4 Important Questions to Ask When Waterproofing Your Bathroom Floors

Waterproofing Bathroom Floors
Ceramic Tile Installation

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.

Bathroom Waterproofing

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.

What Causes Water Damage Underneath Tiles?

Water Damage Underneath Tiles
Ceramic Tile Installation

Tiles are an excellent choice for kitchens and bathrooms because they’re durable, aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly, easy to clean. Most tiles have some form of water resistance, but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible to water damage. If there’s water ingress underneath your tiles, then you may want to address it quickly as neglecting it can lead to major problems such as cracked tiles and rotten subflooring.

Knowing the cause of water damage is crucial to maintaining the overall hygiene and condition of your tiled floors. Let’s discuss the reasons why water damage occurs and how you can prevent them from happening.

Leaks and drainage issues

The main reason for water underneath your bathroom tiles is leakage. Some bathroom fixtures have plumbing that’s connected to the mainline underneath the floor. If any of these connections are damaged, water will end up pooling beneath your tiles. Identifying such leaks can prove quite challenging, but there are a couple of tips that you can use when diagnosing the problem.

Try to observe where the water damage is most severe. From there, you can trace the source of the leak by working backward. You can also look for any water drippings in the room below if your bathroom is located a floor higher.

Another common cause of water damage underneath tiles is clogged drains. This can manifest anywhere from your sink or toilet and eventually warp the floorboards and wall supports in your bathroom.

Ceramic Tile Installation

Tile grout problems

If the source of the water damage isn’t coming from a leak, it could be that the tile grout is damaged. Grout controls seepage by securing the tiles to its base. If it were to get loose, cracked, or damaged, then water and moisture can make its way underneath your tiled floors. In this instance, you should definitely regrout your tiles to preserve its condition.

Alongside tile grout problems is the fact that the tiles themselves are damaged. Cracked/broken tiles can allow water to seep through the base and compromise the underlayment. While minor cracks can be repaired with some epoxy and paint, major damages warrant an immediate tile replacement.

Signs that your tiles are water damaged

Addressing the water damage early on is vital to ensure it doesn’t affect the rest of your tiled floors. There are a couple of tell-tale signs that indicate your tiles are water damaged and it’s usually a combination of the following:

  • Loose or hollow tiles – Loose tiles are a clear indicator that your flooring has suffered water damage. The constant exposure to water can weaken the tile’s adhesives and cause them to move around. The same thing goes for hollow tiles which are due to the void created by the water damage. If you experience any of these, contact a reputable tile installer and have it repaired immediately.
  • Warped floors – When your tiles are water damaged, you may notice that your floors are starting to warp or dip. This is due to the subfloor rotting down, thus creating an uneven surface on your tiled floors. You can check the condition of your subfloor through your basement or crawlspace to confirm any signs of water damage.
  • Mould/mildew growth – If there’s unexplained mould or mildew growth in your bathroom, chances are it’s caused by water-damaged tiles. Moisture can seep underneath the tiles and create a breeding ground for these microorganisms to grow.

How to prevent tiles from getting water damage

Proper tile maintenance is usually all you need to prevent water from harming your tiles (unless you damage your tiled floors by accident). All of the aforementioned issues should be thoroughly observed and fixed should they arise. Also, make sure to clean your tiles regularly and do not let any spills and stains dry out. You can also get your tiles regrouted. 

To protect your tiled floors, it’s a good idea to seal the grout lines once every 2-3 years. Doing so will help retain the tile’s water-resistant properties and keep the tile grout in good condition. Tile grout is porous in nature and once the sealant is removed, water and moisture can penetrate through it and lead to chips and cracks.

Getting help from the professionals

If you aren’t sure how to tackle the problem, then contacting the right professional tilers is the way to go. Shower repair companies know how to identify leaks and determine the exact cause of water damage in your tiles. Best of all, they can rectify the issue with long-term fixes so you don’t end up with a recurring problem.

For fast and efficient shower repairs, look no further than GIB Tiling. Whether it’s a residential or commercial shower issue, our team of experts can repair the problem with ease. We pride ourselves on the quality of our work and we commit to delivering a 5-star service to our clients. Contact us today and let us address your water damaged tiles right away.

What to Look for When Hiring a Tile Installer

Hiring a Tile Installer
Tiles Installation

When it comes to hiring a tile installer, there are plenty of factors to consider. Tile installation is a tedious task and you want a qualified professional to do the work for you. This ensures that your tiled floors last for many years and you get the most value out of your money. To eliminate the guesswork, here are a couple of things you should look for when hiring a tile installer so that you can make a confident hire.

Look for a tile installer with ample experience

You may be tempted to hire a handyman or a jack of all trades, but usually they don’t have enough experience to do quality tile work. Most experts recommend you hire someone with at least three years of experience in regards to tile installation. Make sure to ask the person about their portfolio so you can get a better idea of their output.

The last thing you want is to cut corners and just hire someone to install the tiles for you. By hiring a skilled professional, you’ll be able to save time and money in the long run.

Tiles Installation

Ask the right questions

Asking the right questions can help you determine whether or not you’re hiring the right tile installer. Make sure to ask the following questions:

  • How long will the project take?
  • How much tile is needed?
  • How many people will be working on the project?
  • Have they ever worked on a similar project like this before?

Know what to look for in a quality tile installation

You can learn a lot about a tile installer by looking at their portfolio. When viewing their completed projects, take a close look at the tiles. Do they have even spacing? Are the grout lines perfectly straight? Is there no lippage on the tiles?

Look for a layout that is well-balanced. The cut tiles should be roughly the same size, even if they are on opposite ends of the room. Inspect the tiles around doors, windows, and corners as these areas are often challenging to work around with. If you notice clean grout lines and precision-cut tiles, it’s a good indication that the tile installer is highly skilled in his craft.

Large gaps, excess grout, and ill-fitting tiles are simply unacceptable and the tile installer should be avoided at all costs.

The tile installer should be well-organised with their materials

Tile installation requires excellent organisation skills. An installer must be quick and efficient with his work because grout, mortar, and adhesives dry quickly. If possible, try to visit your prospective tile installer and observe how they prepare their materials and how they execute their work. You’ll know a tile installer is adept at his profession when you spot the following:

• Tiles are neatly stacked

• Tiles are already cut

• The pattern of the tile layout is completed

• Tile cuts are done outdoors

• Surfaces near the tile installation are covered with plastic

Ask for a bid

Once you’ve found your prospective tile installer, the next thing to do is to ask for a bid in writing. This way, you’ll get a more accurate estimate and let your installer know that you’re serious about getting a quality result.

An expert tile installer is confident with their work and will never be afraid to guarantee results. Get a written guarantee that their work will be free from cracks, leaks, and any other issues for a minimum of at least 2 years. 

Have the installer purchase the tiles

Your tile installer understands all the ratings and technicalities associated with your tile installation. With this in mind, you can let them purchase the tiles for you so you don’t end up with the wrong material. Just outline your preferences so they can have a guideline of which kind of tiles to pick up.

If you plan on purchasing the tiles yourself, don’t hesitate to ask any questions. Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that designers, architects, engineers, and contractors have. Their relative experience with working directly with tile installers can help guide you throughout the tile selection process.

You can also talk to a commercial contractor as well. The vast majority of tiles sold are used in commercial buildings and commercial contractors know what kind of tile works best for specific applications.

Look for professionalism

Professionalism is the hallmark of a trustworthy business. While this doesn’t relate directly to tile installation, you want to hire someone that’s professional in approach. When meeting with your prospective tile installer, take note of how they speak and interact with you. Do they inspire confidence when you meet them? Like they always say, first impressions last and your tile installer should instill a sense of confidence in you that their work will meet your expectations.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to hire the right installer for the job.

3 Types of Grout to Use When Installing Tiles

Installing Tiles

Nearly all forms of tiles use some type of grout to fill in between the tile seams Whether the tile is made of porcelain, ceramic, natural stone, or quarry, it is imperative that the seams between the tiles are filled with grout to prevent moisture from reaching the underlayment. To make tile flooring water-resistant, all the grout should be properly maintained and repaired when cracks become evident.

There are three main types of grout used by tilers when installing tiles and these are cementitious grout, epoxy grout, and furan resin grout. Each grout type has its own unique properties that make them suitable for specific applications. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at these three grout types to find out which one you should use for your next tiling project.

Tile Installation

1. Cementitious Grouts

Cementitious grouts use Portland cement as their main component along with filler particles of different sizes, coloured pigments, and a water-retentive additive. Cementitious grout is the traditional grouting material which is commonly used in both residential and commercial tile installations.

Cementitious grout comes in a variety of colours that allow the installer to match or contrast it with their chosen tile. The grout is mixed with water and applied with a trowel. The water retentive agent is what allows the cement to cure slowly for maximum hardness

Cementitious grout comes in two types namely sanded grout and unsanded grout. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two varieties:

* Sanded grout A type of cementitious grout that includes fairly large sand particles which contribute to its gritty look and feel. Sanded grout is generally recommended for grout seams that are 1/8 inch wide or more as the sand provides extra bonding power to help prevent cracking. Care is needed when using sanded grouts on highly polished tiles as the sand particles are abrasive and can scratch the surfaces easily.

* Unsanded grout – This type of cementitious grout is smoother in texture since it contains mineral particles that have no noticeable grit. Unsanded grout is often used in grout seams that are 1/16 to 1/8 inch wide. Anything more than that and unsanded grout may crack due to the insufficient binding power compared to sanded grout.

Cementitious grout is by far the most popular grout type and can be used virtually on any tile project. that tile is installed. When it comes to maintenance, cementitious grout needs to be sealed with a penetrating sealer once every two years to keep them waterproof and stain-free.

Tile Installation

2. Epoxy Grout

Epoxy grout is entirely different from cementitious grout in that it doesn’t use Portland cement nor water in the mixing process. This type of grout consists primarily of epoxy resin along with silica fillers, pigments, and a hardener. Epoxy grout is significantly less porous than cementitious grout and is an excellent choice for applications where acids and greases are commonplace such as kitchens.

Epoxy grout also comes in both unsanded and sanded varieties, although the type of sand used is different than those found in cementitious grout. Epoxy grout has a relatively fast setup time which makes them a bit tricky to use for amateur tile installers. This type of grout is also more expensive than cementitious grout at around $4-$8 per pound.

For areas where stain resistance is important, epoxy grout may prove to be an excellent choice. Keep in mind that epoxy grout can potentially stain limestone or quarry tiles which have porous and unglazed surfaces. If you decide to use epoxy grout on such tiles, make sure to seal them first before grouting to avoid unsightly stains.

One benefit of epoxy grout is that unlike cementitious grout, However, they can become stained over time which is why cleaning them regularly is an absolute must. Scrubbing with a mixture of water and bleach (or vinegar) is more than enough to clean epoxy grout effectively.

There is a variety of epoxy grout called modified epoxy grout which contains Portland cement. The characteristics of this hybrid grout are similar to cementitious grout in that they require regular sealing. However, this type of grout is harder, stronger, and more stain-resistant compared to a standard epoxy grout.

3. Furan Resin Grout

Furan resin grout is quite similar to epoxy, but instead of using epoxy resins, a blend of polymers with fortified alcohols are used. The name is derived from the furfuryl alcohol included in the grout formula which contributes to its chemical resistance. Furan grout consists of two-component systems which are the furan resin and a filler powder with an acid catalyst. The acid causes the furan resins to cure and form a thermosetting resin, thus giving it excellent thermal, chemical, and physical properties.

Furan grout is commonly used to grout tiles that are frequently exposed to harsh chemicals such as laboratories, distilleries, institutional kitchens, and breweries. Prior to grouting the tiles, they must first undergo a wax coating to protect them from staining. Because of the difficulty of installation, these grouts are normally used for industrial projects and are reserved for experienced tile installers only.

Precautions should be made when mixing furan grout to avoid inhaling the vapours which are harmful to human health. Installing furan resin grout requires skill and precision as knowing the right temperatures are crucial for a successful installation. Installing furan grout should be done when the temperatures are between 15ºC and 32ºC so that it cures properly.

Bathroom Tiles vs Kitchen Tiles: What Are the Differences?

Bathroom Tiles

For decades, tiles have been the go-to flooring option for bathrooms and kitchens thanks to their water-resistance and ease of maintenance. But did you know that the tiles used in bathroom tiling are different than the ones used for kitchen backsplashes? It’s easy to think that these two areas use the same tiles, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Understanding the differences between the two can go a long way towards helping you choose the right tiles for your specific applications.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the characteristics of bathroom tiles and kitchen tiles so you can pick the most suitable tile variety for your needs.

Bathroom Tiles

Bathroom tiles

When it comes to choosing tiles for your bathroom, you’ll want a tile variety that’s slip-resistant and water-resistant. The bathroom is one of those areas that’s frequently exposed to moisture, stains, and heavy water flow which makes it crucial to choose a tile variety that can withstand these very well. Some examples of bathroom tiles are natural stone tiles, porcelain tiles, and ceramic tiles. These options are perfect for installing on walls and floors as they possess the necessary traits of a bathroom tile.

Maintaining foot traction is the most important thing to consider when choosing bathroom tiles as using the inappropriate one can lead to slip hazards. Considering that a bathroom is usually small, you can make do with using smaller tiles that are laid in a diagonal pattern to make the room feel more spacious. Using large tiles can result in uneven tile flooring as the rest of the tiles will need to be cut around the fittings.

In regards to style, it’s best to stick to plain and simple tile patterns for that ultra-clean look. Tiles with colourful designs can look out of place inside a bathroom so reserve the stylish flooring for other applications. Light hues such as white, cream, and light grey are excellent choices that help bring a calm and relaxing feel in a small space such as a bathroom.

Kitchen Tiles

Kitchen tiles

When talking about the kitchen, it’s an area that is most prone to stains and spills. This means that your choice of tiles should be stain-resistant, hard-wearing, and easy to keep clean. Oil buildup and food residue can be a nightmare to clean, especially if you’re using a tile variety that’s porous in nature like ceramic tiles. If you plan on using tiles for your kitchen’s backsplash, glass tiles and are an excellent choice since they require little to no maintenance. On the other hand, cork, vinyl, and stone tiles are perfect for kitchen floors as they conceal stains quite well and can withstand heavy foot traffic.

Kitchen spaces can fit large tiles just fine and will look even better as opposed to using smaller tiles. In terms of the layout, a straight pattern is a preferred choice as it brings together the other design elements of the kitchen. You can also use other tile patterns such as a herringbone pattern or a windmill pattern for that distinct look.

For kitchen walls, you can opt for a tile variety that’s functional yet aesthetically pleasing. Think of it as an accent piece that will breathe life into your kitchen. Here, you can get creative with styles and patterns whilst keeping the stain resistance in mind.

Things to consider when choosing between the bathroom and kitchen tiles

Before you head out to the hardware store, you may want to consider these factors to ensure the tiles you buy are fit for your intended applications. Here are some things to keep in mind:

A busy kitchen is subject to more foot traffic than a bathroom. It’s for this reason that the tiles for your kitchen floor should have a higher resistance rating (known as a PEI Rating) than those on your bathroom floor. The PEI test gives a score from 0 to 5 for a glazed tile’s abrasion resistance. The higher the rating, the better the quality of the tile’s surface and the wider the applications the tile can cover.

Safety is the top priority when choosing bathroom tiles. For that, you want a set of tiles with an anti-slip rating (known as an R-Rating) on your bathroom floors. The R-Rating score determines the slip resistance of a given tile. The rating value is between 9 and 13, with a higher score indicating better slip resistance.

Bathroom floors are usually quite small, so it makes sense to use smaller tiles. Tiling with very large tiles would result in one full tile in the middle, and every other tile cut to fit the contours of the room and to be shaped around the fittings. The bathroom is also a tight space, so it’s more convenient for the tiler if the tiles are small or mid-sized.