Excess water or moisture can weaken a home's structural integrity, resulting in significant damage. As such, it is advisable to waterproof areas like the bathroom and kitchen during home remodelling, which are most vulnerable because of water pipes and washbasin.
But the question that perplexes many homeowners is how to waterproof their bathroom floor, walls, and ceiling to protect them from water damage. Our experts have identified areas in the bathroom most susceptible to water damage and how to waterproof them. Below are tips for using to waterproof the bathroom.
1. Use waterproof building materials
The best time to waterproof a bathroom is during initial construction or renovation. During this period, you can ensure the materials used are waterproof. For example, moisture does not easily affect materials like stone, metal, plastic, ceramic, and porcelain tiles. Also, these building materials can resist mildew and mold better than organic materials like wood. Composite materials like MDF and PVC baseboards are also a great idea.
Similarly, using waterproofing tiling adhesive to ensure a better fixture is useful as it reduces the possibility of leakage.
2. Ensure proper plumbing
Leakage from the plumbing can cause issues. As such, it is key to protect the bathroom from water damage by ensuring the plumbing works accordingly. So, it's best to hire an expert for the plumbing work who knows the best materials and how to use them to prevent issues down the line. When the pipes are installed and fixed correctly, it reduces the chances of water infiltration into the walls and other surfaces of the bathroom, which can cause issues such as compromised structural integrity, molds, fungi, and so on.
3. Provide easy access to plumbing
It's also important that you have easy access to the plumbing lines. However, it is not mandatory, but it is best to have access to the service panel from the outside of the bathroom in case there is a need to manage or repair the pipeline. This way, you can easily turn off the water supply in case there is damage to the pipe, causing water to spill everywhere. If you can easily access the plumbing lines, you wouldn't need to break the tiles or other surfaces in the bathroom to service your home's plumbing unit.
4. Ventilate the bathroom
Another way to waterproof a bathroom is by installing an exhaust fan. A high-capacity exhaust fan helps to expel the excess moisture in the bathroom. According to most building codes, a bathroom fan must expel 20 CFM continuously and 50 CFM intermittently. So, if you have a large bathroom, ensure you invest in a more powerful fan to reduce the moisture in the bathroom. There is even an exhaust fan that comes equipped with an infrared heating bulb which aids in evaporating the moisture in the bathroom, thus keeping it dry.
5. Seal all seams and edges
The seams and edges in a bathroom are prone to water damage as water and moisture seep through them. As such, it's best to seal these seams with caulk. Ensure the caulk is waterproof to create a perfect seal when sealing it. If you have tile flooring, seal the edges of the tiles with a waterproof caulk. Or better still, use tape to prevent water from seeping through the edges of the finishing you have in the bathroom.
6. Slope the shower floor
The bathroom floor must slope properly into the drain; otherwise, water will stagnate in the bathroom. Ideally, you need about ¼ inch of slope for every linear foot on the bathroom floor space. For example, every 4 feet away from the drain should have 1 inch of the overall slope. As such, it's best to ensure the slope of the shower floor is up to standard, as this will help prevent unnecessary expenses on renovation after a while.
7. Install a water-resistant backing board
While you waterproof the floor, it's essential to consider waterproofing for bathroom walls. Start by ensuring the backer board used in the bathroom is water-resistant, so it can help prevent water from seeping through and damaging the walls. There are a variety of backer boards you can choose from that are luxurious yet water-resistant. Tile backer boards are the most common, but you can also consider using glass mat gypsum board, amongst others.
8. Install a waterproof underlayment
While most homeowners may have thought flooring is simply the surface layer of a visible floor covering, the floor is a system of layered components. And each layer is essential to the function and durability of the floor. The underlayment is a crucial layer that is rarely seen. Found under the surface floor covering, the underlayment in the bathroom must be waterproof. It helps protect water from seeping from the ground into the floor covering and vice versa.
9. Use water-resistant paint
Using paint as a bathroom wall waterproofing is an excellent idea. However, you should ensure the paint can endure high-moisture levels in the form of condensation. Paint resistant to moisture comes in various forms, such as primers designed to be applied underneath paint to emulsions that protect against moisture. 10. Install a vapor barrier Installing a vapor barrier is another smart way to waterproof bathrooms. A vapor barrier is a layer of protection designed to act as a shield to keep condensation from surfaces in the bathroom. It's best to install vapor barriers on the ceiling of your bathroom as steam often rises to the ceiling, which may damage it if it is not well protected. Vapor barrier comes in different forms, such as liquid, which you can paint on walls and ceiling, as rolls of membranes made of plastic or rubber, or as thin rolls of polyurethane.
10. Install a vapor barrier
Installing a vapor barrier is another smart way to waterproof bathrooms. A vapor barrier is a layer of protection designed to act as a shield to keep condensation from surfaces in the bathroom. It’s best to install vapor barriers on the ceiling of your bathroom as steam often rises to the ceiling, which may damage it if it is not well protected. Vapor barrier comes in different forms, such as liquid, which you can paint on walls and ceiling, as rolls of membranes made of plastic or rubber, or as thin rolls of polyurethane.
Water is the biggest villain that can compromise the structural integrity of a home. This is why special attention should be given to the bathroom, where moisture is always present. Even the slightest water penetration below the countertops, flooring surfaces, and walls can destroy the installation.
However, following the tips in this guide, you can protect your bathroom from the moisture buildup that can lead to problems. So, hire a professional contractor for a complex waterproofing project to ensure your bathroom stays beautiful, functional, and safe for years.