Some people imagine that wet rooms only exist in up-market movies or public bathing facilities. But, wet room prices aren’t only for the wealthy. These days, the average wet room installation costs in the UK hover around £5000. Although this might seem to be a lot of money. With the average dimensions measuring about 2.5m x 2m, it’s within the reach of many people. Especially, if it’s a necessity.
But, why would it be necessary for your home? Well, simply put:
- If you’re disabled and use a wheelchair.
- The elderly and infirm might find it difficult to step into a standard shower or bath.
- You might need a carer to assist when bathing.
- You are larger than most people and need the extra space that a wet room offers.
I’m sure you can think of many other valid reasons to own a wet room. But, for now, let’s consider some of the benefits that a wet room can offer you and your family.
- It adds a touch of luxury to your home.
- Wet rooms are completely waterproof. Giving you the confidence to use the room safely, without causing water damage to the remainder of the house.
- The flexible layout and design make use of awkwardly shaped rooms.
- They’re safe and convenient. The floors are non-slip and you won’t have problems falling over in the bath.
- If you lack space, you can turn a bathroom into a wetroom and incorporate a toilet and basin into the same space.
- Professionally installing a wet room will add value to your home.
- They are easier to clean than a traditional bathroom.
- If you are disabled, wet room prices might be VAT exempt or reduced. Look on the government website to see if you qualify. You might end up paying substantially less.
Wet Room Installation Cost
A wet room is a completely waterproofed room. It’s designed and built to prevent water from escaping and causing damage. Bearing this in mind, building a wet room takes a lot of work on the underlying structure and needs completely waterproofing before you finish off with the visible parts.
The figures below represent those for a basic installation. This includes a washbasin, wall tiles, toilet, shower unit etc. You must realise that the price can vary depending on the style and finish you’re after. But generally, wet room labour costs remain a much smaller percentage of the total cost, as most of the work deals with preparation and waterproofing.
There are a few things to remember about the figures in the table. Firstly, these costs are average figures, compiled from multiple sources and should be taken as a guide only. Next, they exclude VAT. And finally, labour in London and the southeast can increase by as much as 20%. So, bear that in mind as well.
|Wet room size||Estimated cost||Duration|
|Small 2m x 1.5m||£4000||4 days|
|Medium 2.5m x 2m||£8000||5 days|
|Large 3m x 4m (minimum)||£12000+||7 days +|
Ok, we now know roughly the total cost of a wet room. But how much does each component cost and what are they for?
Shower tray former
You must allow the wet room to drain properly. So, give the floor a gradient. If the slope is too steep, it’s difficult for the person having a shower to stand safely. Conversely, if the slope isn’t steep enough, the water won’t drain away fast enough to prevent overflows. The easiest way to get it right is to install a shower tray former which has the correct slope. This is different from a traditional shower tray, as the top surface is flush with the floor and all joints are covered with tanking (waterproofing) and waterproof flooring.
It’s false economy to buy the cheapest former you can find. Because, although they might have a guarantee, they probably aren’t rigid enough to prevent movement when walking on them. This results in damage to the tanking, tiles, or waterproof flooring. Any damage to these won’t be covered under the guarantee. So, you’ll have major repairs to do, which will cost a lot of money.
Formers cost anything from £100 for a standard composite former without waste outlet up to £650 for a made to measure version. These will have a substantial waste outlet and a stainless steel grating. The quality of waste outlet and grating will depend on the price. And, these being the most important components of a wet room drain installation to prevent flooding, it’s worthwhile spending as much as you can afford.
Underfloor heating is probably one of the better optional items to choose when making a wet room. Not only does it provide warmth for your feet before and after a shower, but it also helps prevent the wet room from remaining damp. Electric underfloor heating mats are easy for a professional to install. And, warm up quicker than a ‘wet’ system.
When you look for one to add to your new wet room, make sure it includes a thermostatic control. Many cheap models don’t include a thermostat and you’ll have to buy one separately anyway. This means that a cheap heating system can soon turn into a more expensive one. It’s much better to buy one at the start that comes with a thermostat that’s guaranteed to match.
Don’t bother installing underfloor heating in the main shower area, as the warm water will heat the floor and the wet room floor’s gradient will ensure there’s no standing water. Instead, concentrate on the other areas of the room.
To buy a typical system including thermostat, will cost from around £100 to £400, depending on the size of the mat and the thermostat’s sophistication. Check that everything has at least a 10–year guarantee. Then, you know it’s from a reputable manufacturer.
Many people think you don’t need a shower screen if you have a wet room. And, strictly speaking, you don’t. But, they can be useful if there are areas you want to protect from splashing. Such as the door, towel rail or toilet paper. A reputable wet room installation company will advise you if you need one, and where to place the screen.
If you decide on installing a screen, make sure it‘s designed for a wet room as they tend to be taller than one for a shower cubicle.
Typical prices start at about £100 but depending on design and fittings, can reach at least £600 or £700.
Tiles & Flooring
As with many things, the type of tile you choose can significantly reduce the installation costs. If you choose a large tile, there will be less labour involved in fitting them, as well as less grout and spacers.
If you have a choice between standard non-porous porcelain and porous stone such as marble. Choose the non-porous ones every time. Even though limestone might look more attractive, they will need regular sealing to keep them waterproof. Generally, standard ceramic tiles are not usually suitable for a floor. But are ideal for covering walls.
Tiles retail from about £10/m2 to £80/m2 or more.
Don’t forget about the other items such as adhesive, grout and spacers. A good quality adhesive that will work on floor and wall costs about £15 per bag and will cover approximately 4m2. Similarly, a 2.5kg bag of flexible grout costs from £8 to £10. While a bag of spacers works out at about £10 per hundred.
You can buy a shower from a vast range of models, designed specifically for a wet room. You can buy wall mounted wet room showers in a variety of styles. Alternatively, many people prefer an overhead drench shower. The choice is yours and depends on your budget and the wet room’s purpose. Although, a ceiling–mounted spray might be more luxurious. A disabled person might prefer, for ease of use, to use a wall–mounted version with hose and handheld showerhead. There are so many shower units available that it will take you a very long time to sort out the best one for your wet room. Take advice from the wet room installation company you choose for the work, as they have experience with the pros and cons of each type of shower unit, and can narrow down your choice very quickly indeed.
Typical showers range from about £100 to £1000 or maybe more, depending on your preference.
Waterproofing your wet room
This is the difficult part and how well you waterproof (or ‘tank’) the room will determine the quality of the finished product and how long it lasts. A wet room might look really good. But, if the underlying tanking isn’t adequate or if the shower tray former flexes, you will have water leaking through the floor and walls and rapidly destroying other parts of the house and its décor, as well as encouraging damp and mould growth.
So, having said that, the method of tanking a room with a concrete floor will differ from that of an upstairs room with a wooden floor. Originally, wet rooms were only really viable using a solid concrete floor. Such a solid structure meant that the floor didn’t flex or bounce and the wet room tanking stayed completely waterproof. Upstairs wet rooms for the family or an ensuite wet room only became possible when waterproofing technology developed good quality flexible tanking products, tiling adhesive and grout.
Tanking product certification
First of all, you must use a tanking product, designed for wet room use. Additionally, tanking products should always be certified and show the certification marks on the original packaging. Moreover, reputable tanking products hold a BBA Certificate. And, you can find products holding this certificate by using the search tool on the BBA website.
Original packaging will also show the CE mark if it is to be sold in the European Union. Holding a CE mark proves that the product has passed various European Union health, safety and environmental requirements. If it doesn’t hold a CE certification, then there’s a good chance it’s a rip-off product.
How to tank your wet room
Tanking is a task that you should leave to the professionals, as the slightest mistake could jeopardise the quality and integrity of the wet room. Additionally, always ensure the entire floor and the walls in the immediate showering area have been tanked with materials designed for use in a wet room.
- Prime the walls and floor with a wet room primer.
- Embed tanking tape in the tanking compound at all joints and corners.
- Push pipe sleeves over pipe tails, and bed these in the tanking compound.
- Bed shower outlet sleeves into the tanking compound. And, dress them into the shower outlet.
- Bed pre–formed corners into the tanking compound on all external and internal corners.
- Generously paint over all tapes, corners and sleeves with the tanking compound.
- Apply 3 coats tanking compound to the entire wall and floor area to be waterproofed. Use a hand roller to make this easier.
Furthermore, if you have problems calculating the quantity of tanking materials you need, some specialist websites provide calculation tools.
You can buy wet room tanking kits provide all the items needed to make your wet room completely waterproof. But, buy the kit based on the size of your wet room, not how much the cost takes out of your budget. A typical 10m2 tanking kit costs from £70 to £300.
Wet Room Price Factors
The cost of turning a bathroom into a wet room will depend on many factors, depending on its level of sophistication.
Concrete or wooden floor?
If you have a new build it should be no problem to incorporate the floor gradient into the concrete floor screed. Otherwise, a re-fit needs the original screed to be removed. And, replaced with a sloping screed directed towards the waste outlets.
Wooden floors need structural modifications to correctly support the wet area. Build a subfloor from plywood between the floor joists. Followed by, laying a floor former that has built-in gradients. When the slopes are in place you can continue with the tanking.
Wet room size
A wet room with large dimensions will cost more to construct than a small one. Most of the total cost (85%) goes towards materials. And, tanking products make up most of those costs.
You need many materials to make your wet room structurally sound and waterproof. And, they should be of good quality to be effective. So, you should choose the best you can afford to ensure the room becomes a good investment.
Fixtures and fittings
Good quality fixtures and fittings increase the price considerably. But, are worth it. The fittings you need to consider include:
- Waterproof lighting.
- Underfloor heating.
- Tiling backboards.
- Stainless steel gratings.
- Shower unit and spray head.
Also, you must choose a toilet pan and a washbasin. It’s better if you choose wall–mounted models to make cleaning the floor easier and to prevent breaks in the waterproof flooring.
Even with a wet room, some people enjoy soaking in a bathtub, and if you have space there’s no reason why you can’t have one. But, don’t forget to include the cost to fit a bath in the wet room, along with everything else. Also, you might recently have bought a home with a wet room already installed. If you find you don’t get on with them, you can change the wet room back into a bathroom, using professional tradespeople.
If this is one of the reasons why you have a wet room. You must take great care and plan the accessibility. Also, take into consideration whether the disabled person expects to deteriorate over the years. There are specialist private companies, national charities, health and care agencies or departments in your local authority that will advise on planning your accessible wet room. You can also apply for equipment for your home if you’re disabled. And, it’s worthwhile finding out if you are eligible for help with a proportion of the wet room costs. In the first instance, you will probably have a professional assessment by your local authority, to decide how much help you need.
Labour prices in London and southeast are always higher than elsewhere in the country, sometimes by as much as 20% to 25%. Unfortunately, this is something you must accept. Also, if you live in certain remote areas, especially islands in Scotland or the Scilly Isles, you must import all the materials needed from the mainland. This is usually done using the regular passenger ferry and will result in higher delivery charges.
Typical Labour Rates
The cost of labour has a minor effect on the overall costs. An estimation of the proportion of costs for a typical wet room suggests that materials make up 85% of the total costs while labour makes up £15%.
Typical labour costs range from about £150 to £250 per day for a skilled bathroom fitter, plumber or specialist wet room installer.
Installation can take up to a week for 2 persons, not including removing the existing bathroom fixtures. And of course, extras over and beyond a typical basic wet room will take longer, and cost more.
You must decide at the planning stage, who is to supply the materials. It will cost more for the installer to do this, as you must pay for the time taken. But, a specialist knows what they’re doing and will buy the correct items, first time around.
UK Wet Room Planning Permission
Generally, you don’t need Planning Permission for your new wet room. However, if you live in a listed building you must seek advice from your local planning authority, to ensure that the alterations don’t contravene the requirements of the listing. You can find the appropriate department at your local council by following the links on the UK Government’s Planning Portal.
However, Building Regulations are a different matter. Generally, so long as you don’t alter the drainage, electrical connections or anything structural, then you won’t need to have a Building Regulations inspection. Usually, most wet rooms require substantial alterations to the bathroom in your home. Or, you might expect to build a new wet room from scratch. Either way, Building Regulations apply. If you are in any doubt, consult the Building Control department at your local council offices.
Part A (Structure) briefly covers the structural requirements for change of use for existing buildings. Typical applications include checking that the flooring and joists are strong enough to withstand the localised weight of a bathtub full of water.
Part F (Ventilation) deals with the ventilation of rooms in the presence of water, steam and heat. A new wet room will contain all these. The regulations require that ventilation systems supply sufficient airflow and maintain domestic heat efficiency. Typical ventilators connect to the same circuit as the light switch with a timer for extended extraction after turning the light off.
Part H (Drainage and Waste Disposal) deals with the safety codes and practices required with foul water drainage.
Part P (Electrical safety) covers the strict requirements of electrical installations, switches and components, especially in bathrooms and wet rooms. Additionally, unlike bathrooms, wet rooms must not contain electric shaver sockets.
Regulation 7 (Materials and Workmanship) state that all work must use appropriate materials which must comply with relevant national standards. Also, the quality of workmanship must be professional and appropriate for the installation.
Wet Room FAQ
Are wet rooms practical?
Wet rooms are very practical for an elderly person, and someone who is infirm or disabled. This is because all the facilities are on one level and don’t require stepping up or into special areas.
What is the best flooring for a wet room?
Generally, you have a choice between non-slip vinyl flooring or porcelain tiles. Both these are non-porous to water and can be made non-slip.
Can you put a wet room upstairs?
Yes. Assuming you follow the correct procedures for supporting the shower tray former and waterproof all surfaces. If you do these according to the manufacturer’s instructions, there is no reason why you can’t have an upstairs wet room.
How long do wet rooms last?
Wet rooms cause problems with damp and moisture. Therefore, so long as you consider appropriate treatments and waterproofing for the wetroom and its furniture, the wet room will last for a minimum of 10 years. However, this duration will depend on the quality of ventilation, and how often you use the wet room.
What is the difference between a wet room and a shower room?
Simply put, a wet room is entirely open plan, with no real separation between the showering and other areas. On the other hand, a walk–in shower separates the washing area from the remainder of the room with a shower tray and partition, glass screen or curtain.
Can you have a bath in a wet room?
You might like a long soak in a bath now and again. Or, you might have small children that can’t yet cope with showers. Either way, if you have space in the wet room, you can install a bathtub wherever you like.
Why does my wet room drain smell?
The cause might vary, and you can usually tell the difference by the odour. If you experience a musty odour, you have mould growing somewhere, usually under the drain cover.
However, if the drain smells like sewage or rotten eggs, you have one or both of the following problems:
- Biofilm from a clogged drain. If you notice the drain emptying slowly, this is probably the situation. And, you must remove any solids clogging the trap. Then, slowly pour about 20L of very hot water into the drain. Next, pour a proprietary drain cleaner into the drain, and allow it to stand for the length of time recommended by the manufacturer. Finally, pour about 4L of very hot water down the drain. If, you have a drain brush, use this to remove any remaining traces of biofilm and other debris.
- Sewer gas escaping from the main sewer. Either you have a dry P-trap or a problem with the sewer. Shine a torch down into the cavity beneath the drain grating. If you see water, then you must call in a professional plumber as it’s to do with the main sewer. If it’s dry then you can easily fix it by adding a couple of cups of water. This will fill the P-trap and prevent the odour by sealing the pipe.
Can I turn my bathroom into a wet room?
Theoretically, you can. But, you must waterproof the floor and walls, and provide the floor with a slope towards the drain, so that the water drains away. Even if you are a professional, the work will take about a week to complete. So, an amateur will take much longer. And, you must have the expertise to waterproof correctly. Otherwise, the remainder of your house will become damaged.
Find Wet Room Installers Near You
Turning your bathroom into a wet room provides an amazing washing experience for your entire family. But, it might be a necessity if you are elderly or disabled.
If you are serious about the idea. And, want to know the cost of a wet room installation, complete the form on this page. You’ll then receive 3 or 4 quotes from professionals near you who can do the work.