Walk in showers and wet rooms have become a very popular option for those renovating the bathroom, which doesn’t really come as a big surprise as most people prefer to shower rather than bathe. We lead busier lifestyles than ever before, and a walk in shower or wet room provides a stylish and practical showering solution for all age groups, ranging from young professionals to the elderly, as well as for those with restricted mobility.
So, if you’re planning a new bathroom and wondering whether to install a walk in shower enclosure or a wet room, our essential guide uncovers all you need to know – from how much you can expect to spend, to the different types of walk in showers and much more, which will hopefully help you make the right decision.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A WET ROOM AND A WALK IN SHOWER?
The difference between a wet room and a walk in shower is that in a true wet room, the space is completely open plan (although a wet room shower screen can be used), and the water flows away through a drain in the floor, whereas a walk in shower typically features one or two glass screens and a low level shower tray. Both options provide easy access and make a real statement in any bathroom or en-suite.
Budget, time restraints and style, all play a role in deciding whether to have a full wet room fitted in your home, or to opt for a walk in shower enclosure for a modern look.
Walk in shower
How to choose a walk in shower or wet room
At BigBathroomShop, there’s a wide range of walk in showers and wet rooms to suit any shape or size of bathroom.
- First decide if you would like a walk in shower or a wet room. Our walk-in showers include a tray, while the wet rooms are supplied with a drain.
- Once you’ve made a decision, you will then need to think about the shape and position.
- There are three main types to choose from including recessed, corner and floating.
Recessed – fits into an alcove and is ideal for replacing a bath. This type features a single glass screen, which can be fitted to allow for left or right entry. The glass screen is available in a choice of profile and arm finishes including chrome, white and black. The arm can be fitted to the wall or ceiling.
Corner – fits into any corner of the bathroom and can replace a standard shower enclosure such as a quadrant. This type features two glass screens, which come in a range of profile and arm finishes including chrome, white and black. The arm can be fitted to the wall or ceiling.
Floating – creates a very sleek, modern look, and allows for entry at either side. This type features a single glass panel and floor to ceiling poles in a chrome finish.
Measuring 1950mm in height to catch more splashes, our glass shower screens come in a choice of widths including:
You can take your pick from a wide range of configurations, or you can simply choose a single glass screen. Each screen features 8mm toughened glass with an easy clean protective coating.
Walk in shower trays
As well as sizes and styles, there’s a variety of UK shower trays and shower drain designs available. Our range of walk in showers include a choice of low profile shower trays including standard white, walk-in and anthracite. They all come in a wide range of sizes.
The anthracite tray features a slate effect finish for a natural feel, while the white tray creates a smart modern look. The walk in shower tray is divided into two sections – one end for showering, and the other is used as a space for drying off. All types have a robust and durable construction to withstand the rigours of everyday use.
If you have gone for the wet room option, then you will get a range of shower drains to choose from. These come in a variety of designs and feature a stainless steel construction for great durability. The drains also have excellent flow rates to ensure the water quickly flows away.
Find out more about the Milano walk in showers and wet rooms and how to choose the perfect one for your bathroom.
WALK IN SHOWERS AND WET ROOMS – THE BASICS
Walk in showers and wet room glass panels don’t have a door unlike a traditional shower enclosure. Instead a simple glass panel separates it from the rest of the bathroom. The frameless glass panel can either be fixed to a wall, or for a walk-through design, held in place parallel to a wall by a pole attached to the ceiling, or facing a wall.
Wet room glass panels can be fitted onto a low level shower tray, which provides an easy yet effective way to create a sleek minimal look, or they can be fitted direct to the floor. A great alternative to wet room glass panels, walk in shower enclosures consist of a narrow framed or frameless glass screen that’s teamed with a rectangular low profile shower tray.
Available in various styles and sizes, walk-in showers give the bathroom a modern, seamless feel, while offering a practical showering solution. They can be fitted in a recess so there’s just a single glass panel on show, or with two glass panels, as well as with or without a shower tray.
What is a walk in shower?
A walk-in shower has no doors, which allows you to simply walk in. This type of showering solution typically includes a wet room screen and a low profile shower tray. One end of the shower is open to the room and can be used to dry off, while the opposite end is the showering area with a glass screen. Walk in shower enclosures with trays allow you to create the look and feel of a wet room but without all the associated cost.
Advantages of walk in showers
Walk-in shower panels have many advantages, and they are a great option for adding smart, contemporary style to any bathroom. Here’s some benefits to a walk in enclosure.
Perfect for small bathrooms
Walk in showers are ideal for small bathrooms as they help to create the illusion of more space. A bulky shower enclosure means you have to account for the space taken up by shower doors and a high tray, but opting for a walk in shower removes this need.
Creates a bigger and brighter space
You can also install a walk-in shower without a tray, which will offer more flexibility when it comes to the layout, as there is no tray, it can be fitted into a tight, awkward space. A single glass screen provides an uninterrupted view through the bathroom, making it appear bigger and brighter – perfect for small bathrooms where there’s limited space and no natural light.
Ideal for those with limited mobility
Another fantastic benefit that a walk in shower has over a shower enclosure with doors, is that it’s a lot easier to use. The doorless and almost step-free design, makes a walk in shower a great choice for those with limited mobility and the elderly, who struggle to lift their leg over a bath and keep their balance. There’s also plenty of showering space, so you can wash young children with ease. You could even fit two shower heads for a luxury touch.
With just the glass screen, shower tray and shower head to clean, walk in showers are much easier to maintain, compared to a traditional shower enclosure. When shopping for walk in shower screens, make sure to choose one that features an easy clean protective coating that repels grime and soap scum to keep it looking like new for longer.
Designer style that adds value
A walk in shower room features clean lines and minimal looks, which provides a high-end feel and makes a statement too. If you ever decide to sell your home in the future, a walk in shower can make a real selling point. What’s more, you don’t have to break the bank to achieve this.
With minimal fittings and no moving parts, a walk-in shower is a durable and robust showering option that will last for many years.
WALK IN SHOWERS – THINGS WORTH KNOWING
When choosing a walk in shower there are a few things worth knowing…
- All glass screens must be toughened and meet British Standard EN12150-1. The thicker the glass the better, between 6-8mm is standard.
- Large expanses of glass in the bathroom could mean lots of cleaning, but glass panels with an easy-clean coating help to prevent soap scum from building up and sticking to the glass, so cleaning will be less of a chore.
- Glass panels that are framed and edged with chrome, are ideal for families with young children, as the edge is slightly blunter. For a really seamless look opt for a frameless screen – this will have a bevelled safety edge.
- Don’t forget to check the guarantee period too, these can range from one year to a lifetime guarantee and cover faulty manufacture or materials, but not breakage.
How much does a walk in shower cost?
This all depends upon the size of the walk in shower and the type of tray that it is supplied. But, you can expect to pay from £190 for a walk-in shower with tray at BigBathroomShop, while a wet room screen with drain will cost £232.
Watch: how to install a walk in shower
What is a wet room?
A wet room is where the shower is completely open and the shower floor is flush with the rest of the bathroom floor. The shower area of the floor has a slight gradient to allow the water to flow in the direction of the drain. A wet room needs to be completely sealed with waterproof boarding to prevent the water from leaking, so for this reason it’s best to hire a professional to carry out the installation work. A glass shower screen can be fitted to protect items such as loo roll and towels from getting splashed with water, which is ideal for small wet rooms.
Advantages of wet rooms
Wet rooms have many advantages, and they are a great option for adding sleek, designer style to any bathroom. Here’s some benefits to a wet room.
Adds value to your home
A wet room will give your home wow factor, and create a selling point if you ever want to sell in the future. As long as the wet room is installed properly, it will add value, but this is only the case if the wet room is added as an en-suite or second bathroom.
As well as being stylish, wet rooms are ideal for those who are disabled and for the elderly too. As there’s no shower tray, access to the shower is a lot easier.
Creates a designer look
Wet rooms are a super stylish option, and perfect for adding designer style and a focal point to your home.
Ideal for small bathrooms
Creating a wet room enhances a sense of space in a small bathroom, and removing the bath means you’ll end up with loads more room. Even if you fit a wet room screen, the space will still look bright and airy. Wet room screens come in a wide range of sizes to suit any space.
Easy to clean
A big advantage of a wet room is that it’s easy to clean and maintain. There’s no shower tray to worry about, and if you fit a wall mounted basin and toilet, then it’s easier still.
Found out how to make a wet room waterproof in our step-by-step guide.
CREATING A WET ROOM
Although a complicated and costly option that involves building work, creating a wet room with a screen provides the perfect way to achieve a spa-style look. Wet rooms don’t require a shower tray as the water drains away through a drain in the floor.
To achieve a true wet room, a watertight environment needs to be created by tanking the entire space including the floors and walls to prevent leaks. Fitting the right drainage is essential to prevent the build-up of water on the floor. Drain wastes, underfloor trays, which are a must if you have a wooden floor, and tanking kits can be installed by experienced DIYers, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, call in the professionals to ensure your wet room provides many years of trouble free use.
When the watertight membrane has been fitted, the wet room needs to be tiled throughout, and a gradual gradient should be created on the floor so the water flows into the drain. Remember to opt for floor tiles that have a non-slip finish to prevent accidents. Underfloor heating is a definite must in any wet room, so the floor around the shower can dry quickly and keeps warm underfoot for a luxury feel.
Found out how to build a wet room on a wooden and concrete floor in our step-by-step guide.
Wet room ideas
- Before hiring a professional to fit your wet room, make sure you’ve considered every element of the scheme. Think about the size of the showering area, as well as the shower system, accessories, storage and the type of basin and toilet.
- To ensure a neat finish and for a super stylish look, opt for a concealed shower valve, and a large rainfall shower head. It’s also a good idea to fit a hand shower too. If you have the space, why not create a luxury look by doubling up on shower heads?
- Make sure to install a drain that can handle a high volume of water efficiently. Enhance a sleek, streamlined look by choosing a flush channel style drain that collects water across its full width.
- A wet room shower screen isn’t the only way to section off the shower area, you could instead create a tiled partition wall to stop water from splashing out.
- To enhance a spacious feel, opt for a wall mounted basin and toilet – this will make cleaning a lot easier too.
- Storage is important in any wet room or bathroom, so make sure there’s somewhere to keep toiletries and beauty products stored away. You could fit a vanity unit and mirrored cabinet, or create niche shelving, which can be built into the wall. To keep towels toasty warm, as well as neat and tidy, install a heated towel rail close to the shower.
Can I have underfloor heating in a wet room?
Yes, you can have underfloor heating in a wet room. Underfloor heating will keep your feet warm and help to dry the space out faster. If you are fitting a wet underfloor heating system, then you will need to embed the pipes into a screed, but with an electric system, the mats are installed on top of an insulated tile backer board.
How much does a wet room cost?
The cost of a wet room all depends upon the size of the space, and could cost approximately between £1,500 and £4,000 including the fixtures and fittings. It’s important to put quality over cost – if the tanking and drainage is insufficient or poorly installed, then it will cost you more in the long run to repair damage caused by water.
Wet room shower screens – glass thickness
At BigBathroomShop, all our wet room shower screens and walk in showers feature 8mm toughened safety glass with an easy clean coating. 8mm glass is the recommended thickness for wet rooms and walk in enclosures, as it’s tough and durable. It also provides a high-end, luxury feel.
Complete the look with a stylish shower system
Finally, once you’ve chosen your walk in shower or wet room, you can then complete the look with one of our stylish shower systems. Available in an array of styles, our shower systems each include a thermostatic shower valve, which incorporates anti-scald technology to ensure a safer showering experience. You could opt for a system with just a shower head and shower valve, or go all out and fit a system with shower head, body jets, shower valve and hand shower for added wow factor.
John has a background in sports journalism, and lists content writing amongst his primary passions. He provides expert bathroom trends commentary and analysis, as well as offering meticulously researched answers to the most frequently asked bathroom posers.