A Guide to Professional Bathroom Waterproofing

A Guide to Professional Bathroom Waterproofing

Waterproofing is generally defined as the process of applying waterproof material in the wet areas of your home. Wet areas are spaces with sanitary fixtures and appliances highly subjected to moisture from direct wetting, humidity levels or condensation. 

Waterproofing is essential in the parts where there is a water outlet including areas such as bathrooms, showers and baths. It is also extended to laundries and kitchen wet areas based on the requirements. 

Bathrooms are one of the most moisture-exposed spaces in homes and therefore require excellent waterproofing to get rid of any residential damage due to leakage.  In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about professional bathroom waterproofing & help you understand the right ways to avoid faulty waterproofing at your house. 

The Importance of Waterproofing 

A residential building can undergo a lot of damage due to water leakage, specifically if it goes unnoticed for a long period. If the wet areas are not waterproofed or not waterproofed correctly, it may allow water to enter the other areas of the home. This can lead to several problems such as:

  • Mould or mildew: Mould build-up can release spores into the air which can be harmful to patients with asthma
  • Warping of structural timbers: If major structural components of the house such as bearers, joists and beams are subjected to water, it can lead them to rot. This can even put the overall strength of your house at risk.¬†
  • Rising damp: Water can rise through walls and floors due to capillary action and affecting the paint and deteriorating the strength of the walls.¬†
  • Corrosion Issues: Rusted pipes can break and cause severe water leaks increasing the problem even further.¬†
  • Concrete Cracks: When in contact with water, the steel reinforcing within the concrete can begin to rust harming the concrete around it. This can lead to concrete cracks weakening the building's foundation.¬†
  • Electrical Risks: Water dripping to light fittings and another electric wiring adds an increased risk of shock and fire.¬†

Therefore, waterproofing is highly essential to ensure the safety and sustainability of your home. 

Waterproofing wet spaces such as bathrooms have several advantages:

  • Prevents Leaks: It provides watertight seals that prevent water from leaking through any cracks or gaps present on floors or walls. This can even save you from future structural repairs.¬†
  • Promotes Insulation: Waterproofing walls can help keep the warmth inside and reduce household heating costs during winters.¬†
  • Adds to Your Property Value: A fully waterproofed bathroom adds to the overall value of your house while faulty waterproofing can contribute to reduced property cost.¬†

Types of Waterproofing 

Waterproofing membrane products are available in a variety of styles. Some are in liquid forms applied with a brush, while others might be rubber sheets that can be attached to the surface. The most popular kind of waterproofing used in bathrooms nowadays is a liquid membrane which is highly flexible and easy to install. 

The CSIRO has classified membranes based on their ability to stretch before breaking. The defined classifications are:

  • Class 1: Stretches to a length of 65% more than its original length. Example: Fibreglass, water and metal-based epoxies.¬†
  • Class 2: Stretches between 65% and 200% more than its original length
  • Class 3: Stretches over 200% more than its original length. Example: Sheet rubber and PVC sheet membranes.¬†

Causes of Faulty Waterproofing

Waterproofing must be carried out by skilled professionals only. In some states of Australia, this work can only be done by licensed tradesperson such as a builder, tiler or Waterproofing expert. 

Poor work quality is one of the major causes of faulty waterproofing. Some of them include:

  • Bad Preparation: The surface to be waterproofed must be free from dust and dirt. Poor application without the removal of dust will not let the membrane bond properly with the surface.¬†
  • Poor Application: The membrane must be installed as per the manufacturer's recommendation. Every millimetre of the surface must be appropriately covered to avoid future leakage.¬†
  • Cheap Waterproofing Product: A high-quality membrane must be used for long-term and assured results. Low-quality products can fail when in constant contact with water.¬†

How Long Does Waterproofing Last? 

A good quality waterproofing sheet membrane if installed correctly can last for a long. Most waterproofing products come with about a 7-year warranty. But they can last longer if the installation is perfectly executed. 

Signs to replace waterproofing:

There are a few signs to notice in your bathroom that need repairs. General bathroom leaks can be attempted to repair through a silicone sealer but this might be only a temporary solution. This is because sealers can target only one spot/ area of the shower or bath. As the leaks start growing, the only long-term and effective solution are to remove the tiles and get your waterproofing replaced. 

Here's how you can determine if your bathroom waterproofing needs replacement:

  • Water leaks
  • Swelling skirting boards
  • Peeling paint
  • Mouldy cupboards¬†

Make The Right Decision! 

As we discussed how faulty waterproofing can prove to be a risk for your home, it is recommended to hire a professional and accredited tradesperson. Even if your local state regulations might allow you to do the work yourself, it might lead to poor finishing and lead leakage problems. 

Therefore, it is essential to get a waterproofing expert to do the job and ensure excellent finishing for long-term results and make the best out of your high-quality waterproofing membrane. 

We hope this guide helped you understand all the major aspects involved in bathroom waterproofing from types of waterproofing to the problems that arise due to faulty waterproofing. Now that you have all the basic information to start with, make sure you consider it while getting your waterproofing done.