What are best ways to waterproof bathrooms?

Bathrooms are the wettest place in the home and it’s essential that the bathroom is waterproofed to decrease the risk of structural damage happening as a result of dampness, water leaks, and condensation. You should read this article to know all details about waterproofing the bathrooms.

Why is waterproofing important?

Appropriate waterproofing in a wet place is important. Water leaking into the floor and wall spaces can rot structural timbers and do damages to a home. The worst thing about these damages is that you will not normally realize that it is occurring unless the worst damage is done. Badly installed waterproofing can cause various damages, and to deal with that there are important changes to the waterproofing requirements in recent years.

Plumber applying silicone sealant to the countertop and ceramic

Where is waterproofing required?

Waterproofing is required anywhere where there is a water outlet. This includes:

  • Shower stalls
  • Bath areas
  • Bathrooms (depending on materials that are being used)
  • Laundries
  • Wet areas in kitchens

How high or wide, your walls and floors require for being waterproofed depends on what is being waterproofed, and on the other materials that are being used in that place. For instance, Shower recesses normally need waterproofing to a height of 1800mm. How far along the wall or floor, the waterproofing membrane should extend will depend on things like?

  • The size of the shower stall
  • Whether or not the shower stall is enclosed
  • Whether it uses a pre-molded base

The materials that are used on the bathroom floor will play a role in what is needed to waterproof. For example, while compressed fiber cement floor and concrete floors offer water resistance themselves, but if the bathroom floor uses timber-based materials such as plywood and particleboard then it will require to be waterproofed.

8 ways for waterproofing your bathroom

Here are 8 ways to waterproof the bathroom:

Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier is an important part of waterproofing a bathroom. Where it is applied, depends on the climate you live in. If you plan on fully gutting or renovating the bathroom walls, make sure that you will get it professionally done by a contractor. That way, you will get the right vapor barrier (for example polyethylene sheet or vapor-barrier paint) appropriately applied.

Tile Walls

Tile backed by cement board is a good friend if you need a waterproof bathroom. You should use tile around the shower and bathtub. Tile is water-resistant after it is sealed. This makes future maintenance simple with easy wipe-downs required.

Cement Board

For a non-tiled look in the bathroom, it is essential that you select cement boards as the wall material and even for the ceiling portion above your bathtub and shower. The cement board is durable and resistant to mold. It is designed for high-moisture places such as the bathroom. You may paint it with any color you like as long as a thin layer of plaster is applied over the cement board first.

Exhaust Fan

Hot-shower aficionados will appreciate this when steam is rapidly whisked away once they step out. It is a must for minimizing the risk of prolonged humidity staying in the bathroom. Make sure to inspect that the fan’s edges and ductwork are well insulated.

Silicone Caulking

Once the vanity, walls, shower, and bathtub are completed, apply silicone caulking to all the joints. Carefully clean the place first so that the silicone sticks appropriately. It prevents the water from getting into gaps.

Waterproof Paint

As soon as the walls and ceiling are entirely dry (run a dehumidifier for some days), you can utilize waterproof paint on them. Before slapping on the paint, place on a coat of primer first.

Water-Resistant Flooring

For the bathroom flooring material, you should go with those that are water-resistant. This means stones or ceramic tile or vinyl. Take the same care when you are selecting baseboards as well.

Sealing The Floor

When the flooring is completed, then the final thing is the sealing. Sweep away all traces of dust or dirt from the floor before sealing. If you have selected tile for the floor, spend more time on the grout lines as those are the places for water to seep through.

Common methods of waterproofing your bathrooms

Here are some common methods of waterproofing bathrooms:

Cementitious waterproofing

This technique uses cement to make a solid water-resistant layer. The cement is mixed with an acrylic additive to make a durable base and applied as a thick layer and then it is left for drying and hardening. It does not expand or contract under heat exposure. This technique is applied in household internals, and waterproofing bathroom before the tiles are laid.

Bituminous waterproofing membrane

This waterproofing comes in a sheet and then it is rolled out onto the surface. It is suitable for low sloped roofing because of its effectiveness.

Membrane waterproofing comes in 2 types; torch-on and self-adhesive.

Torch-on membranes are done with a blow torch and then burned when they’re rolled out, whereas self-adhesive membranes stick onto the surface.

However, self-adhesive contains a short lifespan as they wear out over time.

Bituminous waterproofing coating

It is generally used for paving roads, but it can also be used for waterproofing. Called asphalt, it is flexible because of the polymer grade and fiber reinforcements. This black liquid is applied like paint and then spread onto the surface. Since it has bitumen-based substances, it is not suitable for sunlight exposure as it turns brittle under heat. So, if used on a rooftop, it needs to be covered by another protective layer like cement.

Polyurethane liquid membrane

The last method is expensive and is used on flat roofs mainly. It is a simple form of liquid waterproofing and is capable of withstanding the exposure of elements, hence deeming it an exposed as well as non-exposed system. It’s highly malleable, which means that it can stretch without giving way. However, polyurethane is sensitive to moisture content. The surface of the structure must be thoroughly evaluated before applying to make sure it does not cause damage in the long run. Overall, it provides a sleek finish and is durable by regular standards.