Different ways of waterproofing

How to Perfectly Waterproof Your Shower

If your bathroom gets wet every time you shower, then it’s time to waterproof your shower. Water damage can cause a lot of inconvenience in your home so more than likely you don’t want it to happen. 

Many people who want to waterproof their shower ask themselves the same question, whether it’s just a question about how to waterproof your shower or how much it costs to make it waterproof. 

This article will offer you a detailed insight into shower waterproofing. Keep reading.

Step 1: Mark off the Area You Want to Waterproof

Measure the shower stall and mark its dimensions on the backing board with a pencil. 

Then use painter’s tape to outline your markings—this will make it clear where you need materials for waterproofing.

It’s good to ensure that your waterproofing extends at least a few inches past the edge of your shower stall.

Step 2: Cut a Roll of Reinforcing Membrane to Fit Over the Walls

To determine the size of your membrane, measure and trim it so that it is wide enough to cover each flat section of the wall with an inch or two to spare on all sides.

Also, mark where you will situate key fixtures like valves, shower heads, and temperature knobs.

Cut the membrane into long strips to fit around the edges of your shower. Leave around 3 inches (8 centimeters) between the membrane and the corners and edges of your shower stall. 

This will make it easier to waterproof those areas separately later on.

Step 3: Create Openings to Accommodate the Shower Fixtures

After adjusting the membrane to the appropriate size, cut large X-shaped slits in each of the spots you marked. 

Those openings allow you to easily fit fixtures over them later without losing any waterproofing surface area.

You can measure the cuts on your shower head, faucet, and knobs to avoid making them more extensive than necessary. You can use a knife or a Xacto for this process.

Step 4: Apply a Coat of Liquid Waterproofing to the Backing Board

Use a high-quality paintbrush to apply the waterproofing material. Apply it evenly, ensuring no gaps or bare spots in the coating. 

Waterproofing products applied in liquid form contain rubber, which acts as an adhesive for the membrane and forms a bond so tight that moisture has no chance of getting through.

Step 5: Press the Reinforcing Membrane Into Place

Place the precut membrane on the wall and smooth it by hand, starting at one end. Run your fingers across to press any wrinkles or air pockets into their place.

You may need to apply a generous amount of waterproofing compound for the membrane sheet to bond properly.

If the membrane is having trouble conforming to a corner, try folding or scoring it half widthwise, so it sits at 90 degrees.

Step 6:Brush on an Additional Coat of Waterproofing

Apply the second coat of concrete directly over the reinforcing membrane. This layer’s thickness and application pattern should differ from that used in applying your first-coat mixture. 

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You should mainly focus on the corners and the areas where the membrane meets. By the time you finish, there should be no trace of the brightly-colored membrane.

NOTE:

Be sure to expose the valve and fixture sites when finishing your work. This will help you when you are fixing back your shower.

Step 7: Allow the Waterproofing to Dry Completely

If possible, open windows and use fans to promote air circulation in the room.

This process may take longer for larger showers depending on the thickening of the adhesive. 

Be careful not to touch the materials while drying, as doing so could decrease their waterproofing properties or cause them to come loose from underneath your floor tiles.

Step 8: Install the Floor Tray

Place the sloped tray on top of the subflooring at the base of your shower stall. If your floor pan comes in multiple sections, ensure that you properly align and lock them before moving on to other steps.

Use the template included with the installation kit to make a small mark or notch in your subflooring where you will be placing the drain.

Step 9: Drill a Hole in the Drain

If you have marked your subfloor for the installation of a drain, use an electric drill fitted with a 4 in (10 cm) hole saw attachment. 

Start drilling at one end and continue to the other without stopping. Apply constant pressure to keep from cracking or buckling floorboards.

When you finish, wipe the subflooring with a damp cloth to clean up any dust residue available around.

Step 10: Spread Waterproofing Over the Floor Tray

Apply a coat of waterproofing to the entire wall surface. Spread it thinly and evenly across the floor with an even application brush.

A handheld brush will be the most effective way to apply waterproofing to your floor.

Step 11: Let the Waterproofing Dry

After the materials have been set up, they’ll prevent water from seeping into your wall behind and beneath the shower stall. 

You can install eye-catching tile, vinyl, or acrylic liner and enjoy taking hot showers as a reward for all your hard work!

After you’ve finished waterproofing your shower stall, perform at least one “flood test” to ensure no leaks exist.

Best System for Waterproofing a Shower Floor

There are different types of shower waterproofing systems, take a look at the following.

Reinforce the membrane over the floor and surrounding areas

After laying the tray, you’ll need to cover the cracks where the floor and wall meet. 

Next, measure and cut a hole for the drain; then apply the final coat of waterproofing over the entire floor.

If your membrane is too small for the job, you can overlap multiple pieces to cover areas that the individual sheet may not cover

Place a strip around the lip of the shower stall when you install sliding doors.

Sheet Membranes

These are thin sheets of material designed to be applied directly to a surface and adhere to it. 

The most common type of sheet membrane is the “butyl tape,” which consists of an adhesive layer on the bottom side and a plastic film on the top side. 

When you apply appropriately, you can use this type of tape to cover up any cracks or holes in walls, floors, and roofs.

Liquid Membranes

A man applying liquid-membrane shower waterproof.
A man applying liquid membrane waterproofing. Courtesy: Floor Covering Installer

Liquid membranes are also known as elastomeric coatings or waterproofing paints. 

These paints contain two parts: an adhesion promoter and an elastomeric base material (i.e rubber). When these two elements mix together, they form a sticky substance that you can easily apply directly onto surfaces. 

Once dried, this material protects against water infiltration by repelling water molecules away from its surface.

Foam Wallboards

These are also called shower wall boards and are made of a foam core with a waterproof coating on one side. Foam wallboard is the most commonly used material for waterproofing showers. 

It’s made from polystyrene, which is a type of plastic. The board is usually covered in the paper on one side and foil on the other. 

You then attach the foam board to your walls with adhesive and covered with tile or stone. 

The disadvantage of this method is that the wallboard must be replaced every few years when it starts to break down or deteriorate.

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Foam Shower Bases

Foam shower bases are the easiest and most cost-effective way to waterproof a shower floor. 

They’re made of closed-cell polyethylene foam, both flexible and watertight. The foam comes in various thicknesses and densities; the thicker the foam, the more expensive it will be. 

If you don’t have a flexible budget, you can install a thinner layer of foam that may not be as long-lasting as other options but will still do the job.

How Many Coats Of Waterproofing Is Required?

If you are applying the liquid waterproofing membrane, apply two coats. Most liquid membranes come with directions on how long you must wait between applying coats.

The second coat of liquid waterproofing should usually be applied within 24 hours of the first, and then wait another full day before taking a shower. 

If properly applied, this type of membrane for your shower can last up to 10 years without needing resealing.

Importance of Waterproofing Showers

Insulation

You may not notice it, but your shower and bath take up a lot of space in the house. 

This means that they can absorb a lot of heat which can cause them to become very cold in the winter months. 

Installing waterproofing products such as shower pans will protect against condensation and mold growth.

Also, proper insulation will save energy costs in the long run and protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions from power plants that supply electricity for heating water.

Prevent Damp and Mould

The other benefit of installing waterproofing products is that there will be less risk of mold and dampness forming on your walls and floor over time. 

If you have an old property with older tiles in your bathroom, these could be prone to leaking over time. 

This can lead to serious damage if left unchecked for too long and will cost more money than installing an effective solution from the start! 

Mold spores spread easily through the warm air and humid areas like showers. 

They can cause eye infections or respiratory problems for people with allergies or asthma. 

If left unchecked, mold can damage walls and ceilings, causing them to collapse over time!

Increase Property Value

A leaking shower or tub is not only an eyesore but also an indicator that there may be other problems with the property that need attention. 

A leaking shower or tub can drive down the value of a home by as much as 11%. 

This is because potential buyers often interpret a leaking shower as an indicator of other problems with the house itself, such as poor insulation or faulty wiring causing electrical issues. 

A professional waterproofing system will stop leaks before they happen and protect your investment from future problems that may arise from leaks or flooding.

Prevent Leaks

Waterproofing showers prevent leaks from occurring by creating a seal that prevents water from seeping through the shower walls. 

This will save you a lot of dollars in water damage repairs, as well as prevent mold growth that can be caused by moisture entering your walls.

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Waterproofing System for Showers

Check with Your Contractor

If you’re building a new house or doing significant renovations, talk to a contractor about waterproofing before you start construction. 

A good contractor will be able to help you choose the right system based on your budget and needs.

Your contractor should be able to give you a list of waterproofing companies that they have used in the past and can recommend. 

You can also check with your local building department and ask which products they recommend.

Consider Your Climate

Are you in an area that gets a lot of rain? Are there other weather conditions that could cause water damage in your home? 

If so, consider installing extra protection against leaks and mold growth if possible. 

This will prevent potential damage over time and save you money on repairs later down the road.

Type of coating

You’ll have to decide whether you want a coating that goes on before your shower pan or after it is installed. 

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A pre-formed shower pan will have a different coating than one made from sheet metal which can be cut to fit any size shower stall. 

Suppose you’re building a new home and want to install tile in every room. In that case, it makes sense to choose a pre-formed shower pan with an epoxy coating pre-applied to it so that you don’t have to worry about getting the tile floor level with the existing floor before installing the waterproofing system.

 Cost

Waterproofing systems vary widely in price depending on their quality and what type of material they’re made from.

A basic Hardie backer board with thin-set mortar can cost as little as $10 per square foot if bought in bulk, whereas a more sophisticated system could cost $100 or more per square foot because it requires special equipment and expertise to install correctly.

Durability

Waterproofing products are rated by how durable they are against water infiltration. 

For example, a product may be rated at 200 hours or 600 hours before moisture seeps through, depending on its composition and application method (such as caulking). 

Durability depends on several factors, such as temperature and humidity levels in your home; however, generally speaking, higher durability ratings mean longer-lasting results.

Ease of Use 

Some waterproofing systems require special tools or equipment to apply them properly. 

If this is the case with your chosen product, check whether it comes with any needed accessories before purchase so you know what else you might need to buy once it arrives at your home.

Is Cement Board Necessary To Waterproof A Shower?

A cement board is often used as a backer for shower and bathtub walls, but it should be noted that the material is water-resistant rather than waterproof.

A minor leak can be repaired relatively easily and may not cause permanent damage to the cement board, but extended leaks will often lead to more serious issues. 

It is always best practice to apply a second layer of waterproofing membrane behind this type of board before applying any finishes or tile adhesives.

How To Seal Screw Holes In Shower Wall Waterproofing Membrane

If you plan to screw or drill into your wall or floor tiles, you will require an extra coat of waterproofing.

The best-preferred way to waterproof screw holes is to mark them correctly; use a size-appropriate bit for the job at hand and pre-fill with silicone before installing anchor screws/drills.

When the anchors and screws have been installed, apply a second coat of silicone around each hole.

Installing Waterproofing Membrane In Shower Walls

You can apply the liquid waterproof membrane to shower walls the same way they are used on floors. 

You will want to go slow. Apply a small amount of membrane onto your paintbrush or roller, then gently apply it along with some water along one section at a time so that you have control over where it goes and don’t end up making too much mess in one spot before spreading out more evenly across others.

Another option is to use self-adhesive waterproofing sheets, which will make your shower more watertight.

What Type Of Shower Waterproofing Is Best?

There are different varieties of waterproofing available for showers, each of which has its benefits and drawbacks. 

Liquid waterproof membranes are an affordable option that the average homeowner can apply with a bit of DIY know-how though it does require some planning in advance.

If you’re looking to waterproof your shower with a more permanent solution, consider using a sheet membrane or foam backer board. 

These membranes are marginally more expensive for new shower construction than traditional cement boards.

You can increase the water resistance of membranes by combining them with liquid plasticizers.

Conclusion

As with home maintenance, there is more than one way to waterproof your shower. The two most common ways are caulking and using special coatings to keep water from seeping through the cracks and seams of your shower. 

Whether you’re looking for an industrial-grade seal or something a bit more subtle, these tips should help you get started.

If you’re not a fan of home repairs, you may want to investigate a company that specializes in waterproofing showers and bathrooms.

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