Walk in shower or Wet Room? What’s the Best Option?

Who hasn’t seen a movie scene set in a spacious, glamorous walk in shower? It may seem a luxurious option suitable for designer mansions, but actually walk in showers and wet rooms are becoming increasingly popular in modern home bathrooms. 

If you’re thinking of redesigning your bathroom to maximise space, or just because you prefer a shower to a bath, then these may be an option. So, let’s consider the benefits. 

What’s the difference between a walk in shower and wet room?

There doesn’t seem to be a single, clear definition for a walk-in shower and a wet room, and so we all have a different idea of what each one is. As a simple guide, a wet room is an open-plan tiled room without screens that separate shower from the rest of the room. The floor will be sloped towards a drain set into the floor. 

A walk-in shower can simply mean a stand-alone shower, which you can enter without stepping over a bath. You’d generally have tiled floor or large shower tray, and a glass panel that contains the water to one area of the room. 

In reality, at Alan Heath and Sons we can design your bathroom to be any combination of the two. If you prefer a fully tiled, sloping floor, but with a glass panel to reduce the splashing across the room, that’s not a problem. 

What are the advantages for each set up?

An open plan wet room does allow for more space, which may be necessary for homes where elderly or disabled people need more access. However, there’s likely to be more splash in the room, which makes towels, toilet and other furniture wet, and more likely to be hit by soap suds and shampoos. Just think more cleaning.

We do find that a walk in shower is the more popular design. The room will still feel modern, spacious, and airy, while the splash is contained by the tray and glass screen. You’ll still get splash from the open end, so you’ll need a larger shower tray than normal. As always, as sizes increase, so will the price, although this is countered by the lower cost of the glass panel compared to a full glass shower enclosure.

You could choose a tiled showering area, which matches the rest of the room. However, tiles do mean more grout lines to clean, whilst it’s far easier to maintain the appearance of the smooth surface of a shower tray. If you are unable to get the waste pipe under the floor you are going to need to raise the tiled tray to get the correct fall. This will detract from the clean lines of a level access showering area.

Are wet rooms or walk in showers better for the elderly? 

Compared to traditional showers or baths, both wet rooms and walk in showers are a great alternative for older individuals or those with mobility concerns. Wet rooms can provide more space and easier accessibility for those with mobility challenges, as they eliminate the need to step over a shower curb. This seamless design minimises tripping hazards and can even allow for wheelchair access if necessary.  

On the other hand, walk-in showers, equipped with low or no-threshold entries, also enhance accessibility for the elderly. They offer a balance between a contained showering space and ease of access, often coming with the option of additional features like grab bars and non-slip flooring to enhance safety. 

Are wet rooms or walk in showers suitable for small bathrooms? 

Both wet rooms and walk-in showers can be suitable options for small bathrooms, but you must keep certain things in mind. In the case of a small bathroom, a wet room’s open-plan design can create an illusion of space, making the area feel less cramped. Without the need for a shower enclosure, wet rooms maximise the available square footage and can be customised to fit the compact dimensions efficiently. However, proper waterproofing and drainage is crucial in wet rooms to prevent water damage, and that does typically mean more cost. 

On the other hand, walk-in showers designed specifically for small spaces often come with space-saving features like corner placements or streamlined designs. To really understand whether a walk-in shower is suitable for your space, you should seek professional advice from bathroom experts – like us! We can even provide CAD designs to help you envision what a wet room or walk-in shower would look like in your space. 

Do wet rooms or walk in showers add value to your home? 

You may have already made up your mind, but if you’re still thinking about it, there are a couple of other considerations. A shower cubicle is considered to be more fashionable, and it’s a practical solution if you want a separate shower in a smaller space. 

If you’re renovating in order to add value to your home, it’s unclear whether a wet room or walk in shower has a big impact. An estate agent will list it as a feature, which could appeal to mature customers who struggle to climb into the bath. However, a family with young children to bathe might find it off-putting. 

When you consider installation costs, include any removals or changes to your bath, plumbing and tiling. The price is dependent on the size of the renovation. Really, it’s probably best to add one because it’s what you want, rather than for re-sale value.  Having said that, a newly renovated bathroom does have more appeal than an older styled room to a potential buyer. 

If you are ready for a new design, then it’s really down to personal preference. We personally like the clean lines of a large shower tray and single glass panel. It’s practical and easy to clean while still stylish. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How much will a wet room or walk-in shower cost? 

The price can vary dependent on a number of factors including size, materials used and the difficulty of the installation process. Please talk to us directly for a personalised quote. 

What is the installation process for a walk-in shower or a wet room, and how long does it typically take? 

We always start by looking at the layout of the room to see what fits well and what doesn’t. It’s all very well having a lovely walk-in shower but if you have to compromise on the rest of the room, it is then a large compromise. Some of the best rooms we do are not necessarily the products the client initially asked for, but what worked best for the layout of the room. 

What kind of drainage system is required for efficient water removal in wet rooms? 

We would need to get waste pipes with a good fall under the floor for the best results. 

Are there any limitations in terms of water pressure or temperature control? 

Water pressure and temperature control are all down to the style of shower installed.  We would always recommend a thermostatic shower valve as it will monitor the temperature for you and will always give you the temperature you ask for (assuming you have hot water that is). 

Thinking about getting a wet room or walk-in shower installed? Talk to our friendly team today, we’d love to help you find the perfect shower for your bathroom!