Waterproofing of Bathrooms

Mr. Sanjay Bahadur, Global CEO, Construction Chemicals, Pidilite Industries

Sanjay Bahadur
Today in modern buildings, bathrooms are not just the places of freshening up but also are visualized as personal spaces to get refreshed and rejuvenated. As a matter of fact, a substantial amount of time and investment is put in to makeover or build bathrooms as per individual's choice. Of all the rooms in your house, you will need the bathroom to be the most waterproofed.

The whole visualization gets disturbed when such bathrooms look wet and get frequently exposed to water penetration through gaps. Failure to waterproof bathrooms not only hampers the looks of your house but it could also lead to major problems. Though wet areas occupy less than 10% of the gross floor area, the annual maintenance cost for such bathrooms' area can range from 35% to 50% of the total maintenance cost depending on the type of facility.

Dr Fixit Bathseal Kit
Normally the materials and components used in bathroom to make its floor, wall, architectural finishes etc. including service pipes and sanitary fittings are susceptible to natural movement and as a result, the materials made of clay and tiles affect the joints and cause the tiles to shift. This results in the leakages and dampness on the walls. So, waterproofing of the bathroom is one of the most important parameters and we have to ensure that the waterproofing systems are applied correctly and carefully. The wrong selection and incorrect applications cause the premature failure against leakage and rectification becomes much costly and time-consuming and annoying too.

The main purpose of the waterproofing treatment is to stop the movement of water through the floor bed or moisture penetration through the walls: drainage of the water through proper slope to the drain points.

Generally common defects that occur in bathrooms and toilets are:
  • Seepage through structural joint due to use of poor quality material or insufficient water tightness owing to poor application, main water source remains undetected and unattended.
  • Leakage through porous concrete due to poor design and inadequate mixing, concrete retains water and remains damp for long time.
  • Cracks in tiles if the tiles are not soaked and not tapped in place properly, they lose their water tightness with time and get damaged by subsequent construction activities.
  • Tile de-bonding because of inadequate provision or wrong detailing joints or excessive shrinkage of the substrate due to improper mixing and insufficient curing.
  • Rust staining because of moisture migration and leaching of the surface and unattended algae and fungus growth on the surface due to prolonged dampness and poor ventilation.
  • Leakage at pipe penetration and joints unplanned plumbing work creates gaps left at the junction and also when no proper protection is taken around the concealed and embedded pipes, water can seep through causing severe damage.
  • Leakage through floor traps due to improper laying of floor trap along the slope and insufficient protection at the corner rounds or poor application of membrane around pipes, water can seep through the joints.
Waterproofing of Bathrooms

Pidilite Construction Chemicals

How to waterproof your bathroom

  • The complete floor with 300 mm height along the periphery wall should be covered with suitable brush–applied–polymer–modified cementitious base waterproofing membrane. Such waterproofing is termed as 'tanking' and the slope is to be maintained to effectively direct all water to a drainage outlet. Before applying waterproofing membrane, ensure that no loose dust particle or oil is there on the surface as these may de-bond the entire film.
  • The waterproofing membrane should be taken 150 mm along the floor upto adjacent floor area and a concrete kerb is to be provided at the doorway so that no water can escape out of that doorway.
  • Corners between floors and walls are to be rounded with water tight polymer mixed cement sand systems and then a thick cement sand mortar is to be laid over the waterproofing membrane before laying of embedded pipes.
  • Pipe joints must be well protected with waterproofing tape wrapped around them and then floor bed should be made. Bathseal Waterproofing solution from Dr. Fixit comes as a handy kit containing five different products to create a leak free bathroom. It has a unique Bathseal tape to seal leakage around pipes (nani trap).
  • Any pipe insertion and floor traps should be sealed at joint and encased with waterproofing tape. Avoid using cement for fitting pipe to masonry gaps. These gaps can be fitted with a non- shrink cementitious grout – Bathseal Grout which will ensure water tight pipe fittings
  • Waterproofing membrane is then applied on the walls up to a height of minimum 1800 mm and width of 1500 mm on shower areas before. The membrane must be elastic enough so that it should accommodate the movements.
  • Tiles are to be placed using polymeric tile adhesives and the joints are to be filled with tile joint filers so that no water can seep through them.
  • Ensure the following of technical instruc- tions and product manuals properly to achieve water tightness.
  • The best way to maintain your bathroom tiles is to keep the space between the tiles clean. Always use a grout for filling tile joints in kitchen and bathroom areas which is stain resistant, antibacterial, non-cracking & above all should be CFTRI approved for its food grade quality.
  • The tiles joints should be installed with gap of min 2mm. This gap should be sealed with Roff Rainbow tile mate epoxy (Available in 22 colours) – a permanent, waterproof joint filler that sustains temperature upto 100°C chemical resistant & bateria proof. It is good to get advice from us on what type of product is the best one for your type of tile quality & design.
  • To prevent leakages in dry walls & to protect water splash areas, use waterproof adhesive beneath tiles. Cement tends to get settled & hence causes cracking, of tiles, hollow sound & de-bonding. Tiles should be adhered with Roff glass tile adhesive – a 100% waterproof adhesive that can even work underwater.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals on tiles to remove stains or durt and maintain the shine. Use Roff Ceraclean that is specially made to clean the tiles & ceramic ware e.g wash basin. Its pH is well balanced to remove those tough stains of hard water & paint and keep your floor always looking like new.
NBM&CW April 2015
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