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Waterproofing Your Shower

Home Renovation Tips | 13 June 2017

You’ve decided on the layout and size of the room, and the beautiful tile that is going to really make your shower standout. Now imagine how you would feel if one day you noticed that your grout or tile is starting to discolour, there’s an odd watermark on the ceiling of the room below the bathroom, or your drywall beside the shower is turning to mush. If you didn’t know before, now you have come to the realization that a tiled and grouted surface is not actually completely waterproof. You’ve heard the saying “the proof is in the pudding”? When it comes to your shower, the waterproofing is in the preparation.

If you are removing the existing drywall or cement board and starting over at the studs, this is a good time to also put in a vapour barrier. While not all backerboard manufacturers require a vapour barrier, it is an extra level of protection, at minimal cost and effort. When moisture gets behind your drywall or cement board it wicks to the top and bottom of the framing studs, and then travels to the next nearest wood surface. When this happens, your wood will swell and eventually rot. A vapor barrier will prevent this from happening.

The waterproofing membrane under the tile is what makes your shower waterproof. Waterproofing is available in a variety of types and applications. Let’s look at three types:

  • Liquid waterproofing and crack isolation membrane – this is applied with a roller. This is as easy as painting a wall, and great for a DIY project. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions as far as how many coats, and the overall thickness required.

  • Waterproof Sheet Membrane – this comes on a roll, and is applied with mortar directly over the backerboard. The plus side to this type of application is that there is no guessing as to whether you’ve put it on thick enough, as there is in a liquid application. Waterproof sheet membrane
  • Foam Building Panels – this is the most costly method. The foam panels take the place of backerboard, and can be used to construct a weight-bearing bench seat in the shower.
    Foam building panels

A leaky shower can lead to structural damage and expensive repairs. As soon as a leak is suspected, it should be investigated and repaired. Waterproofing of wet areas is accompanied by a guarantee provided by the manufacturer.

At Atmosphere Flooring, our professional staff will be happy to help you select which waterproofing method will work best for you.