Waterproofing a Bathroom or Bathtub – The Best 7 Steps in 2023
A bathroom’s “archnemesis” is water. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the majority of property damage is from water and freezing. In 2021, water damage accounted for 23.5% out of 97.7% of total property damage. That is a huge number. Professionals say that homeowners will experience some form of water damage in their houses at least once in their life. So, with that said, we can be sure that water damage cannot be completely avoided. But, that does not mean we can’t take measures to minimize or even prevent water damage.
That is what we are going to discuss in this blog. We will take a look at the ten best steps to waterproof your bathroom or bathtub in 2023.
Water Damage – What Is It?
As the name suggests, water damage is a form of damage caused by water. When water enters a structure (walls or floors), it affects the core material of the wall and decreases the overall integrity of the wall or floor. Some of the factors that can cause water damage include but are not limited to, water leaks, burst pipes, leaks from the roof or floor, and sometimes even flooding.
But one thing to note is that not all water damage is irreversible. The severity of the water damage decides the replacement cost. For instance, water discoloration on walls can be easily repaired with the help of a repair kit available online or even at local hardware stores, which can cost you $15-$30, depending on the type of repair kit.
Health damage (hazardous gases), structural damage, and even electrical damage are more alarming concerns and can cost you a lot of money. It is recommended to take all necessary measures swiftly if you are already dealing with minor water damage.
7 Steps to Waterproof Your Bathroom and Bathtub
Waterproofing your bathroom and bathtub can be a tedious and sometimes complicated process. But, you have to ensure that you are covering all the areas (literally) in order to avoid any water leaks or damage during and after the process.
Step #1 – Planning
Always have an ironclad plan before you take on any project or task. The same can be said for waterproofing your bathroom and bathtub. The first step in waterproofing your bathroom is by checking the layout of your bathroom and taking exact measurements. Once you have taken the measurements, it is time to analyze the design and area where waterproofing is required (though, it is recommended to waterproof the entire bathroom and bathtub). Check the area, which is more prone to water damage or frequently in contact with the water. Note down those areas. These areas include a water shower system (showerhead), bathroom walls and floors, cabinets, bathtubs, and fixtures.
Once you completely analyze the bathroom and bathtub, it is time to start digging (literally!)
Step #2 – Surface (Walls and Floor) Preparations
After the measurements and analysis are complete, the next step is prepping the surface.
NOTE: If you are not familiar with the local plumbing code and have no knowledge of plumbing, it is best to seek professional help for your project.
If you have general knowledge, start by removing the existing tiles and wallpaper (if any). Once you remove the fixtures, clean the area completely. You can use any cleaning agent (preferably an all-green, non-abrasive cleaning agent) to remove the debris.
Step #3 – Use Caulk to Seal Joints
Once you clean the surface, check if the surface has a joint with the wall. If there is a joint, use waterproofing caulk to seal the joints. In this step, use the caulk to seal all the joints in the room. This helps to prevent water from entering the walls and floor and greatly eliminates the chance of water damage. Make sure you are covering the corner joints and edges with caulk as well.
Step #4 – Use Waterproofing Membrane
There are waterproof membranes (in the form of sheets) available on the market (both online and in hardware stores). These waterproof membranes are designed in such a way that it creates a barrier between the surface and the water. If possible, try to get the liquid membrane because it is easy to apply and has great durability. This means it can prevent cracks in walls, and it works great against water damage. You can use a paint roller to apply the membrane on walls or floors, and it will stick to the surface. But, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions if you have confusion about the application process.
Without a proper waterproofing system, there is a high probability that mold and mildew can form in the shower system in a blink of an eye. One of the best ways to waterproof your shower system is either to use the shower pad or the same waterproof membrane that you used for your floor or walls. There are also dedicated shower waterproof membranes available on the market. But, truth be told, both are the same. It is better to use the same membrane from your surface preparation step, which can help to save a lot of money on your project.
When it comes to the bathtub, it is better to go with waterproof paint instead of the membrane. The process is simple. Clean the bathtub with an all-green, non-abrasive cleaner, and make sure it is dry. After that, apply the primer and ensure you cover all the bathtub’s surfaces. Now, use the reinforcement tape to cover the edges and corners of the bathtub, and paint the waterproof paint all over the surface. You may need one or more coatings depending on the state of your bathtub. Once you applied the required number of coatings, leave it to dry (preferably overnight).
Step #5 – Choose Waterproof Materials for Your Bathroom
Always choose waterproof materials for your bathroom. For example, choose waterproof tiles for your bathroom. This helps to prevent the water from getting into the walls and floor. It is also recommended to install waterproof tiles on walls. It may lower the aesthetics of your bathroom, but it can be remedied by using designer tiles. At the end of the day, you can be assured that your bathroom is safe from water damage.
Step #6 – Ensure Fixtures are “Fixed” Properly
One of the best ways to eliminate water damage is to make sure that your fixtures are fixed properly to their position. If all the fixtures are correctly installed, there shouldn’t be any water leakage. Check that the sinks, bathtub, faucets, and shower system are sealed with waterproof sealant. If not, use plumber putty around the base of the fixtures. This helps to prevent the water from getting into the fixture system and walls.
Step #7 – Regular Maintenance
Lastly, to “permanently” prevent water damage, regular maintenance is required. Check for signs, such as wall discoloration and floor damage, as well as discoloration and damage around the base of the fixtures. Check the integrity of the sealant. If there are any issues, take quick measures to repair the affected area.
Quick Tip: Install an exhaust fan in your bathroom. This should help to fight against water damage. After you use the bathroom, switch on the exhaust fan for at least ten minutes. This helps to dissipate the excess moisture to the surroundings and keeps your bathroom and bathtub free from water damage.
For the best waterproofing results, you should look for material that has good durability, great water resistance and is even scratch resistant. Considering all the factors mentioned, it is best to go with vinyl-based waterproof material. It does not only have the requirements but also the style.
Yes. Some may say it is not necessary to waterproof the entire floor, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Using the waterproof membrane on your entire bathroom floor considerably helps to prevent water damage.
Assuming you are using high-quality waterproofing material and do regular maintenance, you can expect waterproofing to last at least ten years.
The repair costs of water damage are expensive, really expensive. According to RubyHome, water damage is classified into four tiers. Tier 1 is the least amount of damage, and tier 4 is an alarming case of damage. The cost of tier 1 repair can vary from $100-$400. The cost raises according to the tiers, so tier 4 can cost a staggering $20000-$100000. Now, that is a lot of money. Spending $100-$150 for preventive maintenance can save thousands of dollars.
But sometimes, it can be out of your hands. You may need to completely replace your bathtub. If you are facing that kind of situation, you are in the right place. Magnus Home Products offers a great range of bathtubs with a variety of bathtub materials and designs. You can access the collection here.
This article hopes to provide you with enough information on waterproofing your bathroom and bathtub.