Level-access showering and wet-room style bathrooms are on-trend, but the reality of creating a true wet room can be costly, so Simon Boocock of CR Laurence looks at some alternative options.
The aesthetic appeal of a wet-room style bathroom cannot be denied; opening up the space to make it look and feel much bigger and making access simple for all, wet rooms are the perfect option for high-end developments such as hotels, spas and even residential projects.
Figures from AMA Research suggest that wet rooms represent the fastest growing sector of the UK bathroom market, and it is growing at around 5-6 per cent year on year. “Housebuilders are increasingly adding wet rooms to new build private homes to ‘add value’ and attract buyers,” according to Keith Taylor, director of
AMA Research. “Baths continue to be commonly specified in the main bathroom, but the smaller second bathroom or en suite is now more likely to have a wet room installed, both for practical and aesthetic reasons.”
Style at a cost
While the end results speak for themselves both visually and practically, the reality of installing a true wet room, in terms of the tanking and drainage that is essential, can be extremely costly and time consuming. Fortunately, there are solutions that can be used to create the wet room look without this expense, and without compromising on the overall results in any way.
Thanks to the latest technological innovations, modern frameless enclosures are available in a vast range of configurations that can be worked to the room’s advantage. From a steam room with floor to ceiling all-glass panels fixed by u-channels and connected with hinges and clamps, to a simple sliding door system or fixed glass panel supported by a stabilisation bar, the options are endless, enabling a bespoke shower area to be created in practically any space.
From a design perspective, frameless shower enclosures are easy to customise, which makes this option a particularly good solution when dealing with awkward shapes and tight spaces. Conventional shower solutions such as ‘standard’ shower enclosures simply won’t work in bathrooms that are anything but ‘standard’ in shape.
In bathrooms situated under the eaves in a loft or including alcoves, a standard hinged shower enclosure of around 800 mm x 800 mm or thereabouts is not going to fit. Even pre-cut frameless screens could still result in problems with fitting a shower into a specific space.
What is needed in such situations is a bespoke solution that fits seamlessly into the bathroom regardless of its shape or size. Shower areas can be designed to fit under sloping ceilings or even in an alcove, for an almost bespoke finish. With the glass cut to size and modern hinges and brackets available in different shapes and sizes and with adjustable options, the shower area can be designed to specifically fit the space, unlike with an off-the-shelf solution that limits design possibilities.
Helping to create a minimal, high-end and bespoke shower area, glass clamps provide a clean-looking alternative to u-channels. Helping to maintain the frameless appearance of a contemporary shower enclosure, these can be specified with square cornered and bevelled edge hinges that can be exactly matched, for a sleek finish.
An alternative ideal which works particularly well in the smaller bathroom is to opt for a sliding shower door. This solution keeps architectural hardware to an absolute minimum for a neat finish, with only the header support bar and track holder being visible. Where support bars and brackets are on show, ensuring they fit with the overall style of the bathroom is key, and again, less is more.
Such solutions make installing wet rooms and open-plan shower areas far easier, and results in a neat, uncluttered and bespoke finish that help high-end designs stand out from the crowd.
Simon Boocock is managing director of CR Laurence