Wet Rooms: Everything You Need To Know
Whether you've never heard of a wet room, you're a wet room fanatic but you'd like some more information on them, or you're ready to fit one and you want a comprehensive installation guide, you've come to the right place!
What is a wet room?
A wet room is essentially a bathroom or shower space where all of the floors and walls are waterproof, and any water introduced into the room runs to a drain in the floor. This means you can do away with the shower tray and have the water directly hit the floor! You can also be far more careless when washing your face in the sink, and, if you’ve got a bath, you can overfill it and step in and out without a worry in the world – because all the water will drain away!
As well as being a huge modern bathroom trend and a statement of luxury, wet rooms also have practical uses too. They’re perfect if you’ve got children who like to splash around at bath time, and even more so if you struggle with mobility, because you won’t need to step in and out of a bathtub or tray – you can have your shower water directly hitting the floor tiles.
Can I have a wet room?
Anybody can have a wet room in their home. It's usually easier to install a wet room in a space with a wooden floor rather than a concrete floor, since the drainage has to sit below surface level, but since most bathrooms are upstairs where the floor is usually wooden, this isn't a problem.
Installing the wet room drainage
If you’re not having a traditional raised shower tray, or a shower-over-bath scenario, and you’d like one of those modern care-free showers where the water hits the floor tiles and drains away, then follow these instructions!
Firstly, find the right drain board. It’s recommended to have the drain near to where the showerhead is. You can either have your drainage where it is currently, or you can re-route it to somewhere new in the room. Once you have your drainage in its final place, it’s time to select the right Jackoboard drain board. This is a water resistant tray with incorporated falls for drainage – its sides slope downwards towards a drainage hole.
Decide whether you want a square drain or an elongated strip drain – we stock Jackoboard shower trays with both. Also buy the corresponding drain kit (it's be linked in the drain board product description).
Once you’ve got the Jackoboard shower tray of your choosing, put it in place, mark around it onto your floorboards or plywood, and cut through them – exposing the joists beneath.
Next, by securing batons on the insides of the joists and laying a platform of plywood across them, create a platform for your drain. Attach the drain to your drainage pipe, and fix it onto the platform you’ve made with some tile adhesive.
Next, secure more batons on the insides of the joists, and lay some plywood down to support the tray. Offer the Jackoboard tray to the floor to ensure that the drain and shower tray opening are in the correct position. Where necessary make any minor adjustments while the tile adhesive on the support platform is still wet.
Next, prime the wood with a primer. Coat the underside of the shower tray with a powder-based cementitious adhesive, such as Kwik Flex, and then fix it in place.
Next, use the clamping collar from your drain kit to connect the drain opening in the tray to the drain underneath, and use the purple clamping collar tool to lock it tight.
Insert the grate support frame into the shower tray base. Next, allowing for the tile adhesive, line up the tile you’ll be used with the grate support frame. If it needs to be cut to be flush with the combined depth of the tile and adhesive the plastic pipe can be cut using a hacksaw or similar.
Grease the backflow seal and insert it into the grate support frame with plumber’s grease from the sachet provided, and then insert the odour trap. Ensuring the trap is pushed to the bottom of the drain and locked into the locating pin. Lastly, put the grate in place.
Waterproofing the wet room floor
Whether you’ve installed a Jackoboard shower base and you want to waterproof the floor around it, or you just want to waterproof your bathroom floor as a whole, then Jackoboard Plano Tilebacker boards offer the perfect solution! On most floors, the 6mm thick boards linked above are perfectly fine. Use Palace Tiler’s Primer, diluted 1 to 1 with water, to prime your wooden substrate.
Then apply Kwik Flex powdered cementitious adhesive to the substrate ensuring the boards are completely bedded into the adhesive. Alternatively, cover the backs of your Jackoboard tilebacker boards with Kwik Flex powdered cementitious adhesive, and begin fixing them to the floor. It’s good practise to use a brickbond pattern, and to work at a 90 degree angle to the direction of your floorboards. For example – if your floorboards go East to West, you’ll lay your Jackoboards North to South.
Once the adhesive has cured, use galvanised wood screws and TileBacker Galvanised Fixing Washers to screw the boards into the floor. It’s recommended to use around 6 screws per board. It’s important to use the washers so that the screws don’t rip through the board, as this would remove the waterproof element. Also, be careful not to use screws that are too long, in case of pipework under the floor.
Do not screw into the shower tray, as this will ruin the waterproof property.
Waterproofing the wet room wall
If the studs are 300mm apart or less, use 10mm thick Jackoboard boards. If they are more than 300mm apart, use 20mm Jackoboard boards. Use galvanised wood screws and TileBacker Galvanised Fixing Washers to screw the boards into the studs.
If you’re fixing onto plasterboard, cover the back of the boards with powder based cementitious adhesive and apply them onto the wall. Alternatively, apply powdered cementitious adhesive to the substrate ensuring the boards are completely bedded into the adhesive. On walls, Stand-Flex Tile Adhesive is a popular choice.
If you have a brick wall, dot and dab powder based cementitious adhesive onto the wall, and then drill through the board into the brick in 6 places and hammer in a Jackoboard Dowel Anchor.
Sealing all the wet room corners and joints
Once the boards are fixed on the walls and floors, use the Jackoboard shower waterproofing kit to seal all of the joints between boards, along with any edges and corners. Where applicable and where there are any mechanical fixings ensure these areas are also taped and sealed.
Once this process is complete, the walls and floors are waterproof and ready for the next stage.
If you have a bath tub in the room, you’ll benefit from our Jackoboard Wabo Panels. They slot under the rim of the bath, and have adjustable screws to raise them up. Then just seal along the bottom where they join the Jackoboards beneath! Where access may be required for pipe work under the bath, the Wabo panel can easily be cut with a utility knife to create an access panel where necessary.
Optional: Get creative with seating and shelving
The beautiful thing about Jackoboard tilebacker boards is that they allow you to get really creative with the layout and sculpt of your wet room or bathroom! The boards can be cut to all shapes and sizes with a utility knife, and glued together to create units and shapes using BoardFix Adhesive, which fits perfectly into a silicone gun. Create boxed shelving, faux walls, etc with ease.
We also stock a Steam and Wet Room Bench kit, which includes two shaped edges and a flexible Jackoboard sheet to mould easily to the curvature of the edges. It comes with full instructions. When built and fixed to the wall and floor, it creates a stylish spa styled bench, which is perfect for tiling with mosaics.
If you’d love to introduce some boxed shelving onto your wall spaces, then try our numerous Wall Niches. Simply fix them to the wall and pad out the space surrounding them with Jackoboards. This will create trendy inverted boxed shelving; perfect for soap bottles, shampoos and ornaments!
Optional: Underfloor heating
Before you start tiling, have you considered installing underfloor heating as part of your project, for that ultimate luxurious touch? As Jackoboard has an Extruded Polystyrene core (XPS), it is a natural insulator and ideal for use in conjunction with UFH. The warm tiles feel fantastic underfoot – you’ll feel like you’ve wandered into a luxurious spa, inside your own home. The heat will also help to dry off your wet room quickly after use. If you did want to add underfloor heating, now is the time to do it – once the Jackoboard products are down and sealed – then you’d follow the underfloor heating process as per usual. Here are our underfloor heating kits.
Applying the tiles
Now you’ve either got your Jackoboard substrate ready for tiling onto, or the screed on top of your underfloor heating. Either way – it’s time to tile!
For the walls, here's a handy video:
For the full wall tiling guide, click here: How to tile a wall.
For the floors, here's a video tutorial:
Again, for a more in-depth text guide, click here: How to tile to a floor.
When you get to the shower tray, it’s important that the tile follows the falls of the tray, to allow for drainage. There you have it – your tiled wet room, ready for action!