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How hard is it to install a wet room yourself?

Chances are you’ve come across a wet room at some point in your life – it’s essentially a room-sized, walk-in shower that’s been specially sealed to be watertight. And if you’ve seen one, maybe you’ve wondered how hard (and expensive) it is to put one in your home by yourself. This article will help you weigh up the pros and cons of a DIY job versus getting the professionals in.

What do you need for a wet room?

The materials themselves are easy to come by, and a number of retailers out there sell everything you need to make a wet room. At the very least, you’ll need waterproof matting, tile backer board and a specially-designed wet room deck with a gradient to help drainage. While not essential, wet rooms often also incorporate underfloor heating.

You’ll also need a suitable room, of course. It will need to have stable flooring (concrete or wood is best) and good ventilation, but it can be upstairs or downstairs and small or large.

Is it practical to do it myself?

Many retailers sell wet room kits that come with full instructions, but this doesn’t mean that just anybody can install them. While laying the adhesives and tiles is a relatively straightforward job, it’s crucial that the room is completely tanked (waterproofed) up to the required height, that it has sufficient drainage and that the gradient is done correctly to allow the water to flow out rather than seeping under door.

You’ll almost certainly need a engineering associates to install the shower for you, unless you’re a dab hand at plumbing, so this is the best time to decide whether you want to do the rest of the job yourself or not. The bottom line is if you’re not completely confident in your DIY ability, it’s worth leaving it to the professionals – a badly installed wet room can cause very pricey damage to your house.

Other considerations

As well as making sure the drainage and materials are up to scratch, it’s vital to make sure you’ve considered the other details. For instance, stone mosaic tiles are a popular choice for the floor as they’ve non-slip and easy to clean. If you live in a hard water area, you might want to choose lighter coloured tiles as they won’t show up limescale like dark ones do. Finally, don’t forget your lighting options: recessed LED or surface-mounted halogen lighting is ideal.

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