Walk in Showers v Wet Rooms – from a mobility point of view

What is a walk-in shower

A walk-in shower is a low-level shower tray that you can easily walk into the shower area without climbing a high step. Modern-looking walk-in showers generally have full-height glass panels making it easy to get in and out of the shower area and the base is often textured, creating an anti-slip floor. A range of panels, flipper panels and cubicles with door options can be used.

What is a wet room

As explained in a recent blog DO WET FLOOR SHOWER ROOMS LEAK, a wet room is an easy / level access shower room with no visible tray. The shower area has a built in waste (level with the floor) which will have a slight gradient in the floor allowing the water to drain away. The flooring can either be an anti slip vinyl or a tiled floor and it will offer maximum space even in the smallest bathrooms/rooms. A range of screens, doors/panels, and weighted curtains can be used, and, in some cases, you don’t have to use any of these.

Walk-in showers and wet rooms are becoming more and more popular, not only for the elderly or people with mobility issues or disabilities but with a new generation of people preferring showers over baths. They offer a simplistic modern design, are used to create space, and will often work in the footprint of an existing bath creating excellent accessibility and could add value to a property

So, what is the main difference between the two

 With walk in showers, you can see the tray and the tray normally sits on the floor, so from an installation point of view, it will be slightly easier than a wet floor shower. There are a variety of tray length and width sizes with the tray heights often 25 – 40mm, although the height can go up to approx. 100mm, if the floor cannot be breached.

The wet room tray (former) is fitted under the flooring by cutting away floorboards and building a subframe, so installation can may be more involved, time consuming and more expensive.  Again, there are a variety of sizes length and width with no height obstacles (floor level).

 How does it make a difference mobility wise.

 Walk in showers will have a small step and if a person has poor mobility or they use a shower chair, ramps can be used to overcome the small step. Depending on several factors, the size of the tray, a person’s mobility and type of enclosure, movement or turning circles within the shower area could be restrictive. The step into a walk-in shower, often 20 – 40mm (but can rise to approx. 100mm), can be deemed a trip hazard and long term, if someone’s mobility deteriorates, then it may become difficult to step into the shower.

Wet floor showers in my opinion have three main advantages over a walk-in shower.

  • They don’t have any steps or ramps
  • As well as a range of panels, weighted curtains or no enclosure are additional options which could create more space, even in the smallest bathroom and aid a person’s movement / turning circles.
  • Longevity – short- and long-term mobility issues

It is also worth noting, taking into consideration people who are assisted by carers in a shower environment, both walk in showers and wet rooms can accommodate assistance, but is dependent on a few factors, seat, shower positions, types of enclosures and shower area configuration within the bathroom

When thinking about your new bathroom project, Accessible Bathroom Consultants can help plan to create a functional and aesthetic pleasing bathroom to suit your needs





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