If you’re looking for a bathroom renovation, installing a wet room can be the best way to completely change the look and feel of your shower area. In addition, a wet room can actually save you on costs over buying new units for your shower – although that’s only true if you’re also planning on re-doing the tiling during your renovation.
Wet rooms require stripping everything out of your bathroom, waterproofing it, and then installing the shower area. Supplied and fitted, that costs less than buying a new shower stall and re-doing the tiling.
However, the average cost of installing a wet room in the UK is still about £9,000. That ranges from as low as £2,000 to over £16,000 depending on the size and materials you choose. And, about £1,700-£2,500 of that is the cost of labour.
Typical Wet Room Installation Prices*
The cost of installing a wet room will vary depending on the size, whether the room is a new or old bathroom, and on the materials you choose. For example, you could reuse your old tile. Or, you could buy tile that costs £140 per M2.
Therefore, you’ll actually have to choose and price materials before you can get a good idea of what the project should cost.
With a standard bathroom of 4 square metres of floor and a 2.5 metre ceiling, you can expect something like the following costs:
|Hourly Rate||£10- £60||£1,140 – £2,830|
|Stripping Old Bathroom||4-8||£150- £480|
|Tanking / Waterproofing||4-8||£150- £480|
|Electric Work||1-2||£150- £210|
|Building Regulation Approval for Notifiable Work||£0- £690|
|Materials & Fittings||£1,515- £14,325|
|Tile||£12- £120 p sqm||£600 – £6,000|
|Adhesive, Spaces, Grout||£10 p sqm||£400- £550|
|Underfloor Heating||£300- £500|
|Toilet Units||£100- £900|
|Shower Screen||£115- £2,075|
|Basin + Faucet||£50 – £2,200|
|Light Fixtures||£50- £300|
|£3,455 – £19,555|
*Please note these cost estimates are based on quotes in May of 2023. Actual costs are subject to change and may be different at the time of reading.
Wet Room Fitting Cost Factors
In most cases, the largest cost factor in fitting a wet room is the materials. However, labour will also be significant. For example, it can take 4 or more days to tile a bathroom.
Here, you can expect most professional tilers to take a day per surface you’re tiling.
Cost of Materials
Materials costs will always be the largest cost factor in fitting a wet room. For example, tile typically costs £12-£120 per square metre. With most bathrooms containing around 50 square metres of surface you want to tile that can add up fast. You’ll also need grout, spacers, and adhesive – but those costs are minimal compared to the actual cost of the tile.
Here, tile also changes a lot in price based on how you buy it. For example, if you buy pre-cut tiles, you’ll spend more money on materials. On the other hand, if you buy tiling in sheets and have your tiling crew cut it, you’ll spend more on labour.
For example, the following costs per square metre give a good idea of how choosing different types of tile changes the price:
- Basic Tile – £12-£40
- Stone Tile – £36-£85
- Marble Tile – £80-£250
- Mosaic Tile – £75-£120
On average, you’ll spend £65 per square metre to tile your bathroom. However, those are not the only materials costs.
Waterproofing kits normally start from £100 per 10 square metres. You’ll typically need the floor, ceiling, and all four walls.
However, you can get away with using a water-resistant coating for the ceiling. And, it’s highly likely that you can save by having your contractor buy waterproofing materials rather than getting a kit yourself.
You’ll also have to consider insulation to keep your bathroom temperature stable and prevent it from condensation. You may also want the underfloor heating.
If your old underfloor is in bad shape, replacing that will also be a good idea. And, you’ll want wiring, plumbing, fixtures, etc., as you fit the bathroom.
Fittings and fixtures cost as much as you want them to. However, they typically start at around £100 per fixture.
In most cases, you’ll want to spend a little more than that. For example, you’ll probably be happier with a shower head in the range of £250-£600 than the most basic option if you’re doing a bathroom remodel.
You’ll have to consider:
- Shower screen (optional, but nice for keeping towels and the like dry)
- Forming pan
Each of these fittings starts at around £100, but you’ll normally get a good price/quality range at around £250 each. So, budget that much, and if you spend under, you’ll have money left over.
In addition, you’ll want to budget for:
- Ventilation (Do you have to replace the exhaust in the bathroom?)
- Any extras
These can vary in cost, so discuss them with your contractor or shop around yourself when making decisions.
Cost of Labour
Labour costs normally heavily depend on what you’re starting with. For example, if you spend 8 hours ripping out the old bathroom, that will add a lot to costs.
On the other hand, if you do that work yourself before the contractor gets there, you’ll save that money.
In addition, fitting a wet room requires different types of labour. You’ll need a Registered Competent Person to do the electrics and water. However, for the most part, a general contractor will do.
In most cases you can expect:
- 60+ hours for general contractor (£10- £60 per hour, £150-£200 per day)
- 2+ hours for electrician (£150 for first hour + £30-60 for following hours)
- 4 hours for plumbing (£150 for first hour + £40-£60 for following hours)
This means that even if wiring your bathroom takes less than an hour, you’ll still pay £150 for the work.
In addition, tiling here is listed under general contract work. However, you may prefer to hire a professional tiler. That is not at all necessary but will mean that you can opt into a mosaic or other specialty tile work.
On average you can expect tiling a wall or floor to cost roughly £50 per square metre in labour. This means you can usually directly calculate expected costs based on the space you want to tile.
However, if you work with a professional tiling company or want specialty work, you’ll have to increase those costs.
Using the Old Bathroom
If you’re installing your new wet room into the old bathroom without moving fixture locations, costs will be minimal.
On the other hand, if you’re moving fixtures and drains or moving the wet room to a new room – such as installing a second or third bathroom – you can expect costs to be higher. That’s because running soil and drain pipes can take a considerable amount of work.
Even ripping up the floor and rerouting a drain pipe can take several hours per metre of moving the pipe.
Condition of the Old Room
If you remove the old tiling and find that your bathroom is in great shape, that’s great. However, it might be the case that you find rotting wood and old beams that have to be replaced. That’s not uncommon, especially in older homes.
Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that you might want to set a budget aside for extra repairs or surprises, such as rotting wood, having to reroute pipes, etc. That will save you from surprises as the project unfolds.
You can always install extras in your bathroom. For example, underfloor heating is extremely popular, because it helps the floor dry faster and provides more comfort as you’re stepping out of the shower. On the other hand, you might want new radiators with towel racks.
Or, you could opt for new fixtures such as a sauna cabin or a bidet. It’s up to you.
However, each of those extras will cost a lot more money, so they will greatly impact the cost of fitting your wet room.
For example, underfloor heating systems usually start from about £350. However, that may not include a thermostat. In addition, you may want to spend more to improve the quality or the heat efficiency of your room.
8 Benefits of Wet Rooms
Wet rooms offer a lot of benefits, even over standard bathrooms. That’s especially true if you compare a wet room to the classic shower in a tub setup.
The wet room is a waterproofed bathroom with an open shower set flush with the floor and a slightly sloping drain against the wall or in the middle of the floor.
1. Adds Value
Modern and stylish bathrooms can add value to your home. They also increase the appeal to a wider range of buyers, because those buyers can access the bathroom.
Estimates of increase in value range from about 2.55% to about 8%, depending on whether you’re installing a second bathroom or remodelling an old one. Either way, a new bathroom improves the value of your home.
2. Maximises Space
Wet rooms do away with tubs and bulky shower cabins and shower trays to give you a clean, open space. That allows you to maximise the usage of your space and put your shower where it makes the most sense.
For example, if you’d like to split your bathroom and use half for a toilet and towel storage and half for a walk-in shower, a wet room allows this. And, you can install a shower screen or glass pane if you want – just to block splash.
3. More Room to Shower
Shower cabins can be difficult to move around in and can be quite cramped. Larger shower cabins also cost a great deal. And, as most are a maximum of 190cm tall, they aren’t great for taller members of the family.
Switching to a shower cabin does away with the need to have a shower cabin or a tub. That means you’ll have more room to shower and more freedom of movement in the shower.
That also means it’s easier to clean, because you’ll be able to simply scrub the walls down without running into the cabin or the tub. And, with a flat surface to clean after showering, cleaning up can be a simple matter of running a squeegee a few times over the floor and done.
4. Better Accessibility
With flat or gently sloped floors, wide and open spaces, and no cabins or tubs, wet rooms are extremely accessible. That makes them ideal for people with disabilities who might have trouble getting into a tub or out of a wheelchair.
It’s also ideal for older family members, who might have trouble stepping up onto a tub and who might have tripping risks, even with the low threshold of a shower cabin.
So, wet rooms make showering safer and more accessible to everyone.
5. More Design Flexibility
Having the option to move your shower wherever you want in the room offers a lot more opportunities in that room. You’ll also have more open spaces, so you can choose what to do with the space – provided you don’t mind it getting wet.
Those decisions can range from installing benches to putting in plants – whatever you want.
6. Can Be Fitted Anywhere
Wet rooms can be fitted upstairs, downstairs, or even in a basement. Like other types of bathrooms, there’s no real limit to what you can do.
7. Reduces Costs
Shower cabins can cost several thousand euros to install. And, if you’re installing tiling anyway, you won’t spend more on the rest of the shower.
In fact, the only things you’ll spend money on are a single glass pane, which can start at around £100, and a shower former for the drain. Chances are, you’d need a shower tray for the same purpose with your cabin, and that usually costs more.
So, costs for a wet room are actually less than for a traditional shower – especially if you also wanted a bath.
Wet rooms reduce the number of breakable or damageable parts in your bathroom. This means you’ll have a room that’s easier to clean, harder to damage, and that will likely last for longer.
Shower cabins and tubs often have to be repaired and replaced periodically. If something goes wrong in your wet room, you can simply replace the specific tile that’s damaged and be fine.
Disadvantages Of Wet Rooms
Wet rooms are great for a lot of reasons. However, they aren’t right for everyone. For example, a wet room does not normally include a tub, although you can install one.
- You’ll have to waterproof the full room.
- If you don’t insulate, condensation could cause damage to wood under waterproofing.
- Must be well-ventilated
- If you don’t have a shower screen, everything will get wet.
- Not everyone likes them, so it could remove some buyers from your buyer pool.
- You’ll want to tile everything, which can get expensive.
- You can’t use laminate or wood flooring like you can with traditional bathrooms.
Otherwise, there are no real disadvantages to having a wet room over a traditional bathroom.
Wet Room Installation Process
Installing a wet room is a straightforward process, although it will change a bit if you’re moving the wet room to a new part of the home.
- Find a contractor who can do the work.
- Strip out the old bathroom including the tiles and flooring.
- Re-route the plumbing to where you want the new fixtures to be.
- Plan electrical wiring and outlets and run wiring for exhaust, lighting, outlets, etc.
- Lay subflooring and wall material.
- Fit waterproof membrane.
- Coat membrane with liquid membrane.
- Allow both to cure.
- Install top flooring and wall layer.
- Install ventilation.
- Tile the floor.
- Tile the walls.
- Finish the ceiling.
- Fit the drains and shower.
- Add the units and fixtures.
- Install the exhaust.
- Fit shower screen.
- Do any finishing work.
- If your bathroom fitter isn’t a Registered Competent Person, check if you have to notify building control of new work. If your fitter is registered, they should do the notifications for you.
In most cases, this project will take about 2 weeks, although it may take up to 4. However, you’ll want to discuss timelines with your contractor, as it will also depend on how many people they have on the job.
Hiring A Bathroom Fitter Checklist
Hiring a bathroom fitter is also a straightforward process, although you’ll normally want to look at several options and compare them.
- Make sure they’re a Registered Competent Person
- Relevant qualifications
- A quote that details all work you need for the wet room, including subcontracting electricians and plumbers, so you don’t have to find and hire new people.
- Detailed quotes
- Liability insurance
- Worker’s compensation insurance
- Good reviews and references
- Examples of previous work that you like
Your candidate should be able to give you their registration number to look up. If they don’t, it’s a red flag and you probably shouldn’t hire them.
In addition, it’s always a good idea to make sure you actually get along with the people in question. They could be in your house for weeks at a time. Ensuring that the process is pleasant for everyone involved is a good idea.
Fitting a wet room will usually cost about £9,000. However, prices can be as low as £2,000 or as high as £30,000 depending on what you get and what you have done. This means you’ll have to set a budget, make choices within that budget, and then shop around for quotes inside that budget. Eventually, materials like tile should be the most expensive parts of the installation.
If you’re ready to get started, use the form at the top of the page to find a wet room installer in your area. We’ll request quotes and send you the best ones so you can compare and get started.