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20 years ago I lived in Sweden, and remember that the bathroom was designed with floors that could tolerate a lot of water. There was a tub & shower head but no shower curtain. The floor sloped to a floor drain. The flooring curved up at the edges. There was a large squeegee to wipe down after a shower.

How would I build a floor like this?

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The more common term is "wet room". – auujay Sep 15 '11 at 19:32
You're basically building a giant shower stall. – DA01 Sep 15 '11 at 20:49
P.S. I really don't want the work of grouting and maintaining tile. – Jay Bazuzi Sep 15 '11 at 23:59
@Jay, what's your opinion of concrete? I've seen some really nice sealed concrete floors & patios, but I don't know if it's a DIY job or not. And they tend to be better in warmer climates. – Joe Sep 16 '11 at 0:59

Assuming you are using tile as the floor I don't think there is too much to do. You will need to determine the appropriate slope to the floor drain and put down a waterproof membrane (like Schluter Systems' Ditra http://www.schluter.com/2080.aspx) below the tile.

The IPC covers floor drains in section 412 but it does not specify a slope on the floor. A shower floor is supposed to have 1/4" slope per foot (section 417.5.2) but I don't know if that implies the whole floor should be like that.

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I believe that Schluter's DITRA product is what's more commonly used on floors. DITRA works an uncoupling layer, allowing some movement of the subfloor without damaging the tile. I may be wrong though, I've only used KERDI on walls and haven't done floors. – overslacked Sep 15 '11 at 20:52
@overslacked-You are right, I linked to the right product but used the name for the "wall" product. Ditra is for floor and is waterproof when used with Kerdi-band over the seams between Ditra sheets and at the walls. – auujay Sep 15 '11 at 21:00

An alternative to a wet room is a "wet zone". This is where just part of the room is converted to a shower.

The kit we bought consists of a base that raises the shower off the existing floor to allow ease of drainage and incorporates the necessary slopes for drainage. You fit this and then seal and tile the walls. It comes with a couple of shower screens to keep the water in place and works very well.

wet zone base

You can see here that the back piece has a slope towards the drain. You can't see the four way slope on the piece with the drain.

wet zone base tiled

We bought our kit from B&Q (a large DIY retailer in the UK. I would suspect that the "Aquadry" system was available elsewhere.

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