Wetroom Installation: Floor Formers and Drainage Options

When creating a wetroom there are a lot of important choices to make to ensure that your clients get the most effective showering solutions for their needs. Two such questions are: How do I create the most effective drainage gradient and what kind of drainage options are available for the wetroom?

In this concise guide, Shaun Hunt, Technical Manager at Impey Wetrooms looks at installation of a modern wetroom and gives some advice on the decision-making process and to aid your product selection.

As the largest growth area in the bathroom marketplace, demand for wetrooms continues to escalate at 6-7% per year. According to the AMA Wetroom Market Report published in 2015, between 2015 and 2019 the market for wetrooms is forecast to increase by a huge 34%, with hotels, health and leisure clubs, domestic refurbs, new build developments and healthcare settings all opting for a wetroom ahead of other showering solutions.

Creating a Modern Wetroom
A modern wetroom is an open-plan, level-access showering area with built in drainage. Instead of zoning the wet and dry areas of the bathroom (as is normal when installing a shower enclosure and tray), in a wetroom, the whole room including floor and walls, is waterproofed, with a gradient and drainage incorporated. Once complete it creates a spacious, easy-access showering area which is sleek and attractive to look at, as well as being highly functional, low maintenance and hardwearing.

A wetroom solution can be utilised in most showering locations including ground floors, upper floors, apartments, loft/attic conversions and even basements – provided that appropriate floor formers (and in some cases drainage options) are selected.

Choosing a Floor Former for your wetroom installation
The easiest and most efficient way to create an ideal drainage gradient (slope) for a wetroom installation is to use either a prefabricated floor former or a screed template. Depending on where in the property the wetroom is situated, your choice of wetroom solution will enable you to create the desired drainage gradient to guarantee the efficient expulsion of the waste water.

Prefabricated Wetroom Floor-Former
Ideal in many situations, including upper-floors and conversions, wetroom floor-formers can be fitted quickly and easily to create an instant drainage gradient of 1:40. In conjunction with a totally level floor throughout the rest of the shower room, a prefabricated floor former will guarantee that there is no pooling or standing water left after showering.

Ensuring that you choose a floor-former that is strong enough to withstand heavy loads is imperative; as in some situations there may be more than one person on the wetroom floor at the same time.

Designed to replace floor-boarding, the type of floor-formers available on the market can be fitted directly onto structural joists. Floor-formers come in a large range of sizes, usually with drainage supplied, and some models can even be trimmed to suit your exact space requirements.

By selecting an adaptable floor-former, which has a rotating drain-plate, like Impey’s AquaDec EasyFit, it will be simple to avoid joists or existing pipework without the need for under-boarding – saving you time on the installation and money for your client.

Opting for a strong and rigid floor former, will give your client peace of mind. Load bearing capability varies from brand to brand, so check how your client will be using the wetroom. It may be relevant to ask if elderly or disabled family members or relatives may use the wetroom and potentially shower in a wheelchair or with a carer.

At just 22mm thick, the incredibly strong Impey AquaDec, is manufactured using high glass content SMC, and is capable of easily withstanding a load of 300KG (47 stone).

Finally, aesthetics are import too. If your client wants to achieve a modern linear look in the wetroom, a linear wetroom floor former with a wide drainage aperture, which can be placed close to and in line with the wall, is highly desirable. The Impey Linear range of floor formers offer a sleek wide drainage aperture, which can incorporate an attractive stainless steel drain insert top, a contemporary glass insert or even a seamless tiled insert to match the rest of the shower space, for an ultra-contemporary, minimalist look.

Wetroom Screed Template

When installing a wetroom onto a concrete or new pour solid floor, a screed template which allows creation of the drainage gradient by hand-screeding, is the most effective choice.

A click-together ‘jigsaw’ system, that can be placed directly onto the subfloor and has adjustable feet for easy installation on uneven surfaces is the ideal solution.

Impey’s AquaGrade is a click-together matrix screed-template. You simply fill the template with a concrete screed mixture, then smooth over the profile of the matrix to create the perfect drainage gradient. Once the mix has dried, the chosen tiles or flooring can be laid. 

AquaGrade

Wetroom Drainage Options: The drainage option you specify will depend on the location of the proposed showering area.

Gravity Drainage
By far the most popular and widely-used method of drainage for domestic and commercial wetrooms is the two-part gully; owing to the fact that the system is adaptable and can be connected and tested before the floor former is installed.

Provided as part of the floor former purchase when you buy an Impey floor former, two-part gullies can incorporate either horizontal or vertical waste pipes allowing for the configuration of pipework within the project. A choice of contemporary stainless steel drain covers is available to create an attractive, modern finish.

Slimline waterless gullies are also available as an extra purchase, for projects where space underneath the floor-former is at a premium, as they can be used to reduce the depth of the installation (usually when installing into a concrete floor). Used more in adapted shower room situations, a waterless gully cannot be fitted directly to a soil pipe, so can only be used when waste water flows straight into an open drain.

Pumped Drainage
When gravity drainage isn’t an option, due to location or space, pumped drainage can be used to expel waste water into the drainage system. Pumped drainage options are available for systems that cannot incorporate gravity drainage, for example in basement wetrooms or for accessible ground floor bathroom adaptations where budgets for extra plumbing costs are often tight.

A variety of pumped drainage systems are available, which combine a pumped gulley and a separate waste pump to suck the water away from the showering area.

Modern pumped drainage is maintenance free, offers inbuilt flood reduction and quiet performance. In addition, the Dry-Deck 20 pumped drainage system available from Impey automatically adjusts to changes in flow rate, is virtually silent when running and incorporates flow sensors which monitor the water flow through the hot and cold pipes by transmitting a signal to the control unit.

If you’re an installer who is keen to learn more about wetroom installation, don’t miss the Impey ‘We Are Wetrooms’ Training Tour, which is visiting easy-access sporting venues around the UK throughout the year. Details of the remaining dates are available by searching for ‘Impey Training’ online or visit the ‘Training’ section of the Impey website: www.impeyshowers.com to reserve a space.

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