Whether it be a trickling tap or downright flooding, water damage can lead to very expensive repairs. Depending on the extent of the damage, you can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1,000 and above. Your home’s flooring is prone to this kind of problem, particularly the bathroom floors and some of the most common culprits include a broken pipe, an overflowing tub, and a clogged drainpipe.
While it can be difficult to predict when a small shower leak turns into something serious, what you can do is minimise the potential damage to your bathroom floors. This can be achieved through waterproofing by either treating the existing floors or installing new ones that are designed to repel water.
Interested in waterproofing your bathroom floors? Here are 4 important questions worth asking so that you can make an informed decision.
Aren’t bathrooms engineered to be water-resistant?
One of the most common misconceptions regarding bathroom floors is that the materials are already water-resistant. That’s not exactly true as materials like linoleum and tile can sustain water damage from even the simplest of leaks. In some cases, even everyday use can have an impact. For example, moisture can seep through tile grout and compromise its water-resistant properties over time.
While a bit of cracked grout or caulk might not warrant immediate concern, they can lead to serious shower issues if not addressed. It’s the small issues that tend to create big problems which ultimately diminishes that water-resistance of your bathroom floors.
Which materials are best for bathroom floors?
Using waterproofing products is always a good idea, especially in places that are prone to getting wet. But one thing you can do is to install a waterproofing material like a cement backer board between the flooring and the substrate. In regards to your bathroom floors, you can also install vinyl flooring which boasts excellent water-resistance.
Vinyl floors are impervious to mould (a key thing to consider when your bathroom has limited ventilation) and they hold up well against scratches and other kinds of damage. In most cases, vinyl flooring can be laid right on top of your existing floors. This means you don’t need to tear up your bathroom and undergo major repairs.
There are plenty of options for vinyl floors. Some mimic the look of traditional linoleum or tile while others resemble planks of wood which can add a unique look to any bathroom floor. Another great material is ceramic tile. Ceramic tiles share the same water-resistant traits as vinyl floors and are versatile enough for use on backsplashes, walls, and floors.
Ceramic tiles come in a variety of styles to match your overall bathroom design. Best of all, this kind of flooring is known for its durability which reduces the risk of water damage from ruining your bathroom. Do note that ceramic tiles require a sealer for extra protection as the material is quite porous. Talk to your local bathroom tiling contractor near you if you need help with any of these issues.
What products to use to protect your bathroom floors?
If you use tiles in your bathroom, you want to inspect the condition of your grout lines regularly. Look for cracks, discolouration, and erosion as these often indicate that your grout lines need repairing (or replacing depending on the extent of the damage). Grout sealers are designed to fight against such damages and are applied after installation to create a moisture barrier.
Check the wall lines in your bathroom and see if they have any cracks. Silicone works great at filling in the gaps between the wall and the floor as it helps prevent moisture from seeping through your bathroom flooring. If you’re already using a water-resistant floor like vinyl, you’ll find that you won’t need to use any products to further improve its waterproofing.
From there, it’s all about regular care and maintenance. Always treat spills immediately and make it a habit to reseal your grout lines once every two years. That way, your bathroom floors stay in good condition and you limit the risk of water damage altogether.
How does water exposure affect your decision?
When it comes to choosing materials for your bathroom, you want to consider the level of water of exposure it receives. A powder room (which usually has a toilet and sink but no bathtub or shower) can benefit from encaustic tile since they don’t suffer from constant wear and tear. Conversely, the main bathroom with a tub and shower can benefit from impervious porcelain tile or vinyl since these materials are more water-resistant.
Some bathrooms experience constant dampness due to weather conditions or poor ventilation. If this is the case, you want to use a dehumidifier in your bathroom to reduce moisture levels. A perpetually damp bathroom can cause your bathroom floors to shift and expand which is why you want to keep it dry right after using it.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure your bathroom has enough waterproofing to keep water damage at bay. Whether it be using a waterproof flooring material or a combination of waterproofing products, these steps can help you save on expensive repairs both in the short term and long term.