the typical clearances that are required. There are stunning wet room ideas for bathrooms, which can make a smaller space suddenly feel big and spacious.
There may be some problems when designing wet rooms, and in yours I see a couple of considerations.
First, if we combine the tub and the shower, we are removing the glass from the shower and you could potentially get some shower spray onto your wood window and drywall which is something you definitely wouldn’t want. If you replaced the existing window with a vinyl or fiberglass window and then tiled around it, this would solve that problem.
In addition, if privacy is a factor, you would want to consider a water resistant solution for window treatments as well. Perhaps an oilcloth roller shade or wood look plantation shutters would be a solution.
Another thing to consider is that a shower typically has what’s called a shower curb, that little step that keeps the water from leaking out on the rest of the floor. To build a small wet room with a tub and shower, there needs to have enough room for this to map out, which I feel like you might have here.
However, in your bath, there is the matter of the floor register which looks like it might be right where we’d want our curb to lay or could even fall inside our new wet room, so some possible rework may be in order there.
In the above primary bathroom remodel we did, we avoided the curb by using a linear drain and zero threshold shower system. This is a bit more of an investment, but in a smaller space it pays off because you’re not cutting the room in half with a curb. And don’t worry, the floor has a subtle pitch so that the water all flows towards the drain. Zero threshold showers can be an easy solution sometimes and sometimes they require structural modifications, so something to consider.
The final issue with converting a bathroom to a wet room is just managing your comfort in terms of temperature. A shower door provides quite a bit of insulation from the air temperature in the room. When you turn on the 100+ degree water, it creates a nice little cocoon of comfort in the shower. When you remove the walls, you pretty much have air flow all around. Depending on your climate, this is something you will want to consider.
In Chicago where we are located, we are careful to discuss this consideration and offer solutions such as heated flooring systems and other supplemental heat sources such as heated towel bars, heat fans, etc. to ensure our clients are warm and comfortable.
Lastly, select your shower features carefully. With a wet room, layout is the biggest hurdle. Some elements for example, a steam shower, body sprays, or other specialty features may not be possible.
So, net, net, I think the idea of a wet room could work in your space, but you have a few things to talk about with your designer prior to demo day!
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