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Is your shower and floor waterproof with a tile floor?

You may never have thought twice about whether your tiled shower is waterproof – or the bathroom floor, for that matter – but a lot of extra work needs to go into waterproofing your tile shower and floor compared to other areas. (After all, no one wants to deal with water damage.)

In fact, tile itself is not waterproof, so steps need to be taken in order to waterproof your space. Here are the areas to pay attention to in ensuring your tile shower and bathroom flooring are properly waterproofed.

Foundation

Just like any tile job, it’s critical that you begin with a sturdy, flat foundation. During demolition of old flooring and wall tile, you may discover that there has been water damage to stud work or cracks in your foundation.

Of course, bringing everything back to code and proper building standards is critical for a waterproof shower and bathroom. Once complete, you may also need to install cement board or other strong backing board to maintain the foundation of your shower walls.

During this stage, you’d also install any plumbing or drainage, which will need to be placed in a manner that will allow proper drainage. This all needs to be repaired before any new tile is installed.

Drain Installation & Leveling

To further ensure proper waterproofing, ensure that any drainage is installed with proper pitch. This way, your shower will not collect water in areas you don’t want it – near the walls, doors, or – worse still – leaking into rest of the bathroom.

Then, leveler (if necessary) will need to be applied with a consistent pitch toward the drain.

Waterproof Membrane

One of the most critical ways to waterproof your shower (and bathroom, if you choose) is by applying a waterproof membrane just before the mortar and tile.

There are plenty of different options for this membrane, including sheets, which may have an adhesive backing or require mortar for bonding. Another waterproof membrane option is a liquid version that can be applied in a number of different ways, depending on the brand you choose.

Grouting & Caulking

Once the tile is laid, the final waterproofing step is proper grout installation and any caulking necessary. While grout – like tile – is not inherently waterproof, proper installation will ensure that no water finds its way under the grout or tile.

Also make long-term cleaning considerations: unsanded grout is typically easier to clean, but you lose the potential slip-resistant properties of sanded grout. In addition, there are certain grout additives that are beneficial for deterring mold and mildew that will help keep your shower clean.


So there you have it: when proper steps are taken, your shower and bathroom certainly have the ability to be waterproof.

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