21st May 2021

Wet Room Flooring: The Ultimate Guide

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Post by Wetroom Materials

Wet room flooring is a vital part of the overall wet room installation process and it pays to get it right. With their seamless design and great use of space, wet rooms make a luxurious and modern bathroom choice -so it’s no surprise that over recent years their popularity has soared. 

Wet rooms offer easy access for the whole family, add value to your property and because they naturally have fewer materials and clearer floors, they even require less cleaning and maintenance than a traditional bathroom. Wet rooms are a great addition to any property and create that WOW factor in your home! 

 

Wet Room Flooring

Installation for your wet room can be slightly more complex than for a standard bathroom. The reason for this is that your wet room floor type will determine most aspects of the installation process.

Your initial floor will fit into one of two categories: timber/wooden or solid/concrete. In many homes, it is common to find timber flooring on the upper floors with typically a solid/concrete floor at ground level. Each type of wet room flooring needs to be treated differently. 

If you’re designing a new build, it’s the perfect opportunity to integrate a wet room system.  The wetroom drain can be plumbed in before the floor is laid which eliminates the need to remove or lower the existing flooring. 

Can you install any flooring type in a wet room?

Whilst wetrooms are suitable for almost any property, including smaller rooms, it’s important to think about what materials to use when designing the flooring. To get the most out of a wetroom, you will need think about things like:

  • Waterproofing
  • Non-slip
  • Affordability
  • Material quality
  • And more.

Types of Wet Room Flooring

Vinyl flooring: Vinyl is a great option for versatility. You can buy waterproof vinyl flooring in almost every colour and pattern imaginable – including a wood finish! Vinyl is great to use in wetrooms because it’s naturally waterproof and affordable. 

Tile flooring: Tiling is the most common type of flooring for wetrooms as it is durable, affordable, and requires little maintenance. The only thing to be aware of is that tile flooring may be more slippery than concrete or vinyl, and will need to be installed by a professional to create the proper sloping for the floor

 

Vinyl Flooring For Wet Rooms

Vinyl flooring is a common choice for wet room owners who want an easy-to-maintain material that is cost-effective and has a slip-resistant finish. This wet room flooring material is specifically designed for commercial uses such as gyms, spas, and other public areas in wet environments that need water-resistant flooring.

In the case of using vinyl, you will not need a wet room tray in the shower area! This is because vinyl will easily slope to the shower drain. The large flexible sheet can cover the entire area of the floor.  It is very important that your vinyl flooring is installed by a vinyl specialist as the vinyl will require welded joints at the walls as the vinyl will provide the waterproofing for your bathroom.

Benefits of Vinyl Flooring For Wet Rooms

Vinyl wet room flooring comes with all kinds of benefits – especially when it’s for the right project.

Water Resistance: Because of its sheet-like features, vinyl flooring is exceptionally water resistant. You’ll need to pay special attention to the corners along the wall to make sure those are sealed to avoid water damage to the walls; Though as wet environments go, the vinyl sheet flooring makes all the difference when it comes to maintaining the materials. Tile flooring may become cracked, or the sealant between the tiles may leak if not installed correctly. With Vinyl sheet flooring, you can have complete peace of mind, knowing that no water will leak through to the subflooring.

Slip Resistance: Unlike high gloss tiles, vinyl sheet flooring is textured with a slip-resistant finish, making it safer underfoot! The vital component of the important non slip function improves safety and makes vinyl the most popular choice for public floors. Traditional bathrooms can often have smooth textures, which make the barefoot areas and the shower area a slip hazard. If you want to ensure maximum safety, then vinyl is the way to go!

Stain Resistance: While not all vinyl is stain resistant, it often comes with surface treatment that helps to prevent stains and scratches.

Colours and designs: One of the best things about vinyl flooring is the huge range of colours and patterns that you can buy them in!

Considerations For Vinyl Flooring In Wet Rooms

While vinyl flooring is an exceptional choice for large public areas or budget wet rooms, it’s important to understand the considerations that should be taken beforehand. 

Underfloor heating: If you wish to install underfloor heating in your vinyl wet room, you’ll have to make sure that the adhesives used are heat-resistant. Get in touch with the manufacturer to determine what the maximum heat capacity is for this flooring.

Keep heavy objects away from flooring: While vinyl floors are durable, they’re also soft compared to materials like tile or hardwood. They can easily be cut or punctured with a knife, or damaged by sliding heavy furniture across them. Placing hard objects on top can also leave dents. It’s important to take care of your vinyl flooring so that it lasts as long as it can.

Top Coat: Vinyl flooring typically comes with a topcoat that’s not very resilient. It’s not resistant to UV rays and may start to show signs of discolouration over time, especially in areas with a lot of sunlight exposure.

Despite these considerations, vinyl flooring offers an affordable way to refresh your wet room. It comes in a variety of styles, patterns, and colours, making it a versatile option to suit your preferences.  Vinyl wet rooms require a different wet room drain as the drain will need a clamping ring to secure the vinyl in place.  Explore our range of vinyl drains.

 

Tile Flooring For Wetrooms

Tiled floor finishes have a strong reputation for creating a stylish, timeless look and feel in a wetroom. Tiles are versatile, coming in a range of different materials, styles, shapes and sizes. Aesthetically, a tiled wetroom finish can make a room look more attractive, especially as it’s upgrading the style of a high-traffic area.

Tiles are popular for their longevity; if cared for, a tiled finish can be hardwearing, standing the test of time.

Large Format Tiles

The size of tiles can completely change how a room looks! It’s all because of the lines of grout between the tiles. When you use big tiles, there are fewer of those lines, which gives the room a cleaner and simpler look, no matter how big or small it is. But if you like the look of lines, you might prefer smaller tiles. You can even make those lines stand out by using a different coloured grout!

Big tiles are perfect if you want a sleek and modern style with less grout showing. Porcelain tiles have nice straight edges, so the lines between them are neat, making your floor look extra seamless and stylish.

Benefits Of Large Format Tile Flooring

The Look: Large format tiles reduce the number of grout lines, creating a more seamless and visually appealing surface. This not only improved the look of the wet room but also makes the space feel more expansive and open.

Easy Maintenance: With fewer grout lines, large format tiles are easier to clean and maintain. Grout lines can be prone to Mould and mildew buildup, but with larger tiles, there are fewer spaces for dirt and grime to accumulate, making cleaning a simpler task.

Enhanced Safety and Accessibility: Large format tiles can contribute to the safety and accessibility of the wet room. High quality tiles will have a slip-resistant texture and a stable surface, reducing the risk of slips and falls.

Considerations For Wet Room Floor Tiles

For all the positive aspects that tiles have, It’s important to understand the potential issues that can occur if tiles are fitted improperly.

Some of the issues you may experience due to poor tile installation are:

  • Mould – when water damage and dampness begins to appear, mould can begin to form and create a hazardous area that could have an impact on health.
  • Delayed tile damage – tiles that are not fitted properly are more likely to crack or become uneven over time, leaving possible safety or trip hazards.
  • Water leaks – the expectation when installing a wetroom is complete waterproofing, but when tiles are not fitted and sealed securely to the wall or floor, it can cause structural and water damage

Avoid any dangers by having your tiles professionally fitted. You can find out more about wet room tiles by reading our comprehensive wet room tiling guide.

Non Slip Floor Tiles For Wet Rooms

In areas where water is present, such as wet rooms, it’s generally advisable to choose tiles with some degree of slip resistance to improve safety, especially when the floor is wet. Many high quality tiles come with anti-slip finishes or textures designed to improve traction and reduce the risk of accidents.

Different Flooring Effects With Tiles

  • Stone effect
  • Marble effect
  • Wood effect
  • Travertine effect
  • Slate effect
  • Terrazzo effect

Wet Room Flooring Tile Materials

There is a range of suitable materials that can be used when designing and planning your ideal wetroom flooring. Every material will add something different to the space. So, in order to get the most value from a wetroom, it’s worthwhile to know the types of tiles available.

Popular wetroom tiling materials include:

  • Porcelain Tiles –  Porcelain is one of the best tiles to use for wet room flooring. These are easy to clean, exceptionally durable, and impermeable. These are our first choice when it comes to flooring material for wet rooms. 
  • Ceramic Tiles – Made from clay, kiln-fired and finished off with a customisable coloured surface, ceramic tiles are a popular option for wet room tiling.
  • Marble – This natural stone comes in a variety of designs and colours and can add a unique, luxurious feel to your wet room. Marble is more expensive than other tile materials, but the aesthetic appeal is often worth the cost.
  • Limestone – Another natural stone, limestone is typically cheaper than marble and can create a rustic and traditional feel in a wetroom.
  • Mosaics – Mosaic glass tiles are much smaller than standard tiles and can be costly, but they elevate the style and sophistication of a wet room. Available in a wide range of colours and sizes, they allow for a great deal of creativity, but they are most suited to traditional-style wet rooms with a four-way fall (square) drain.

If you are considering using natural tiles in your wet room or on any bathroom floor, it is worth making sure you talk to your tiler and seal the stone/tiles as required.  

Make sure when you are specifying your wet room kit or drain, make sure you choose a system that is suitable for your tile choice.  We have a full range of solutions available

Can you install any flooring type in a wet room/bathroom?

Not every type of flooring is suitable for a wet room. Since wet rooms are spaces where water exposure is high, it’s essential to choose flooring materials specifically designed to withstand moisture and frequent wet conditions.

It’s important to select flooring materials specifically labelled or designed for wet areas to ensure they can withstand the unique challenges posed by moisture and water exposure. Additionally, proper installation and sealing are crucial to prevent water damage and maintain the integrity of the wet room floor over time.

 

Wet Room Subflooring

Installation for your wet room can be slightly more complex than for a standard bathroom. The reason for this is that your wet room subfloor type will determine most aspects of the installation process.

Your subfloor will fit into one of two categories: timber/wooden or solid/concrete. In many homes, it is common to find timber flooring on the upper floors with typically a solid/concrete floor at ground level. Each type of wet room flooring needs to be treated differently. We’ll discuss the considerations of a wooden floor towards the end of this article

If you’re designing a new build, it’s the perfect opportunity to integrate a wet room system.  The wetroom drain can be plumbed in before the floor is laid which eliminates the need to remove or lower the existing flooring. 

 

How to Install a Wet Room On Timber Flooring?

Wooden joist floors are the most common subfloor found in bathrooms in the UK.  Wetrooms are a fantastic solution for this subfloor as there is typically plenty of depth between the joists to fit your wet room floor drain.

Ensuring your subfloor is of good quality is important as it is the foundation floor that the waterproofing and tiles are placed on. Subfloors should be strong with no movement.

If you are installing a wet room onto a wooden floor the best way is to install a wet room floor former. This will channel the water in the wet room into a drain, as the floor former will have a consistent gradient built into it. You need to replace the subfloor section with the wet room floor former to support the ply lining before you can waterproof your wetroom. 

After removing the subfloor you can fix a new lowered plywood base between your joists.  This will give you the perfect platform for your wet room former. . Installing plywood support between the joists helps to create a strong and sturdy subfloor that the wetroom is fitted on. You can use Noggins to support the edge of the floor formerly in place. 

Next, you can begin the installation of your wetroom drainage. And finally you will need to tank your wet room.   On wooden floors, we would recommend the use of a decoupling mat.  

  1. Prevention of Cracks: Wooden joist floors are prone to movement due to changes in temperature, humidity, and structural loads. This movement can lead to cracks in the tiles above. A decoupling membrane absorbs some of this movement, preventing it from transferring to the tiles. By decoupling the tiles from the subfloor, the membrane helps minimise the risk of cracks and ensures the longevity of the tile installation.
  2. Enhanced Durability: Large format tiles, especially when installed on wooden joist floors, require additional support to maintain their integrity over time. A decoupling membrane provides stability and support to the tile installation, reducing the risk of tile breakage or displacement due to uneven subfloor conditions or structural movement.
  3. Improved Sound Insulation: In addition to its primary functions, a decoupling membrane can also help dampen sound transmission between floors, creating a quieter and more comfortable living environment.

Overall, using a decoupling mat beneath large format tiles on a wooden joist floor is a proactive measure to ensure the durability, stability, and longevity of the tile installation while also providing added benefits such as moisture management and sound insulation.

Wet Room Flooring Products

One of the top products that we recommend is the Unislope 1K system. This wet room draining system is ideal for both concrete and wooden floors and allows you to make a wet room with a one-way slope that falls toward the wall. A bonus benefit is that you don’t have to stand on the drain while showering! 

We also offer additional wet room-building products such as our shower benches. These are perfect for gyms, spas, and public bathrooms. These benches come in three ranges; Copenhagen, a traditional spa bench seat with a backrest, Oslo, a minimalist style with clean sharp lines and no backrest, and Stockholm, our ergonomic bench with no backrest. 

 

Hiring a Professional for Wet Room Floor Installation

We offer a waterproofing wet room installation service to guarantee that your wet room against leaks. It is worth installing your wet room properly from the beginning to save time and money down the line. We have the necessary skills, experience and qualifications to install your wet room flooring in the right way. 

If you have any questions or need any further information on wet room flooring installation then get in touch with us today!

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