On the scale of unwanted problems in a house, most things that involve water going where it shouldn’t would be placed near the top. Water is potentially a very destructive substance, and has a talent for causing unseen issues that only become apparent when they’ve become serious. Your bathroom is water central and can be the source of many issues, from leaks through the ceiling into the rooms below to mould, damp and even water getting into light fittings, which spells serious trouble.
We’ve often covered the growing trend in wet rooms, transforming your bathroom into one big shower enclosure, opening up space and offering a whole new realm of design and style options. Wet rooms have an added bonus in that they require an extensive waterproofing regime that leaves water no possible way to escape. Consider them the Alcatraz of bathrooms.
The main downside to wet rooms is that they generally mean losing the bathtub, which a lot of people are loath to do. In a 2014 survey by Zoopla, they discovered that 49 per cent of us would prefer to keep the bath tub and have a shower over it, rather than a big walk-in shower. However, just because you don’t want a wet room doesn’t mean you can’t get the water tight benefits of wet room waterproofing.
The benefits of bathroom waterproofing
Mould is a common problem, especially in the UK where our damp climate hardly helps matters. Water can get underneath the tiles and penetrate the wood, plaster or brick underneath. As it’s all happening out of sight, the damage can be severe before you notice. Waterproofing your entire bathroom – or tanking, as it’s sometimes referred to – will create a barrier between the top layer and the wall, keeping water away.
This also means that water will be unable to escape downwards, stopping any leaks through the ceilings of the rooms below your bathroom. And the extra layer can also work as a type of insulation, keeping the warmth in your bathroom – especially if it has external walls – and reducing your energy bills.
How to waterproof your bathroom
There are several ways to waterproof your bathroom. The most comprehensive method is tanking, which essentially turns the whole room into a tank from which no water can escape. If you’re creating a wet room, then you’ll need to tank the room. Waterproof wall panels for bathrooms are highly effective but you need 100 per cent assurance that no water can escape, as the damage could prove costly.
Tanking involves laying a completely waterproof layer underneath the top layer of your walls and floor. You can buy primer, tape and membrane from DIY stores and it’s relatively straightforward to apply, but it’s always best to get a professional to tank your wet room or bathroom as you want complete assurance that there are no vulnerable spots, especially around the drain from the shower.
As an alternative, if you’re not starting a bathroom from scratch or completely refitting the room, is to use waterproof boards for showers and waterproof wall panels especially designed for bathrooms. Mira Flight wall panels are available in a range of width and heights, meaning they can be used to waterproof an entire shower area or provide a water tight splash back for a basin or bath. Their tiled effect also ensures a smart, neat finish and water tight connectors are available to join together panels to cover a wider area or a corner area.