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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Waterproofing Your Bathroom

I designed my bathrooms to wear well. I put in an under the counter sink because the joints between countertop sinks and the countertop is often sealed with silicon which looks great for about one month before black mould starts to grow on it and under it. This is difficult to clean off without damaging the silicon seal. See a picture of silicon mould below. Where possible, I tried NOT to have any exposed silicon at all. My under counter basin has silicon sealant hidden under the granite slab. When it turns black, as I know it will, I can't see it.

Silicon Mould

I also made sure that in every shower cubicle, where water would hit the walls, the waterproofing membrane was applied to a height of 1.8m. This prevents water from soaking through the porous bricks and making spots of damp on the other side of the wall. On either side of some bathrooms are bedrooms. It wouldn't do to have damp spots appear on the walls there... nor would it do to have the backs of the built-in cabinets get wet and become termite heaven. See a picture of the high upturn below. Waterproofing membranes are liquid when applied but dry into a plastic membrane that keeps water inside the bathroom.

The High Upturn at Shower Areas

The windows at some bathrooms are large and come down the wall far enough to reach my chest. The window sill doubles up as a toiletries shelf. BUT, whenever we shower, the window sill will get wet. So, I made very sure that even the window sill was painted with waterproofing membrane so that water would not seep through to the outer wall and turn the pristine cream coloured external walls mouldy and damp. I made sure that the waterproofing went right up the sides of the window frame by 2 tiles.

The Window Sill In Shower Cubicle

Floors need waterproofing certainly, and it is important to make sure that the membrane reaches about 300mm up the sides of the wall so that when water ponds in your bathroom it doesn't seep over the waterproofing membrane on the floor into the brick walls. I call this the low upturn and it is applied in every other part of the bathroom except the shower cubicle (which has the high upturn). See below.

The Low Upturn

Any pipes that stick out of the floor need to be shaved to be level with the floor so that the waterproofing can be painted across the floor and right onto the sides of the pipe to ensure a single solid plastic membrane between floor and pipe. This prevents the water from seeping into the joints between the pipe and the floor.

Lastly, do make sure that your construction contract specifies that the waterproofing will be applied by a specialist contractor, i.e., someone whose job it is to apply waterproofing day in and day out. Also, it helps to pop by twice a day to take pictures of the process. This way, if the contractor quickly covers up with tiles, you have photo evidence to show that waterproofing was not yet properly done, and therefore you have reason to demand that the tiles be lifted and that place retiled.

1 comment:

Malar said...

Wow! Such a detail survey and shower area construction!