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What Is Waterproofing?

Waterproofing is the process of making anything impervious to water, and as you might expect, this is extremely important in bathrooms. When a bathroom is waterproofed, a system of membranes that don't let water through is put beneath the finished wall or floor.

This keeps water from leaking through your home's structure. Waterproofing can be accomplished during construction using various methods, including installing a waterproof membrane, a premade shower base (for level entrance showers), water-resistant plasterboard, silicone water stops, and epoxy grout.

Waterproofing is like a raincoat for a bathroom. It prevents water from reaching the floors and walls and causing structural problems.

Is It Necessary To Waterproof My Bathroom?

Yes, it is necessary to waterproof your bathroom because it is the main wet space in the house. You should waterproof the region so that water does not enter the house's substructure and cause severe structural damage.

Professional bathroom waterproofers usually conduct the waterproofing process during the construction of the bathroom. It entails installing a waterproof barrier around the bathroom's floor and walls, including the shower space.

This is an integral part of every new bathroom project or bathroom renovation. In fact, bathrooms with inadequate waterproofing can cause a wide range of serious problems, including rising dampness, warping, rotting of timber flooring and structures, plumbing corrosion, mould, damaged electrics, mildew, and concrete cancer.

Unfortunately, not everyone gives waterproofing their bathrooms the importance it deserves. According to the Australian Master Tilers Association, poor bathroom waterproofing is among Australia's top three home-building problems, causing as much structural damage as termites.

How To Successfully Waterproof A Bathroom

Step One: Gather all the necessary materials and tools

Bathroom waterproofing should be done utilising only the best high-quality materials (waterproofing membrane and waterproofing agents). In addition, you need silicone and priming.

You will also need the following:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Dustpan
  • Broom
  • Stanley or utility knife
  • Spirit level
  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Paint scraper
  • Masking tape
  • Silicon gun

Step Two: Scrub the floor until clean

Use your broom, dustpan, vacuum cleaner, etc., to clean the bathroom floor and prepare it for the main work.

Step Three: Use the primer

Apply primer to the floor as well as the walls up to a height of 20–30 cm with a standard paint roller or brush. Start with the walls in the back corner and work your way around, then finish with the floor. A sturdy foundation is required for a waterproof bathroom floor, which implies that a contractor must apply primer to the moist surface before painting.

Make sure the thing is applied evenly and thoroughly, leaving no exposed areas. This will help to keep moisture from penetrating the floor. Some folks also like to use an oil-based primer. Oil-based primers are suitable for bathrooms since they are more durable than water-based primers.

However, before you begin working with these primers, ensure that all your instruments are oil-free, as they can be troublesome when used with water-based items. If you're using latex paint, wait at least a day before using the area you've painted.

Step Four: Use silicone to fill up any remaining gaps

Use silicone to cover gaps between the floor and the wall. Pay close attention to areas around the vanity, the shower, and the shower base after the primer has dried.

Scrape any old silicone with a paint scraper, Stanley knife, or similar tool before applying the fresh silicone. Allow it to cure fully for about 24 hours before sealing any possible gaps.

Step Five: Apply masking tape on the walls

Place masking tape like you would when painting. To guarantee a straight line while waterproofing your bathroom, place masking tape over areas that don't require paint.

Step Six: Apply waterproofing agent on the walls

This can also be applied using a roller or brush. Starting at the rear corner for easy accessibility, apply masking tape to the wall up to the height of the tape, and then to the wall-floor intersection.

Step Seven: Install a waterproof membrane

A contractor should then cover wall and floor cracks with a waterproof covering. After cutting the product to the right length, you can set it at the desired location.

Paint the waterproofing agent over the membrane to adhere to it. Make sure to thoroughly cover it with paint and leave no gaps.

Step Eight: Apply the waterproofing agent to the floor

Wait until the membrane, which is now coated with a waterproofing chemical, dries. The following step is to apply a waterproofing chemical to the whole floor.

Step Nine: Apply a second coat

The initial waterproofing membrane coating will dry in approximately one day. After this, you may apply a second coat of waterproofing membrane, which should be applied in the opposite direction from the initial coat (i.e., diagonally).

This will require at least one additional day to dry. It is necessary to let the waterproofing fully cure before tiling or performing any other work in the bathroom. This may take up to five days, depending on the environment.

Why Is Waterproofing Important?

Bathroom waterproofing offers several benefits. To begin with, waterproofing guarantees that the bathroom remains dry after usage. The arrangement keeps the house tidy and provides the user with a sense of comfort whenever they step into the shower. A waterproof bathroom also prevents mould growth.

Moulds pose a substantial health risk. The dampness in the bathroom can let carpenter ants and termites survive, which can ruin other portions of the house. Moreover, it can cause significant damage, such as a shower leaking through the wall and other health problems.

So, bathroom waterproofing is a good idea to make sure people stay healthy and can use their homes for longer. Finally, if the restroom is not waterproofed, there are several hazards. For instance, it might lead to a leaking shower. Leaks in the bathroom may wreak havoc on the house's foundation.

The problem develops when water penetrates the timber planks and causes them to decay. Water can cause concrete cancer, which is seen when the steel that holds the slab together rusts. So, if the house isn't watertight, it will start to crack and break and won't last long.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of bathroom waterproofing?

The cost of waterproofing a bathroom varies by area in Australia. For instance, at the low end of the range, such a project could cost between $30 and $45 per square metre.

It costs between $40 and $55 per square metre at the higher end of the range. The average cost of waterproofing a modest bathroom in Australia is around $500.

Is there a standard for waterproofing bathrooms in Australia?

The Australian Standard AS3740-2010 specifies rules and requirements for waterproofing wet spaces in residential structures. The property owner should have a mastery of the basics, even though a qualified waterproofing professional will know about this standard.

It wouldn't harm to exceed basic criteria if the property owner is concerned about water damage. The cost of installation might be much cheaper than the expense of repairing water damage. Here are some basics that property owners should be aware of regarding waterproofing bathrooms.

  • The floor and walls of your shower must be waterproofed to a depth of 1800 mm if a bathroom is erected on the ground level. The bathroom's walls must be waterproofed to a depth of 150 millimetres. Hobs must be waterproofed to a depth of 100 mm.
  • Wet room bathrooms, also known as bathrooms with frameless showers - must have the whole bathroom floor and walls waterproofed up to a radius of 1500 mm. The same basic criteria for a shower would need to be placed in a wet room bathroom's shower space.
  • Wet room bathrooms are a trendy modern bathroom style. A contractor must perform waterproofing appropriately to avoid further water damage to the property.
  • A contractor must waterproof the entire floor if a bathroom is located on a floor above the second. The identical rule applies to bathrooms with wooden floors.

Can bathroom waterproofing be a DIY project?

When you consider the restrictions on waterproofing a bathroom and the potential consequences of a poorly done project, the answer is no. Additionally, anyone attempting to do it themselves should know that it might affect warranty and insurance claims.

Another reason is that DIY projects are prohibited in New South Wales and Queensland. Only licensed professionals are permitted to do the required work in these two states.

All work must adhere to the requirements of the Australian Standard, even though a licence is not necessary for the other jurisdictions. Only tradespeople who know how to waterproof a bathroom properly are allowed to do the work themselves.

Is laminate flooring waterproof?

Waterproof laminate flooring is popular due to its affordability and aesthetic appeal. The laminate flooring's click-lock mechanism and water-resistant technology can lead you to conclude that waterproofing is not necessary.

However, the challenge with this flooring type is that it has a shorter lifespan than a tiled surface that is entirely waterproof. Most waterproof laminate flooring comes with a 5-year wet guarantee. You will need to replace this flooring sooner rather than later.

Hire A Bathroom Waterproofing Specialist

Waterproofing your bathroom is a critical task that inexperienced individuals should not undertake. A poorly done bathroom waterproofing job will put the building at risk, affect the market price of the building whenever you decide to put it on sale, and can also attract fines from authorities during building inspections.

So, if you are looking at waterproofing your bathroom, it is vital to hire a specialist who will deliver value for your investment.

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