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Bathroom Waterproofing

waterproofing the bathroom area illustrationAccording to the survey posted in the National Post, Canadians currently use an average of 329 litres of water per person, per day — second only to the United States in the developed world, and more than twice as much as Europeans. In 2008, Canadians showers lasted, on average, 7.6 minutes, while they stood under the shower head for 8.1 minutes in 2009. This is a lot of water that can start to leak in your bathroom with time. In order to completely avoid water leaks and moisture penetration through the bathroom walls, it has to be properly waterproofed. Adequately ventilated and waterproofed bathrooms will provide long lasting and a pleasant, mold free, and healthy bath experience.

Potential threats to the bathroom

In the bathroom we're dealing with constant water supply and moisture. Proper waterproofing means that this water cannot penetrate into the structure of the home and cause potentially serious damage. Another potential threat that can cause serious damage to the bathroom walls is mold. Moisture that collects in the wall cavity or floors structure of a shower is the primary cause of mold growth. Bathrooms are particularly vulnerable to damage from water leaks and water vapor. Moisture penetrating behind ceramic tile and shower enclosures is the most common and costly failure in bathroom renovations. Leaks around tub enclosures can damage finishes and even weaken the building structure.

What areas of the bathroom need to be waterproofed?

bathroom renovation waterproofing methodWhen waterproofing bathroom, we are dealing mainly with two areas of the bath: bathroom shower area and bathroom tub area. These two areas experience the heaviest traffic of water and are most susceptible to leaks and mold build up. Also, it is a practical solution to seal the whole bathroom floor to ensure that water spills from the tub and shower do not go through the floor grout.

During many years of our bathroom renovation experience, we constantly see bathrooms that were damaged by mold. Even relatively new houses which are 5-7 years old have mold in them. This shows that these bathrooms have two potential problems which are bad ventilation and/or water leaks. If you just simply replace mold damaged materials without fixing the root cause ofduring your bathroom renovation the mold growth, you'll end up having the same problem in the next 4-6 years. What kind of bathroom renovation would it be if it only lasts that long?

Bathroom waterproofing membrane – excellent solution

bathroom renovation - membrane for waterproofingIn order to properly waterproof the bathroom during you bathroom renovation perioud we need to completely seal the surrounding walls of your bath tub and the shower, so not a single drop of water could penetrate through it. The most important areas are any joints between the wall and the floor, between the walls themselves, and around any drains in the floor. There are a number of different methods of waterproofing. The one method that we recommend is to use a waterproofing membrane. There are several of them available on the market. Some of the most popular are Shluter - KERDI, Aqua-Shield, NobleSeal and ProVa-Mat. The one that we like the most is Schluter-KERDI membrane. Schluter-KERDI membrane is a bonded waterproof membrane with limited crack-bridging capabilities. It is made of soft polyethylene, which is covered on both sides with a special fleece webbing to anchor the membrane in the thin-set mortar.

Waterproofing membranes create a vapor barrier that ensures a long lasting protection from moisture penetration for these continuously wet areas. When your bathroom is protected with the waterproofing membrane, even if the water does get underneath the tiles through the grout lines, the only wet part would be that quarter of an inch or so of the thinset mortar, and because it is so thin, it would dry much faster making it almost impossible for mold or mildew to survive.

We recommend home owners to consider waterproofing their bathrooms. Our goal is to make your bathroom renovation last for as long as possible by taking a few extra steps to make it happen. For your next fully waterproofed bathroom renovation project, please contact Bowerbird Renovations.

References: National Post article

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