A bathroom is a place where dampness and wetness rule. Water often creeps out underneath or around a shower curtain, leaving a puddle on the floor. Wet footprints leave damp marks. The air is frequently steamy, leaving moisture on every surface. Damp towels hang limply. The vanity counter is left awash very morning. The resulting slow drip-drip every day leads to the eventual deterioration of finishes, and can affect structural elements like floors or walls if left over time.
And in a much more dramatic fashion, fixtures can overflow. A bathroom is a place that experiences every once in a while that most unpleasant of occurrences — the flooded toilet. The bathtub may also overflow, as can the sink or any other fixture that uses water, leaving you with potentially expensive repairs to make.
Yes, a bathroom must be built to handle water, like a sea-worthy vessel. When finishing or refinishing, it’s important to seal up the space properly, and then keep it well maintained.
Waterproofing the bathroom
• Ceramic or porcelain tiles with protective glazing or waterproofing are an excellent choice for a bathroom floor.
• Use tile mouldings (avoid wood or pressboard) or run tiles partially up the wall, and pay special attention to sealing the juncture between wall and floor.
• Do yourself a favour and tile the entire shower enclosure, including the ceiling, or use a one-piece surround.
• Make sure you’ve got secure seals between fixtures (toilet, sink, shower enclosure or bath) and the wall or floor, and in any other place that could leak.
• Invest in an effective method for closing off the shower area while in use. Vinyl shower curtains may be effective for conscientious adults, but a door system may be better for busy families.
• Use a backsplash behind the sink and seal any joints that could allow water to penetrate.