chaz_ginest

Would this wet room design pass inspection?

Chaz G
April 24, 2018

The idea is to create a wet room bathroom with a similar look to a sauna using a composite decking material for the aesthetics of the floor and the walls. When the slab is poured the entire area of the bathroom will essentially be one large "countersunk" shower pan sloped to converge on a drain in the center of the room. Composite decking would then be installed over this slab shower pan with gaps between each slat to allow proper drainage.


Composite material would also be used to line the walls. My question is - what will be required behind this material? My initial thought is something like this waterproof board - https://laticrete.com/en/our-products/shower-installation-systems/accessories/hydro-ban-board


followed by a thick water/vapor barrier sheet, then composite slats over the top to get the desired look. Obviously this is a very alternative approach, so I have no idea if it will present issues during inspection or not.


Thanks!

Comments (37)

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    And how will you clean the soap scum and skin cells that get behind the deck boards and ferment and mold in the damp environmrnt? That is an inappropriate material to be used in a shower. If you want a wood look, use a wood look tile over s properly prepared substrate. And hire a Pro to do it correctly.

    Jayden Ramirez photo.

    https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/blog/the-ultimate-guide-to-finding-tile-installers-for-homeowners

  • Chaz G

    No interest in tile, thanks though!

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  • Chaz G

    Is that Mrs Slocombe in your avatar? My mom used to watch Are you being served in the middle of the night when I was a kid, I bet its still funny today!

  • Michael Lamb

    Maybe a wood that is used on boats might work for you, essentially you need to treat the walls like the hull of a boat. Maybe Ipe or teak or something like that?

    What is it that you are trying to achieve by using wood? There might be other ways to get there...

  • PRO
  • Chaz G

    Composite decking material would be better than any natural lumber would it not? Really just going for the outdoor shower look here, something like the below. I also fully intend to construct the walls and floor in a series of panels that are easy to remove and handle so I can take them outside for a pressure washing occasionally. Intentionally avoiding semi-permanent things like tile and drywall. This is all going in a residential quonset hut, the theme is modularity. Kitchen cabinets will be on sturdy rolling bases for example, easy to roll out onto the patio for outdoor living, easy to clean the kitchen.

  • ilikefriday

    Sounds very creative and like an awesome idea! I would love to see both the completed kitchen and bath

  • Chaz G

    Thanks! I'll do my best to remember to post pics when this all comes to fruition! My plan for the interior walls is pretty wacky too, fully modular.

  • ilikefriday

    Very interesting. I love the concept!

  • Michael Lamb

    "Are you free?" After my wife goes to bed...

  • Michael Lamb

    No idea how big your bathroom is going to be, but why not have the shower in the center of a big bathroom, and have the wood as partition walls. That way the wood is exposed on both sides, and can fully dry out and be cleaned easily as necessary. They just need to be a splash shield and provide some privacy. Pretty much just a free standing indoor version of your pics inside a bathroom. Mount a rainshower head on the ceiling in the center.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    Concrete is porous. It is not suitable for a shower surface that is connected to a home environment or you’ll have a giant sponge sitting there wicking water into everything.

    You have to waterproof appropriately. And the waterproofing has to be protected from abrasion and puncture. Tile is the best choice for that. Tile is a lifetime choice. Not a temporary one.

    If you prefer to not use tile, it just got harder. A lot harder. You can use a cast iron shower pan, and acrylic walls. Teak trays are often used with cast iron pans. But it does get gross underneath. Power washing isn’t practical indoors where the funk will be.

    The walls are where you will have issues. Penetrations through the waterproofing to put up and take down panels will always be a weak point.

    Tile really is your best choice.

    Buy this and read it. The section details that discuss proper waterproofing are invaluable. https://www.tcnatile.com/products-and-services/publications/218-english-publications/188-handbook/948-2017-tcna-handbook-for-ceramic-glass-and-stone-tile-installation.html

    Ease of cleaning should be high on anyone’s priority list for showers. Sometimes it isn’t, as in the use of natural porous stone. But, that’s why you see so many damaged stone showers and ones getting ripped out.

  • Chaz G

    Pretty small Mike, about 8x8. The idea is to have a nice roomy shower without also having to have a giant bathroom to accommodate it, which makes the wet room option attractive.

    The composite would be installed at least an inch out from the wall and with gaps between slats similar to the floor so there should be plenty of airflow around it. The idea is much more of a "cage" than it is a solid wall.


  • ilikefriday

    I love it when people are able to think outside the box and are able to come up with interesting and useful ideas. It's refreshing to see. I wish there was more of this kind of thing posted here.

  • just_janni

    I think that unless you live in an extremely arid environment (desert), you are asking for funk-o-rama behind the wood material - slats or not. eeewwww....


    You will still need a waterproof substrate behind the wood panels.

    I have concrete interior walls - I still have to put a panel over them. I also need a special shallow pan for a zero threshold shower and then will be able to seal it with epoxy.

  • PRO
    Mint Tile LLC

    Chaz,

    The best and only approved approach is to build a "Recessed elevation wet room, Fully waterproofed and TILED. first . You could use an affordable porcelain to tile as it will be covered over.

    In the tiling process I would be leaving watertight anchors strategically throughout the installation that I would later line with sleepers or strapping made of Trex or similar. Then Id use an exterior grade clip kit to line the shower with cladding.

    For the pan floor I would custom build the flush entry deck floor with adjustable load points to level the floor.

    Everything would be removeable as to clean and you would have a cleanable tile shower underneath it that drains like any wet room.

    And just an FYI any MFG of any waterproofing system will require Tile over it regardless. There is no system that is warranted as A "Wear surface" or cleanable without the tile veneer over it.

    Just recently had a friend build A Flat shower floor on adjustable paver piers this way. Very forward thinking.

  • Chaz G

    jannicone - it will be in the desert west of Phoenix. In my original post I included what I plan to use as a waterproof substrate.

    Tundra & Sophie - Thx for helping me nail down the right term (recessed elevation wetroom) So it seems I'm down to either some form of flexible rubber/vinyl product with extrusion welded seams as a waterproof "underlayment", or tile. There are companies that perform complex extrusion welding operations for much more critical applications than this, so having a waterproof liner constructed for the entire bathroom isnt out of the question, its a matter of whether that would end up being more of a hassle and/or cost than just using tile, and of course an inspector will be much less familiar with the use of such a thing than he or she would be with tile, so that poses possible issues as well.

  • ledmond10

    I’m not sure why people are saying it must be tiled. It sounds almost like an empty swimming pool that has water in it only when being used as a shower... and swimming pools are not generally tiled

  • smit2380

    Some swimming pools are tiled. With that said, ppols are coated in something waterproof (e.g, vinyl, fiberglass, concrete pools are covered in plaster, pebble tec or tile).

  • Chaz G

    For those interested in alternative approaches, I got a quote on a custom made extrusion welded liner for the entire bathroom, 30 mil PVC, $884. I asked about tougher/thicker/more tear resistant materials as well, will update.

  • PRO
    Mint Tile LLC

    Would this wet room design pass inspection

    w/PVC. NO. bad idea chaz from a technical build standpoint

    Heres a nice attempt at integrating PVC into a curbless entry. It doesnt work and its not approved you have the same issue if its a drop elevation entry..

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Does continual moisture and humidity inside your house present a possible problem in your mind? Is your wet room going to be in proximity to your clothes closet?

    In hot, humid Panama, where I was stationed for a while, we had to leave lights on 24 hours a day in the closets to keep mold and moisture problems for occurring.

    You may want to give this idea further thought...

  • Chaz G

    I mentioned earlier - its in the desert, so no humidity issues, certainly nothing like Panama. I guess I'll look for a forum that offers alternative solutions and thinking, that doesnt seem to be on the menu around here.

  • Laurie Schrader

    Chaz, you're free to do what you wish. But wandering around the Internet looking for confirmation bias puts you at a disadvantage.I caution against it

    Obviously, you aren't an expert- neither am I. But I know enough to know that, even in arid climates, a "wet room" is, well- wet. It's moisture, no matter what. Even in hot and dry Phoenix area, mold and mildew in these spaces is alive and well.

    Will it pass inspections? Ask a local pro. Are there ways for you to mitigate the conditions that can cause real issues in a wet room? What sort of ventilation/fans/drainage would benefit you? Just find somebody who knows permitting, and really knows bathrooms. They can help you execute.

  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    You asked if it would pass inspection. And you received resounding “NO’s”. It’s pretty clear who has the closed mind here. You want the egocentric novelty acclaim of thinking outside the box, without paying the price of the complete do over that it will cause when it fails, and fails inspection.

    You don’t get to have it both ways. You either get to do whatever you want, with unlimited funds to make many mistakes that cost you plenty, or you get to spend that money wisely on an approved methodology that only needs to be installed once.

    If you can’t afford to do it right the first time, how are you going to afford doing it right the second time when there is water damage to ancillary structures involved?

  • Chaz G

    Right, thats all thats on offer is resounding no's, as opposed to alternative solutions, suggestions, new ideas, etc. Looking for creativity and inspiration, this clearly isnt the place for that.

  • Kaillean (zone 8, Vancouver)

    It's hard to get info when you're doing something unusual. : ) I like your creativity.

    I'm confused about the idea that you can't use concrete in showers and bathrooms. Has no one been to Mexico? Very humid yet almost everything is made of concrete. Lol. We've stayed in places with gorgeous bathrooms where the vanity, walls, shelving and showers are all concrete.

    Color me confused.

  • PRO
    Mint Tile LLC

    Chaz, your not re-inventing anything, its been done the recessed barrier free wet room with clad floors flat floors clad walls and everything in between.

    The new idea?? open to suggestions? The 30 mil poly is not NEW

    Theres a correct way and then theres A Im gonna be hard headed and re engineer everything for no reason and gamble with methods that have failed and wont work.

  • PRO
    The Kitchen Abode Ltd.

    Constructing a concrete shower is more than doable. The issue here is the proposed planking/decking system, there will be gaps and spaces where mold and slime can live very happily. How do you clean and properly disinfect these impossible to access areas? Thinking out of the box is great but you need to really think through all of the ramifications.

  • PRO
    Mint Tile LLC

    How do you clean and properly disinfect these impossible to access areas?

    You design it properly, within industry approval and standards and make all the cladding easily removeable so you can then CLEAN the entire PROTECTED waterproof surface tile that is under the pretty veneer of the properly designed build..

    But yes you are correct once the waterproof is done correctly there are ways to then CRETE the entire area vs Tiling likely no cost savings there for a surface youll never see .and Im thinking our OP here is all about finding a more BUDGET way around that.

  • PRO
    The Kitchen Abode Ltd.

    Tundra Finish Works - Absolutely right. Just imagine the look on the cleaning persons face when you tell them they have to dismantle the showers walls and floor, haul it out side, power wash it and then reinstall it.

  • PRO
    Mint Tile LLC

    Yep well people that want these type of builds usually can afford to do it correctly and they likely have a cleaning crew. I would design it and build it so its not so hard to clean every few months.

  • PRO
    Main Line Kitchen Design

    When you try to use products not originally designed for those applications there are many unplanned repercussions. In general professionals in the industry understand how problematic engineering new applications can be. Less experience people tend to believe they are capable of this type of creative application but of course they are inexperienced.

    We see this issue often. A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. This is why engineers and architects tend to reinvent the wheel in kitchen and bath design. They have less expertise but feel empowered to go beyond what they are capable of successfully designing. It is sort of an inside joke among kitchen designers and is the premise behind our funny video below:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxJgxCeeNTo&t

  • PRO
    The Kitchen Abode Ltd.

    Main Line Kitchen Design - I guess Engineers are not your target market for clients. On the other hand an appliance supplier would be more than pleased to accommodate such a client, no questions asked just place the order.

  • PRO
    Main Line Kitchen Design

    We sell kitchens to everyone. We simply insist that our customers make sensible decisions that we know will work.

    We won't sell a kitchen if it doesn't work, or is dangerous, or against building code. For example, many kitchen designers and appliance suppliers were guilty for a decade of selling and recommending high CFM blowers without replacement air systems. So they knowingly or unknowingly poisoning their clients. We always refused to do this and require that our recommended appliance sales people insist on selling our customers the replacement air systems they need to be safe, whether they want it or not.

    I believe all professionals should "first do no harm". Giving people what the want is the easy road. Helping them make good decisions is harder but is also why our company grows at a rate of about 30% per year.

  • PRO
    Main Line Kitchen Design

    By the way Doug Mottershead, Mark Mitten the actor playing the engineer, and myself all studied engineering in college. So while we are making fun of the mindset we can sympathize.

  • PRO
    The Kitchen Abode Ltd.

    You must of had a hard time shooting that. I can imagine you had to really hold back from breaking out laughing. Good job and keep up with the good work, you deserve it.

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