Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Building a shower? Don't forget the Water-Proofing!

You've probably spent countless hours perusing Pinterest and Houzz looking for that inspiration in creating a beautiful tiled shower,
the trend is hot and as you've noticed the looks have become incredible! But remember to protect the look you've created and put lots of thought into the moisture control behind the design.  If you ask any of our installers what their biggest challenge is they will certainly tell you, shower installations.  We have had the unfortunate task of tearing out beautiful showers that people have done because poor design underneath the tile led to leakage and eventual mold growth and depending on the time frame even deterioration of the wall and floor frames.

The two most common errors are:
1) Pan liners are installed directly on the flat sub-floor of the shower, and even though a tiled layer looks impenetrable to water it isn't and what happens is the water penetrates into the mortar bed and becomes saturated because the pan liner is flat and isn't draining.
2) The pan liner is penetrated with nails when fastened to backer board, again this slight piercing allows water to reach the backer board and leads to rotting, mold growth etc.

To avoid either of these situations the best installation method is to use a bonded waterproof membrane system.  This preparation of the shower provides a tight sealed system and prevents a lot of moisture issues in the long run.  In a simple step by step explanation what is done is:
1) A mortar base is put right on the subfloor with appropriate sloping.
2) Solid backing is put up on the wall sections (i.e. cement board)
3) Then using thin-set mortar we apply a waterproof membrane over all these areas, walls and floor, and tie it back into the drain.
4) This waterproof membrane then allows for us to install the tile directly on to it and prevents any penetration of water to reach the mortar base or backer walls.

Sounds simple right?  Well in actuality it is, however, much care is taken throughout this process especially in the corner area applications.  Also key to this system is not using a traditional drain.  Traditional drains are designed to clamp to liners underneath the mortar base and the waterproof membrane we just installed was applied on top.  Drains have been created for this system specifically which allows a flange to bond tightly with the waterproof membrane, so again any moisture that penetrates the tile will lead back down the drain.

If you are a 'Do-it yourselfer' check out the video link below before you begin and take the time to make sure your beautifully designed shower will last a long time.

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