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What is a Wet Room?

Make the most of your bathroom remodel. If you’re looking to remodel your master bathroom or the guest bath, a wet room design may be the most efficient way to get all the bathroom components if you’re short on space.

What is a wet room?

A wet room is a bathroom design where the entire space is designed to get wet. The bathtub is often in the shower area, so the whole room functions as a shower enclosure.

This concept originally came from Europe and Asia, where it’s more common to have this type of bathroom design because spaces are more compact. We’ve Americanized it since we still have large rooms to work within, so it’s turned into a hybrid design that we’re experimenting with as a country. There has been a shift toward energy and space-efficient homes and ADUs, so the wet room design works well.

A wet room, vs a walk-in shower, allows you to have both the bathtub and the shower in a smaller space. In the 1980s or 90s’ homes, that wasn’t the case. You’d have a large tub deck and a separate shower.  As a newer trend, this is a transition from the colossal bathtub to a more compact design.

Pros and cons of a wet room design

Pros:

  1. This type of bathroom can be a space-saving solution. Depending on your layout, it may be challenging to squeeze in a shower, tub, and vanity into one space, so a wet room design gives you the ultimate functionality.
  1. It’s practical for aging in place. This design can be an excellent option for aging in place or planning for future needs. If you end up needed to use a walker or need assistance, the design lends itself well.
  1. It’s common to think that you need a bathtub in the home for resale value. But how many people use them regularly? Surveys have shown that most people prefer showers to baths, so why do we dedicate so much space to an amenity we rarely use? Our lifestyle says that we don’t have time for self-care, or it’s inefficient to fill it with hot water, but if you’re a tub person, it’s an indulgence that they prioritize.

Cons:

  1. You will need more tile material since the whole room can get wet.
  1. There will be a ton of moisture. In a typical shower stall, you can contain the moisture with glass doors. With a wet room, drying is critical since water could be all over. Using electrical radiant heat and fans will help dry out the space.
  1. This style requires more technical detailing of the waterproofing. Since there are more corners and flat surfaces for water to collect compared to a shower stall, it’s essential to make sure things are waterproofed and drained to dry efficiently. Bathrooms fans, heated tile, and systems such as Airmada use nozzles to air-jet power to dry your shower, reduce the drying time, and keep mold and mildew at bay.
  1. A wet room incorporates everything into the same place. Given the smaller space and access, you could find less privacy in the open space. This isn’t always the case but can be an adjustment. It’s nice to have the glass in there to bring the window light into the rest of the room.

How to build a wet room in your home

The feasibility of a wet room design depends on the construction of the home. This type of design requires the proper slope to the drainage point. The larger the area, the more difficult this can become.

While it’s always easier with new construction or home addition since you can plan for the wet room from the start, it’s possible to accommodate remodeling scenarios. Work with a professional team like Mountainwood Homes to bring their professional creativity and provide a good design that works in your space. A wet room design has to be well thought out. They don’t have to have a zero-clearance shower; you can also create a wet room area with a curb. If you have a curb, it’s possible to have this type of bathroom in any house. If you don’t want a curb, the project does get more restricted since you have structural issues to work through.

 

How much does a wet room cost?

Adding a wet room does add cost to a bathroom remodel. The typical cost of a hall bathroom runs $40,000 – $45,0000, and this type of design would place you on the upper end of that range. For a master bathroom remodel, budget $85,000-$95,000. Adding this room is not a money-saving solution since the project would include a bathtub, shower, more material, and extra detailing on waterproofing.

 

How long does wet room construction take?

Typical bathroom remodels can take 8-10 weeks of construction. There are a lot of details to figure out before demo day. Planning the preliminary design, estimating, material selections, engineering, and permitting takes several months. Building out a wet room design may add a week to the construction schedule.

 

Bathroom inspiration

Here are a few bathroom projects that feature a wet room design.

Bathroom with freestanding tub in shower area
This custom home in Forest Grove includes a wet room in the master bathroom. The modern, freestanding bathtub is in the enclosed shower area.

 

wet room bathroom with drop in tub and frosted window
The guest bathroom in this Portland custom home features a wet room design. The quartz carpet and tile walls create a spa ambiance. The homeowners wanted a tub for when their grandkids visit and a relaxing shower for guests. Now, they get the best of both worlds.
Grey tile shower with bathtub, glass doors and floor to ceiling windows
This Portland home features a modern bathroom on the top floor to take in the views and also provide privacy.

Time to remodel?

Like the idea of having a bathroom where everything can get wet? A wet room bathroom designs are a great space efficiency solution. If you’re considering a bathroom remodel, talk to our team and see what’s possible.

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